OpenShift 4.2: The API Explorer

One of the most notable feature additions in Red Hat OpenShift 4.2’s Web Console UI is the new Explore page, featuring API explorer functionality. This feature will help novice users to learn more about Kubernetes resources while completing everyday tasks in the console.

What is the API explorer?

The API explorer is a new area of the console where you can sort through the various Kubernetes resources and learn more about how they can be used. For each resource, users will get the definition, the metadata that makes up the resource itself, and the individuals with access to view and create instances on the cluster.  

Why did we add the Explore page?

The console user interface (UI) is a good place to get started using OpenShift, especially for novice users. An IBM design article [1] describes how UIs act as a central place to browse systems or start making sense of large data sets. Web UIs are also great for tasks that require human intervention. On the other hand, command line interfaces (CLIs) are great for more automated tasks or tasks where the user knows exactly what they want to do and how to do it.

Through user feedback, we confirmed that OpenShift users do leverage the web console to learn about core concepts behind OpenShift and the underlying Kubernetes framework. We saw an opportunity to improve the learning experience right in the console. The Explore page is a place where users can dig more thoroughly into Kubernetes concepts and resources.

How can you use the API Explorer?

Here’s how it works. Visit the Explore page by navigating to the Home section and clicking Explore. You should see a list of the API resources available for viewing.

On this page, you can filter by group, version, or scope (namespace or cluster). You can also sort the list by kind, group, version, or namespaced resources.

If you click into a resource you will see the resource’s overview, where you’ll get information about the resource including whether it’s namespaced, what actions you can take on it, short names, and a description. This is just like using the command oc explain in the CLI. Using the tabs, you can access the resource’s schema and its project-specific information such as instances and access review.

The Schema tab allows you to drill down into some of the resource’s specific schema. In the example above, we’ve navigated from general Resource Quota schema to more specific information about its metadata and more specifically its ownerReferences. Breadcrumbs allow you to easily navigate back to a higher level of granularity.

Under Access Review, you can see which users, groups, and service accounts have access to perform a certain action on a specific resource. In the example below, we can see that two groups and one user have permission to create Resource Quotas. To edit access, navigate to the Administration section.

You can also access the API Explorer from the YAML editor when editing resources.

Click the ‘View Schema’ link in the upper right hand corner of the YAML editor and the resource schema will open in a side panel on the right. Now you can view a resource’s schema while editing a resource!

Through the addition of the Explore page, we hope to increase our users’ ability to learn more about Kubernetes and the underlying framework of OpenShift.

If you’d like to learn more about what the OpenShift team is up to or provide feedback on any of the new 4.2 features, please take this brief 3-minute survey.

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