Introduction to Gitlab

Urs Roesch

What is GitLab

GitLab is a complete DevOps platform, delivered as a single application. This makes GitLab unique and creates a streamlined software workflow, unlocking your organization from the constraints of a pieced together toolchain. Learn how GitLab offers unmatched visibility and higher levels of efficiency in a single application across the DevOps lifecycle.

Target audience

The course material presented here is meant for a technically inclined person with a basic proficiency in the Git source management system and an inclination to learn about combining the power of Git with the versatility of GitLab.

Scope & Terminology

GitLab is tightly wedded, as the name suggests, to the git source code management system, its concepts, command and terminology. It helps to be familiar with Git’s interpretations of working directory, staging, repository, branch, tag, commit and revision among others.

GitLab setup

GitLab setup prerequisites

For the course the following prerequisites have to be met:

  • Recent version of

All docker commands are invoked without sudo. It is therefore assumed that the participants user is part of the docker Unix group.

Gitlab docker setup

The examples in this tutorial are based on gitlab-ce (community edition). The docker image and instruction on how to install it can be found on the gitlab docker hub page.

Table 2. Port mapping
ProtocolLocal PortDocker Port










Container start script with prefilled port numbers.
OMNIBUS+="external_url \"http://${GITLAB_HOSTNAME}:8480/\";"
OMNIBUS+="gitlab_rails['gitlab_shell_ssh_port'] = 8422;"

function start() {
  [[ -d ${GITLAB_HOME} ]] && mkdir -p ${GITLAB_HOME}
  docker run \
    --detach \
    --hostname ${GITLAB_HOSTNAME} \
    --publish 8443:443 \
    --publish 8480:8480 \
    --publish 8422:22 \
    --name gitlab \
    --restart always \
    --volume ${GITLAB_HOME}/config:/etc/gitlab \
    --volume ${GITLAB_HOME}/logs:/var/log/gitlab \
    --volume ${GITLAB_HOME}/data:/var/opt/gitlab \

The initial startup of the container is taking quite some time. Patience until the first connection is required.
Add gitlab.local to the /etc/hosts file.
sudo sed -i \
  -e '/gitlab.local/d' \
  -e '$a\ gitlab.local' \
  -e '$a\::1 gitlab.local' \

Gitlab account setup

Configure admin account password

After starting the docker container open a browser and navigate to http://gilab.local:8480.

setup admin password
Figure 1. Admin password setup

Create user account


First name


Last name


User name







Software Developer

setup user account
Figure 2. User account creation
setup user account role
Figure 3. Define role

Congratulations the initial setup is complete!

Module 1 - User configuration


  • Navigate the user setting

  • Set privacy settings.

  • Manage ssh public keys.

User profile configuration

For the purpose of the excercises conducted during this tutorial no particular changes in the user profile need to be made but for better recognition the avatar, the privacy setting and the ssh keys are being discussed here.

Navigate to the user' settings

configuration user settings
Figure 4. Navigate to the user settings

Change the avatar

configuration user settings profile
Figure 5. Change the avatar
configuration user settings profile avatar
Figure 6. Upload new avatar from image file

For Joe Developer the chosen avatar is a construction worker with hard hat.

Review privacy settings

configuration user settings profile privacy
Figure 7. Privacy settings

Upload ssh public keys

Generate a ssh public key on the command line
$ ssh-keygen -t ed25519 -f ~/.ssh/gitlab (1)
Generating public/private ed25519 key pair.
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): (2)
Enter same passphrase again: (3)
Your identification has been saved in /home/uroesch/.ssh/gitlab
Your public key has been saved in /home/uroesch/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
SHA256:hXWPmuLBU8fnrEYPNBoSDKwXaITn5Jn/Vtvdin6gJI4 uroesch@uroesch-puzzle
The key's randomart image is:
+--[ED25519 256]--+
|   o.o.o. . .    |
|  . = o .+ o o   |
|   * + .o + * o  |
|    * .. + B =   |
|     o  S + o o  |
|      ...+o..+   |
|       +.+ +oo.. |
|      E + o...o .|
|       .   .o... |
$ ls -l ~/.ssh/gitlab*
-rw------- 1 jdev jdev 464 Nov  9 12:09 /home/jdev/.ssh/gitlab (4)
-rw-r--r-- 1 jdev jdev 104 Nov  9 12:09 /home/jdev/.ssh/ (5)
configuration user settings ssh key add
Figure 8. Upload a ssh public key
configuration user settings ssh key confirm
Figure 9. Upload confirmation for ssh public key

Module 2 - Gitlab project


  • Create a new GitLab project.

  • How to navigate a project.

  • Protect certain branches like master.

Create a new project

In the following steps a new personal public repository is created. The process of creating a new project is assisted and straight forward.

The creation starts with clicking on the boxed plus sign left to the search field.

project new project
Figure 10. Create a new project from the top navigation bar