Category Direction - Global Search


Section Enablement
Content Last Reviewed 2020-07-24

Introduction and how you can help

Thanks for visiting this direction page on Global Search in GitLab. This page belongs to the Global Search group of the Enablement stage and is maintained by John McGuire(E-Mail).

This strategy evolves, and everyone can contribute:


GitLab currently supports Advanced Search for Starter and above self-managed instances. This provides users with a faster and more complete search experience across GitLab. similarly offers Advanced Search for Bronze and above.

We chronicled our journey of deploying Elasticsearch for through several blog posts.

Target Audience and Experience

Advanced Search is targeted at all personas who might use GitLab. However, the largest benefits come to users performing cross-project code search looking for innersourcing opportunities or exploring the breadth of public projects across

Challenges to address

GitLab is gorwing and the path to delivering a world class Git Repo search is evolves quickly. Enterprise Edition Self-Managed customers need to provide there own install of Elasticsearch to conenct to GitLab. We will need to be very creative about how to advace Community Edition and Free. Contributions are welcome!


Currently, GitLab's maturity for Search is viable. Here's why:

The UI lacks some basic search capabilites. Using the search generally requires the user to be very exact in what they are looking for. It offers very little in exploring what might be avilable.

What's Next & Why

We have added a live roadmap that will track the progess as we complete major epics. Global Search Roadmap

In Progress: Advanced Search Operational maturity on and EE - Now that Advanced Search has been enabled for, we are focusing on support our dogfooding principles as we make the feature less intensive to operate.

Next: UX Search Enhancements for Advanced Search - Our current User Interface was designed to provide minimal amount of complexity as we focused on building and scaling the backend componets. Now we can start adding more rich features that are avilable with Elasticsearch. I expect that once we have these features avilable we will do another search UX design that better utilizies these features with a more complete User Flow.

What is Not Planned right now

Currently there is not a plan to scale beyond the needs of Paid Groups on This means that while the ambition of the Search Group is to expand Advanced Search to all users of GitLab, we're not yet ready to move in that direction.

The search group is also not focused on expanding the use of Advanced Search to other search areas beyond Global Search. While areas like Issue and Epic search could benefit from some of the features available, those areas are not in scope at this time.

Competitive Landscape

Both GitHub and BitBucket provide a more comprehensive and complete search for users; particularly in their ability to deeply search code and surface those results to users. While GitLab's Advanced Search is available to self-managed users.

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