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A worker is the Brigade component that is launched in response to an event that a project subscribes to. There is a one-to-one relationship between events and workers.

Typically, the action of a worker is driven by the contents of a project’s brigade.js (or brigade.ts) script, however, custom workers aren’t strictly limited to this approach and can utilize alternative mechanisms for defining project/event-specific configuration or logic.

The remainder of this page covers the general approach of creating and using custom workers.

Creating a Custom Worker

Although it is possible to extend the default Brigade Worker with additional Node.js libraries and/or custom JavaScript or TypeScript code (indeed, we’ve seen how this can be achieved via Brigade’s Dependencies model), nothing prevents you from defining a new class of worker from scratch.

This approach allows significantly more flexibility with respect to how the worker is implemented (languages, frameworks, etc.) and how the worker functions. For instance, it is entirely possible to create workers that bypass brigade.js and drive builds based on some other declarative or imperative format.

The remainder of this section covers the general requirements for a custom worker as well as the methods whereby Brigade passes configuration to a worker for processing an event.

Event Data

Workers get the data they need to process an event via JSON mounted to its pod by Brigade, each time it runs. This JSON contains configuration that the worker itself uses, as well as project- and event-specific details. This file is located at /var/event/event.json inside the worker container.

Note that custom workers may selectively disregard any data they deem inapplicable to the custom behavior they implement. For instance, a field that conveys the expected location of the brigade.js file is not applicable to a worker that does not utilize such configuration.


Here’s a rundown on the data present in the event JSON:

Field Name Description Notes
id A unique ID for the event The project ID that this event is associated with
project.kubernetes.namespace The Kubernetes namespace that the project uses
project.secrets The key/value map of secrets for the project
source The event source
type The event type
qualifiers The event qualifiers
labels The event labels
shortTitle A short title for the event
longTitle A long title for the event
payload The event payload
worker.apiAddress The address for the Brigade API server This value, along with the apiToken, can be used to obtain an API client via the SDK of your choice.
worker.apiToken The token used for communicating with the Brigade API server This value, along with the apiAddress, can be used to obtain an API client via the SDK of your choice.
worker.logLevel The log level for worker logs
worker.configFilesDirectory The directory in the worker where the Brigade config files may be found This is only applicable when there is a git repository associated with the project. In such cases, this value is relative to where the source code has been mounted in the worker’s container (/var/vcs)
worker.defaultConfigFiles The default config files to use if not provided elsewhere (e.g. via a git repository’s source code) Note: this is a map of file names to file contents, which are embedded inside a project’s definition.
worker.git.cloneURL The clone URL of the git repository associated with the worker
worker.git.commit The commit SHA for the git repository
worker.git.ref The reference for the git repository
worker.git.initSubmodules Whether or not git submodules should be initialized

Exit Code

Brigade determines the ultimate success or failure of an event by the return code from the worker.

Workers that successfully execute to completion with no errors MUST exit with return code 0.

Worker executions that fail MUST exit with a non-zero return code.

General Worker flow

At a high level, the flow of a custom worker when handling an event for a project would be the following:

  1. Consume the event details (e.g. /var/event/event.json inside the worker’s container)
  2. Load the code or configuration specified by the project that defines which events to handle and how
  3. Combine the event details with the blueprint on how to handle the event and then excute, mostly by using one of the Brigade SDKs to create/schedule jobs

Building and Publishing a Custom Worker Image

When the custom worker code is ready to be used in Brigade, the next step is to build a Docker image from your Dockerfile.

$ docker build -t myregistry/myworker:latest .
$ docker push myregistry/myworker:latest

IMPORTANT: Make sure you replace myregistry and myworker with your own account and image names.

Tip: If you are running a local Kubernetes cluster with Docker or Minikube, you do not need to push the image. Just configure your Docker client to point to the same Docker daemon that your Kubernetes cluster is using. (With Minikube, you do this by running eval $(minikube docker-env).)

Now that we have our image pushed to a usable location, we can configure Brigade to use this new image.

Configuring Brigade to Use Your Custom Worker Image

The worker image for Brigade can be set globally as well as individually per project.

Global default

To set the version globally, you should supply values for the repository, tag and, optionally, pullPolicy fields under the worker.image section in the Brigade chart.

Using the same example values from above, this would look like:

    repository: myregistry/myworker
    tag: latest
    # The default is 'IfNotPresent', but you may wish to set to 'Always' when a
    # mutable tag is used
    pullPolicy: Always

You can then use Helm’s upgrade command to update Brigade with these new values.

Project Overrides

To configure the worker image per-project, you’ll supply the same repository, tag and pullPolicy values to the project definition under the spec.workerTemplate section:

      image: myregistry/myworker:latest
      imagePullPolicy: Always

Then, update the project via brig project update --file project.yaml

Using Your Custom Worker

Once you have Brigade and/or individual projects updated, your new Brigade workers will automatically switch to using this new image.