Introduction to YAML: Creating a Kubernetes Deployment

There’s an easier and more useful way to use Kubernetes to spin up resources outside of the command line: creating configuration files using YAML. In this article, we’ll look at how YAML works and use it to define first a Kubernetes Pod, and then a Kubernetes Deployment.

YAML Basics

It’s difficult to escape YAML if you’re doing anything related to many software fields — particularly Kubernetes, SDN, and OpenStack. YAML, which stands for Yet Another Markup Language, or YAML Ain’t Markup Language (depending who you ask) is a human-readable text-based format for specifying configuration-type information. For example, in this article, we’ll pick apart the YAML definitions for creating first a Pod, and then a Deployment.

Using YAML for K8s definitions gives you a number of advantages, including:

  • Convenience: You’ll no longer have to add all of your parameters to the command line
  • Maintenance: YAML files can be added to source control, so you can track changes
  • Flexibility: You’ll be able to create much more complex structures using YAML than you can on the command line

YAML is a superset of JSON, which means that any valid JSON file is also a valid YAML file. So on the one hand, if you know JSON and you’re only ever going to write your own YAML (as opposed to reading other people’s) you’re all set. On the other hand, that’s not very likely, unfortunately. Even if you’re only trying to find examples on the web, they’re most likely in (non-JSON) YAML, so we might as well get used to it.  Still, there may be situations where the JSON format is more convenient, so it’s good to know that it’s available to you.

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