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The plugin model will undergo a few changes in order to make it possible to support a broader range of features along a broader range of platforms. Helm will also have the ability to install a pre-defined set of custom plugins via helm init.

Plugin Format

Standard Plugins

The existing plugin model (based on exec to local binaries) will continue to be supported.

The current YAML format for plugin.yaml will be extended as follows:

name: "last"
version: "0.1.0"
usage: "get the last release name"
description: "get the last release name"
command: "$HELM_BIN --host $TILLER_HOST list --short --max 1 --date -r"
# New part:
  - os: linux
    arch: i386
    command: "$HELM_BIN list --short --max 1 --date -r"
  - os: windows
    arch: amd64
    command: "$HELM_BIN list --short --max 1 --date -r"

The platformCommand section defines OS/Architecture specific variations of a command.

The following rules will apply to processing commands:

  • If platformCommand is present, it will be searched first.
  • If both OS and Arch match the current platform, search will stop and the command will be executed
  • If OS matches and there is no more specific match, the command will be executed
  • If no OS/Arch match is found, the default command will be executed
  • If no command is present and no matches are found in platformCommand, Helm will exit with an error.

Lua Plugins

The existing Helm plugin mechanism has enabled numerous extensions to Helm (e.g., here and here). While this has been useful there have been two shortcomings:

  1. Many plugins are written as shell scripts assuming a POSIX environment and familiar linux-style userland. Helm, and Kubernetes as a whole, supports windows where these plugins don't work natively.
  2. Other plugins are written in a compiled language (e.g., Go) or a general scripting language (e.g., Python) that have system dependencies in order to work. These can have version complications as well (e.g., a system Python of 3 and a plugin Python need of 2.7).

Along with Helm supporting Lua for scripting chart extensions, it will support plugins in Lua. These plugins will only have a dependency on Helm to run and can be ported cross platform.

Lua plugins are executed separately from chart-based Lua scripts. The pattern used for executing Lua plugins mirrors the pattern for writing command-line applications. A main() function will be executed with access to STDIN, STDOUT, STDERR, and all command-line parameters and options.

Lua Plugin Sandboxing

Like charts, each plugin will be executed in an isolated Lua sandbox. Unlike chart scripts, plugins will be granted access to all core libraries, and will not require security prompts to accept.

Installing Plugins

A single plugin can be installed via helm plugin install.

A set of plugins can also be defined in a yaml file and installed during the helm init process by using a flag called --plugins <file.yaml> where file.yaml looks like this:

- name: helm-template
- name: helm-value-store
- name: helm-diff

The name field primarily exists in the list of plugins to easily identify plugins in the file. It is not used for anything else and does not have a functional purpose.