Projects

The first step to using Garden is to create a project. You can use the garden create project helper command, or manually create a project.garden.yml file in the root directory of your project:

# project.garden.yml - located in the top-level directory of your project
kind: Project
name: my-project
environments:
- name: local
providers:
- name: local-kubernetes
environments: ["local"]

We suggest naming it project.garden.yml for clarity, but you can also use garden.yml or any filename ending with .garden.yml.

The helper command has the benefit of including all the possible fields you can configure, and their documentation, so you can quickly scan through the available options and uncomment as needed.

How it Works

The top-level project.garden.yml file is where project-wide configuration takes place. This includes environment configurations and project variables. Most importantly, it's where you declare and configure the providers you want to use for your project (see below).

Garden treats the directory containing the project configuration as the project's top-level directory. Garden commands that run in subdirectories of the project root are assumed to apply to that project, and commands above/outside a project root will fail—similarly to how Git uses the location of the repo's .git directory as the repo's root directory.

Environments and namespaces

Every Garden command is run against one of the environments defined in the project-level configuration file. You can specify the environment with the --env flag or by setting a defaultEnvironment. Alternatively, Garden defaults to the first environment defined in your configuration.

An environment can be partitioned using namespaces. A common use-case is to split a shared development or testing environment by namespace, between e.g. users or different branches of code.

Namespaces are similar in nature to Kubernetes but do not directly map to Kubernetes namespaces unless you explicitly configure them to do so. By default, the kubernetes and local-kubernetes providers set the Kubernetes namespace to <project name>-<Garden namespace>. You can override this by setting the namespace field in the respective provider configuration (more on that below), for example namespace: ${environment.namespace}.

Here's a fairly typical list of environments:

kind: Project
name: my-project
defaultEnvironment: dev
environments:
- name: local # local development environment
- name: dev # remote/shared development environment
defaultNamespace: user-${local.username}
- name: staging
production: true
- name: prod
production: true

A few things to notice here. Starting with the two development environments, we have a local one for those preferring to e.g. use a local Kubernetes cluster, and a shared dev environment. For the latter we set the defaultNamespace to the current username (plus a prefix), to implicitly split it up by different users.

Another option there would be to set defaultNamespace: null and require users to explicitly set a namespace at runtime. You do this by specifying --env=<namespace>.<env> at the command line, e.g. --env=hellothisisme.dev.

For the other environments we leave defaultNamespace set to the default, which is simply default. So when you run Garden with --env=staging, that automatically expands to --env=default.staging.

The staging and prod environments have an additional flag set, the production flag. This flag changes some default behavior and turns on protection for certain Garden commands that might be destructive, e.g. garden deploy, requiring you to explicitly confirm that you want to execute them. See more details on that in the reference.

The current environment and namespace are frequently used in template strings. ${environment.name} resolves to the environment name (in the above example, local, dev, staging or prod), ${environment.namespace} resolves to the namespace, and ${environment.fullName} resolves to the two combined with a DNS-style notation, e.g. my-namespace.dev.

Providers

A project consists of one or more modules that each has a specific type, for example container or kubernetes. (We talk about adding modules in the next guide.) Providers implement some of the behaviour of these module types.

Consider a project with the following three environments:

kind: Project
name: my-project
environments:
- name: empty
- name: local
- name: remote
providers:
- name: local-kubernetes
environments: ["local"]
- name: kubernetes
environments: ["remote"]
context: my-context
...
---
kind: Module
name: my-module
type: container
...

Our choice of providers and their configuration dictates how the module in the example above is handled:

  1. If we run garden build my-module --env empty, the build handler for the container module type (which is configured automatically) will do the build, essentially calling docker build behind the scenes. Running garden deploy will fail because no provider is configured to handle the deployment.

  2. If we run garden build my-module --env local, the local-kubernetes provider will "step in". It will still build the module via Docker but it will also push the image to the local Kubernetes cluster. Running garden deploy will deploy the project to a local Kubernetes cluster such as Minikube or Docker Desktop.

  3. If we run garden build my-module --env remote, the kubernetes provider will take over. It basically does the same thing as the build handler for the local-kubernetes provider, but requires some extra configuration. Running garden deploy will deploy the project to the remote cluster.

Some of the most commonly used providers are the local Kubernetes provider and the remote Kubernetes provider.

Here's the full list of supported providers.

Project outputs

You can define project outputs using the outputs key in your project configuration that you can resolve and retrieve using the garden get outputs command. This is handy when you need to extract some values generated by Garden for further scripting, either in a custom script or within workflows.

For example, here's how you can output the image name and tag created from a container module build:

kind: Project
name: my-project
...
outputs:
my-module-image: ${modules.my-module.outputs.deployment-image-id}

You can then retrieve this value by running e.g. garden get outputs -o json and parsing the output with jq.

Examples

Variables

Variables defined in the project config are accessible in template strings for all the project's module configurations. To illustrate, here's the project configuration from the project-variables example project:

# examples/project-variables/garden.yml
kind: Project
name: my-project
variables:
# This variable is referenced in the module configs, and overridden in the local environment below
service-replicas: 3
environments:
- name: local
variables:
# We only want one replica of each service when developing locally
service-replicas: 1
- name: staging
providers:
- name: local-kubernetes
environments: ["local"]
- name: kubernetes
environments: ["staging"]
...

... and the configuration for a module in the same project:

# examples/project-variables/backend/garden.yml
kind: Module
name: backend
description: Backend service container
type: container
services:
- name: backend
replicas: ${var.service-replicas} # <- Refers to the variable set in the project config
...

Further Reading

Next Steps

Continue on to the next guide for an introduction to adding modules, the building blocks of any Garden project.