The purpose of this guide is to document potential "gotchas" that contributors might encounter or should avoid during development of GitLab CE and EE.

Don't describe symbols

Consider the following model spec:

require 'rails_helper'

describe User do
  describe :to_param do
    it 'converts the username to a param' do
      user = 'John Smith')

      expect(user.to_param).to eq 'john-smith'

When run, this spec doesn't do what we might expect:

spec/models/user_spec.rb|6 error|  Failure/Error: u = NoMethodError: undefined method `new' for :to_param:Symbol


Except for the top-level describe block, always provide a String argument to describe.

Don't rescue Exception

See "Why is it bad style to rescue Exception => e in Ruby?".

Note: This rule is enforced automatically by Rubocop.

Don't use inline CoffeeScript/JavaScript in views

Using the inline :coffee or :coffeescript Haml filters comes with a performance overhead. Using inline JavaScript is not a good way to structure your code and should be avoided.

Note: We've removed these two filters in an initializer.

Further reading

ID-based CSS selectors need to be a bit more specific

Normally, because HTML id attributes need to be unique to the page, it's perfectly fine to write some JavaScript like the following:


However, there's a feature of GitLab's Markdown processing that automatically adds anchors to header elements, with the id attribute being automatically generated based on the content of the header.

Unfortunately, this feature makes it possible for user-generated content to create a header element with the same id attribute we're using in our selector, potentially breaking the JavaScript behavior. A user could break the above example with the following Markdown:

## JS My Selector

Which gets converted to the following HTML:

  <a id="js-my-selector" class="anchor" href="#js-my-selector" aria-hidden="true"></a>
  JS My Selector


The current recommended fix for this is to make our selectors slightly more specific:


Further reading