Pipelines for Merge Requests
Introduced in GitLab 11.6.
Usually, when you create a new merge request, a pipeline runs with the new change and checks if it's qualified to be merged into a target branch. This pipeline should contain only necessary jobs for validating the new changes. For example, unit tests, lint checks, and Review Apps are often used in this cycle.
With pipelines for merge requests, you can design a specific pipeline structure for when you are running a pipeline in a merge request. This could be either adding or removing steps in the pipeline, to make sure that your pipelines are as efficient as possible.
Requirements and limitations
Pipelines for merge requests have the following requirements and limitations:
- As of GitLab 11.10, pipelines for merge requests require GitLab Runner 11.9 or higher due to the recent refspecs changes.
- Pipelines for merge requests are incompatible with CI/CD for external repositories.
Configuring pipelines for merge requests
To configure pipelines for merge requests, add the
only: [merge_requests] parameter to
the jobs that you want to run only for merge requests.
Then, when developers create or update merge requests, a pipeline runs every time a commit is pushed to GitLab.
NOTE: Note: If you use this feature with merge when pipeline succeeds, pipelines for merge requests take precedence over the other regular pipelines.
For example, consider the following
build: stage: build script: ./build only: - master test: stage: test script: ./test only: - merge_requests deploy: stage: deploy script: ./deploy only: - master
After the merge request is updated with new commits:
- GitLab detects that changes have occurred and creates a new pipeline for the merge request.
- The pipeline fetches the latest code from the source branch and run tests against it.
In the above example, the pipeline contains only a
deploy jobs don't have the
only: [merge_requests] parameter,
they will not run in the merge request.
Pipelines tagged with the detached badge indicate that they were triggered when a merge request was created or updated. For example:
Pipelines for Merged Results (PREMIUM)
Merge Trains (PREMIUM)
Read the documentation on Merge Trains.
Excluding certain jobs
The behavior of the
only: [merge_requests] parameter is such that only jobs with
that parameter are run in the context of a merge request; no other jobs will be run.
However, you can invert this behavior and have all of your jobs run except for one or two.
Consider the following pipeline, with jobs
C. Imagine you want:
- All pipelines to always run
Cto run only for merge requests.
To achieve this, you can configure your
.gitlab-ci.yml file as follows:
.only-default: &only-default only: - master - merge_requests - tags A: <<: *only-default script: - ... B: <<: *only-default script: - ... C: script: - ... only: - merge_requests
Bare getting the
only:rule to execute in all cases, they will always run.
Cspecifies that it should only run for merge requests, it will not run for any pipeline except a merge request pipeline.
As you can see, this will help you avoid a lot of boilerplate where you'd need
to add that
only: rule to all of your jobs in order to make them always run. You
can use this for scenarios like having only pipelines with merge requests get a
Review App set up, helping to save resources.
Excluding certain branches
Pipelines for merge requests require special treatment when
except. Unlike ordinary
branch refs (for example
refs/heads/my-feature-branch), merge request refs
use a special Git reference that looks like
of this, the following configuration will not work as expected:
# Does not exclude a branch named "docs-my-fix"! test: only: [merge_requests] except: [/^docs-/]
Instead, you can use the
$CI_COMMIT_REF_NAME predefined environment
accomplish this behavior:
test: only: [merge_requests] except: variables: - $CI_COMMIT_REF_NAME =~ /^docs-/
Important notes about merge requests from forked projects
Note that the current behavior is subject to change. In the usual contribution flow, external contributors follow the following steps:
- Fork a parent project.
- Create a merge request from the forked project that targets the
masterbranch in the parent project.
- A pipeline runs on the merge request.
- A maintainer from the parent project checks the pipeline result, and merge into a target branch if the latest pipeline has passed.
Currently, those pipelines are created in a forked project, not in the parent project. This means you cannot completely trust the pipeline result, because, technically, external contributors can disguise their pipeline results by tweaking their GitLab Runner in the forked project.
There are multiple reasons why GitLab doesn't allow those pipelines to be
created in the parent project, but one of the biggest reasons is security concern.
External users could steal secret variables from the parent project by modifying
.gitlab-ci.yml, which could be some sort of credentials. This should not happen.
We're discussing a secure solution of running pipelines for merge requests that are submitted from forked projects, see the issue about the permission extension.
Additional predefined variables
By using pipelines for merge requests, GitLab exposes additional predefined variables to the pipeline jobs. Those variables contain information of the associated merge request, so that it's useful to integrate your job with GitLab Merge Request API.
You can find the list of available variables in the reference sheet.
The variable names begin with the