In light of the recent purchase of GitHub, it seems GitLab has received 10 times the usual traffic. Why? Many open source developers aren't too keen on working with a service owned by Microsoft. Regardless of opinion on this migration (and that GitHub will function independent of Microsoft), GitLab is a solid alternative to GitHub. One very handy feature of GitLab, is the ability to manage your projects from an Android app, called LabCoat. With LabCoat you can:
- View commits
- View, edit & close issues
- Comment on issues and merge requests
- Browse & view files
- Manage groups and project members
The one thing you cannot do is log into your GitLab account, on LabCoat, with your username and password. Instead, what you must do is create an access token, that will then connect LabCoat to your GitLab account. I'm going to show you how this is done, so you can start using LabCoat to manage your projects.
SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
What you'll need
The first thing you'll need is a GitLab account. They do offer a free version, so make sure you've signed up for an account, before you install the app.
Next, you'll need the app. To get it, do the following:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
- Search for LabCoat.
- Locate and tap the entry by Commit 451.
- Tap Install.
- Allow the installation to complete.
Once the installation finishes, you'll find a launcher for it in your App Drawer and/or on the homescreen. Tap to open the app.
Connecting app to account
As I mentioned earlier, you'll not notice the ability to enter username/password credentials on the LabCoat login screen (Figure A).
What you must do is head over to your GitLab account (via a web browser), and do the following:
- Click on the user drop-down in the upper right corner.
- Click Settings.
- In the left navigation, click Access Tokens.
- In the resulting window (Figure B), give the token a name and an expiration date (optional).
- Select api Access the authenticated user's API.
- Click Create personal access token.
After you click the Create personal access token button, GitLab will go to work, creating your token. Eventually the token will appear. If you did this on your Android browser, copy that token, go back to the LabCoat login screen, and paste the token in the Personal Access Token area. If you created the token on a desktop browser, you'll have to type it in manually. You should leave the URL as https://gitlab.com. Once you've copied or typed the token, tap the LOGIN button and you'll be presented with the main window, displaying your projects (Figure C).
Get to work
And that's all there is to connecting LabCoat to your GitLab account. Now it's time to get to work (at least with managing commits and issues). Remember, if you do stop using this app, you should go back into your GitLab account and revoke the access token (so it can no longer be used).
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.