Cloud Code for IntelliJ Kubernetes overview

This page provides an overview of Kubernetes development in Cloud Code.

Use the Kubernetes Explorer in Cloud Code

The Kubernetes Explorer lets you access information about your clusters, nodes, workloads, and more, right from your IDE. You can also set a current context, stream and view logs, open an interactive terminal, and look up resource descriptions with the Kubernetes Explorer.

Cloud Code Kubernetes explorer

Cloud Code uses the default kubeconfig file, located under the $HOME/.kube directory on MacOS/Linux or %USERPROFILE%\.kube on Windows, for retrieving Kubernetes resources. You can switch or add new Kubeconfig files from within the Kubernetes Explorer. Kubeconfig files are YAML files containing your Kubernetes cluster details, certificate, and secret token for authenticating to the cluster.

To use a kubeconfig file other than the default kubeconfig, refer to the Work with kubeconfig files guide.

Access the Kubernetes Explorer

To view and manage your Kubernetes resources, use the Kubernetes Explorer, accessible from the side panel on the right. Alternatively, it can be accessed using Tools > Cloud Code > Kubernetes > View Cluster Explorer.

When you start a development or debugging session, the Development sessions section displays the structured logging view.

Development sessions pane

Basic actions

The Kubernetes Explorer is powered by kubectl. As long as you've configured your kubectl config file to access your clusters, you can use the Kubernetes Explorer to add clusters, browse all your available namespaces, resources, and nodes for your clusters, regardless of them being in the active or inactive context.

The available general Kubernetes actions, accessible through their icons in the Kubernetes Explorer, are:

  • New Kubernetes app from a sample icon Create a new Kubernetes application from a sample
  • Refresh explorer icon Refresh the Explorer
  • open docs icon Open the Cloud Code Kubernetes documentation in a web browser

Additional common Kubernetes debugging actions, accessible through their icons in the Kubernetes Explorer, are:

  • Run icon Run the current Run/Debug configuration.
  • Debug icon Launch the run configuration in debug mode.
  • Debug stop icon Stop an active debugging session.

Copy a resource name

You can copy any Kubernetes resource name to the clipboard (including container and cluster names). To copy a resource name, right-click on the resource and choose Copy resource name.

Copy a resource name using right-click menu

Refresh resources

The Kubernetes Explorer watches for changes and automatically refreshes to reflect updates. To force a refresh of any Kubernetes resource to fetch its latest information, right-click the resource and choose Refresh.

Refresh pods using right-click menu

You can also force a refresh of the entire Kubernetes Explorer using the Kubernetes Explorer's refresh button. Kubernetes explorer refresh button

Describe resources

To display the details of any non-cluster resource, right-click the resource, then select Describe. The resource information is presented in the Kubernetes Explorer console panel.

Describe option available when right-clicking an appropriate resource within the Kubernetes Explorer and choosing Describe

To view resource details, you can also click any resource. If it has attached metadata, the metadata is available in the Resource Details panel in the Kubernetes Explorer.

Viewing resource metadata within the Resource Details panel available in the second half of the Kubernetes Explorer

Skaffold options

  • Skaffold configuration - selects a skaffold.yaml configuration file. Will be automatically detected if you have a skaffold.yaml in your project.
  • Deployment profile - selects a profile from the available options configured in your skaffold.yaml file.
  • Environment variables - allows you to configure additional environment variables to be passed to the Skaffold deployment process. Skaffold flags can also be configured as environment variables to be used in this field. Refer to the Skaffold CLI reference documentation for a comprehensive list of available Skaffold environment variables.
  • Verbosity - allows you to set your output verbosity level at trace, debug, info, warn, error, or fatal. The default verbosity level is warn.

Kubernetes options

  • Deployment Context - represents the Kubernetes context with which your application is deployed. The default behavior, if a deployment context is not specified, is deploying to your current system context if one exists.

    If you'd rather not deploy to the current context, under the Deployment section of Run/Debug settings, you can choose to:

    • Deploy locally to a minikube cluster - starts a Cloud Code-managed minikube cluster to run your app and stops the cluster after deployment stops. If a minikube cluster is already running, Cloud Code uses the existing minikube cluster for deployment.
    • Switch context and deploy to - changes the current context on your system to your specified context upon deployment.

      Selecting Kubernetes deployment context in a Cloud Code Kubernetes configuration

  • Delete deployments when finished - deletes Kubernetes deployments when the process is terminated. This is default behavior. Alternatively, you can toggle this setting to prevent deployments from being deleted

Customize your launch configuration

To configure how your application is run, you can customize your skaffold.yaml file.

You can also configure your launch in your Run/Debug configurations. To edit your configurations, go to Run > Edit configurations.

View remote YAML

To view the YAML of a resource in your cluster, right from the Kubernetes Explorer. Navigate to a resource in the Kubernetes Explorer, such as a pod, right-click the resource name, and then select View Remote YAML.

The YAML file corresponding to your specified resource opens in a new editor tab.

View the YAML of a pod by right-clicking its label in the Kubernetes Explorer and choose 'View Remote YAML'

View logs

You can stream and view logs from Kubernetes resources into the Kubernetes Explorer console to monitor their progress.

After your application builds and runs in either regular or development mode, you'll be able to monitor logs streaming from your application from within your IDE.

Viewing streamed logs from the Hello World Java application

You can also view logs from a specific service by navigating to the Kubernetes Explorer.

To select the resource you'd like to see logs from, such as a pod, a deployment, or a service:

  1. Right-click the resource and select Stream Logs. Alternatively, you can stream logs for individual containers running in pods.

    This outputs logs to the Kubernetes Explorer Console.

To view the status of resources in your deployment:

  • Pod, deployment and node statuses: These Kubernetes resources have colored status marks next to their labels; red for failed state, yellow for starting/terminating/warning, and green for healthy, desired state.

    Green check mark next to the pod label indicates healthy status

  • Deployed resource descriptions: You can run a kubectl describe on your deployed resources to display its details by right-clicking and choosing Describe.

    Describe option available when right-clicking an appropriate resource within
the Kubernetes Explorer panel and choosing Describe

Launch a terminal

For pods and containers, you can open an interactive terminal by right-clicking the pod or container and selecting Get terminal.

Opening an interactive terminal

Resource-specific actions

The Kubernetes Explorer displays clusters, namespaces, nodes, workloads (such as deployments, replicasets, pods and containers), services and ingresses, configurations (such as secrets and config maps) and storage (such as volumes). Using the Kubernetes Explorer, you can perform unique actions on some of these resources.

You can access the Kubernetes Explorer from the side panel or go to Tools > Cloud Code > Kubernetes > View Cluster Explorer.

Kubernetes Explorer panel open using the tab on the right side taskbar

To display the details of your deployed resources, right-click a resource label in the Kubernetes Explorer and then click Describe.

Describe option available when right-clicking an appropriate resource in the Kubernetes Explorer panel and choosing Describe


  • Add a Google Kubernetes Engine cluster: Add an existing Standard or Autopilot GKE cluster or create a new one by clicking + Add GKE Cluster within the Kubernetes Explorer.

The Add Cluster dialog appears and you can choose the project and cluster you'd like to use or create a new cluster.

Once done, click OK and access your chosen cluster and its underlying resources through the Kubernetes Explorer.

Adding a GKE cluster with Kubernetes Explorer dialog with fields for project and cluster names

  • Set as current context: Set specified cluster as active such that your configured kubectl context accesses this cluster by default.

    Setting a cluster as the current context with Kubernetes Explorer

The Kubernetes Explorer refreshes automatically and you'll see the Kubernetes symbol next to the appropriate cluster.

If a cluster has multiple contexts configured, you'll be able to choose one of the available contexts to set as the current context.

Choosing and setting an active cluster from a list of multiple contexts with Kubernetes Explorer


  • Set as current context: Set a namespace as active such that your configured kubectl context accesses this namespace by default.

    Set namespace as the current context using the right-click menu

If this action is successful, the Kubernetes Explorer refreshes automatically and you'll see an asterisk next to the namespace to signify that it's part of the current context.

Note that a Kubernetes context is a shortcut which gives you quick access to a namespace in your cluster. Contexts are normally created automatically when you start a minikube or GKE cluster. If you don't see the Set as current context option for a given namespace and you'd like to create a context for it, use the kubectl config set-context command in your terminal to set a context with your preferred cluster, user, and namespace.


  • View Logs: View logs from a pod into the Kubernetes Explorer Console.
  • Get Terminal: Get terminal for a pod in the Kubernetes Explorer Console.

    Additionally, running pods have colored status marks next to their labels:

    • Red: Pod is in a failed state
    • Yellow: Pod is starting or terminating
    • Green: Pod is healthy and running
Green check mark next to pod indication healthy status


  • View logs: View logs from a container into the Kubernetes Explorer console.
  • Get Terminal: Get terminal for a container in the Kubernetes Explorer console.
Streaming logs from a container using its right-click menu to output logs into the Kubernetes Explorer Console


  • View logs: View logs from a deployment into the Kubernetes Explorer console.

    Live deployments have colored status marks next to their labels and counts of current/total replicas:

    • Yellow: Deployment does not have minimum availability or have image problems.
    • Green: Deployment is healthy and had minimum availability.
Green deployment icons indicating healthy status


Nodes of your cluster have colored status marks next to their names:

  • Yellow: Node has a resource problem such as memory or disk availability.
  • Green: Node is healthy.

Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs)

The Kubernetes Explorer lists all Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) installed and available on your cluster:

List of custom resource definitions in the Explorer

What's next

Get support

To submit feedback or report an issue in your IntelliJ IDE, go to Tools > Cloud Code > Help / About > Submit feedback or report an issue to report an issue on GitHub, or ask a question on Stack Overflow.