July 28, 2019
I assure you that in my case, I have genuinely saved just over $120 a month by replacing a collection of my current services with what Gitlab provides. In addition I have gained something wholly unexpected and even more valuable from moving to Gitlab, and I will cover that shortly.
What I have noticed while discussing articles with friends and peers, is that people often read a title and go on to read the article with expectations that the heading did not imply. Unfortunately, I do not cover how to make $120 a month by moving to Gitlab. The experience that I recount here will only help those who have an overlap of the services they currently require and the services that Gitlab offers.
Is that I was comfortable and lazy. I can argue at length how staying in-place wasn’t a total waste and about how I was too busy to move. I could also explain what the potential costs are of having issues during the move. Realistically it is all a bunch of excuses. I have noticed this trend amongst senior developers, our lives get busy, and we are happy sticking with what works for us. After all, our experience makes us wary of jumping between the newest fads. Fads are a one-way ticket to at best incurring a bunch of technical debt; or at worst having no staff that are fluent in technologies that have ended up in production.
In my case, I had a magnificent setup. I had a JIRA setup with BitBucket; I was exploring Bamboo; I had Forge managing my servers and keeping my LetsEncrypt certificates up to date; I had many sites deployed with recipe’s using Envoyer; I had my custom server set up at HostAfrica complete with load-balancing and CDN. After I stopped running my company full-time (another story for another day), I had already cut several costs. Confluence, which I miss dearly, I had already dropped; as well as Atlassian’s service desk, which I found spectacular.
As senior developers, we should be making time to properly investigate technologies that could have a positive impact on our ecosystems. At work, with our side projects and in our self-development. It is on this topic that I was genuinely surprised by the effect moving to Gitlab had on me, more on this soon.
I had not come to the full realisation of what benefits awaited me just around the corner. I was busy with learning and preparing for exams; I was also incredibly busy at work. It was only after one of my service providers announced a potential downtime window of 48 hours, that I quite happily decided to make a move. I figured my few clients that I had with my company would complain about the downtime anyway, so why not use the opportunity to take the plunge. I am so grateful that the service provider I was using needed to do those migrations that caused them to send out the downtime warning.
I am using Gitlab in conjunction with Jekyll and Gatsby for clients that I had on CMS’s with my old setup. I am also using the issue tracking system ( the todo screen is just brilliant). I am reliant on the automatic LetsEncrypt management. Without the automatic SSL certificate handling, I would probably quit software development and do Close Protection work; nobody has time for that noise. Soon I will be using the merge approvals when I start my collaboration projects with some junior developers that I want to help upskill. What Gitlab sparked in me was the ability to get to the things that are important to me, that I have been putting off for far too long. I can only attempt to explain this, but what I found with my busy schedule is that using Gitlab inherently draws you into their ecosystem and exposes you to a multitude of adjacent ecosystems. Gitlab does so in a manner that makes it phenomenally easy to delve into an adjoining ecosystem. For me, Gitlab has provided the centre-point from which I can begin reaching out to accomplish many of the goals that I have not managed to get round to in about three years.
A big shout-out to the people at Gitlab, your platform has given me even more enthusiasm to learn, and I was already very enthusiastic. After five years of promising myself that I will start writing blog articles, this is my first article.