Pipelines for Merge Requests
Introduced in GitLab 11.6.
In a basic configuration, GitLab runs a pipeline each time changes are pushed to a branch.
If you want the pipeline to run jobs only on commits to a branch that is associated with a merge request, you can use pipelines for merge requests.
In the UI, these pipelines are labeled as
detached. Otherwise, these pipelines appear the same
as other pipelines.
Pipelines for merge requests can run when you:
- Create a new merge request.
- Commit changes to the source branch for the merge request.
- Select the Run pipeline button from the Pipelines tab in the merge request.
Any user who has developer permissions can run a pipeline for merge requests.
If you use this feature with merge when pipeline succeeds, pipelines for merge requests take precedence over the other regular pipelines.
To enable pipelines for merge requests:
- Your repository must be a GitLab repository, not an external repository.
- In GitLab 11.10 and later, you must be using GitLab Runner 11.9.
Configuring pipelines for merge requests
To configure pipelines for merge requests you need to configure your CI/CD configuration file. There are a few different ways to do this:
rules to run pipelines for merge requests
rules, which is the preferred method, we recommend starting with one
workflow:rules templates to ensure
your basic configuration is correct. Instructions on how to do this, as well as how
to customize, are available at that link.
except to run pipelines for merge requests
If you want to continue using
only/except, this is possible but please review the drawbacks
When you use this method, you have to specify
only: - merge_requests for each job. In this
example, the pipeline contains a
test job that is configured to run on merge requests.
deploy jobs don't have the
only: - merge_requests keyword,
so they don't run on merge requests.
build: stage: build script: ./build only: - main test: stage: test script: ./test only: - merge_requests deploy: stage: deploy script: ./deploy only: - main
Excluding certain jobs
The behavior of the
only: [merge_requests] keyword is such that only jobs with
that keyword are run in the context of a merge request; no other jobs run.
However, you can invert this behavior and have all of your jobs run except for one or two.
Consider the following pipeline, with jobs
C. Imagine you want:
- All pipelines to always run
Cto run only for merge requests.
To achieve this, you can configure your
.gitlab-ci.yml file as follows:
.only-default: &only-default only: - main - merge_requests - tags A: <<: *only-default script: - ... B: <<: *only-default script: - ... C: script: - ... only: - merge_requests
Bare getting the
only:rule to execute in all cases, they always run.
Cspecifies that it should only run for merge requests, it doesn't run for any pipeline except a merge request pipeline.
This helps you avoid having to add the
only: rule to all of your jobs to make
them always run. You can use this format to set up a Review App, helping to
Excluding certain branches
Pipelines for merge requests require special treatment when
except. Unlike ordinary
branch refs (for example
refs/heads/my-feature-branch), merge request refs
use a special Git reference that looks like
of this, the following configuration will not work as expected:
# Does not exclude a branch named "docs-my-fix"! test: only: [merge_requests] except: [/^docs-/]
Instead, you can use the
$CI_COMMIT_REF_NAME predefined environment
accomplish this behavior:
test: only: [merge_requests] except: variables: - $CI_COMMIT_REF_NAME =~ /^docs-/
Pipelines for Merged Results (PREMIUM)
Merge Trains (PREMIUM)
Read the documentation on Merge Trains.
Run pipelines in the parent project for merge requests from a forked project (PREMIUM)
By default, external contributors working from forks can't create pipelines in the parent project. When a pipeline for merge requests is triggered by a merge request coming from a fork:
- It's created and runs in the fork (source) project, not the parent (target) project.
- It uses the fork project's CI/CD configuration and resources.
If a pipeline runs in a fork, the fork icon appears for the pipeline in the merge request.
Sometimes parent project members want the pipeline to run in the parent project. This could be to ensure that the post-merge pipeline passes in the parent project. For example, a fork project could try to use a corrupted runner that doesn't execute test scripts properly, but reports a passed pipeline. Reviewers in the parent project could mistakenly trust the merge request because it passed a faked pipeline.
Parent project members with at least Developer permissions can create pipelines in the parent project for merge requests from a forked project. In the merge request, go to the Pipelines and click Run pipeline button.
WARNING: Fork merge requests could contain malicious code that tries to steal secrets in the parent project when the pipeline runs, even before merge. Reviewers must carefully check the changes in the merge request before triggering the pipeline. GitLab shows a warning that must be accepted before the pipeline can be triggered.
Additional predefined variables
By using pipelines for merge requests, GitLab exposes additional predefined variables to the pipeline jobs. Those variables contain information of the associated merge request, so that it's useful to integrate your job with GitLab Merge Request API.
You can find the list of available variables in the reference sheet.
The variable names begin with the
Two pipelines created when pushing to a merge request
If you are experiencing duplicated pipelines when using
rules, take a look at
the important differences between
which helps you get your starting configuration correct.
If you are seeing two pipelines when using
only/except, please see the caveats
related to using
only/except above (or, consider moving to
In GitLab 13.7 and later,
you can add
workflow:rules to switch from branch pipelines to merge request pipelines
after a merge request is open on the branch.
Two pipelines created when pushing an invalid CI configuration file
Pushing to a branch with an invalid CI configuration file can trigger the creation of two types of failed pipelines. One pipeline is a failed merge request pipeline, and the other is a failed branch pipeline, but both are caused by the same invalid configuration.