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Use Tekton to automate your continuous integration process


Continuous integration is a software development technique where software is built regularly by a team in an automated fashion.

Tekton is a new emerging CI tool that has been built to support Kubernetes and OpenShift from the ground up.

What is Tekton

Tekton is a powerful yet flexible Kubernetes-native open-source framework for creating continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) systems. It lets you build, test, and deploy across multiple cloud providers or on-premises systems by abstracting away the underlying implementation details.

Tekton 101

Tekton provides open-source components to help you standardize your CI/CD tooling and processes across vendors, languages, and deployment environments. Industry specifications around pipelines, releases, workflows, and other CI/CD components available with Tekton will work well with existing CI/CD tools such as Jenkins, Jenkins X, Skaffold, and Knative, among others.

The IBM Cloud is standardizing on using Tekton in both IBM Cloud DevOps service and IBM Cloud Pak for Applications. OpenShift 4.2 will also natively support it.

This guide will focus on using Tekton when the Development tools have been installed in Redhat OpenShift, IBM Kubernetes Managed services and Red Hat Code Ready Containers to give you choice for you Continuous Integration cloud native development tool set.


This guide will help you set up the templates with Tekton and requires that you have installed Tekton with Red Hat Code Ready Containers or have installed open source Tekton into the The IBM Kubernetes Cluster.

Common App Tasks

The following gives a description of each Task that is commonly used in a Pipeline. The Optional stages can be deleted or ignored if the tool support it is not installed. These stages represent a typical production pipeline flow for a Cloud Native application.

  • Setup clones the code into the pipeline
  • Build runs the build commands for the code
  • Test validates the unit tests for the code
  • Publish pacts (optional) publishes any pact contracts that have been defined
  • Verify pact (optional) verifies the pact contracts
  • Sonar scan (optional) runs a sonar code scan of the source code and publishes the results to SonarQube
  • Build image Builds the code into a Docker images and stores it in the IBM Cloud Image registry
  • Deploy to DEV env Deploys the Docker image tagged version to dev namespace using Helm Chart
  • Health Check Validates the Health Endpoint of the deployed application
  • Package Helm Chart (optional) Stores the tagged version of the Helm chart into Artifactory
  • Trigger CD Pipeline (optional) This is a GitOps stage that will update the build number in designated git repo and trigger ArgoCD for deployment to test namespace

Install Tekton

Tekton can be installed in both RedHat Openshift and IBM Kubernetes manage service and RedHat Code Ready Containers. To install the necessary components follow the steps below.

  • Install Cloud-Native Toolkit CLI on your managed OpenShift,CRC or IKS development cluster on the IBM Cloud. This will help configure the tools and secrets and configMap to make working with IBM Cloud so much easier.

Install on OpenShift 4.x

  • If you have installed the IBM Garage for Cloud Developer Tools into your cluster this will automatically install the operator for you.

  • Install Tekton on OpenShift 4 including CodeReady Containers (CRC)

    • Install via operator hub Administrator perspective view, click Operator Hub search for OpenShift Pipelines and install operator

Install Tekton on IBM Kubernetes Managed Service

  • Install Tekton from Open Source Tekton Pipelines
  • Install Tekton Dashboard follow the instructions in the
  • Add Ingress endpoint for the Tekton Dashboard add a host name that uses the IKS cluster subdomain

    apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
    kind: Ingress
        name: tekton-dashboard
        namespace: tekton-pipelines
        - host:
            - backend:
                serviceName: tekton-dashboard
                servicePort: 9097
  • Install Tekton Triggers

Setup Tekton

  • Install Tekton pipelines and tasks into the dev namespace following the instructions in the repository ibm-garage-tekton-tasks
  • Install the Tasks

    kubectl create -f ibm-garage-tekton-tasks/tasks/ -n dev
  • Install the Pipelines

    kubectl create -f ibm-garage-tekton-tasks/pipelines/ -n dev

Configure namespace for development

  • Install the Tekton CLI tkn

  • Create a new namespace (ie dev-{initials}) and copy all config and secrets

igc namespace -n {new-namespace}
  • Set your new-namespace the current namespace context
oc project {new-namespace}
  • The template Pipelines provided support for Java or Node.js based apps. You can configure your own custom Tasks for other runtimes. There are a number of default Tasks to get you started they are detailed above. To create an application use one of the provided templates these templates work seamlessly with the Tasks and Pipelines provided.

Register the App with Tekton

With Tekton enabled and your default Tasks and Pipelines installed into the dev namespace. You can now configure your applications to be built, packaged, tested and deployed to your OpenShift or Kubernetes development cluster.

  • Connect to the pipeline. (See the IGC CLI for details about how the pipeline command works.)

    igc pipeline -n dev-{initials} --tekton

Verify the pipeline

To validate your pipeline have been correctly configured, and has triggered a PipelineRunuse the following Tekton dashboards or tkn CLI to validate it ran correctly without errors.

  • Review you Pipeline in the OpenShift 4.x Console Pipeline run
  • Review your Tasks Tasks
  • Review your Steps Steps

If you are running Tekton with IBM Cloud Pak for Applications or Knative with Kubernetes managed service your dashboard view will look similar to below.

  • Review your Pipeline PipelineRun

If you are running Tekton with IBM Cloud Pak for Applications or Knative with Kubernetes managed service your dashboard view will look similar to below.

  • Review your Pipeline

    tkn pipelinerun list
  • Review Pipeline details

    tkn pipelinerun describe {pipeline-name}

Running Application

Once the Tekton pipeline has successfully completed you can validate your app has been successfully deployed.

  • Open the OpenShift Console and select the {new-namespace} project and click on Workloads OpenShift

  • Get the hostname for the application from ingress

    kubectl get ingress --all-namespace
  • You can use the the igc command to get the name of the deployed application

    igc ingress -n {new-namespace}
  • Use the application URL to open it your browser for testing

Once you become familiar with deploying code into OpenShift using Tekton, read up about how you can manage code deployment with Continuous Delivery with ArgoCD and Artifactory