Gitlab Review

Gitlab has been growing on me over the past 8 months. Work had previously been using Github but we were evaluating what continuous integration to start using, and Gitlab CI seemed to be just what we needed.

After evaluation I wanted us to switch but switching all your source control endpoints needs a reason. We then had a visiting engineer start and wanted to add them to a group of projects. Digging through Github it seemed like we would have had to create a group and then individually add that group to the repos we wanted access too. Gitlab's subgroups made a lot more sense, so that day we did the switch and have not looked back. Gitlab is not as popular or stylish as Github and doesn't provide the social network feel but it kicks butt for managing code and continuous integration.

Over the last few weeks I've been exploring Gitlab issues and I am hitting edges I do not like. Issues are great and have everything I need for now but the viewing and managing them is sub-par. We have a few groups for different isolated projects and a few projects that span groups, with this setup the lists and milestones get hard to track. Milestones only show up at one level, you can not see them from a subgroup milestone page even if the projects there are part of the milestones. Lists can be at any level but you can only add milestones from that level. No milestones from projects below yours can be displayed. This hinders making boards across projects.

Milestones are a little click heavy to work with. You click on a milestone and get a slick page with a nice chart and your total issue counts, deadlines etc but seeing the issues involves clicking a tiny link at the bottom of the milestone page. The milestone link on the issues list also drags takes you to a filtered list of issues with that milestone on the repo the issue belongs to, not back to the milestone page, yeah I'm confused too.

Now some of these problems with issue lists and milestones would hopefully be addressed by upgrading to the tier that includes Epics. The problem is we aren't hooked yet, and Gitlab needs to hook us into their project management tools at the $20/user/month tier before we jump to the next tier at $100/user/month. That's a lot of money for unproven value, especially if we can not build solid workflows and have bad experiences with lower tiers.

Over all I have really enjoyed using Gitlab. Container registries per repo, deploy tokens, Gitlab runners, the code review tools and branch management are all great, and I really, really want to buy in more to some of their features but the usability is sometimes lackluster especially in more advanced features. They definitely go for the checking all the enterprise feature boxes over sleekness and performance once you get past code and CI. What are your thoughts on Gitlab vs Github?

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