The workshop content can script the steps a user needs to run for a workshop. In some cases you may need to parameterize that content with information from the runtime environment. Data variables in workshop content allow this to a degree, but in some cases you may want to automate this through scripts executed in the workshop container to setup configuration files.

This is possible by supplying setup scripts which are run when the container is started. If necessary you can also run persistent background processes in the container which perform extra work for you while a workshop is being run.

Pre-defined environment variables

When creating the workshop content, you can use data variables to automatically insert values corresponding to the specific workshop session or environment. Examples are the name of the namespace used for the session, and the ingress domain when creating an ingress route.

These data variables could be used to display a YAML/JSON resource file in the workshop content with values automatically filled out. You could also have executable commands which have the data variables substituted with values given as arguments to the commands.

For commands run in the shell environment, a number of pre-defined environment variables are also available which could be referenced directly.

Key environment variables are:

  • WORKSHOP_NAMESPACE - The name of the namespace used for the workshop environment.
  • SESSION_NAMESPACE - The name of the namespace the workshop instance is linked to and into which any deployed applications will run.
  • INGRESS_DOMAIN - The host domain which should be used in the any generated hostname of ingress routes for exposing applications.
  • INGRESS_PROTOCOL - The protocol (http/https) that is used for ingress routes which are created for workshops.

Instead of having an executable command in the workshop content use:

kubectl get all -n %session_namespace%

with the value of the session namespace filled out when the page is renderer, you could use:

kubectl get all -n $SESSION_NAMESPACE

and the value of the environment variable will be inserted by the shell.

Running steps on container start

To run a script which makes use of the above environment variables when the container is started, in order to perform tasks such as pre-create YAML/JSON resource definitions with values filled out, you can add an executable shell script to the workshop/setup.d directory. The name of the executable shell script must have a .sh suffix for it to be recognised and run.

Be aware that if the container is restarted, the setup script will be run again in the new container. If the shell script is performing actions against the Kubernetes REST API using kubectl or through another means, then the actions it performs need to be tolerant of being run more than once.

When using a setup script to fill out values in resource files a useful utility to use is envsubst. This could be used in a setup script as follows:


envsubst < frontend/ > frontend/ingress.yaml

A reference of the form ${INGRESS_DOMAIN} in the input file will be replaced with the value of the INGRESS_DOMAIN environment variable.

Setup scripts when run will have the /home/eduk8s directory as the current working directory.

If you are creating or updating files in the file system and using a custom workshop image, ensure that the workshop image is created with correct file permissions to allow updates.

Running background applications

The setup scripts are run once on container startup. Although you could use the script to start a background application which is needed to run in the container for the life of the workshop, if that application stops it will not be restarted.

If you need to run a background application, the preferred mechanism is to integrate the management of the background application with the supervisor daemon run within the container.

To have the supervisor daemon manage the application for you, add a configuration file snippet for the supervisor daemon in the workshop/supervisor directory. This configuration file must have a .conf extension.

The form of the configuration file snippet should be:


The application should send any logging output to stdout or stderr, and the configuration snippet should in turn direct log output to /proc/1/fd/1 so that it is captured in the container log file.

If you need to restart or shutdown the application within the workshop interactive terminal, you can use the supervisorctl control script.

Terminal user shell environment

Neither the setup scripts run when the container starts, or background applications, affect the user environment of the terminal shell. The shell environment makes use of bash and the $HOME/.bash_profile script is read to perform additional setup for the user environment. Because some default setup is included in $HOME/.bash_profile, you should not replace it as you will loose that configuration.

If you want to provide commands to initialize each shell environment, you can provide the file workshop/profile. When this file exists, it would be sourced at the end of the $HOME/.bash_profile file when it is processed.

Overriding terminal shell command

Each terminal session will be started up using the bash terminal shell and a terminal prompt will be displayed, allowing commands to be manually entered or via clickable actions targetting the terminal session.

If you want to specify the command to be run for a terminal session, you can supply an executable shell script file in the workshop/terminal directory.

The name of the shell script file for a terminal session must be of the form <session>.sh, where <session> is replaced with the name of the terminal session. The session names of the default terminals that can be configured to be displayed with the dashboard are "1", "2" and "3".

The shell script file might be used to run a terminal based application such as k9s, or to create an ssh session to a remote system.


exec k9s

If the command that is run exits, the terminal session will be marked as exited and you will need to reload that terminal session to start over again. Alternatively you could write the shell script file as a loop so it restarts the command you want to run if it ever exits.


while true; do
    sleep 1

If you still want to run an interactive shell, but want to output a banner at the start of the session with special information for the user, you can use a script file to output the banner and then run the interactive shell.


echo "Your session namespace is "$SESSION_NAMESPACE".

exec bash
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