Running Dependabot on GitLab

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Tim te Beek

As a consultant I find myself alternating between GitLab and GitHub about once a year, depending on the assignment. While I like GitLab a lot, there’s one thing I had sorely missed whenever I switch back from GitHub: Dependabot. Dependabot scans your project dependencies, and creates merge requests whenever updates are found. This provides you with an easy way to keep up to date on dependencies, and notifies you early if there are any incompatibilities.

Even though there are alternatives such as and even GitLab’s own Dependency Scanning, those don’t always support enterprise or partner installations of GitLab, require GitLab Ultimate, or don’t support the full range of package managers that Dependabot supports.

Luckily though, there’s now a Dependabot for GitLab project. This project is based on the same Open Source Dependabot Core, so you can get the exact same automated dependency updates on both platforms.

In this blogpost I’ll walk you through how you can quickly roll out Dependabot on an existing GitLab installation, so you can start updating your dependencies automatically.

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