Annnouncing glabvars: a Python wrapper for obtaining GitLab CI variables

By Wouter Donders, wo 17 mei 2023, in category Blog

gitlab, gitlab-ci-local, open source, python

Using our open-source Python application glabvars, you can retrieve GitLab CI/CD variables and output gitlab-ci-local YAML configuration for running GitLab CI/CD pipelines on your local development machine.


Developing software on the open-core DevOps platform GitLab often involves setting up Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) pipelines for automating the process of delivering quality software. To run automation tasks, these CI/CD pipelines make use of built-in CI/CD variables defined by GitLab and custom CI/CD variables defined by the pipeline maintainers. Custom CI/CD variables typically contain required information for deployment targets such as deployment account names, settings, etc. Setting up these pipelines can be tricky, because they will be run on GitLab runners and not on your local machine. Iteration on CI/CD pipelines can therefore be slow and annoying.

Third-party tools like gitlab-ci-local enable you to run GitLab CI pipelines locally. This allows much faster iteration on developing CI pipelines. Unfortunately, gitlab-ci-local cannot directly access your custom GitLab CI/CD variables and inject them into local pipeline jobs. To inject them, you must pass them explicitly through --variable options or specify them in a YAML configuration file. Specifying and keeping up to date the YAML configuration takes effort and is error-prone.

That's why we developed glabvars, a Python wrapper around glab for obtaining GitLab CI variables. Using glabvars you can retrieve all project-defined CI/CD variables and output a gitlab-ci-local YAML configuration file for CI/CD variables.


You can install glabvars using pip:

pip install glabvars

or, for better isolation of dependencies, using pipx (recommended):

pipx install glabvars


Retrieve GitLab CI/CD variables associated with your project and format them as a gitlab-ci-local configuration file for CI/CD variables:

# Requires `glab` to be installed and authenticated with the project's GitLab instance
# Must be run inside a git repository with remotes on the project's GitLab instance
glabvars --target gcl 


For glabvars to work, you must have the GitLab CLI glab installed and authenticated with the GitLab instance your project is tracked on. Although gitlab-ci-local is not a requirement for glabvars itself to work, it is a requirement for running GitLab CI/CD pipelines on your local machine.

Read more:

Read more on GitLab's documentation: