Discover more from Matt Rickard
Kubernetes as a Dev Tool
Kubernetes standardizes interfaces around packaging and running applications, networking, storage, and ways to extend a generic control plane. This creates the perfect platform for building developer tools.
What if we had APIs that provided most of these out of the box in a language-agnostic way?
With a Kubernetes-based platform, the build step becomes packaging a container (or syncing files to an existing container and running a hot-reloading module inside the container). The deploy step becomes a declarative configuration that determines the ports that are forwarded, the commands that are run, and the volumes that are mounted. Networking, port-forwarding, and service discovery are just common API calls. Logs have a common format. Production deployments look a lot more like their development counterparts (in theory, this means fewer bugs).
At Google, I built two tools that helped move towards this goal: minikube (run Kubernetes locally on your laptop) and skaffold (a tool which used these APIs to optimize around the common APIs). Both provided a simple way to set up a reproducible developer environment with a single command (“minikube start && skaffold dev”). Development, CI, and production are the same workflows with different configurations. Start on a local cluster, and extend to hybrid resources that lived on other clusters (in the cloud).
The vision was never fully realized, but I still believe that building developer tools on top of Kubernetes is a promising path.