Overall Satisfaction with GitLab
GitLab covers a variety of use cases for me, both in my professional life and hobbies. Version control systems CICD Deployment Issue & Feature tracking GitLab is an excellent VCS, which can scale from hobby level to enterprise, based on the ability to self-host. It also offers unlimited private repos, which is amazing for small businesses. For the CICD, GitLab has some competition. It isn't as "plug and play" as other CICD integrations like GitHub actions but has more customization, which can be great for more technically adept users. The issues and feature tracking aren't as good as GitHub, but there are options to make it better if you pay, which is a fine solution.
The standard that people compare GitLab to is, of course, GitHub. When it comes to git-based UI VCS, GitHub is the clear leader. However, this is possible only because of the user base. GitLab is functionality superior in almost every way when stacked up side by side and ignoring the FOSS user base. Usability-wise, GitLab is snappier and more reliable. The CICD workflows are faster and more customizable. The issue tracking is actually quite nice right out of the box but can be further improved if using a paid plan. In addition, for a novice user, the defaults are much more actionable and allow for more use cases, such as deploying automatically on push, running custom code, or even testing. The authentication plugins to other third parties are just as easy to use as well.
The private repos that I host on GitLab all use the CI workflows present in GitLab. This has enabled even my small team to run feature testing free of charge on a variety of environments. It has been a game-changer for the ability to lift and shift entire deployment workflows to different hosting frameworks. Also, the ability to run the CI code locally, while difficult to get right, has enabled a complete E2E testing reproducibility.
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Overall, GitLab is a focused system with amazing defaults. I would prefer hosting almost any application on it instead of GitHub. It excels in allowing a user to customize the particular git-flow that your application wants to take, the security you want to configure, and treats CICD like a first-class citizen. However, if you plan on using GitLab for FOSS projects or have a complicated deployment process but no in-house DevOps, it will not meet the standards you are looking for.