Developers
July 9, 2020

GitLab Releases Version 13.1

GitLab has released version 13.1 of its popular DevOps platform.

GitLab is a popular DevOps platform used by more than 100,000 organizations around the world. One of the differentiating characteristics of GitLab is that it is a single application, rather than a conglomeration of apps and tools put together.

This approach gives GitLab the advantage of being a cohesive platform, delivering the entire range of software development collaboration. The platform provides everything needed “to Manage, Plan, Create, Verify, Package, Release, Configure, Monitor, and Secure your applications.”

Version 13.1

GitLab 13.1 is a significant upgrade over previous versions, bringing Alert Management and improvements to code quality, security and compliance.

Alert Management

One of the biggest challenges in IT is dealing with alerts, properly triaging them and knowing what to focus on. GitLab’s new feature is designed to help do just that.

“Alerts are essential to application maintenance, but understanding and triaging the range of alerts thrown can dramatically reduce productivity and response time,” writes Farnoosh Seifoddini. “GitLab’s Alert Management aggregates and ranks IT alerts from all of your services to simplify assessment and remediation, increasing productivity and helping you research and address critical issues right away. Key features in 13.1 include alert assignments, Slack integration, and creating GitLab To-Dos when assigning alerts.”

This is an important feature that will help combat alert fatigue, where a system generates so many alerts that none of them get the attention they deserve.

Instead, the service will “aggregate multiple IT service alerts in one interface, helping your team triage alerts and promote them to Incidents,” continues Seifoddini. “We’ve added the ability to triage alerts in a list view, view alert details, assign alerts, update the status of alerts, and create Incident Issues from Alerts.”

Code Quality Enhancements

Testing code to ensure quality is one of the most important parts of the development process. A bug or vulnerability that slips into production can cost a company millions in losses and additional work. Even worse, a major issue can lead to irreparable harm to a company’s reputation. This latest release of GitLab goes a long way toward alleviating some of those issues with its focus on code quality enhancements.

One of the biggest improvements is the ability to prioritize testing of recently modified code. On larger projects, where much of the code base is stable and has not changed, it can be a waste of time to run a test on the entire code base when only a small portion has changed. What’s more, testing the entire code base can cost valuable time if a bug has slipped into the new code.

With 13.1, “Ruby developers can shorten the feedback loop by using the TestFileFinder gem to find tests that target the modified code, then running those tests in an early stage in the pipeline,” says Seifoddini. “This is an MVC approach to solving the problem, but one we hope you’re excited about. We look forward to feedback and ideas in the TestFileFinder project.”

Improved code coverage tracking features will also be a big help. Many projects have code coverage targets, but developers are often in the dark as to how their target value is trending. 13.1 now includes the Code Coverage graph that “provides better visibility into how code coverage is trending over time. It displays a simple graph of the coverage value(s) calculated in pipelines.”

Improved Security and Compliance

Closely related to the code quality enhancements are tools designed to help developers improve security and compliance. With cyberattacks on the rise and an ever-increasing degree of security and privacy legislation, security and compliance must be built into products from the ground up.

GitLab’s new features are designed to help developers do just that.

“Security matters to everyone, and we're committed to lowering the barriers to a fully secure, compliant SDLC,” says Seifoddini. “That's why we're happy to announce that we've migrated Brakeman SAST scanning to Core, allowing every Rails developer—at every product tier—to scan their source code for known vulnerabilities. For compliance-focused organizations, we've released a policy management UI for network container policies, and we've enabled group-level vulnerability exports to a CSV file for audits or further internal review. In addition, we've made helpful UX improvements to the Security Dashboard, adding persistent filters and issue status icons to help maintain context as you work within the tool.”

More Than a Point Release

GitLab 13.1 is a significant new release that has far more than one would anticipate from a point upgrade. As Seifoddini points out, this is the first time that GitLab has included over 300 MRs from the community.

In addition, the focus on improving alert management, code quality, security and compliance will be welcome additions to organizations of all sizes. As Seifoddini makes clear, 13.1 also lays the groundwork for exciting developments ahead.

TagsGitLabDevOps
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersJuly 9, 2020
GitLab Releases Version 13.1
GitLab has released version 13.1 of its popular DevOps platform.

GitLab is a popular DevOps platform used by more than 100,000 organizations around the world. One of the differentiating characteristics of GitLab is that it is a single application, rather than a conglomeration of apps and tools put together.

This approach gives GitLab the advantage of being a cohesive platform, delivering the entire range of software development collaboration. The platform provides everything needed “to Manage, Plan, Create, Verify, Package, Release, Configure, Monitor, and Secure your applications.”

Version 13.1

GitLab 13.1 is a significant upgrade over previous versions, bringing Alert Management and improvements to code quality, security and compliance.

Alert Management

One of the biggest challenges in IT is dealing with alerts, properly triaging them and knowing what to focus on. GitLab’s new feature is designed to help do just that.

“Alerts are essential to application maintenance, but understanding and triaging the range of alerts thrown can dramatically reduce productivity and response time,” writes Farnoosh Seifoddini. “GitLab’s Alert Management aggregates and ranks IT alerts from all of your services to simplify assessment and remediation, increasing productivity and helping you research and address critical issues right away. Key features in 13.1 include alert assignments, Slack integration, and creating GitLab To-Dos when assigning alerts.”

This is an important feature that will help combat alert fatigue, where a system generates so many alerts that none of them get the attention they deserve.

Instead, the service will “aggregate multiple IT service alerts in one interface, helping your team triage alerts and promote them to Incidents,” continues Seifoddini. “We’ve added the ability to triage alerts in a list view, view alert details, assign alerts, update the status of alerts, and create Incident Issues from Alerts.”

Code Quality Enhancements

Testing code to ensure quality is one of the most important parts of the development process. A bug or vulnerability that slips into production can cost a company millions in losses and additional work. Even worse, a major issue can lead to irreparable harm to a company’s reputation. This latest release of GitLab goes a long way toward alleviating some of those issues with its focus on code quality enhancements.

One of the biggest improvements is the ability to prioritize testing of recently modified code. On larger projects, where much of the code base is stable and has not changed, it can be a waste of time to run a test on the entire code base when only a small portion has changed. What’s more, testing the entire code base can cost valuable time if a bug has slipped into the new code.

With 13.1, “Ruby developers can shorten the feedback loop by using the TestFileFinder gem to find tests that target the modified code, then running those tests in an early stage in the pipeline,” says Seifoddini. “This is an MVC approach to solving the problem, but one we hope you’re excited about. We look forward to feedback and ideas in the TestFileFinder project.”

Improved code coverage tracking features will also be a big help. Many projects have code coverage targets, but developers are often in the dark as to how their target value is trending. 13.1 now includes the Code Coverage graph that “provides better visibility into how code coverage is trending over time. It displays a simple graph of the coverage value(s) calculated in pipelines.”

Improved Security and Compliance

Closely related to the code quality enhancements are tools designed to help developers improve security and compliance. With cyberattacks on the rise and an ever-increasing degree of security and privacy legislation, security and compliance must be built into products from the ground up.

GitLab’s new features are designed to help developers do just that.

“Security matters to everyone, and we're committed to lowering the barriers to a fully secure, compliant SDLC,” says Seifoddini. “That's why we're happy to announce that we've migrated Brakeman SAST scanning to Core, allowing every Rails developer—at every product tier—to scan their source code for known vulnerabilities. For compliance-focused organizations, we've released a policy management UI for network container policies, and we've enabled group-level vulnerability exports to a CSV file for audits or further internal review. In addition, we've made helpful UX improvements to the Security Dashboard, adding persistent filters and issue status icons to help maintain context as you work within the tool.”

More Than a Point Release

GitLab 13.1 is a significant new release that has far more than one would anticipate from a point upgrade. As Seifoddini points out, this is the first time that GitLab has included over 300 MRs from the community.

In addition, the focus on improving alert management, code quality, security and compliance will be welcome additions to organizations of all sizes. As Seifoddini makes clear, 13.1 also lays the groundwork for exciting developments ahead.

GitLab
DevOps
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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