GitLab CI


GitLab CI is a powerful Continuous Integration system integrated into GitLab.

The tasks of the CI system are configured in scripts inside the OGS source code. The entry point is defined in .gitlab-ci.yml. Scripting and versioning the configuration together with the source code is very powerful, e.g. if you introduce a new OGS CMake configuration in a merge request even the change of the CI jobs configuration or jobs environment (Docker container definition) can be part of the merge request.

GitLab Pipeline

A CI run consists of a pipeline which contains stages which in turn contain jobs. A job runs a set of instructions (e.g. checking out the source code, building the code, testing the code) on a runner.

Each pipeline run is visualized as follows: GitLab pipeline visualization

Jobs belong to a stage and each job will get a status (success, warnings, failure). Some jobs are optional (see the gear icon) and can be manually triggered by pressing the play button.

Automatic testing

The master-branch of the main repository as well as all merge requests on that repository are automatically tested. See the pipelines page.

Skip automatic testing

If you want to skip a pipeline run for a push add the -o ci.skip git push option. Example:

git push -o ci.skip

Or add [ci skip] to the commit message to skip the pipeline for this commit. Example:

git commit -m "Added feature X [ci skip]"

Or use the merge request label ci::skip.

(Temporarily) reduce pipeline run time

During work on MR you may want to reduce the pipeline run time to get feedback faster. You can use a pre-configured reduced pipeline or manually editing the pipeline configuration files.

Pre-configured reduced pipelines

These pipelines can be selected by using merge request labels:

  • ci::web only: Runs Jupyter notebook ctests only and builds the web site.
  • ci::linux only and ci::mac only and ci::win only: Runs platform specific builds only.

More MR labels affecting CI pipelines

  • ci_large for enabling large ctests in merge request pipelines. Combine with ci::linux only for faster feedback on the benchmarks.

Manually editing .gitlab-ci.yml and scripts/ci/pipelines/regular.yml

You can change the pipeline by editing the .gitlab-ci.yml and scripts/ci/jobs/*.yml files. It is good practice to mark these changes with commits starting with drop: ... in the commit message so they can be removed later easily.

These variables in .gitlab-ci.yml modify the pipeline:

  • BUILD_TESTS: Set this to false to disable unit tests.
  • BUILD_CTEST: Set this to false to disable CTest (benchmark) tests.
  • CTEST_ARGS: Supply additional arguments to the ctest-command to select which benchmarks are run, e.g.:
    • -R nb would select all notebook-based tests and would disable all other benchmarks
    • -LE large would exclude all tests with label large

All jobs get included in the include:-section in the file scripts/ci/pipelines/regular.yml. You can simple comment out files to disable jobs defined in that files. Please note that some jobs depend on other jobs.


All jobs are defined in these files. You can disable a single job by prefixing its name with a dot, e.g.:

# enabled job:
build linux arch:

# disabled job:
.build linux arch:

This article was written by Lars Bilke. If you are missing something or you find an error please let us know.
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