Category Direction - Snippets


Stage Create
Maturity Viable
Content Last Reviewed 2020-08-12

Introduction and how you can help

Thanks for visiting this direction page on Snippets in GitLab. This page belongs to the Editor group of the Create stage and is maintained by Kai Armstrong (E-Mail).

This direction is a work in progress, and everyone can contribute:


GitLab Snippets allow users to share small bits of code and text by directly linking, downloading, or embedding them in web apps within a <script> HTML tag.

Commonly Snippets are often used for smaller pieces of code that are reused among several projects, additional documentation for specific one-off scripts/functions and instructions for using the main project.

We want to make snippets a more valuable tool in the engineering toolkit by first making each snippet behave more like a lightweight Git repository including support for multiple files. Once we've done that we'll work on improving collaboration with multiple users, sharing snippets in and out of GitLab and adding the ability to execute snippets.

Target Audience and Experience

Snippets are primarily targeted at engineering personas who are looking for ways to quickly share bits of code and information with other users. GitLab personas that represent this are:

Challenges to address

Currently, users of snippets have strong mental models of expected functionality based on existing competitors in the market. As new features are added to GitLab snippets to further running code or creating simple prototypes it will be important to gain feature parity and then build on top of that to increase adoption of the product.

Where we are headed

We want GitLab to be the first choice for developers looking to share or demo small samples and prototypes with other users either within their team on GitLab or externally via links and embeds. Adding the ability to version control snippets and support multiple files will be important as we continue to expand capabilities.

Once snippets behave like other git based projects we want to enhance sharing and interactive capabilities of snippets. We're aiming to support the ability to run simple scipts (e.g. python, ruby, shell) and support html/css/js and javascript framework based demos.

We also want snippets to follow standard embed capabilities so they can be used outside of GitLab easily. These enhancements will help to further make snippets a valuable tool for sharing knowledge across the ecosystem.

What's Next & Why

In Progress: Snippets with multiple files - Snippets sometimes need more than one file to properly convey value. Adding support for multiple files brings us closer to parity with the market and supports users as one of the top 10 requested features for GitLab.

Next: Snippet Visiblity and Permissions - Collaboration in Snippets are limited by the current permission models. We want to further collabartion and will start with aligning project based snippet permissions with projects.

Maturity Plan

Currently, GitLab's maturity in Snippets is viable. Here's why:

A complete snippets category would allow users to utilize snippets in way that aligns with other git functionality. Snippets can have multiple files that are easily versioned and shared with other users. GitLab has solved for movingtogitlab and supports the needs of those users looking for alternatives.

Lovable snippets build upon git support and expand the collaboration of Snippets inside of projects and groups. Project members can collaborate on the same snippet and groups can use and share those snippets across projects. Snippets will be the common way to communicate code across issue comments and wiki's within GitLab and outside of GitLab in other documentation.

Competitive Landscape

Snippets capabilities are currently most close to Pastebin.

The primary competitor is Gists which is a no frills way to share snippets of code that are version controlled with Git. They allow multiple files to be shared (e.g. a mix of Javascript, CSS, HTML), forked (e.g. I can make a copy of something interesting I see), and remixed (e.g. I can take a cool snippet and tweak it for my own use). By being a Git repository, they are familiar to Git users and can be used in a variety of interesting ways from the command line.

A range of clever tools have since been built on top of Gists including:

Atlassian has Bitbucket Snippets which is very similar to Gists, supporting Git and Mercurial.

Other business built completely on Snippets are:

If Snippets were combined with the Web IDE with client-side and server-side evaluation it would also compete with:

Analyst Landscape

Snippets and pastebins are not currently an area of analyst interest.

Top Customer Success/Sales issue(s)

Top user issue(s)

Snippets in their current form lack feature parity with Github's Gists or Bitbucket's Snippets with both supporting multiple files and the former also supporting forks. The following two features are some of the most requested, particularly by users movingtogitlab:

Top internal customer issue(s)

Snippets are not used regularly internally, but we are working to change this in accordance to our dogfood everything approach.

Top Strategy Item(s)