GitLab Updates CI/CD Platform to Improve Dev Productivity

GitLab has made available a 14.9 update to its namesake continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform that adds epic-linking, integrated security training, rule mode for scanning result policies and a revamped design, among other capabilities. The updated environment makes it easier to discover the state of the application development projects, GitLab said.

Cindy Blake, senior product marketing manager and security specialist for GitLab, said these updates are part of an ongoing effort to embed technologies within the CI/CD platform that will make applications both more secure and compliant with various mandates before they are in a production environment.

For example, DevOps teams can now take advantage of a user interface through which they can use a rule mode to design and edit policies without the need to access YAML files directly.

GitLab has also partnered with Kontra and Secure Code Warrior to provide content that will drive security training functionality. This content can be accessed via the GitLab platform whenever a vulnerability is discovered.

The overall goal is to make it simpler for organizations to shift left because expecting every developer to become a security expert is not especially realistic, noted Blake. The ability to automate many of the security tasks that developers face is a way of showing empathy for the daunting challenges they face.

In general, as application development becomes more complex, GitLab is moving toward making its CI/CD platform more accessible to a broader range of organizations, including those that might only be starting to embrace DevOps best practices. The epic-linking capability, for example, makes it easier to identify “related”, “blocking,” or “blocked” relationships to better track and manage epic dependencies across GitLab groups.

The two biggest challenges organizations face today are securing their software supply chains and improving the overall productivity of the developers. In most cases, those two goals are tightly coupled; Every minute a developer spends on security is one less minute they spend writing code. In fact, many organizations are finding that, in addition to salary and benefits, many developers are using the level of friction they will encounter when building and deploying applications as a guide to decide which organizations they want to work for. As a result, many organizations are now looking to modernize their application development and deployment environments with an eye toward attracting the best developer talent.

At the same time, of course, organizations are looking to improve the productivity of the developers they do have. In the age of digital business transformation, there are many more application development initiatives being launched. The challenge organizations face is that hiring and retaining developers remains a major challenge.

It’s not clear how eager organizations are to replace their existing CI/CD platforms. However, the pressure to improve the developer experience is mounting at a time when organizations are overall dependent on software. Arguably, going forward, the ability of any organization to compete will be dependent on the productivity of application development teams. Platforms and tools that get in the way of enabling organizations to build and deploy more secure software faster will be discarded.

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