Development guide for GitLab CI/CD templates

This document explains how to develop GitLab CI/CD templates.

Place the template file in a relevant directory

All template files reside in the lib/gitlab/ci/templates directory, and are categorized by the following sub-directories:

Sub-directroy Content Selectable in UI
/Jobs/* Auto DevOps related jobs Yes
/Pages/* Static site generators for GitLab Pages (for example Jekyll) Yes
/Security/* Security related jobs Yes
/Verify/* Verify/testing related jobs Yes
/Worklows/* Common uses of the workflow: keyword No
/* (root) General templates Yes


The file must follow the .gitlab-ci.yml syntax. Verify it’s valid by pasting it into the CI lint tool at

Also, all templates must be named with the *.gitlab-ci.yml suffix.

Backward compatibility

A template might be dynamically included with the include:template: keyword. If you make a change to an existing template, you must make sure that it won’t break CI/CD in existing projects.


Each CI/CD template must be tested in order to make sure that it’s safe to be published.

Manual QA

It’s always good practice to test the template in a minimal demo project. To do so, please follow the following steps:

  1. Create a public sample project on
  2. Add a .gitlab-ci.yml to the project with the proposed template.
  3. Run pipelines and make sure that everything runs properly, in all possible cases (merge request pipelines, schedules, and so on).
  4. Link to the project in the description of the merge request that is adding a new template.

This is useful information for reviewers to make sure the template is safe to be merged.

Make sure the new template can be selected in UI

Templates located under some directories are also selectable in the New file UI. When you add a template into one of those directories, make sure that it correctly appears in the dropdown:

CI/CD template selection

Write an RSpec test

You should write an RSpec test to make sure that pipeline jobs will be generated correctly:

  1. Add a test file at spec/lib/gitlab/ci/templates/<template-category>/<template-name>_spec.rb
  2. Test that pipeline jobs are properly created via Ci::CreatePipelineService.


A template could contain malicious code. For example, a template that contains the export shell command in a job might accidentally expose project secret variables in a job log. If you’re unsure if it’s secure or not, you need to ask security experts for cross-validation.