Component lifecycle

The component lifecycle is a flexible set of guidelines to help product teams efficiently and iteratively add components to Pajamas. The goal of this process is to make it easy to submit new designs (including documentation), propose changes to existing designs, and translate component designs into built components.

The component lifecycle has the following stages (identified by labels):

  • Define: A need for a component or a gap within an existing component is identified and usage guidelines are written/updated within Pajamas.
  • Design: The component is added to or modified in the Pajamas UI Kit in Figma.
  • Build: The component is added to Gitlab UI, including documentation. The component is styled according to design specs found in Pajamas UI Kit. Components function correctly, match usage guidelines, and are added to Pajamas.
  • Integrate: The documented component is integrated into GitLab the product. This stage could involve removing old HAML components in order to replace them with the newly defined Vue components.

Stages may happen in tandem and in different orders, depending on how mature the component currently is. For example:

  • If the component is already in GitLab and widely used, the build stage would involve migrating styles from GitLab to gitlab-ui. The define and design stages may occur at the same time, or even sometimes after.
  • If a component is brand new, the define and design stages may need some revisions as the build stage progresses.
  • If a component is built in GitLab UI and included in Pajamas, it may be partially integrated into the product, even if not all variants needed exist in Pajamas yet.

Creating or updating a component

There are three distinct areas that should be reviewed when adding or updating a component:

  1. Pajamas
  2. Pajamas UI Kit (Figma)
  3. GitLab UI

The following diagram outlines the various component lifecycle stages and is available to help determine how to add or update a component in Pajamas, based on the current state of the component. This diagram is meant to be a guide and is flexible to account for the needs of your team.

View component lifecycle in Figma →

Determining whether a component should be included in Pajamas

Adding, or not adding, a component to Pajamas should be a deliberate choice. To help facilitate this decision, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Is this a new component or a variation of an existing one?
  • Why do existing components not support this use case?
  • Will this component be reused beyond the current scope? Is it relevant to multiple use cases?
  • Is the proposed component technically feasible?

Not all components belong in the design system. These are occasional instances where a component may live in only one area of the application and is not included as part of Pajamas. The design system is here to help build reusable interfaces, but not be limiting in terms of how to solve user needs.

If you are able to answer the above questions and are still unsure about whether a component should be added to Pajamas, use the following to help you make a decision:

  • If it's unknown whether the component will be used, then wait until we do know before putting it in Pajamas.
  • If the component is only relevant in one place (and we suspect it will only ever be relevant in one place), do not add to Pajamas.
  • If we validate that it’s useful in more than just one place, add it to Pajamas.

We may find over time that a component we once considered unique is more broadly relevant. In that case, we reevaluate the component to ensure it’s scalable, and we add it in.

Viewing changes in Pajamas

When a change to GitLab UI is made, it will not be reflected in Pajamas until the package is updated. See Updating Gitlab Packages for details.

Component status

Not all Pajamas components are fully integrated within the GitLab product at this time. Some components may be partially integrated and others have been migrated from GitLab to GitLab UI.

GitLab UI components should be used within GitLab even if they do not yet fully conform to design specs.

Complex components

There are a few cases where components have been migrated from GitLab to GitLab UI, but do not yet reflect Pajamas documentation. When a complex component is difficult to style or update because many features use it, we recommend creating a migration plan and coordinating with the Foundations team on its rollout.

In the past, a New version of the component has been created to allow the team to build and style the component according to design specs without causing inadvertent side effects to features that are already using the migrated Vue component. However, this has led to confusion about which components to use; technical debt involved in migrating the component and not allowing them both to flourish; and follow-on effects keeping other complex components up-to-date. Until there is an officially determined path, we recommend coordinating a plan with the wider group.

Completing a component

A completed component should not have the warning alert on the Implementation tab.

An MR should be created to add any necessary demos to the Usage tab. To prevent confusion, we should omit demos until the build phase is complete and the component matches style and usage documentation.

Once a component is complete, add it to the Engineering Week in Review in order to keep the department informed.

Last updated at: