Other / Bulk edit settings for GitLab projects

So, you have a bunch of projects on GitLab and you want to edit settings for all of them. For example, disable issues everywhere. There is a little guide how.

We’ll actively use the power of bash pipes, so the first thing you need is a good CLI client for GitLab with support for editing settings. I’ve picked python-gitlab. Let’s install it:

python3 -m pip install -U --user python-gitlab

Check if it works:

gitlab --version

Now, let’s give it an access. Generate a personal access token and set it as GITLAB_PRIVATE_TOKEN environment variable:

export GITLAB_PRIVATE_TOKEN="insert-your-token-here"

How do you want to filter the projects you want to edit? In my case, I want to edit all projects in a specific group (organization is also considered a group from the API perspective). For that, you need to find out the group ID. So, let’s list all groups we have an access to with their name and ID:

gitlab group list

Add -o json after gitlab if you need more information.

Get IDs for all projects you own (and so can edit) in a specific group:

gitlab group-project list --group-id YOUR_GROUP_ID --owned=true --all

So, how to edit the settings for a given project? There is a subcommand gitlab project update. It has a CLI reference (you can get the same by executing gitlab project update -h) but it doesn’t have descriptions for any options. So, you’ll also need the official GitLab API reference, it has a good description for each field. You need both references, though, because the CLI doesn’t support some of the API fields.

So, if you want to disable issues for a project with ID 123:

gitlab project update --issues-access-level disabled --id 123

The output is pretty verbose. When we runn it in a loop, it will bloat the terminal. The tool has --fields option but somehow it doesn’t work for me. So, instead we’ll output the result as a JSON and filter it using jq (install it with sudo apt install jq):

gitlab -o json project update --issues-access-level disabled --id 123 | jq .name

And now, let’s glue everything together. We’ll use grep to extract IDs from the gitlab group-project list output and xargs to call gitlab project update with each ID as the last argument. Here is the result:

gitlab group-project list --group-id {{.GROUP_ID}} --owned=true --all \
    | grep -oE '[0-9]+' \
    | xargs -n1 gitlab -o json project update --issues-access-level disabled --id \
    | jq .name

I hope it saved your day.

Bonus: Taskfile

I use task for automating things. It’s like make but for normal humans. There is my taskfile for diabling everything that can be disabled on GitLab for a specific group:

# https://taskfile.dev
version: '3'

  GROUP_ID: "123456"

    sh: cat .token

      - which gitlab
      - python3 -m pip install -U --user python-gitlab
      - gitlab -o json group list
      - install
      - >
        gitlab group-project list --group-id {{.GROUP_ID}} --owned=true --all
        | grep -oE '[0-9]+'
        | xargs -n1
        gitlab -o json project update
        --analytics-access-level              disabled
        --auto-devops-enabled                 false
        --container-registry-enabled          false
        --forking-access-level                disabled
        --issues-access-level                 disabled
        --operations-access-level             disabled
        --pages-access-level                  disabled
        --packages-enabled                    false
        --remove-source-branch-after-merge    true
        --service-desk-enabled                false
        --snippets-access-level               disabled
        --squash-option                       default_off
        --wiki-access-level                   disabled
        {{.CLI_ARGS}} --id
        | jq .name

      - install
      - gitlab {{.CLI_ARGS}}