Introduction to pipelines and builds

Note: Introduced in GitLab 8.8.


A pipeline is a group of builds that get executed in stages(batches). All of the builds in a stage are executed in parallel (if there are enough concurrent Runners), and if they all succeed, the pipeline moves on to the next stage. If one of the builds fails, the next stage is not (usually) executed.

Pipelines example


Builds are individual runs of jobs. Not to be confused with a build job or build stage.

Defining pipelines

Pipelines are defined in .gitlab-ci.yml by specifying jobs that run in stages.

See full documentation.

Seeing pipeline status

You can find the current and historical pipeline runs under Pipelines for your project.

Seeing build status

Clicking on a pipeline will show the builds that were run for that pipeline. Clicking on an individual build will show you its build trace, and allow you to cancel the build, retry it, or erase the build trace.

How the pipeline duration is calculated

Total running time for a given pipeline would exclude retries and pending (queue) time. We could reduce this problem down to finding the union of periods.

So each job would be represented as a Period, which consists of Period#first as when the job started and Period#last as when the job was finished. A simple example here would be:

  • A (1, 3)
  • B (2, 4)
  • C (6, 7)

Here A begins from 1, and ends to 3. B begins from 2, and ends to 4. C begins from 6, and ends to 7. Visually it could be viewed as:

0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7

The union of A, B, and C would be (1, 4) and (6, 7), therefore the total running time should be:

(4 - 1) + (7 - 6) => 4


Build status and test coverage report badges are available. You can find their respective link in the Pipelines settings page.