Categories: ArticlesKubernetes

Learn How to Write Kubernetes YAML Manifest more Efficiently

Learn How to Write Kubernetes YAML Manifest more Efficiently (Photo by Stillness InMotion on Unsplash)

When we are all in this new cloud-native environment where Kubernetes is the uncontestable king, you need to learn how to deal with Kubernetes YAML manifest all the time. You will become an expert on indent sections to make sure this can be processed and so on. But we need to admit that it is tedious. All the benefits from the Kubernetes deployment make an effort worth it, but even with that, it is pretty complex to be able to handle it.

It is true that, to simplify this situation, there are a lot of projects that have been launched, such as Helm to manage templates of related Kubernetes YAML manifest or Kustomize different approaches to get to the sample place or even solutions that are specific to a Kubernetes distribution such as the Openshift Templates. But in the end, none of this can solve the problem at the primary level. So you need to write those files manually yourself.

And what is the process now? You are probably following a different one, but I will tell you my approach. Depending on what I’m trying to create, I try to find a template available for the Kubernetes YAML Manifest that I want to make. This template can be some previous resource that I have already created. Hence, I use that as a base, it could be something generated for some workload that is already deployed (so great that Lens has existed to simplify the management of Running Kubernetes workloads! If you don’t know Lens, please take a look at this article) or if you don’t have anything at hand, you search on google about something similar probably in the Kubernetes documentation, stack overflow or the first reasonable resource that Google provides to you.

And after that, the approach is the same. You go to your Text Editor, VS Code in my case. I have a lot of different plugins to make this process less painful. A lot of different linters validate the structure of the Kubernetes YAML Manifest to make sure everything is indented property, that there are no repeated tags or no missing mandatory tags in the latest version of the resource, and so on.

Things got a bit tricky if you are creating a Helm Chart because in that case the linters for YAML don’t work that well and detect some false positives because they don’t truly understand the Helm syntax. You also complete your setup with a few more linters for Helm, and that’s it. You fight error and error and change by change to have your desired Kubernetes YAML Manifest.

But, it should be a better way to do that? Yes, it should, and this is what tools such as Monokle try to provide a better experience of that process. Let’s see how that works. Starting from their contributor words:

Monokle is your friendly desktop UI for managing Kubernetes manifests. Monokle helps you quickly get a high-level view of your manifests and their contained resources, easily edit resources without having to learn yaml syntax, diff resources against your cluster, preview and debug resources generated with kustomize or Helm, and more.

Monokle helps you in the following ways. First of all, present at the beginning of your work with a set of templates to create your Kubernetes YAML Manifests, as you can see in the picture below:

Monokle Template Selection Dialog

When you select a template, you can populate the required values graphically without needing to type YAML code yourself, as you can see in the picture below:

Monokle Template Value Population Process

It also supports Helm Chart and Kustomize resource recognition so you will quickly see your charts, and you can edit them in a more fashion mode even graphically for some of the resources as well:

Helm Chart Modification Using Monokle

If allows good integration in several ways, first of all with OPA so it can validate all the rules and best-practice that you have defined and also you can connect to a running cluster to see the resources from there and also see the difference between them if exists to simplify the process and provide more agility on the Kubernetes YAML Manifest creation process

On top of all of that, Monokle is a certified component from the CNCF foundation, so you will be using a project that is backup from the same foundation is that takes care of Kubernetes itself, among other tasks:

Monokle Is Part Of The Cncf Foundation Landscape

If you want to download Monokle, give it a try and you can do it from its web page: https://monokle.kubeshop.io/ and I’m sure your performance writing Kubernetes YAML Manifest will thank you shortly!

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Alexandre Vazquez

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