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Dev Workspace Operator

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Dev Workspace operator repository that contains the controller for the DevWorkspace Custom Resource. The Kubernetes API of the DevWorkspace is defined in the repository.


Global configuration for the DevWorkspace Operator

The DevWorkspace Operator installs the DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig custom resource (short name: dwoc). To configure global behavior of the DevWorkspace Operator, create a DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig named devworkspace-operator-config in the same namespace where the operator is deployed:

kind: DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig
  name: devworkspace-operator-config
  # Configuration fields

To apply a configuration to specific workspaces instead of globally, an existing DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig can be referenced in a DevWorkspace's attributes:

kind: DevWorkspace
  name: my-devworkspace
        name: <name of DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig CR>
        namespace: <namespace of DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig CR>

Configuration specified as above will be merged into the default global configuration, overriding any values present.

To see all all configuration options, see kubectl explain dwoc.config, kubectl explain dwoc.config.workspace, etc.

Additional configuration

DevWorkspaces can be further configured through DevWorkspace attributes and Kubernetes labels/annotations. For a list of all options available, see additional documentation.

Restricted Access

The annotation specifies that a DevWorkspace needs additional access control (in addition to RBAC). When a DevWorkspace is created with the annotation set to true, the webhook server will guarantee

  • Only the DevWorkspace Operator ServiceAccount or DevWorkspace creator can modify important fields in the DevWorkspace
  • Only the DevWorkspace creator can create pods/exec into devworkspace-related containers.

This annotation should be used when a DevWorkspace is expected to contain sensitive information that should be protect above the protection provided by standard RBAC rules (e.g. if the DevWorkspace will store the user's OpenShift token in-memory).


  annotations: true

Deploying DevWorkspace Operator


Note: kustomize v4.0.5 is required for most tasks. It is downloaded automatically to the .kustomize folder in this repo when required. This downloaded version is used regardless of whether or not kustomize is already installed on the system.

Running the controller in a cluster

With yaml resources

When installing on Kubernetes clusters, the DevWorkspace Operator requires the cert-manager operator in order to properly serve webhooks. To install the latest version of cert-manager in a cluster, the Makefile rule install_cert_manager can be used. The minimum version of cert-manager is v1.0.4.

The controller can be deployed to a cluster provided you are logged in with cluster-admin credentials:

make install

By default, the controller will expose workspace servers without any authentication; this is not advisable for public clusters, as any user could access the created workspace via URL.

See below for all environment variables used in the makefile.

Note: The operator requires internet access from containers to work. By default, crc setup may not provision this, so it's necessary to configure DNS for Docker:

# /etc/docker/daemon.json
  "dns": [""]

With Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM)

DevWorkspace Operator has bundle and index images which enable installation via OLM. To enable installing the DevWorkspace Operator through OLM, it may be necessary to create a CatalogSource in the cluster for this index:

kind: CatalogSource
  name: devworkspace-operator-catalog
  namespace: openshift-marketplace # Namespace for catalogsource, not operator itself
  sourceType: grpc
  publisher: Red Hat
  displayName: DevWorkspace Operator Catalog
      interval: 5m

Two index images are available for installing the DevWorkspace Operator:

  • - multi-version catalog with all DevWorkspace Operator releases
  • - single-version catalog that will deploy the latest commit in the main branch

Both index images allow automatic updates (to either the latest release or latest commit in main).

After OLM finishes processing the created CatalogSource, DWO should appear on the Operators page in the OpenShift Console.

In order to build a custom bundle, the following environment variables should be set:

variable purpose default value
DWO_BUNDLE_IMG Image used for Operator bundle image
DWO_INDEX_IMG Image used for Operator index image
DEFAULT_DWO_IMG Image used for controller when generating defaults

To build the index image and register its catalogsource to the cluster, run

make generate_olm_bundle_yaml build_bundle_and_index register_catalogsource

Note that setting DEFAULT_DWO_IMG while generating sources will result in local changes to the repo which should be git restored before committing. This can also be done by unsetting the DEFAULT_DWO_IMG env var and re-running make generate_olm_bundle_yaml


The repository contains a Makefile; building and deploying can be configured via the environment variables

variable purpose default value
DWO_IMG Image used for controller
DEFAULT_DWO_IMG Image used for controller when generating default deployment templates. Can be used to override the controller image in the OLM bundle
NAMESPACE Namespace to use for deploying controller devworkspace-controller
ROUTING_SUFFIX Cluster routing suffix (e.g. $(minikube ip), apps-crc.testing). Required for Kubernetes
PULL_POLICY Image pull policy for controller Always
DEVWORKSPACE_API_VERSION Branch or tag of the to depend on v1alpha1

Some of the rules supported by the makefile:

rule purpose
docker build and push docker image
install install controller to cluster
restart restart cluster controller deployment
install_cert_manager installs the cert-manager to the cluster (only required for Kubernetes)
uninstall delete controller namespace devworkspace-controller and remove CRDs from cluster
help print all rules and variables

To see all rules supported by the makefile, run make help

Test run controller

  1. Take a look samples devworkspace configuration in ./samples folder.
  2. Apply any of them by executing kubectl apply -f ./samples/code-latest.yaml -n <namespace>
  3. As soon as devworkspace is started you're able to get IDE url by executing kubectl get devworkspace -n <namespace>

Run controller locally

export NAMESPACE="devworkspace-controller"
make install
# Wait for webhook server to start
kubectl rollout status deployment devworkspace-controller-manager -n $NAMESPACE --timeout 90s
kubectl rollout status deployment devworkspace-webhook-server -n $NAMESPACE --timeout 90s
# Scale on-cluster deployment to zero to avoid conflict with locally-running instance
oc patch deployment/devworkspace-controller-manager --patch "{\"spec\":{\"replicas\":0}}" -n $NAMESPACE
make run

Run controller locally and debug

Debugging the controller depends on delve being installed (go install Note that $GOPATH/bin or $GOBIN must be added to $PATH in order for make debug to run correctly.

make install
# Wait for webhook server to start
kubectl rollout status deployment devworkspace-controller-manager -n $NAMESPACE --timeout 90s
kubectl rollout status deployment devworkspace-webhook-server -n $NAMESPACE --timeout 90s
oc patch deployment/devworkspace-controller-manager --patch "{\"spec\":{\"replicas\":0}}"
# Scale on-cluster deployment to zero to avoid conflict with locally-running instance
make debug

Run webhook server locally and debug

Debugging the webhook server depends on telepresence being installed ( Teleprescence works by redirecting traffic going from the webhook-server in the cluster to the local webhook-server you will be running on your computer.

make debug-webhook-server

when you are done debugging you have to manually uninstall the telepresence agent

make disconnect-debug-webhook-server

Updating devfile API

devfile API is the Kube-native API for cloud development workspaces specification and the core dependency of the devworkspace-operator that should be regularly updated to the latest version. In order to do the update:

  1. update DEVWORKSPACE_API_VERSION variable in the Makefile and build/scripts/ The variable should correspond to the commit SHA from the devfile API repository
  2. run the following scripts and the open pull request
make update_devworkspace_api update_devworkspace_crds # first commit
make generate_all # second commit

Example of the devfile API update PR

Controller configuration

Controller behavior can be configured using the DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig custom resource (dwoc for short). To configure the controller, create a DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig named devworkspace-operator-config in the same namespace as the controller. If using the Makefile to deploy the DevWorkspaceOperator, a pre-filled config is created automatically (see deploy/default-config.yaml).

Configuration settings in the DevWorkspaceOperatorConfig override default values found in pkg/config. The only required configuration setting is .routing.clusterHostSuffix, which is required when running on Kubernetes.

To see documentation on configuration settings, including default values, use kubectl explain or oc explain -- e.g. kubectl explain dwoc.config.routing.clusterHostSuffix

Remove controller from your K8s/OS Cluster

To uninstall the controller and associated CRDs, use the Makefile uninstall rule:

make uninstall

This will delete all custom resource definitions created for the controller, as well as the devworkspace-controller namespace.


GitHub actions


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