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Plugin Lifecycle

(This guide is intended for developers of Krew.)

⚠️ The instructions below may not be up to date for krew v0.2 and higher. It is provided as a reference to learn how Krew works under the covers, but may not be entirely accurate.


The plugins will be downloaded and checked against its sha256 to verify the integrity. The package will be uncompressed into a directory called ${TMP}/krew/download/<plugin-name>/<sha256>/. Then the directory will be renamed (mv) to ~/.krew/store/<plugin-name>/<sha256>/. This ensures a partially atomic and idempotent operation on most file systems.


Upgrading Plugins

Upgrading is more difficult because we already have a plugin that is working. Krew should not destroy a working environment. The operations should be idempotent. If something fails we should be able to recover to the wanted state.

Upgrading works by iterating over the ~/.krew/store/ directory names and comparing the current hash to the corresponding index file. When a hash differs the plugin gets installed again.

Install the plugin:

  1. Delete the old version
  2. Therefore it‘s not possible for plugins to store data in the plugin directory.

In case any plugin operation does not succeed the plugin directory is not damaged under the assumption that mv is atomic. If another plugin upgrade/install command is issued and a directory in download still exists or two plugin version directories exist in /store/<plugin-name>/, krew assumes that the previous operation failed.

Krew informs the user and retries to reinstall the package.

Self Upgrade

On Windows it is not possible to modify a file/directory which is currently in use. This requires a special case for upgrading krew, which itself is a plugin, from krew. If krew upgrades itself, it is installing itself, instead of deleting the whole old directory it just deletes the old /commands/ directory witch holds all the plugin descriptor files.

This way only the new krew version is executed. If krew upgrade is executed again the old version directory gets deleted.