Plugin Management with Sonobuoy

John Schnake

Oct 13, 2021


Our new plugin management features are meant to solve 3 of the most common issues when routinely developing custom Sonobuoy plugins (and plugin configurations).

First, almost as a matter of law, if you are quickly iterating against a plugin you tend to accumulate more and more plugin definition files (*.yaml). As the number of plugin definitions increase (e.g. quicktest.yaml, version2.yaml, debug1.yaml, etc) it becomes cluttered and difficult to recall the different changes.

Secondly, Sonobuoy requires full filepaths (or URLs) to run custom plugins. This means that even on your own machine you either have to keep translating short, relative paths to absolute paths or you can’t copy/paste the same Sonobuoy command because the relative paths will no longer reference the plugin correctly.

Lastly, how do you find new plugins to run? Currently, there is no intentional system around this other than a GitHub repo ( sonobuoy-plugins) which contains published plugins. We recommend users explore this repo and sometimes publish blog posts on new plugins, but that is a very unreliable method of gaining traction.

So to reduce clutter, simplify command reuse, and improve plugin discoverability, Sonobuoy has added plugin mangagement commands (install, list, show, and uninstall).

Now, as you develop (or configure) your plugins, you can “install” them so that they are stored in a known location (~/.sonobuoy) and Sonobuoy will automatically be able to inspect or run them.

Installing a Plugin

Installing a plugin is extremely simple, just like running an arbitrary plugin.

To install the plugin you just have to specify a local filename (not a full path) and the source. For instance:

$ sonobuoy plugin install myPerfectPlugin ./tmp/pluginCode.yaml
Installed plugin customPlugin into file /Users/jschnake/.sonobuoy/myPerfectPlugin.yaml from source tmp/pluginCode.yaml 

Just like when running plugins, you can specify the source in terms of a file or as a URL. Notice that the filename locally does not need to match either the plugin name (within the defintion file) or the source filename/URL. This is so that the plugin is guaranteed to be locally unique.

Since the filename does not need to be identical to the plugin name, you can install multiple configurations for the same plugin. This is incredibly useful for any plugin, but as an example consider the default e2e plugin. You could, locally, save copies of your most common configurations:

  • default e2e run
  • a configuration which runs tests for a feature you’re developing against
  • a configuration to run on Windows nodes
  • etc

Listing Installed Plugins

You can list the plugins you’ve got installed locally via the command:

$ sonobuoy plugins list
filename: /Users/jschnake/.sonobuoy/myPerfectPlugin.yaml
plugin name: myPlugin
source URL: www.example.com/some-plugin-source.yaml
description: Details about what the plugin does.

The output includes:

  • the filename, (which determines how to invoke the plugin)
  • the plugin name (what shows up during sonobuoy status)
  • source URL (optional; location which may post updates to this plugin)
  • description (optional; description of the plugin to clarify the contents or configuration of the plugin)

Showing an Installed Plugin

If you want to see the full definition of the plugin, simply use the show command:

$ sonobuoy plugin show myPerfectPlugin

The full YAML for the plugin will be printed. Similar to how sonobuoy gen plugin e2e prints the whole, default e2e plugin.

Running an Installed Plugin

Once a plugin is installed, you run it by specifying the plugin by its filename (not the full path):

$ sonobuoy run -p myPerfectPlugin

You can even run multiple installed plugins or continue to use absolute filepaths or URLs:

$ sonobuoy run -p myPerfectPlugin -p e2e -p example.com/raw/yourPlugin.yaml

Uninstalling a Plugin

Uninstalling a plugin is exactlty as you’d expect; just specify the plugin by filename in the command:

$ sonobuoy plugin uninstall myPerfectPlugin

Conclusion & Roadmap

We hope you find these commands intuitive and helpful. By installing a plugin you can more easily save various configurations rather than having a pile of YAML files throughout multiple directories.

We’d like to continue to expand this feature to be even more helpful including:

  • Integration with sonobuoy-plugins repo in order to easily list/show/install plugins that are available there.
  • Improved output. This is definitely a first pass and as we get some feedback about how the feature is used we can improve the UI to be more streamlined and helpful.
  • Semi-automatic updates. Since a plugin can define its own source URL, we could check for changes to the plugin and update the plugin (e.g. sonobuoy plugin update yourPerfectPlugin)

Try it out and let us know your successes or frustrations with this new feature.

Happy testing!

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To help you get started, see the documentation.