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Working with Kabanero Collections

duration 30 minutes

What you will learn

You will learn how to create a local Kabanero Collection Hub for your organisation. After learning about the general structure of Collections, you will apply some changes for an application stack. You will then build, test, and publish your own customised Kabanero Collection.

This guide does not cover working with Tekton pipelines, which is the subject of a separate guide.


  1. Docker must be installed.

  2. Appsody must be installed.

  3. To build a Kabanero Collection, yq must be installed for processing YAML files.

  4. (Optional) To build a Codewind index file that can be used for local application development with VS Code, Eclipse, or Eclipse Che, you must also install python3 and pyyaml for processing YAML files.

Getting started

A Kabanero Collection Hub contains a set of Kabanero Collections that organisations can use to develop, build, and deploy containerized, microservice-based applications.

A Kabanero Collection includes an Appsody stack, together with build and deployment artifacts, such as Tekton pipelines along with an enterprise-grade Kubernetes operator for deployment and day2 operations of the runtime and framework. Appsody Stacks consist of base container images and project templates for a specific language runtime and framework, such as Eclipse Microprofile with Open Liberty, Spring Boot with Tomcat, or Node.js with Express.

Creating a local Kabanero Collection Hub

The public Kabanero Collection Hub contains all the latest collections from the Kabanero project. Before working with Kabanero Collections, you must create a Kabanero Collection Hub locally by cloning the public GitHub repository. This will allow you to customize, enable, or disable individual Collections for your enterprise. Customizations you make can be merged with future updates from the public Collection Hub using standard Git.

Run the following commands to clone the public Kabanero Collection Hub and push a copy to a private Git repository:

git clone -b <branch_name>
cd collections
git remote add private-org
git push -u private-org

where <branch-name> refers to a Kabanero release branch, such as release-0.2.

Understanding the file structure

Now that you have a local clone of the Kabanero Collection Hub, you will learn about the file structure so that you are familiar with the contents and configurable components.

Kabanero Collections are categorized into one of the following collection types:

  • stable collections meet a set of predefined technical requirements.

  • incubator collections are actively being worked on to meet the requirements for a stable collection.

  • experimental collections are just that! Early delivery of experimental collections allow for testing and socialization of new technologies and approaches to solving problems. Quality might vary.

Although three categories are available, Kabanero builds only incubator collections.

In a Kabanero Collection GitHub repository, collections are contained in a folder that matches the collection category. For example, stable/, incubator/, or experimental/. Each folder contains a common/ directory for pipelines, and a collection folder for each collection in that category. For example:

├── common/
|   ├── pipelines/
|   |   ├── <common-pipeline-1>/
|   |   |       └── [pipeline files that make up a full tekton pipeline used with all collections in this category]
|   |   └── <common-pipeline-n>/
|   |           └── [pipeline files that make up a full tekton pipeline used with all collections in this category]
├── collection-1/
|   ├── [collection files]
├── collection-2/
|   └── [collection files]

Each collection has a standard file system structure, which is represented in the following diagram:

├── stack.yaml
├── collection.yaml
├── image/
|   ├── config/
|   |   └── app-deploy.yaml
|   ├── project/
|   |   ├── [files that provide the technology components of the stack]
|   |   └── Dockerfile
│   ├── Dockerfile-stack
|   └── LICENSE
├── pipelines/
|   ├── my-pipeline-1/
|   |       └── [pipeline files that make up the full tekton pipeline]
└── templates/
    ├── my-template-1/
    |       └── [example files as a starting point for the application, E.g. "hello world"]
    └── my-template-2/
            └── [example files as a starting point for a more complex application]

When you build a collection, the build processes some files in this structure to generate a container image for the collection. Other files, such as templates and pipelines, are compressed and stored as tar files in an Appsody repository. The container images are used by the Appsody CLI to generate a container for local application development.

By modifying the files in a collection you can customize a collection for your organisation. The following list describes each file and its purpose:

Describes the contents of the collection and how it should be used.


Defines the different attributes of the stack and which template the stack should use by default.


Defines the different attributes of the collection and which container image and pipeline the collection should use by default.


Defines the configuration for deploying an Appsody project that uses the Appsody Operator. The Appsody Operator is a Kubernetes operator that can install, upgrade, remove, and monitor application deployments on Kubernetes clusters.


Defines the deployment container image that is created by the appsody build command. The Dockerfile contains the content from the stack and the application that is created by a developer, which is typically based on one of the templates. The image can be used to run the final application in a test or production Kubernetes environment where the Appsody CLI is not present.


Defines the development container image for the stack, exposed ports, and a set of Appsody environment variables that can be used during local application development.


Details the license terms for the Collection.


This directory contains Tekton pipeline information for a Collection. The pipeline information defines kubernetes-style resources for declaring CI/CD pipelines. A Collection can have multiple pipelines.


This directory contains pre-configured templates for applications that can be used with a stack image. These templates help a developer get started with a development project.

Modifying Collections

In some cases, you might want to modify a Collection to change the software components, the version of a software component, or expose a specific port for a type of application.

In this guide, you will modify the java-microprofile collection to change the version of Open Liberty that you use during development of your application.

Locate the java-microprofile collection in the incubator directory. The changes that you need to make are in the image directory, which contains all the artifacts needed for the development container image.

Open the image/project/pom.xml file and locate the section that defines the Open Liberty runtime. Search for the string <!-- OpenLiberty runtime. The section looks similar to the following example:

<!-- OpenLiberty runtime -->

Change the value of <version.openliberty-runtime> from to the fixpack level that you are updating to. For example,

Next, locate the section that references the Maven enforcer plugin, which the build uses to ensure that the correct version of the Open Liberty runtime is being used. The section looks similar to the following example:

<!-- maven-enforcer-plugin -->
        <!-- Enforcing OpenLiberty and JDK Version -->
                            <regexMessage>OpenLiberty runtime version must be</regexMessage>

Change the <regex> and <regexMessage> values from to the fixpack level that you are updating to. For example,

Now save your changes to the pom.xml file.

If you want to update the version of OpenLiberty your application is deployed on, you’ll also need to make changes to the deployment Dockerfile that is used to build the deployment container. Open the image/project/Dockerfile file and locate the second FROM statement. The line looks similar to the following example:

FROM openliberty/open-liberty:

Update the line with your target container image. For example, the following line would default to always deploying your application on the microProfile3-ubi-min image (latest tag available).

FROM openliberty/open-liberty:microProfile3-ubi-min

Details on available tags can be found on the OpenLiberty dockerhub repository.

Modified Collections must be built before they can be tested and released for developers to use. This task is covered in a later section of the guide.

You can also modify the default Tekton pipeline that is part of this Collection. However, this guide does not cover working with Tekton pipelines, which is the subject of another guide.

Creating Collections

Although it is possible to create a new Collection for your organisation, we’re not going to do this as part of this guide. However, the following steps outline the necessary tasks:

  • Determine which collection category you want for your collection. For example, incubator.

  • Follow the instructions on the Appsody website for Creating a Stack.

  • If you don’t want to use the common pipelines (common/pipelines/), create and add any collection-specific pipelines in the <collection>/pipelines directory.

  • Create a collection.yaml file in your new collection folder.

Example collection.yaml:

default-image: <new-collection-name>
default-pipeline: default
- id: <new-collection-name>
   image: $IMAGE_REGISTRY_ORG/<new-collection-name>:<version>


  • default-image: specifies the container image to use for this collection.

  • default-pipeline: specifies which pipeline to use.

  • images: provides information about the container images used for this collection.

  • - id: specifies the container image reference information. Multiple - id: values can be specified, each with a unique container image, but only one can be used by the collection. The name of the container image you want to use must be specified in default-image:.

  • $IMAGE_REGISTRY_ORG defines the name of the image registry to use. The default is kabanero, which indicates the Registry organisation of kabanero where the container images are stored.

  • <version> is the version of your container image.

New Collections must be built before they can be tested and released for developers to use. This task is covered in a later section of the guide.

Deleting Collections

If there are Collections that you never need, you can delete them. Simply delete the directory that contains the collection before you build. As an alternative, you can set environment variables to exclude collections from the build process, which is covered later in the build section.

Setting up a local build environment

In addition to the tools that are defined in the pre-requisites section of this guide, to correctly build a Collection, set the following environment variables by running export <ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE=option> on the command line:


Defines the organization for images


Defines whether to build the Codewind index file for application development in VS Code, Eclipse, or Eclipse Che. If you want to build and test a collection for use with Codewind in an IDE, change this value to true.

You are now ready to build a Collection.

Building Collections

To build all the incubator collections, run the following command from the root directory of your local Kabanero Collections repository:


The build processes the files for incubator collections, testing the format of the files, and finally building the development container images. When the build completes, you can find the images in your local registry by running the docker images command.

Other collection assets can be found in the $PWD/ci/assets/ directory.

Excluding a collection

If you want to exclude a collection at build time, you must set the following two environment variables:


Defines the category of collection to search. For example, export REPO_LIST=incubator builds only collections in the incubator directory, which is the default. To build collections in the experimental and incubator categories, use export REPO_LIST=incubator experimental.


Defines which collections to exclude from the build. For example, export EXCLUDED_STACKS=incubator/nodejs

Testing a Collection locally

First, make sure that your local Kabanero index is correctly added to the Appsody repository list by running appsody repo list. The output is similar to the following example:

If the kabanero-index-local repository is not in the list, add it manually by running the following command:

appsody repo add kabanero-index-local file://$PWD/ci/assets/kabanero-index-local.yaml

To set your repository as the default, run:

appsody repo set-default kabanero-index-local

You can now test your updated collection.

To test the collections using local container images, rather than pulling them from docker hub, set the following environment variable:


To create a new project that is based on your updated collection, run:

mkdir java-microprofile
cd java-microprofile
appsody init java-microprofile

The project is created in the java-microprofile directory with a sample starter application. To start the development environment, type appsody run.

The Appsody CLI starts the development container, builds all the necessary stack components, and runs the starter microservice application. When the process completes, the following message is shown:

[Container] [INFO] [AUDIT   ] CWWKF0011I: The defaultServer server is ready to run a smarter planet. The defaultServer server started in 20.235 seconds.

If you scroll upwards in the console, you can see that Open Liberty is in use. The output looks similar to the following example:

Diagram shows the output from the `appsody run` command, which confirms that Open Liberty is in use.

If you open your browser to http://localhost:9080 you can see that the starter microservice application is running successfully, as shown in the following diagram:

Diagram shows the browser running the Welcome to your Appsody microservice starter app.

Congratulations! The changes you made to the Kabanero Collection were successful.

Full testing for your collections would not be complete without testing your pipelines. Working with pipelines is covered in a separate guide.

Releasing Collections

When you are happy with the changes to your Collection, push the changes back to your GIT repository:

git commit -a -m "Test Kabanero Collection created"
git push -u private-org

You can use Jenkins or Travis to trigger events. For example, you can set up a Travis to automatically build your collections when a GIT merge takes place, providing an additional build test.

It is good practice to create release tags in GIT for versions of your collections. Create a GIT tag for your test collection:

git tag v0.1.0 -m "Test collection, version 0.1.0"

Push the tags to your GIT repository by running git push --tags.

Again, you can set up Travis to automatically trigger a build that generates a GIT release, pushing the images to the image repository for your organisation. If you want to learn how to manually create a GIT release from a local build, see Create GIT release manually.

Note: When using Github Enterprise to store collections, you might need an alternative mechanism for hosting your release artifacts due to authentication requirements. See Hosting your collections using NGINX, which describes the steps needed to build your collections and deploy an NGINX server to host them into your Kabanero instance.

Now that you’ve built your local Collection Hub and customized your Collections, remember to do the following tasks:

  1. Publish the release URL to your developers so that they can set up Appsody CLI or Eclipse Codewind IDE Extensions to point at the new Collection Hub.

  2. Activate the Collections in the target Kabanero instance so that the Tekton pipelines can be installed in that environment.

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