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Developers Guide

This guide explains how to set up your environment for developing on Helm and Tiller.


  • Docker 1.10 or later
  • A Kubernetes cluster with Helm/Tiller installed
  • Telepresence 0.75 or later
  • kubectl 1.2 or later (optional)
  • Go 1.12 or later
  • Git


The UI is an Angular 2 application located in frontend/. This path is mounted into the UI container. The server watches for file changes and automatically rebuilds the application.

The backend is a small Go REST API service, chartsvc, and background CronJobs to run the chart-repo sync command.

Running Monocular

We develop Monocular in a Kubernetes environment, in order to make use of the CronJobs for syncing chart repositories. Minikube can be used to run a local single-node cluster for developing Monocular:

$ minikube start
$ minikube addons enable ingress
$ helm init --wait
$ helm dependency update
$ helm install --name dev --namespace monocular ./chart/monocular

After a few minutes, you will be able to visit the Monocular in your browser using the Ingress address (typically IP of Minikube VM).

Starting Monocular development server

Use Telepresence to replace the UI Pod in your cluster with the development server:

$ docker build -t monocular_ui ./dev_env/ui
$ telepresence --swap-deployment dev-monocular-ui --namespace monocular --expose 4200:8080 --docker-run --rm -ti -v $(pwd)/frontend:/app monocular_ui bash

Inside the container's bash shell, run the following command to start the development server:

$ ng serve --host --public-host https://localhost

Once running, refresh the Ingress address in your browser and you will be connected to the development server.

Developing chartsvc

chartsvc is a Go REST API service. To build it, run the following commands:

$ go mod tidy
$ make -C cmd/chartsvc docker-build

Use Telepresence to run the an instance of the chartsvc locally:

$ telepresence --swap-deployment dev-monocular-chartsvc --namespace monocular --expose 8080:8080 --docker-run --rm -ti /chartsvc --mongo-user=root --mongo-url=dev-mongodb

Note that the chartsvc should be rebuilt for new changes to take effect.

Developing chart-repo

chart-repo is a CLI tool that is used within CronJobs to sync against Helm chart repositories. In development, it can be run standalone outside of the scheduled CronJobs. To build it, run the following commands:

$ go mod tidy
$ make -C cmd/chart-repo docker-build

Use Telepresence to run the image, passing in the repository name and URL as arguments:

$ export MONGO_PASSWORD=$(kubectl get secret --namespace monocular dev-mongodb -o jsonpath="{.data.mongodb-root-password}" | base64 --decode)
$ telepresence --namespace monocular --docker-run -e MONGO_PASSWORD=$MONGO_PASSWORD --rm -ti /chart-repo sync --mongo-user=root --mongo-url=dev-mongodb stable

Note that the chart-repo should be rebuilt for new changes to take effect.

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