GitLab 16.5 was announced with updates to the Compliance Center, merge request target branch rules, resolvable issue threads, and more.

A new tab for standards adherence reports was added in the Compliance Center. These reports show which projects in a group do not meet the check for GitLab’s best practices. These include approval rules that require at least approvers for merge requests (MRs), disallow the MR author to merge, and disallow committers to merge. 

In addition to showing details on each of those checks, the report also includes information on when the check was run, which standard the check applies to, and how to fix problems that show up on the report. 

The company plans to update this reporting feature in the future to include checks on more regulations and standards, and improve how the report can be grouped and filtered.

A second major update in GitLab 16.5 is that developers can now set target branches for MRs, which can help ensure that the MR is targeting the right branch for a particular project or development workflow. If no branch is specified, it will use the default branch of the project to target. 

Another new feature in this release is the ability to fast-forward merge trains that have a semi-linear history. This builds on the GitLab 16.4 update, which first introduced the ability to fast-forward merge trains. “You can get all the benefits of merge trains, which ensure all your commits work together before merging, with the cleaner commit history of fast forward merges!” Grant Hickman, senior product manager at GitLab, wrote in a blog post announcing the 16.4 updates. 

Other new features include the ability to resolve a thread when a discussion topic is closed, a more prominent button for changing between projects, and reviewer information for merge requests now appears in the Jira development panel. 

More information on this release is available here.