Lint and Format Code in NodeJS with GitLab Pipelines

Ensuring code standards in your code repositories can be tricky, there are a few solutions that you can employ such as using husky hooks together with a tool like lint-staged. However, there may be situations where the hooks are not enabled on the engineer's machine which will result in unformatted code being committed. Another possibility is when the committer commits the code by using the --no-verify flag. This will allow the checks to be bypassed.

Adding a job onto the GitLab CI is a great way to ensure that bad code does not make it into the repository, and it will fail the pipeline if the code cannot be fixed automatically by eslint or prettier.


This job works on the assumption that the project should have the following scripts in package.json and that you have both eslint and prettier configured.

The configuration below ignores all files that are in the .gitignore and only picks up the following file extensions.

extension eslint prettier
"scripts": {
    "lint": "eslint --ignore-path .gitignore . --ext .js --ext .jsx --ext .ts --ext .tsx --ext .gql --ext .graphql",
    "format": "prettier --ignore-path .gitignore \"./**/*.+(ts|js|tsx|jsx)\" --write"

There is some configuration involved on GitLab that you'll have to do at a group or project level. There is a need to create a bot user account, set up the bot account with ssh keys and add the SSH private key to the variable named CI_SSH_PRIVATE_KEY at a group or project level.

If you're using the following job on SaaS ( and have GitLab Premium, you should be able to use group access tokens or project access tokens in place of having to create a separate user account.

If the job is used on a self-managed instance, the free tier should have access to group and project access tokens regardless in the event that you prefer to do that.

The options in the job that you may want to configure are lines 12, 52, and 53.

  • Line 12 is the commit message that you would like to use for the job
  • Line 52 is the email that you want to use for the commit author
  • Line 53 is the name that you want to use for the commit author

The script section does the following:

  1. Configures the default job exit code
  2. Configures the remote and pulls the code for the branch that the pipeline is running on
  3. Checks if the current commit is the same as the automated lint job, exits the job if it is
  4. Install node_modules
  5. Lint and Format Code
  6. Checks if there are any changes to commit, exit if there is nothing
  7. If there are changes to be committed, create a commit and push it to the repository
  8. Assign SKIP_FUTURE_STAGES to true and a random exit code to CI_JOB_SKIP_EXIT_CODE so we can use the values in future stages to determine if we can end the job earlier
  - clean
  - build

  image: node:16.17.0-alpine
  stage: clean
    - docker
    LINT_COMMIT_MESSAGE: "style: lint code by bot"
    ## Install ssh-agent if not already installed, it is required by Docker.
    ## (change apt-get to yum if you use an RPM-based image)
    - 'which ssh-agent || ( apk --update add git openssh-client )'

    ## Run ssh-agent (inside the build environment)
    - eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"

    ## Add the SSH key stored in SSH_PRIVATE_KEY variable to the agent store
    ## We're using tr to fix line endings which makes ed25519 keys work
    ## without extra base64 encoding.
    - echo "$CI_SSH_PRIVATE_KEY" | tr -d '\r' | ssh-add -

    ## Create the SSH directory and give it the right permissions
    - mkdir -p ~/.ssh
    - chmod 700 ~/.ssh

    ## Alternatively, use ssh-keyscan to scan the keys of your private server.
    ## Replace with your private server's domain name. Repeat that
    ## command if you have more than one server to connect to.
    - touch ~/.ssh/known_hosts
    - ssh-keyscan $CI_SERVER_HOST >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts
    - chmod 644 ~/.ssh/known_hosts

    ## Optionally, if you will be using any Git commands, set the user name and
    ## and email.
    - git config --global "[email protected]"
    - git config --global "Example CI Bot"
    - git remote set-url origin git@$CI_SERVER_HOST:$CI_PROJECT_PATH.git
    - git fetch
    - git checkout -B $CI_COMMIT_REF_NAME
    - |
      if [ "$CI_COMMIT_MESSAGE" == "$LINT_COMMIT_MESSAGE" ] ; then
          echo "Linting code is not required. Skipping this job!"
          echo "SKIP_FUTURE_STAGES=false" > build.env
          exit ${CI_JOB_SKIP_EXIT_CODE:-0}
    - yarn install --frozen-lockfile --prefer-offline --cache-folder .yarn
    - echo "Linting Code"
    - yarn lint --fix || true
    - echo "Formatting Code"
    - yarn format || true
    - |
      if GIT_CHANGES=$(git status --porcelain) && [ -z "$GIT_CHANGES" ]; then
          echo "Nothing to lint. Skipping this job!"
          echo "SKIP_FUTURE_STAGES=false" > build.env
          exit ${CI_JOB_SKIP_EXIT_CODE:-0}
    - git add .
    - git commit -m "$LINT_COMMIT_MESSAGE" -n
    - git push -u origin $CI_COMMIT_REF_NAME
    - echo "SKIP_FUTURE_STAGES=true" > build.env # Setting variable for stages so that we can skip them in the next stage
    - echo "CI_JOB_SKIP_EXIT_CODE=20" >> build.env # Arbitrary exit code so that future jobs fail and don't waste runner resources
    expire_in: 1 hour
      dotenv: build.env

  stage: build
    - echo "Build Job"
    - |
      if [ "$SKIP_FUTURE_STAGES" == "true" ] ; then
          echo "Skipping job due to variable"
          exit ${CI_JOB_SKIP_EXIT_CODE:-0}
    - job: lint_job
      artifacts: true

Disclaimer: This post was written when I was employed at GitLab. The content written above was done in my individual capacity.

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