Rake tasks for developers

Rake tasks are available for developers and others contributing to GitLab.

Set up database with developer seeds

Note that if your database user does not have advanced privileges, you must create the database manually before running this command.

bundle exec rake setup

The setup task is an alias for gitlab:setup. This tasks calls db:reset to create the database, and calls db:seed_fu to seed the database. Note: db:setup calls db:seed but this does nothing.


MASS_INSERT: Create millions of users (2m), projects (5m) and its relations. It’s highly recommended to run the seed with it to catch slow queries while developing. Expect the process to take up to 20 extra minutes.

See also Mass inserting Rails models.

LARGE_PROJECTS: Create large projects (through import) from a predefined set of URLs.

Seeding issues for all or a given project

You can seed issues for all or a given project with the gitlab:seed:issues task:

# All projects
bin/rake gitlab:seed:issues

# A specific project
bin/rake "gitlab:seed:issues[group-path/project-path]"

By default, this seeds an average of 2 issues per week for the last 5 weeks per project.

Seeding issues for Insights charts

You can seed issues specifically for working with the Insights charts with the gitlab:seed:insights:issues task:

# All projects
bin/rake gitlab:seed:insights:issues

# A specific project
bin/rake "gitlab:seed:insights:issues[group-path/project-path]"

By default, this seeds an average of 10 issues per week for the last 52 weeks per project. All issues will also be randomly labeled with team, type, severity, and priority.

Seeding groups with sub-groups

You can seed groups with sub-groups that contain milestones/projects/issues with the gitlab:seed:group_seed task:

bin/rake "gitlab:seed:group_seed[subgroup_depth, username]"

Group are additionally seeded with epics if GitLab instance has epics feature available.

Seeding custom metrics for the monitoring dashboard

A lot of different types of metrics are supported in the monitoring dashboard.

To import these metrics, you can run:

bundle exec rake 'gitlab:seed:development_metrics[your_project_id]'


If you’re very sure that you want to wipe the current database and refill seeds, you could:

echo 'yes' | bundle exec rake setup

To save you from answering yes manually.

Discard stdout

Since the script would print a lot of information, it could be slowing down your terminal, and it would generate more than 20G logs if you just redirect it to a file. If we don’t care about the output, we could just redirect it to /dev/null:

echo 'yes' | bundle exec rake setup > /dev/null

Note that since you can’t see the questions from stdout, you might just want to echo 'yes' to keep it running. It would still print the errors on stderr so no worries about missing errors.

Extra Project seed options

There are a few environment flags you can pass to change how projects are seeded

  • SIZE: defaults to 8, max: 32. Amount of projects to create.
  • LARGE_PROJECTS: defaults to false. If set will clone 6 large projects to help with testing.
  • FORK: defaults to false. If set to true will fork torvalds/linux five times. Can also be set to an existing project full_path and it will fork that instead.

Run tests

In order to run the test you can use the following commands:

  • bin/rake spec to run the RSpec suite
  • bin/rake spec:unit to run only the unit tests
  • bin/rake spec:integration to run only the integration tests
  • bin/rake spec:system to run only the system tests
  • bin/rake karma to run the Karma test suite

bin/rake spec takes significant time to pass. Instead of running the full test suite locally, you can save a lot of time by running a single test or directory related to your changes. After you submit a merge request, CI will run full test suite for you. Green CI status in the merge request means full test suite is passed.

You can’t run rspec . since this will try to run all the _spec.rb files it can find, also the ones in /tmp

You can pass RSpec command line options to the spec:unit, spec:integration, and spec:system tasks. For example, bin/rake "spec:unit[--tag ~geo --dry-run]".

For an RSpec test, to run a single test file you can run:

bin/rspec spec/controllers/commit_controller_spec.rb

To run several tests inside one directory:

  • bin/rspec spec/requests/api/ for the RSpec tests if you want to test API only

Speed up tests, Rake tasks, and migrations

Spring is a Rails application pre-loader. It speeds up development by keeping your application running in the background so you don’t need to boot it every time you run a test, Rake task or migration.

If you want to use it, you’ll need to export the ENABLE_SPRING environment variable to 1:


Alternatively you can use the following on each spec run,

bundle exec spring rspec some_spec.rb

Compile Frontend Assets

You shouldn’t ever need to compile frontend assets manually in development, but if you ever need to test how the assets get compiled in a production environment you can do so with the following command:

RAILS_ENV=production NODE_ENV=production bundle exec rake gitlab:assets:compile

This will compile and minify all JavaScript and CSS assets and copy them along with all other frontend assets (images, fonts, etc) into /public/assets where they can be easily inspected.

Emoji tasks

To update the Emoji aliases file (used for Emoji autocomplete), run the following:

bundle exec rake gemojione:aliases

To update the Emoji digests file (used for Emoji autocomplete), run the following:

bundle exec rake gemojione:digests

This will update the file fixtures/emojis/digests.json based on the currently available Emoji.

To generate a sprite file containing all the Emoji, run:

bundle exec rake gemojione:sprite

If new emoji are added, the sprite sheet may change size. To compensate for such changes, first generate the emoji.png sprite sheet with the above Rake task, then check the dimensions of the new sprite sheet and update the SPRITESHEET_WIDTH and SPRITESHEET_HEIGHT constants accordingly.

Update project templates

Starting a project from a template needs this project to be exported. On a up to date master branch run:

gdk start
bundle exec rake gitlab:update_project_templates
git checkout -b update-project-templates
git add vendor/project_templates
git commit
git push -u origin update-project-templates

Now create a merge request and merge that to master.

Generate route lists

To see the full list of API routes, you can run:

bundle exec rake grape:path_helpers

The generated list includes a full list of API endpoints and functional RESTful API verbs.

For the Rails controllers, run:

bundle exec rake routes

Since these take some time to create, it’s often helpful to save the output to a file for quick reference.

Show obsolete ignored_columns

To see a list of all obsolete ignored_columns run:

bundle exec rake db:obsolete_ignored_columns

Feel free to remove their definitions from their ignored_columns definitions.

Update GraphQL documentation and schema definitions

To generate GraphQL documentation based on the GitLab schema, run:

bundle exec rake gitlab:graphql:compile_docs

In its current state, the Rake task:

  • Generates output for GraphQL objects.
  • Places the output at doc/api/graphql/reference/index.md.

This uses some features from graphql-docs gem like its schema parser and helper methods. The docs generator code comes from our side giving us more flexibility, like using Haml templates and generating Markdown files.

To edit the template used, please take a look at lib/gitlab/graphql/docs/templates/default.md.haml. The actual renderer is at Gitlab::Graphql::Docs::Renderer.

@parsed_schema is an instance variable that the graphql-docs gem expects to have available. Gitlab::Graphql::Docs::Helper defines the object method we currently use. This is also where you should implement any new methods for new types you’d like to display.

Update machine-readable schema files

To generate GraphQL schema files based on the GitLab schema, run:

bundle exec rake gitlab:graphql:schema:dump

This uses GraphQL Ruby’s built-in Rake tasks to generate files in both IDL and JSON formats.