Cloud Code for Cloud Shell Kubernetes overview

This page provides an overview of Kubernetes development in Cloud Code.

Use the Kubernetes Explorer in Cloud Code

The Kubernetes Explorer lets you access information about your clusters, nodes, workloads, and more, right from your IDE. You can also set a current context, stream and view logs, open an interactive terminal, and look up resource descriptions with the Kubernetes Explorer.

Cloud Code Kubernetes explorer

Cloud Code uses the default kubeconfig file, located under the $HOME/.kube directory on MacOS/Linux or %USERPROFILE%\.kube on Windows, for retrieving Kubernetes resources. You can switch or add new Kubeconfig files from within the Kubernetes Explorer. Kubeconfig files are YAML files containing your Kubernetes cluster details, certificate, and secret token for authenticating to the cluster.

To use a kubeconfig file other than the default kubeconfig, refer to the Work with kubeconfig files guide.

Access the Kubernetes Explorer

To view and manage your Kubernetes resources, access the Kubernetes Explorer by clicking Cloud Code and expanding the Kubernetes section. To view debugging sessions or create a sample app, expand the Development sessions section.

Access the Development sessions section

Use the Development sessions to run or debug your Kubernetes application or create a sample application using a template.

When you start a development or debugging session, the Development sessions section displays the structured logging view.

Development sessions pane

To access the Development sessions, click Cloud Code and expand the Development sessions section.

Basic actions

The Kubernetes Explorer is powered by kubectl. As long as you've configured your kubectl config file to access your clusters, you can use the Kubernetes Explorer to add clusters, browse all your available namespaces, resources, and nodes for your clusters, regardless of them being in the active or inactive context.

Clusters section

The available general Kubernetes actions, accessible through their icons in the Kubernetes Explorer Clusters section, are:

  • add Add a cluster to the KubeConfig
  • refresh Refresh the Kubernetes Explorer
  • question_mark Open the Cloud Code Kubernetes documentation in a web browser

Development sessions section

The available Kubernetes actions, accessible through their icons in the Kubernetes Development sessions section, are:

  • Open Kubernetes sample icon Open a Kubernetes sample application
  • play_arrow Run your application
  • Debug icon Debug your application

Copy a resource name

You can copy any Kubernetes resource name to the clipboard (including container and cluster names). To copy a resource name, right-click on the resource and choose Copy resource name.

Copy resource name using right-click menu

Refresh resources

The Kubernetes Explorer watches for changes and automatically refreshes to reflect updates. To force a refresh of any Kubernetes resource to fetch its latest information, right-click the resource and choose Refresh.

Refresh pods using right-click menu

You can also force a refresh of the entire Kubernetes Explorer Clusters section using the Clusters section's refresh button.

Clusters section refresh button

Describe resources

To display the details of any non-cluster resource, right-click the resource, then select Describe. A terminal opens and displays the resource information. Describe resource details in right-click menu

Customize your launch configuration

To configure how your application is run, you can customize your skaffold.yaml file.

View remote YAML

To view the YAML of a resource in your cluster, select or hover over the resource to show the Edit YAML and View YAML icons. Select the View YAML button to open the YAML file corresponding to your specified resource in a new editor tab.

Kubernetes service YAML opened using the View YAML icon

View logs

You can stream and view logs from Kubernetes resources into the Kubernetes Explorer console to monitor their progress.

To open the logs viewer, open the command palette by pressing Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+P or clicking View > Command Palette then select Cloud Code: View Logs.

View logs dialog in the command palette

The logs viewer opens in a new editor tab.

Logs viewer To view logs for a pod or container, right click on the resource and select View logs.

Viewing logs for a pod

Launch a terminal

For pods and containers, you can open an interactive terminal by right-clicking the pod or container and selecting Get terminal.

Opening an interactive terminal

Resource-specific actions

The Kubernetes Explorer displays clusters, namespaces, nodes, workloads (such as deployments, replicasets, pods and containers), services and ingresses, configurations (such as secrets and config maps) and storage (such as volumes). Using the Kubernetes Explorer, you can perform unique actions on some of these resources.


  • Add a cluster to the Kubeconfig: Add an existing GKE or minikube cluster or create a new one.

The Add Cluster dialog appears and you can choose the project and cluster you'd like to use or create a new cluster.

Choosing cluster platform

Create or choose a GKE cluster

  • Set as active cluster: Set the specified cluster as active such that your configured kubectl context accesses this cluster by default.

    Set cluster as active using right-click menu

The Kubernetes Explorer refreshes automatically and you'll see the Kubernetes symbol next to the appropriate cluster.

If a cluster has multiple contexts configured, you'll be able to choose one of the available contexts to set as the current context.


  • Set as active namespace: Set a namespace as active such that your configured kubectl context accesses this namespace by default.

    Right-click the namespace you want to set as active.

    Set namespace as the current context using the right-click menu

If this action is successful, the Kubernetes Explorer refreshes automatically and you'll see an asterisk next to the namespace to signify that it's part of the current context.

Note that a Kubernetes context is a shortcut which gives you quick access to a namespace in your cluster. Contexts are normally created automatically when you start a minikube or GKE cluster. If you don't see the Set as current context option for a given namespace and you'd like to create a context for it, use the kubectl config set-context command in your terminal to set a context with your preferred cluster, user, and namespace.


  • View Logs: View logs from a pod into the Kubernetes Explorer Console.
  • Get Terminal: Get terminal for a pod in the Kubernetes Explorer Console.

    Additionally, running pods have colored status marks next to their labels:

    • Red: Pod is in a failed state
    • Yellow: Pod is starting or terminating
    • Green: Pod is healthy and running
Green check mark next to pod indicating healthy status


  • View logs: View logs from a container into the Kubernetes Explorer console.
  • Get Terminal: Get terminal for a container in the Kubernetes Explorer console.


  • View logs: View logs from a deployment into the Kubernetes Explorer console.

    Live deployments have colored status marks next to their labels and counts of current/total replicas:

    • Yellow: Deployment does not have minimum availability or have image problems.
    • Green: Deployment is healthy and had minimum availability.
Green deployment icons indicating healthy status


Nodes of your cluster have colored status marks next to their names:

  • Yellow: Node has a resource problem such as memory or disk availability.
  • Green: Node is healthy.

Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs)

The Kubernetes Explorer lists all Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) installed and available on your cluster:

List of custom resource definitions in the Explorer

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