Schemas for Kubernetes types

I’ve been playing around building a few Kubernetes developer tools at the moment and a few of those led me to the question; how do I validate this Kubernetes resource definition? This simple question led me through a bunch of GitHub issues without resolution, conversations with folks who wanted something similar, the OpenAPI specification and finally to what I hope is a nice resolution.

If you’re just after the schemas and don’t care for the details just head on over to the following GitHub repositories.

OpenShift gets a separate repository as it has an independent version scheme and adds a number of additional types into the mix.

But why?

It’s worth asking the question why before delving too far into the how. Let’s go back to the problem; I have a bunch of Kubernetes resource definitions, lets say in YAML, and I want to know if they are valid?

Now you might be thinking I could just run them with kubectl? This raises a few issues which I don’t care for in a developer tool:

Here are a few knock-on effects of the above issues:

Hopefully at this point it’s clear why the above doesn’t work. I don’t want to have to run a boat load of Kubernetes infrastructure to validate the structure of a text file. Why can’t I just have a schema in a standard format with widespread library support?

From OpenAPI to JSON Schema

Under-the-hood Kubernetes is all about types. Pods, ReplicationControllers, Deployments, etc. It’s these primatives that give Kubernetes it’s power and shape. These are described in the Kubernetes source code and are used to generate an OpenAPI description of the Kubernetes HTTP API. I’ve been spelunking here before with some work on generating Puppet types from this same specification.

The latest version of OpenAPI in fact already contains the type information we seek, encoded in a superset of JSON Schema in the definitions key. This is used by the various tools which generate clients from that definition. For instance the official python client doesn’t know about these types directly, it all comes from the OpenAPI description of the API. But how do we use those definitions separately for our own nefarious validation purposes? Here’s a quick sample of what we see in the 50,000 line-long OpenAPI definition file

- definitions: {
    io.k8s.api.admissionregistration.v1alpha1.AdmissionHookClientConfig: {
      description: "AdmissionHookClientConfig contains the information to make a TLS connection with the webhook",
      required: [
      properties: {
        caBundle: {
          description: "CABundle is a PEM encoded CA bundle which will be used to validate webhook's server certificate. Required",
          type: "string",
          format: "byte"
        service: {
          description: "Service is a reference to the service for this webhook. If there is only one port open for the service, that port will be used. If there are multiple ports open, port 443 will be used if it is open, otherwise it is an error. Required",
          $ref: "#/definitions/io.k8s.api.admissionregistration.v1alpha1.ServiceReference"

The discussion around wanting JSON Schemas for Kubernetes types has cropped up in a few places before, there are some useful comments on this issue for instance. I didn’t find a comprehensive solution however, so set out on a journey to build one.


The tooling I’ve build for this purpose is called openapi2jsonschema. It’s not Kubernetes specific and should work with other OpenAPI specificied APIs too, although as yet I’ve done only a little testing of that. Usage of openapi2jsonschema is fairly straightforward, just point it at the URL for an OpenAPI definition and watch it generate a whole bunch of files.


openapi2jsonschema can generate different flavours of output, useful for slightly different purposes. You probably only need to care about this if you’re generating you’re own schemas or you want to work completely offline.

The build script for the Kubernetes schemas is a simple way of seeing this in practice.

Published Schemas

Using the above tooling I’m publishing Schemas for Kubernetes, and for OpenShift, which can be used directly from GitHub.

As an example of what these look like, here are the links to the latest deployment schemas for 1.6.1:

A simple example

There are lots of use cases for these schemas, although they are primarily useful as a low-level part of other developer workflow tools. But at a most basic level you can validate a Kubernetes config file.

Here is a quick example using the Python jsonschema client and an invalid deployment file:

$ jsonschema -F "{error.message}" -i hello-nginx.json
u'template' is a required property

What to do with all those schema?

As noted these schemas have lots of potential uses for development tools. Here are a few ideas, some of which I’ve already been hacking on:

If you do use these schemas for anything please let me know, and I’ll try and keep them updated with releases of Kubernetes and OpenShift. I plan on polishing the openapi2jsonschema tool when I get some time, and I’d love to know if anyone uses that with other OpenAPI compatible APIs. And if all you want to do is validate your Kubernetes configuration and don’t care too much about what’s happening under the hood then stick around for the next blog post.