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GitOps with Workflow

This section will introduce how to use KubeVela in GitOps environment and why.


GitOps is a continuous delivery method that allows developers to automatically deploy applications by changing code and declarative configurations in a Git repository, with Git-centric operations such as PR and commit. For detailed benefits of GitOps, please check this article.

KubeVela as an declarative application delivery control plane can be naturally used in GitOps approach, and this will provide below extra bonus to end users alongside with GitOps benefits:

  • application delivery workflow (CD pipeline)
    • i.e. KubeVela supports pipeline style application delivery process in GitOps, instead of simply declaring final status;
  • handling deployment dependencies and designing typologies (DAG);
  • unified higher level abstraction atop various GitOps tools' primitives;
  • declare, provision and consume cloud resources in unified application definition;
  • various out-of-box deployment strategies (Canary, Blue-Green ...);
  • various out-of-box hybrid/multi-cloud deployment policies (placement rule, cluster selectors etc.);
  • Kustomize-style patch for multi-env deployment without the need to learn Kustomize at all;
  • ... and much more.

In this section, we will introduce steps of using KubeVela directly in GitOps approach.

Note: you can also use it with existing tools such as ArgoCD with similar steps, detailed guides will be added in following releases.


First, setup a Git Repository with Application files, some source code and a Dockerfile.

The code is very simple, starting a service and displaying the version in the code. In Application, we'll start a webservice for the code and add an Ingress trait to access.

kind: Application
name: first-vela-workflow
namespace: default
- name: test-server
type: webservice
# replace the imagepolicy `default:gitops` with your policy later
image: <your image> # {"$imagepolicy": "default:gitops"}
port: 8088
- type: ingress
/: 8088

We want users to build the image and push it to the image registry after changing the code, so we need to integrate with a CI tool like GitHub Actions or Jenkins to do it. In this example, we use GitHub Actions to build the image. For the code and configuration file, please refer to Example Repo.

Create the Git secret#

After the new image is pushed to the image registry, KubeVela will recognize the new image and update the Application file in the Git repository and cluster. Therefore, we need a secret with Git information for KubeVela to commit to the Git repository.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
name: my-secret
username: <your username>
password: <your password>

Create the Application that sync with Git#

After completing the basic configuration above, we can create an Application file that syncs with the corresponding Git repository and image registry information:

kind: Application
name: git-app
- name: gitops
type: kustomize
repoType: git
url: <your github repo address>
# your git secret
secretRef: my-secret
# the interval time to pull from git repo and image registry
pullInterval: 1m
# the specific branch
branch: master
# the path that you want to listen
path: .
image: <your image>
# if it's a private image registry, use `kubectl create secret docker-registry` to create the secret
# secretRef: imagesecret
# filter the image tag
pattern: '^master-[a-f0-9]+-(?P<ts>[0-9]+)'
extract: '$ts'
# use the policy to sort the latest image tag and update
order: asc
# add more commit message
commitMessage: "Image: {{range .Updated.Images}}{{println .}}{{end}}"

Apply the file to the cluster and check the Application in clusters, we can see that the git-app automatically pulls the config from Git Repository and apply the application to the cluster:

$ vela ls
first-vela-workflow test-server webservice ingress running healthy 2021-09-10 11:23:34 +0800 CST
git-app gitops kustomize running healthy 2021-09-10 11:23:32 +0800 CST

We can curl the Ingress to see the current version in code:

$ curl -H "" http://<your-ip>
Version: 0.1.5

Modify the code to trigger automatic deployment#

After the first applying, we can modify the code in Git Repository to apply automatically.

Change the Version to 0.1.6 in code:

const VERSION = "0.1.6"
func main() {
http.HandleFunc("/", func(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
_, _ = fmt.Fprintf(w, "Version: %s\n", VERSION)
if err := http.ListenAndServe(":8088", nil); err != nil {

Commit the change to the Git Repository, we can see that our CI pipelines has built the image and push it to the image registry.

KubeVela will then listening to the image registry and update the Application in Git Repository with the latest image tag. We can see that there is a commit form kubevelabot, the commit message is always with a prefix Update image automatically. You can use format like {{range .Updated.Images}}{{println .}}{{end}} to specify the image name in the commitMessage field.


Note that the commit from kubevelabot will not trigger the pipeline again and since we filter out the commit from KubeVela in CI configuration.

if: "!contains(github.event.head_commit.message, 'Update image automatically')"

Re-check the Application in cluster, we can see that the image of the Application has been updated after a while. We can curl to Ingress to see the current version:

$ curl -H "" http://<your-ip>
Version: 0.1.6

The Version has been updated successfully! Now we're done with everything from changing the code to automatically applying to the cluster.

KubeVela polls the latest information from the code and image repo periodically (at an interval that can be customized):

  • When the Application file in the Git repository is updated, KubeVela will update the Application in the cluster based on the latest configuration.
  • When a new tag is added to the image registry, KubeVela will filter out the latest tag based on your policy and update it to Git repository. When the files in the repository are updated, KubeVela repeats the first step and updates the files in the cluster, thus achieving automatic deployment.

By integrating with GitOps, KubeVela helps users speed up deployment and simplify continuous deployment.

Last updated on by Lei Zhang (Harry)