Best practices

This guide describes practices to use when developing kubectl plugins. Before submitting your plugin to Krew, please review these practices.

While the Krew project team does not strictly enforce guidelines about how a plugin works, abiding by these practices can help your plugin work for more users and behave more predictably.

Choosing a language

Most kubectl plugins are written in Go or as bash scripts.

If you are planning to write a plugin with Go, check out:

Consistency with kubectl

Krew does not impose any rules in terms of the shape of your plugin.

However, if you support the common command-line options with kubectl, you can make your users’ lives easier.

For example, it is recommended that you support the following command-line flags used by kubectl:

  • -h/--help
  • -n/--namespace
  • -A/--all-namespaces

Furthermore, by using the genericclioptions package (Go), you can support the global command-line flags listed in kubectl options (e.g. --kubeconfig, --context and many others) in your plugins.

Import authentication plugins (Go)

By default, plugins that use client-go cannot authenticate to Kubernetes clusters on many cloud providers. To address this, include the following import in your plugin:

import _ ""

Revise usage and help messages with the kubectl prefix

Many users will discover how to use your plugin by calling it without any arguments (which might trigger a help message), or with -h/--help arguments.

Therefore, it is helpful to change your usage strings to show the kubectl prefix before the plugin name. For example:

  kubectl popeye [flags]

To determine if your executable is running as a kubectl plugin, you can look at argv[0], which will include the kubectl- prefix:

  • Go:

    if strings.HasPrefix(filepath.Base(os.Args[0]), "kubectl-") { }
  • Bash:

    if [[ "$(basename "$0")" == kubectl-* ]]; then # invoked as plugin
        # ...
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