Mirantis releases its first take on the Lens Kubernetes IDE

Want an easy way to deal with Kubernetes's complexities? Mirantis updates to the Lens Kubernetes integrated development environment may be just what you need.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The next version of Lens, the open-source Kubernetes IDE, will be out shortly. This release, Lens 3.6, will be the first since OpenStack cloud and Kubernetes power Mirantis took over Lens lead

Lens is arguably the most popular of all the Kubernetes IDEs. Although it's not even a year old yet, Lens already has a community of over 35,000 users and 7,000 GitHub stargazers.

Lens is available on Github under the MIT License. Some of the largest companies in the world are already using Lens. These include Adobe, Apple, and Zendesk.

In this first release since Mirantis took charge, Lens' biggest new feature is how it manages Kubernetes cluster access. It now uses kubeconfig files directly as cluster references. So, you'll no longer waste time copy-pasting the contents of those files. Simply choose the files from your filesystem and you're good to go.

Previously, this information had been stored internally. It worked fine so long as there was no need to update the kubeconfig file contents. However, many Lens users are using third-party tools from managed Kubernetes service providers to generate their kubeconfig files. These tools also often update them on the fly. Since Lens didn't update the revised files, this often led to programmer confusion and ticked off developers. 

Lens' built-in Smart Terminal has also gotten smarter. It comes with kubectl and other Kubernetes cluster tools. The Smart Terminal will now automatically switch the version of kubectl to match the currently selected cluster Application Programming Interface (API) version. It also automatically switches the context to match your cluster.

You can also now define which directory you'll use with Smart Terminal. Before that, if you were working in a restricted environment, you might not have been able to use the Terminal at all because you didn't have access to the Terminal's directory.

Alternatively, you can disable the Smart Terminal feature and define a path for your preferred kubectl binary. Then, you'll use that version of kubectl no matter what the Kubernetes cluster you're working on uses as its default.

Big changes? No, not really. Important changes? Oh yes. Lens users will want to shift over to this new version as soon as it becomes available. The release candidate is already out. I expect the shipping edition to be out within a week or two.

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