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GitLab CI

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What you'll learn

  • How to run Cypress tests with GitLab as part of CI/CD pipeline
  • How to parallelize Cypress test runs within GitLab CI/CD

With its hosted CI/CD Service, GitLab offers developers "a tool built into GitLab for software development through the continuous methodologies".

Detailed documentation is available in the GitLab CI/CD Documentation.

Basic Setup

The example below is basic CI setup and job using GitLab CI/CD to run Cypress tests within the Electron browser. This GitLab CI configuration is placed within .gitlab-ci.yml.

stages:
- test

test:
image: node:latest
stage: test
script:
# install dependencies
- npm ci
# start the server in the background
- npm start &
# run Cypress tests
- npm run e2e

How this configuration works:

  • On push to this repository, this job will provision and start GitLab-hosted Linux instance for running the outlined stages declared in script within the test job section of the configuration.
  • The code is checked out from the GitLab repository.
  • Finally, our scripts will:
    • Install npm dependencies
    • Start the project web server (npm start)
    • Run the Cypress tests within the GitLab repository using Electron.

Testing in Chrome and Firefox with Cypress Docker Images

The Cypress team maintains the official Docker Images for running Cypress tests locally and in CI, which are built with Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge. For example, this allows us to run the tests in Firefox by passing the --browser firefox attribute to cypress run.

stages:
- test

test:
image: cypress/browsers:node-20.9.0-chrome-118.0.5993.88-1-ff-118.0.2-edge-118.0.2088.46-1
stage: test
script:
# install dependencies
- npm ci
# start the server in the background
- npm start &
# run Cypress tests
- npx cypress run --browser firefox

Caching Dependencies and Build Artifacts

Caching of dependencies and build artifacts can be accomplished with the cache configuration. The caching documentation contains all options for caching dependencies and build artifacts across many different workflows. Artifacts from a job can be defined by providing paths and an optional expiry time.

stages:
- test

cache:
key: ${CI_COMMIT_REF_SLUG}
paths:
- node_modules/
- .npm/

test:
image: cypress/browsers:node-20.9.0-chrome-118.0.5993.88-1-ff-118.0.2-edge-118.0.2088.46-1
stage: test
script:
# install dependencies
- npm ci
# start the server in the background
- npm start &
# run Cypress tests
- npx cypress run --browser firefox
artifacts:
when: always
paths:
- cypress/videos/**/*.mp4
- cypress/screenshots/**/*.png
expire_in: 1 day

Parallelization

Cypress Cloud offers the ability to parallelize and group test runs along with additional insights and analytics for Cypress tests.

The addition of the parallel attribute to the configuration of a job will allow us to run multiples instances of Cypress at same time as we will see later in this section.

Before diving into an example of a parallelization setup, it is important to understand the two different types of jobs that we will declare:

  • Install Job: A job that installs and caches dependencies that will be used by subsequent jobs later in the GitLab CI workflow.
  • Worker Job: A job that handles execution of Cypress tests and depends on the install job.

Install Job

The separation of installation from test running is necessary when running parallel jobs. It allows for reuse of various build steps aided by caching.

First, we will define the build stage along with cache and variables related to the cache.

Then we define the install step that will be used by the worker jobs and assign it to the build stage.

stages:
- build

## Set environment variables for folders in "cache" job settings
## for npm modules and Cypress binary
variables:
npm_config_cache: '$CI_PROJECT_DIR/.npm'
CYPRESS_CACHE_FOLDER: '$CI_PROJECT_DIR/cache/Cypress'

cache:
key: ${CI_COMMIT_REF_SLUG}
paths:
- cache/Cypress
- node_modules
- build

## Install npm dependencies and Cypress
install:
image: cypress/browsers:node-20.9.0-chrome-118.0.5993.88-1-ff-118.0.2-edge-118.0.2088.46-1
stage: build
script:
- npm ci

Worker Jobs

Next, we add a test stage and define the worker job named ui-chrome-tests that will run Cypress tests with Chrome in parallel during the test stage.

The addition of the parallel attribute to the configuration of a job will allow us to run multiples instances of Cypress at same time.

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The following configuration using the --parallel and --record flags to cypress run requires setting up recording test results to Cypress Cloud.

stages:
- build
- test

## Set environment variables for folders in "cache" job settings
## for npm modules and Cypress binary
variables:
npm_config_cache: '$CI_PROJECT_DIR/.npm'
CYPRESS_CACHE_FOLDER: '$CI_PROJECT_DIR/cache/Cypress'

cache:
key: ${CI_COMMIT_REF_SLUG}
paths:
- .cache/*
- cache/Cypress
- node_modules
- build

## Install npm dependencies and Cypress
install:
image: cypress/browsers:node-20.9.0-chrome-118.0.5993.88-1-ff-118.0.2-edge-118.0.2088.46-1
stage: build
script:
- npm ci

ui-chrome-tests:
image: cypress/browsers:node-20.9.0-chrome-118.0.5993.88-1-ff-118.0.2-edge-118.0.2088.46-1
stage: test
parallel: 5
script:
# install dependencies
- npm ci
# start the server in the background
- npm start &
# run Cypress tests in parallel
- npx cypress run --record --parallel --browser chrome --group UI-Chrome

Using Cypress Cloud with GitLab CI/CD

In the GitLab CI configuration we have defined in the previous section, we are leveraging three useful features of Cypress Cloud:

  1. Recording test results with the --record flag to Cypress Cloud.

  2. Parallelizing test runs and optimizing their execution via intelligent load-balancing of test specs across CI machines with the --parallel flag.

  3. Organizing and consolidating multiple cypress run calls by labeled groups into a single report within Cypress Cloud. In the example above we use the --group UI-Chrome flag to organize all UI tests for the Chrome browser into a group labeled "UI-Chrome" inside the Cypress Cloud report.