Features and usage

Last updated 4 months ago

Now that you've had a glimpse of the basic Garden commands in the Quick Start guide, and a brief look at the main Concepts we'll be dealing with, let's go through what some typical Garden workflows look like.

Starting a new project

To start a new project, you create a garden.yml file in the project's root directory. At it's simplest, the project level garden.yml file looks something like this:

# examples/simple-project/garden.yml
name: simple-project
- name: local
- name: local-kubernetes

You then add a garden.yml file at the root directory of every module in your project. Normally, a module is a single container or a single serverless function. A module level garden.yml file looks something like this:

# examples/simple-project/services/go-service/garden.yml
name: go-service
description: Go service container
type: container
- name: go-service
- name: http
containerPort: 8080
servicePort: 80
- path: /hello-go
port: http

To learn more about how to configure a Garden project, please take a look at our Configuration files document.

For a practical example of "gardenifying" an existing project, check out the Simple project example.

The development workflow

Most of the time, the development workflow when using Garden after the configuration files are set is extremely simple: you leave garden dev running, and Garden will automatically re-build, re-deploy, and re-test your project as you work on it.

Sometimes though, you might prefer to skip the testing step, in which case you can simply use garden deploy --watch. This will watch for changes, then build and deploy them, but it'll skip testing.

Another important topic to keep in mind is inter-service communication. As previously discussed, your project has multiple services, and they need to talk to each other at some point. That's pretty simple: a service's hostname is simply its name. So a the hostname for a service called my-service is simply http://my-service/.

For example, the following snippet calls a different service in the project called go-service.

request.get('http://go-service/hello-go').then(message => {res.json({message})})

Lastly, when things go wrong you should refer to the error logs. These consist of an error.log file in the project root, along with the service logs that you can retrieve from the individual pods in your cluster.

For the latter, you can use the garden logs command, followed by the name of the service you'd like to query. For example garden logs go-service would fetch the logs for the go-service service, while garden logs go-service,node-service would fetch the logs for both the go-service and the node-service services.

The garden logs command is functionally equivalent to kubectl logs, but simpler to execute.


Whenever "a module's type" is mentioned in the documentation, what's meant is "which provider will handle this module?" Providers, as previously discussed, are responsible for implementing different behaviors for say containers and serverless functions, and they need to be specified in a module's configuration files.

For a comprehensive list of providers available in Garden, check out the References

Testing and dependencies

Both tests and dependencies are specified in Garden's garden.yml configuration files.

Service dependencies are a field within the services declaration. Here's a snippet, from our TLS project example:

name: node-service
description: Node service container
type: container
- name: node-service
- go-service

Tests should be specified the same way, and in the case of integration tests their dependencies should be present as well. Another snippet from the same file:

- name: unit
args: [npm, test]
- name: integ
args: [npm, run, integ]
- go-service

Above we're using npm test and npm run integ for our tests, but they can be anything you'd like. The only constraint is that Garden follows the typical Unix exit codes convention: 0 means success, and any non-zero exit codes represent failure.

Advanced features

For Garden's more advanced features, see the following docs:

  • Hot Reload, for how to automatically update files in a running container without having to restart it and lose state.

  • TLS project, for—drumroll!—how to set up TLS with Garden.

  • Remote sources project, for how to integrate multiple remote and local repositories within the same project.