The GitLab CI/CD pipeline includes a
danger-review job that uses Danger
to perform a variety of automated checks on the code under test.
Danger is a gem that runs in the CI environment, like any other analysis tool. What sets it apart from, e.g., RuboCop, is that it's designed to allow you to easily write arbitrary code to test properties of your code or changes. To this end, it provides a set of common helpers and access to information about what has actually changed in your environment, then simply runs your code!
If Danger is asking you to change something about your merge request, it's best just to make the change. If you want to learn how Danger works, or make changes to the existing rules, then this is the document for you.
Danger comments in merge requests
Danger only posts one comment and updates its content on subsequent
danger-review runs. Given this, it's usually one of the first few comments
in a merge request if not the first. If you didn't see it, try to look
from the start of the merge request.
- You don't get email notifications each time
- It's not obvious Danger will update the old comment, thus you need to pay attention to it if it is updated or not.
Run Danger locally
A subset of the current checks can be run locally with the following Rake task:
On startup, Danger reads a
from the project root. GitLab's Danger code is decomposed into a set of helpers
and plugins, all within the
subdirectory, so ours just tells Danger to load it all. Danger will then run
each plugin against the merge request, collecting the output from each. A plugin
may output notifications, warnings, or errors, all of which are copied to the
CI job's log. If an error happens, the CI job (and so the entire pipeline) will
On merge requests, Danger will also copy the output to a comment on the MR itself, increasing visibility.
Danger code is Ruby code, so all our usual backend guidelines continue to apply. However, there are a few things that deserve special emphasis.
When to use Danger
Danger is a powerful tool and flexible tool, but not always the most appropriate way to solve a given problem or workflow.
First, be aware of GitLab's commitment to dogfooding. The code we write for Danger is GitLab-specific, and it may not be most appropriate place to implement functionality that addresses a need we encounter. Our users, customers, and even our own satellite projects, such as Gitaly, often face similar challenges, after all. Think about how you could fulfill the same need while ensuring everyone can benefit from the work, and do that instead if you can.
If a standard tool (e.g.
rubocop) exists for a task, it is better to use it
directly, rather than calling it via Danger. Running and debugging the results
of those tools locally is easier if Danger isn't involved, and unless you're
using some Danger-specific functionality, there's no benefit to including it in
the Danger run.
Danger is well-suited to prototyping and rapidly iterating on solutions, so if what we want to build is unclear, a solution in Danger can be thought of as a trial run to gather information about a product area. If you're doing this, make sure the problem you're trying to solve, and the outcomes of that prototyping, are captured in an issue or epic as you go along. This will help us to address the need as part of the product in a future version of GitLab!
Implement each task as an isolated piece of functionality and place it in its
own directory under
Each task should be isolated from the others, and able to function in isolation.
If there is code that should be shared between multiple tasks, add a plugin to
danger/plugins/... and require it in each task that needs it. You can also
create plugins that are specific to a single task, which is a natural place for
complex logic related to that task.
Danger code is just Ruby code. It should adhere to our coding standards, and
needs tests, like any other piece of Ruby in our codebase. However, we aren't
able to test a
Dangerfile directly! So, to maximize test coverage, try to
minimize the number of lines of code in
danger/. A non-trivial
should mostly call plugin code with arguments derived from the methods provided
by Danger. The plugin code itself should have unit tests.
At present, we do this by putting the code in a module in
and including it in the matching
danger/plugins/... file. Specs can then be
You'll only know if your
Dangerfile works by pushing the branch that contains
it to GitLab. This can be quite frustrating, as it significantly increases the
cycle time when developing a new task, or trying to debug something in an
existing one. If you've followed the guidelines above, most of your code can
be exercised locally in RSpec, minimizing the number of cycles you need to go
through in CI. However, you can speed these cycles up somewhat by emptying the
.gitlab/ci/rails.gitlab-ci.yml file in your merge request. Just don't forget
to revert the change before merging!
To enable the Dangerfile on another existing GitLab project, run the following extra steps, based on this procedure:
@gitlab-botto the project as a
- Add the
GITLAB_API_PRIVATE_TOKENvalue as a value for a new CI/CD variable named
You should add the
~Danger bot label to the merge request before sending it
Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of the kinds of things Danger has been used for at GitLab so far:
- Coding style
- Database review
- Documentation review
- Merge request metrics
- Reviewer roulette. Reviewers and maintainers are chosen based on:
- Their roles (backend, frontend, database, etc).
- Their availability:
- No "OOO"/"PTO"/"Parental Leave" in their GitLab or Slack status.
:beach_with_umbrella:emojis in GitLab or Slack status.
- [Experimental] Their timezone: people for which the local hour is between 6 AM and 2 PM are eligible to be picked. This is to ensure they have a good chance to get to perform a review during their current work day. The experimentation is tracked in this issue
- Single codebase effort
- Danger output is not added to a merge request comment if working on
a fork. This happens because the secret variable from the canonical
project is not shared to forks.
To work around this, you can add an environment
DANGER_GITLAB_API_TOKENwith a personal API token to your fork. That way the danger comments will be made from CI using that API token instead. Making the variable masked will make sure it doesn't show up in the job logs. The variable cannot be protected, as it needs to be present for all feature branches.