GitLab feeds requirements management to its monster platform

Gitlab Logo
Gitlab Logo

As seems to have become the norm during the last few release cycles for repository management service cum DevOps platform GitLab, new key features in  GitLab 12.10 are more geared towards the high end of the paying customer spectrum.

As the outfit pushes its monthly release into the open, the most highlighted addition to the ultimate/gold feature pool is the capability to create and view requirements at a project level. This marks the first time the company has included requirements management as part of the product.

According to principal product manager Farnoosh Seifoddini, GitLab “often hear[s] about the struggles associated with external requirement management tools – difficult integrations, multiple toolchains, and challenging workflows”. Its solution therefore is to add requirements management functionality to the already quite extensive platform, so that users don’t have to go looking for help elsewhere anymore. 

At this stage, the feature still seems to be a bit rudimentary, however, GitLab’s game plan is to provide users with a way to create “a seamless workflow to visually demonstrate completeness and compliance” once it is finished.

Of course that’s not all that is new in version 12.10. Ultimate/gold subscribers for example now have the option of assigning health statuses – “on track”, “needs attention”, and “at risk” – to issues. The corresponding colour codes are then displayed in the Epic Tree and the statuses can be aggregated into an Epic health report, which is useful to help teams become aware of potential roadblocks early.

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If something has gone wrong, ultimate/gold subscribers now have the option to inform their customers or other stakeholders about incidents through a status page. The new feature allows devs and ops folks to push information directly out of the private incident issues they’re working on to a public page, to keep everyone in the loop. Additional capabilities for other user cases will be added later. 

The GitLab team has also been busy improving the offline use of Secure scans by adjusting scanner job definitions and adding scanner specific instructions as well as new workflow documentation to the docs. Admins of online setups, meanwhile, get more insight on total and blocked traffic via a new Threat Monitoring page under the Security & Compliance menu item, which can be used to fine-tune network policies.

With that being said, there are still some enhancements available to users of all subscriptions. In terms of security, the GitLab team added support for SSH expiration dates, more granular permissions for deploy tokens, and an option to set the web application firewall globally to either logging or blocking mode. It also made the tool work better with HashiCorp Vault, meaning that secrets no longer have to be provided as a variable but users can work with JSON web token authentication instead.

GitLab now also comes with a “new project template that creates a static website, initially supporting Middleman, pre-configured to be hosted on GitLab Pages and with content that can be edited in a new, streamlined Static Site Editor” for project descriptions and the like.

Once they have updated their systems to the new release, companies that make use of Jira can finally get their issues imported automatically instead of having to rely on manual work or self-built integration solutions. 

Apart from that, runbooks and assets can now be linked to the Release page for a better overview of related activities, and the self-managed offerings had some bits and bobs added to make deploying to AWS and autoscaling on that platform easier. And of course, there are now custom metrics for all, as promised by the company last December.

The complete list of features can be found in the release announcement.

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