Today I came across fantastic idea that was implemented as Proof of Concept in Gitlab some time ago: CI Workflows! I’m pretty excited about it and really hope it will be shipped soon 😁

The concept

Currently, CI jobs can be included in the pipelines, while rules can be applied to define when to do it (e.g. only if certain files were modified). Pipeline can be triggered by several events: commit push, merge request creation, through API or manually using user interface. It is already flexible and awesome, but in terms of automating tasks based on projects’ content (build, test, release, deploy), not necessarily automation in general.

Gitlab CI Workflows’ idea is pretty simple, yet brilliant - let CI jobs to be triggered by system’s events. This way possibilities become almost endless, limited only by supported events and people’s imagination 😉. For example: you want to triage new issues? Run workflow on issue’s creation event. Want to run pipeline in the merge request when it’s marked as ready (Draft flag removed)? No problem, just hook into event and call the API.

Possible usage

Proposed syntax is based on new on option, at this point it’s not clear if it can be single event or collection of events. Anyway, it could look like:

image: alpine

  - triage
  - verify

  stage: triage
  # New option introduced, defines which event we want subscribe
  on: my-workflow-1/webhooks/issues/created
    - echo "Draw and assign reviewers..."
    - ...

  stage: verify
    - reviewer_roulette
    - echo "Check title, description etc."
    - echo "Check if reproducer repository link is provided"
    - ...

These 2 jobs are not regular jobs included in pipelines. reviewer_roulette uses mentioned on option, so it’s triggered when issue is created, while verify_standards depends on it through needs. Both will be included in the workflow’s pipeline, but won’t be included in regular pipelines based on branches, merge requests etc.


Video with demo of this Proof of Concept was shared here, initially as private but after my question it was made public 🎉 Asking costs nothing 😉


I can’t wait for it! Of course, there are many questions and doubts, but these will be addressed in the epic. We, as Gitlab users, also can be part of this - collectively this feature can be engineered even better! So don’t hesitate and provide feedback if you have ideas about CI workflows 🙂