For this edition of the GitLab contributor blog posts, I'm excited to introduce Creationline, which is a GitLab reseller in Japan. As you read this blog post, you will find Creationline is not a typical reseller. Their team were able to help both their customers and the GitLab community through their contributions. Here's what three Creationline employees had to share with us.
Decision to partner with Gitlab and contributing as a reseller
Jean-Baptiste Vasseur, Agile Coach and DevOps Consultant
When we explored the DevOps landscape about 3 years ago, we accidentally came across GitLab’s handbook. This was a revelation for us! Pushing transparency to a point where job applicants know how GitLab members are expected to behave with candidates, a company culture where people are not afraid to communicate their failures, published company business targets and how the team is planning to achieve them, and of course how an open source software philosophy applied to every aspect of GitLab. We felt connected to so many aspects of GitLab’s company culture that I wanted to find a way to work together.
As Creationline was already reselling licenses for other cloud and DevOps companies, and as GitLab was looking for more partners in different countries at that time, we felt confident we had a very good match and started distributing GitLab licenses in June, 2017.
I usually invest a lot of my time prospecting clients, providing technical and value chain consulting, and contributing to the local community by co-organizing meetups and delivering CI/CD workshops. While I also love writing code – I come from an engineering background – it's a challenge to find the time to make open source contributions. However, while I was consulting for a large IT firm that was developing an internal DevOps package built around GitLab, I had an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to GitLab on the company's behalf. The team had a lot of passion for the project and loved working with the GitLab product, but they got blocked by a missing API and were not comfortable enough with their English to open a merge request.
As consultants, we did not have the responsibility of adding features or fixing issues on GitLab, but I really wanted to help our client. I explored the source code, figured out the pattern/coding style, and opened my first merge request. Review happened almost immediately, and GitLab team members were very nice and also challenged me to apply some refactoring, which helped me learn even more about the source code.
Creationline and GitLab team members at Open Source Summit-Japan
Journey from an end user to a regular contributor to an evangelist
Hiroyuki Sato, GitLab Evangelist
I started to contribute to GitLab back in 2012. At that time I was already using GitLab at work, and I wanted to fix a bug that I was facing. This issue was preventing the source code diff from being displayed on the screen, but it was only occurring when using Japanese. As this issue was not seen in other languages, this was not a high priority bug, but it was impacting us severely. I found it very natural to fix it myself and to open a merge request. In order to solve this, I also had to first fix the gem ‘grit_ext’ that GitLab was using, and created another merge request.
Both merge requests got reviewed and merged within three days! This experience was so exciting that I started to contribute more and created multiple merge requests, and eventually I was awarded the MVP for GitLab's 5.1 release.
Later on, as I really loved GitLab as a product, I started to explore if there was a way for me to work more closely with GitLab. This is when I met Creationline, which had just become the exclusive reseller in Japan and I decided to join them in April, 2018.
Now, I am involved in pre-sales, marketing, customer support, and I also offer trainings on how to get the best out of GitLab. Of course, I still invest a part of my time to contribute to GitLab to help customers overcome issues/challenges, and this is one of my favorite parts of the job!
Dogfooding at Creationline
Yuko Takano, Customer Success Manager
As a reseller team, we wanted to have more opportunities to use GitLab on a daily basis so we can support our customers better. We also wanted to experience the continuous server side operations, and set up our own instance so that we can capitalize on this experience.
We started using GitLab inside the GitLab reseller team, and then expanded it to various business functions within our organization. We now use a lot of GitLab features in order to manage source code, visualize our sales and marketing workflow, track translation work, organize OKRs with epics, and we continue to look for other areas to explore.
Creationline team running the GitLab CI Workshop
Interested in learning how you can contribute?
A good place to start is the Contributing to GitLab page, where you can learn how you can contribute to GitLab's code, documentation, translation, and UX design.
If you have any questions, you are always welcome to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.