Hi dear reader,
today I want to tell you a story. Are you ready?
What is Glasnost
I was recently discussing with my friend Riccardo about the very few GOOD mobile applications for Gitalb able to give a developer a similar experience to surfing any instance via the browser.
The discussion ended very soon when we added some super simple filter to the list: the application needs to be free, maintained, platform independent and opensource.
Well, it turns out that currently, there isn't any application which satisfies all the requirements that two young developers are requesting from a simple mobile application.
Glasnost is (as you may have understood) a free, currently maintained, platform independent and opensource mobile application that is aiming to visualize and edit the most important entities handled by Gitlab.
Glasnost aims to be as functional as the Gitlab responsive design you can use visiting Gitlab.com; you then might ask, what is the main problem with the web version?
I think Gitlab's developers did a great job building that interface and making the whole system responsive, but sometimes the end user is looking for something else:
I'm mainly building Glasnost because the web version can be really messy, too much data on the screen and sometimes I find it difficult to click the relevant sections.
On top of this, I'm building some cool features that can't be implemented on a web version;
For example, it is possible to request the user a fingerprint scan every time the app opens in order to add one more security layer on top of the normal login.
We all know how tedious is to read on a phone screen under a very intense light or, if you are like me, to open bright content early in the morning after waking up.
For these reasons, the app offers two themes: a dark and a light one.
I don't exclude the possibility to implement more themes in the future, maybe taking a look into the official style guide described in the Corporate Marketing section on Gitlab.com in order to make something more similar to the official design.
We are currently living in an era where the internet speed provided by our mobile connection might be not good enough, or too expensive.
I'm looking at you, Munich.
This is why the application offers a way to cut down the internet costs and speed up the content loading.
By turning on the Lite Experience switch in the settings page, the application will do less API requests to the Gitlab server (avoiding to download too much data, for example about repository statistics) and will not download useless images during the navigation inside Glasnost.
If you are like me, you are working for an IT company that is hosting its code into a private Gitlab instance and you have your own projects into the main Gitlab.com instance. And maybe you have experienced multiple times the joy of logging in into an account, checking something quick (let's say the result of a pipeline), logging out, and do the same journey into another instance.
It is all right, I feel you man.
Today, my friend, you are going to learn a functionality of Glasnost that I'm really proud of:
from now on, you will be able to use browse multiple Gitlab instances without logging out, always using the same application. Crazy, uh?
The login process is pretty simple:
first of all you need to type the instance URL you want to be logged in.
If you are trying to login into some custom instance (different from gitlab.com) you need to generate an Access-token and paste it into the application.
Otherwise, if you are trying to login into the Gitlab servers, you can still use the Access-token method OR you can proceed with the O-Auth procedure; a couple of taps and you are in.
Once you are logged in, every time you open the app and if the token that you have generated is still valid, you will be prompted the Repositories list.
What if, somehow, your phone gets stolen while unlocked and you have very important stuff into your Gitlab Repositories?
If your phone supports it, you are able to configure the Fingerprint scan procedure in order to add one more security layer on top of your normal login process, every time you open Glasnost.
Where can I find the app?
The android app can be found opening the Playstore to this Link and the iOS one will be published (hopefully) soon.
If you have an Expo account, you can find the app on their store, both for Android and iOS.
One of the problems with the Itunes store is the price for creating a developer account. I built this application in my spare and very little free time and, according to me, 99$ are kind of an investment so I have decided to publish Glasnost for iOS as soon I will have raised that amount of money from the donations that you my readers are willing to give me.
What is Next?
Well, I planned to keep pushing to Glasnost on a regular basis, both new features and small improvements / bug fixes.
If you want to contribute and you like the project, please feel free to open Issues or Suggestions to keep improving the project!