Submitting a Merge Request#

git push prints a URL to the terminal that you can use to start a merge request. Alternatively, use GitLab’s web interface.

  • The default target branch is main; if your branch started from release, select that as the target branch.

  • If the merge request resolves an outstanding issue, include a closing pattern such as Closes #123 in the MR’s description to automatically have the issue closed when the MR is merged 1 .

If you are not contributing from a fork:

  • Select appropriate labels including a workflow label.

  • Assign yourself to the MR.

  • Select reviewers for the MR; clicking on > Approval Rules will list appropriate reviewers.

  • If the branch started from release select the milestone of Vxx.yy-release-fixes

  • For changes only to documentation, add the docs-only label, which will trigger a modified pipeline to build a preview of the documentation automatically. Any warnings from Sphinx will cause the pipeline to fail. Once completed, click “View App” on the right side in the middle of the MR page.

  • If appropriate, once the MR has been submitted, refresh the browser and select Pipelines to examine and run testing; see doc:/developers/contributing/pipelines.

For MRs from forks:

  • Make sure the fork is public – as GitLab merge request process does not work well with a private fork.

  • Select the correct target repository petsc/petsc along with the target branch.

  • Select the “Allow commits from members who can merge to the target branch” option.

  • GitLab does not allow you to set labels, so @-mention one of the developers in a comment so they can assign someone to the MR to add labels, run pipelines, and generally assist with the MR. The assignee and submitter should be listed in the upper right corner as assignees to the MR.

Workflow labels#

The MR process, including testing and reviewing, is managed by workflow labels that indicate the state of the MR. Every MR should have exactly one of these labels.

The standard workflow has three steps.

  • workflow::Pipeline-Testing The user is testing their branch. Generally, unless asked, no one else has a reason to look at such an MR.

  • workflow::Review The user would like their branch reviewed.

  • workflow::Ready-For-Merge The MR has passed all tests, passed the review, has no outstanding threads, and has a clean commit history.

The submitter/assignee of the MR is responsible for changing the workflow label appropriately during the MR process.

Some MRs may begin with either of the following workflow states.

  • workflow::Request-For-Comment The branch is not being requested to be merged, but the user would like feedback on the branch. You do not need to test the code in this state.

  • workflow::In-Development The developer is working on the branch. Other developers not involved in the branch generally have no reason to look at these MRs.

These should also be marked as “Draft” on the MR page. The developer usually eventually converts these two states to workflow::Review.

You can run the pipelines on an MR in any workflow state.

MR reviewing#

Once the MR has passed the pipeline, it is ready for review. The submitter/assignee must change the workflow label to workflow::Review.

It is the submitter/assignee’s responsibility to track the progress of the MR and ensure it gets merged.

If the pipeline detects problems, it is the submitter/assignee’s responsibility to fix the errors.

Reviewers comment on the MR, either

  • by clicking on the left end of a specific line in the Changes window. A useful feature is the “insert suggestion” button in the comment box, to suggest an exact replacement on a line or several adjacent lines.

  • or in the overview if it is a general comment. When introducing a new topic (thread) in reviewing an MR, one should submit with “Start Review” and not “Comment”.

GitLab MRs use “threads” to track discussions. When responding to a thread, make sure to use the “Reply” box for that thread; do not introduce a new thread or a comment.

The submitter/assignee must mark threads as resolved when they fix the related problem.

Often, the submitter/assignee will need to update their branch in response to these comments, and re-run the pipeline.

If the submitter/assignee feels the MR is not getting reviewed in a timely manner, they may assign additional reviewers to the MR and request in the MR discussion these same people to review by @-mentioning them.

When reviewers believe an MR is ready to be merged, they approve it. You can determine who must approve your MR by clicking on the “View eligible reviewers” towards the top of the “Overview” page.

When a sufficient number of reviewers has approved the merge, the pipeline passes, new commits have been properly rearranged if needed, and all threads have been resolved, the submitter/assignee must set the label to workflow::Ready-For-Merge.



Unfortunately, these closing patterns only work for MRs to a single default branch (main), so you must manually close related issues for MRs to release.