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The Web IDE editor makes it faster and easier to contribute changes to your projects by providing an advanced editor with commit staging.

Open the Web IDE

You can open the Web IDE when viewing a file, from the repository file list, and from merge requests.

Open Web IDE


The file finder allows you to quickly open files in the current branch by searching. The file finder is launched using the keyboard shortcut Command-p, Control-p, or t (when editor is not in focus). Type the filename or file path fragments to start seeing results.


As expected from an IDE, syntax highlighting for many languages within the Web IDE will make your direct editing even easier.

The Web IDE currently provides:

  • Basic syntax colorization for a variety of programming, scripting and markup languages such as XML, PHP, C#, C++, Markdown, Java, VB, Batch, Python, Ruby, and Objective-C.
  • IntelliSense and validation support (displaying errors and warnings, providing smart completions, formatting, and outlining) for some languages. For example: TypeScript, JavaScript, CSS, LESS, SCSS, JSON, and HTML.

Because the Web IDE is based on the Monaco Editor, you can find a more complete list of supported languages in the Monaco languages repository. Under the hood, Monaco uses the Monarch library for syntax highlighting.

If you are missing Syntax Highlighting support for any language, we prepared a short guide on how to add support for a missing language Syntax Highlighting.

Note: Single file editing is based on the Ace Editor.


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All the themes GitLab supports for syntax highlighting are added to the Web IDE’s code editor. You can pick a theme from your profile preferences.

The themes are available only in the Web IDE file editor, except for the dark theme and the solarized dark theme, which apply to the entire Web IDE screen.

Solarized Light Theme Solarized Dark Theme Dark Theme
Solarized Light Theme Solarized Dark Theme Dark Theme

Configure the Web IDE

The Web IDE supports configuration of certain editor settings by using .editorconfig files. When opening a file, the Web IDE looks for a file named .editorconfig in the current directory and all parent directories. If a configuration file is found and has settings that match the file’s path, these settings will be enforced on the opened file.

The Web IDE currently supports the following .editorconfig settings:

  • indent_style
  • indent_size
  • end_of_line
  • trim_trailing_whitespace
  • tab_width
  • insert_final_newline

Commit changes

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After making your changes, click the Commit button on the bottom-left to review the list of changed files.

Once you have finalized your changes, you can add a commit message, commit the changes and directly create a merge request. In case you don’t have write access to the selected branch, you will see a warning, but still be able to create a new branch and start a merge request.

To discard a change in a particular file, click the Discard changes button on that file in the changes tab. To discard all the changes, click the trash icon on the top-right corner of the changes sidebar.

Commit changes

Reviewing changes

Before you commit your changes, you can compare them with the previous commit by switching to the review mode or selecting the file from the list of changes.

An additional review mode is available when you open a merge request, which shows you a preview of the merge request diff if you commit your changes.

View CI job logs

You can use the Web IDE to quickly fix failing tests by opening the branch or merge request in the Web IDE and opening the logs of the failed job. You can access the status of all jobs for the most recent pipeline and job traces for the current commit by clicking the Pipelines button in the top right.

The pipeline status is also shown at all times in the status bar in the bottom left.

Switching merge requests

To switch between your authored and assigned merge requests, click the dropdown in the top of the sidebar to open a list of merge requests. You will need to commit or discard all your changes before switching to a different merge request.

Switching branches

To switch between branches of the current project repository, click the dropdown in the top of the sidebar to open a list of branches. You will need to commit or discard all your changes before switching to a different branch.

Markdown editing

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When you edit Markdown files in the Web IDE, you can preview your changes by clicking the Preview Markdown tab above the file editor. The Markdown preview supports GitLab Flavored Markdown.

You can also upload any local images by pasting them directly in the Markdown file. The image is uploaded to the same directory and is named image.png by default. If another file already exists with the same name, a numeric suffix is automatically added to the file name.

Live Preview

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You can use the Web IDE to preview JavaScript projects right in the browser. This feature uses CodeSandbox to compile and bundle the JavaScript used to preview the web application.

Web IDE Live Preview

Additionally, for public projects an Open in CodeSandbox button is available to transfer the contents of the project into a public CodeSandbox project to quickly share your project with others.

Enabling Live Preview

The Live Preview feature needs to be enabled in the GitLab instances admin settings. Live Preview is enabled for all projects on GitLab.com

Admin Live Preview setting

Once you have done that, you can preview projects with a package.json file and a main entry point inside the Web IDE. An example package.json is shown below.

  "main": "index.js",
  "dependencies": {
    "vue": "latest"

Interactive Web Terminals for the Web IDE

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Warning: Interactive Web Terminals for the Web IDE is currently in Beta. Shared Runners do not yet support Interactive Web Terminals, so you would need to use your own private Runner(s) to make use of this feature.

Interactive Web Terminals give the project Maintainers user access to a terminal to interact with the Runner directly from GitLab, including through the Web IDE.

Runner configuration

Some things need to be configured in the runner for the interactive web terminal to work:

  • The Runner needs to have [session_server] configured properly. This section requires at least a session_timeout value (which defaults to 1800 seconds) and a listen_address value. If advertise_address is not defined, listen_address is used.
  • If you are using a reverse proxy with your GitLab instance, web terminals need to be enabled.

If you have the terminal open and the job has finished with its tasks, the terminal will block the job from finishing for the duration configured in [session_server].session_timeout until you close the terminal window.

Note: Not all executors are supported. The File Sync feature is supported on Kubernetes runners only.

Web IDE configuration file

In order to enable the Web IDE terminals you need to create the file .gitlab/.gitlab-webide.yml inside the repository’s root. This file is fairly similar to the CI configuration file syntax but with some restrictions:

  • No global blocks can be defined (ie: before_script or after_script)
  • Only one job named terminal can be added to this file.
  • Only the keywords image, services, tags, before_script, script, and variables are allowed to be used to configure the job.
  • To connect to the interactive terminal, the terminal job must be still alive and running, otherwise the terminal won’t be able to connect to the job’s session. By default the script keyword has the value sleep 60 to prevent the job from ending and giving the Web IDE enough time to connect. This means that, if you override the default script value, you’ll have to add a command which would keep the job running, like sleep.

In the code below there is an example of this configuration file:

  # This can be any image that has the necessary runtime environment for your project.
  image: node:10-alpine
    - apt-get update
  script: sleep 60
    RAILS_ENV: "test"
    NODE_ENV: "test"

Once the terminal has started, the console will be displayed and we could access the project repository files.

Important. The terminal job is branch dependent. This means that the configuration file used to trigger and configure the terminal will be the one in the selected branch of the Web IDE.

If there is no configuration file in a branch, an error message will be shown.

Running interactive terminals in the Web IDE

If Interactive Terminals are available for the current user, the Terminal button will be visible in the right sidebar of the Web IDE. Click this button to open or close the terminal tab.

Once open, the tab will show the Start Web Terminal button. This button may be disabled if the environment is not configured correctly. If so, a status message will describe the issue. Here are some reasons why Start Web Terminal may be disabled:

  • .gitlab/.gitlab-webide.yml does not exist or is set up incorrectly.
  • No active private runners are available for the project.

If active, clicking the Start Web Terminal button will load the terminal view and start connecting to the runner’s terminal. At any time, the Terminal tab can be closed and reopened and the state of the terminal will not be affected.

When the terminal is started and is successfully connected to the runner, then the runner’s shell prompt will appear in the terminal. From here, you can enter commands that will be executed within the runner’s environment. This is similar to running commands in a local terminal or through SSH.

While the terminal is running, it can be stopped by clicking Stop Terminal. This will disconnect the terminal and stop the runner’s terminal job. From here, click Restart Terminal to start a new terminal session.

File syncing to web terminal

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File changes in the Web IDE can be synced to a running web terminal. This enables users to test their code changes in a preconfigured terminal environment.

Note: Only file changes in the Web IDE are synced to the terminal. Changes made in the terminal are not synced to the Web IDE. This feature is only available for Kubernetes Runners.

To enable file syncing to the web terminal, the .gitlab/.gitlab-webide.yml file needs to have a webide-file-sync service configured. Here is an example configuration for a Node JS project which uses this service:

  # This can be any image that has the necessary runtime environment for your project.
    name: node:10-alpine
    - name: registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/webide-file-sync:latest
      alias: webide-file-sync
      entrypoint: ["/bin/sh"]
      command: ["-c", "sleep 5 && ./webide-file-sync -project-dir $CI_PROJECT_DIR"]
        # The `webide-file-sync` executable defaults to port 3000.
        - number: 3000
  • The webide-file-sync executable must start after the project directory is available. This is why we need to add sleep 5 to the command. See this issue for more information.
  • $CI_PROJECT_DIR is a predefined environment variable for GitLab Runners. This is where your project’s repository will be.

Once you have configured the web terminal for file syncing, then when the web terminal is started, a Terminal status will be visible in the status bar.

Web IDE Client Side Evaluation

Changes made to your files via the Web IDE will sync to the running terminal when:

  • Ctrl + S (or Cmd + S on Mac) is pressed while editing a file.
  • Anything outside the file editor is clicked after editing a file.
  • A file or folder is created, deleted, or renamed.


Interactive Terminals is in a beta phase and will continue to be improved upon in upcoming releases. In the meantime, please note that the user is limited to having only one active terminal at a time.


  • If the terminal’s text is gray and unresponsive, then the terminal has stopped and it can no longer be used. A stopped terminal can be restarted by clicking Restart Terminal.
  • If the terminal displays Connection Failure, then the terminal could not connect to the runner. Please try to stop and restart the terminal. If the problem persists, double check your runner configuration.