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Public Beta

The service is rolled out as a public beta. At the moment we cannot guarantee that no breaking changes need to be implemented. Also the service can be turned off at any time. We are curiuos for your feedback.

Automating dependency updates in the Helmholtz Codebase

The Helmholtz Codebase is configured in a way that it supports automatic dependency updates using a tool called dependabot-gitlab. Therefore it makes use of dependabot-core which is known from GitHub.

The bot will automatically create Merge Requests for dependency updates helping you to keep your dependencies up-to-date thereby enhancing the security of your project.

Supported Ecosystems

The list of supported ecosystems is given here. Among others, Python, Docker or Git submodules are supported.


In order to configure automatic dependency updates for your project a few steps need to be accomplished.

  1. Add the hifis-bot user as a member to your project. At least the role Developer needs to be assigned.
  2. Add a file called .gitlab/dependabot.yml into the root of your repository. A minimal configuration for supporting the Python package managers pip, poetry or pipenv is given below.
version: 2
  - package-ecosystem: "pip"
    directory: "/"
      interval: "daily"
    rebase-strategy: "auto"

All configuration options are listed in the documentation.

  1. Within at most an hour the service will take note of the new project and will start to submit dependency updates according to the definitions in dependabot.yml. If you configure updates daily it can take at most 24 hours until the first merge requests will be submitted.

Webhooks - Interacting with the Bot

In order to communicate with the bot via comments in your Merge Request a webhook needs to be configured. Therefore, please follow these steps:

  1. In your project navigate to Settings > Webhooks.
  2. Create a new webhook with these parameters, if not already present:

    • URL:
    • Triggers:
      • Push events - default repository branch (typically main or master)
      • Merge request events
      • Comments
      • Pipeline events
    • Keep Enable SSL verification enabled.
  3. Save the webhook by clicking Add webhook.

Interacting with the Bot

Interacting with the bot is possible via Merge Request commands which are entered as comments. At the time of writing two commands can be issued.


Add the comment @hifis-bot rebase, which will perform a merge request rebase. This command does essentially the same action as GitLab built in /rebase command.


The comment @hifis-bot recreate will recreate the merge request resolving all merge conflicts that might be present.