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Hacking on Tilt

So you want to make a change to tilt!


We welcome contributions, either as bug reports, feature requests, or pull requests.

We want everyone to feel at home in this repo and community! Please read our Code of Conduct for some rules that govern everyone's participation.

Most of this page describes how to get set up making & testing changes. See a YouTube walkthrough showing some of the steps below, for macOS.

Small PRs are better than large ones. If you have an idea for a major feature, please file an issue first.


To check out Tilt for the first time, run:

git clone



If you just want to build Tilt:

  • make
  • go (see go.mod for supported version)
  • C/C++ toolchain (for CGO dependencies)
  • golangci-lint (to run lint)

To use the local Webpack server for UI (default for locally compiled versions of Tilt):

  • Node.js (LTS - see .engines.node in web/package.json)
  • yarn

Build & Install From Source

To install tilt on PATH, run:

make build-js
make install

Running the build-js task is currently optional but highly recommended. If available, the build will embed the frontend assets in the tilt binary, which allows Tilt to work offline. Otherwise, assets will be served at runtime from a remote server.

This will install the new tilt binary in $GOPATH/bin - typically $HOME/go/bin. You can verify this is the binary you just built with:

"$(go env GOPATH)/bin/tilt" version

The build date should match the current date. Be aware that you might already have a tilt binary in your $PATH, so running tilt without specifying exactly which tilt binary you want might have you running the wrong binary.


To start using Tilt, run tilt up in any project with a Tiltfile -- i.e., NOT the root of the Tilt source code. There are plenty of toy projects to play with in the integration directory (see e.g. ./integration/oneup), or check out one of these sample repos to get started:

  • ABC123: Go/Python/JavaScript microservices generating random letters and numbers
  • Servantes: a-little-bit-of-everything sample app with multiple microservices in different languages, showcasing many different Tilt behaviors
  • Frontend Demo: Tilt + ReactJS
  • Live Update Examples: contains Go and Python examples of Tilt's Live Update functionality
  • Sidecar Example: simple Python app and home-rolled logging sidecar



If you want to run the tests:

  • docker - Many of the tilt build steps do work inside of containers so that you don't need to install extra toolchains locally (e.g., the protobuf compiler).
  • kubectl
  • kustomize 2.0 or higher: go get -u
  • helm
  • docker compose: NOTE: this doesn't need to be installed separately from Docker on macOS
  • jq

Running Test Suite (Fast)

To run the fast test suite, run:

make shorttest

Running Test Suite (Slow)

To run the slow test suite that interacts with Docker and builds real images, run:

make test

Running Integration Tests

If you want to run an integration test suite that deploys servers to Kubernetes and verifies them, run:

make integration


Other development commands:

  • goimports: go install (to sort imports)
    • Run manually with make goimports
    • Run automatically with IDE
      • See goimports docs for IDE specific configuration instructions
      • Run with -local
  • toast: curl -LSfs | sh (local development tasks)

Tilt APIServer

The Tilt APIServer is our new system for managing Tilt internals:

To add a new first-party type, run:

scripts/ MyResourceType

and follow the instructions.

Once you've added fields for your type, run:


to regenerate client code for reading and writing the new type.


Go Profile

Tilt exposes the standard Go pprof hooks over HTTP.

To look at a 30-second CPU profile:

go tool pprof http://localhost:10350/debug/pprof/profile?seconds=30

To look at the heap profile:

go tool pprof http://localhost:10350/debug/pprof/heap

This opens a special REPL that lets you explore the data. Type web in the REPL to see a CPU graph.

For more information on pprof, see

Web UI

tilt up runs a web server hosting a React single page application on port 10350 (customizable with --port or TILT_PORT).

Web Mode (--web-mode)

There are several possibilities for how Tilt serves the web assets based on the build configuration.

Local (Dev)

By default, non-release builds of Tilt use a local Webpack dev server. When Tilt first starts, it will launch the Webpack dev server for you. If you immediately open the Tilt web UI, you might get an error message until Webpack has finished starting. The page should auto-reload once Webpack is ready.

To force Tilt to use the Webpack dev server, launch with tilt up --web-mode=local.


If bundled JS assets are available while building Tilt, they will be included in the binary and served via embedded mode. This ensures the local Tilt server is self-contained and does not require internet access for the web UI.

This is the default for Tilt releases starting with v0.27.0.

To force Tilt to use the embedded assets, launch with tilt up --web-mode=embedded.

If unavailable, Tilt will refuse to start with an error:

Error: requested embedded mode, but assets are not available

To fix this, run make build-js and then re-build Tilt (e.g. with make install).

Cloud (Deprecated)

In the remote/production mode, all the HTML, CSS, and JS assets are served from our production bucket.

This was the default for Tilt releases until v0.27.0.

To force Tilt to use the remote production assets, launch with tilt up --web-mode=cloud. During development, this can speed up startup if you are not making changes to the frontend and does not require a local NodeJS toolchain.

Local Snapshot Mode

You can view a locally running Tilt session as though it was a snapshot by tweaking the URL to be /snapshot/snapshot_id/overview. (The snapshot_id portion of the URL can be any valid identifier.) For example, http://localhost:10350/snapshot/aaaa/overview.

Please note this uses a serialized version of the webview/snapshot generated by the Tilt server, so it might behave slightly differently than a real snapshot.

Lint (prettier + eslint)

To format all files with Prettier, run make prettier from the repo root or yarn prettier from web/.

To run lint checks with ESLint (and auto-fix any trivial issues), run yarn eslint.

To verify that there are no formatting/lint violations, but not auto-fix, run make check-js from the repo root or yarn check from web/.


To run all tests, you can run make test-js from the repo root.

If you are actively developing, running yarn test from web/ will launch Jest in interactive mode, which can auto re-run affected tests and more.

Updating Jest Snapshot Tests

First, double check that the element render has changed by design and not as a result of a regression.

The interactive mode of Jest will guide you to update snapshots. See the Jest snapshot testing documentation for details.


The user-facing landing page and documentation lives in the repo.

We write our docs in Markdown and generate static HTML with Jekyll.

Netlify will automatically deploy the docs to the public site when you merge to master.

For internal architecture, see the Tilt Architecture Guide.


Force Sign Out of Tilt Cloud

Once you've connected Tilt to Tilt Cloud via GitHub, you cannot sign out to break the connection. But sometimes during development and testing, you need to do this. Remove the token file named token located at ~/.windmill on your machine. Restart Tilt, and you will be signed out.

Dependency Injection (wire)

Tilt uses wire for dependency injection. It generates all the code in the wire_gen.go files.

make wire-dev runs wire locally and ensures you have fast feedback when rebuilding the generated code.

make wire runs wire in a container, to ensure you're using the correct version.

What do you do if you added a dependency, and make wire is failing?

A Practical Guide to Fixing Your Dependency Injector

(This guide will work with any Dependency Injector - Dagger, Guice, etc - but is written for Wire)

Step 1) DON'T PANIC. Fixing a dependency injector is like untangling a hair knot. If you start pushing and pulling dependencies in the middle of the graph, you will make it much worse.

Step 2) Run make wire-dev

Step 3) Look closely at the error message. Identify the "top" of the dependency graph that is failing. So if your error message is:

wire: /go/src/ inject wireRuntime: no provider found for
	needed by in provider set "K8sWireSet" (/go/src/
	needed by in provider set "K8sWireSet" (/go/src/
wire: generate failed
wire: at least one generate failure

then the "top" is the function wireRuntime at wire.go:182.

Step 4) Identify the dependency that is missing. In the above example, that dependency is MinikubeClient.

Step 5) At the top-level provider function, add a provider for the missing dependency. In this example, that means we add ProvideMinikubeClient to the wire.Build call in wireRuntime.

Step 6) Go back to Step (2), and repeat until all errors are gone

Final Note: All dependency injection systems have a notion of groups of common dependencies (in Wire, they're called WireSets). When fixing an injection error, you generally want to move providers "up" the graph. i.e., remove them from WireSets and add them to wire.Build calls. It's OK if this leads to lots of duplication. Later, you can refactor them back down into common WireSets once you've got it working.


We use goreleaser to publish binaries. We never run it locally. We run it in a CircleCI container.

To create a new release at tag $TAG, in the ~/go/src/ directory, first switch to master and pull the latest changes with git pull. And then:

git fetch --tags
git tag -a v0.x.y -m "v0.x.y"
git push origin v0.x.y

CircleCI will automatically start building your release, and notify the #notify-circleci slack channel when it's done. The releaser generates a release on at, with a Changelog prepopulated automatically. (Give it a few moments. It appears as a tag first, before turning into a full release.)


You can build from source locally using the same toolchain as CI by running:

make release-build

You will need toast installed (see optional prerequisites)

This will take quite some time, but will create a dist/ directory in the repo root on your host machine. Within the dist/ directory, there will be directories for each of the OS and architecture combinations, e.g. dist/tilt-linux-amd64_linux_amd64/ for 64-bit x86 Linux.

Version numbers

For pre-v1.0:

  • If adding backwards-compatible functionality increment the patch version (0.x.Y).
  • If adding backwards-incompatible functionality increment the minor version (0.X.y). We would probably write a blog post about this.