Tips and tricks


  • qbec is written to have good performance even when dealing with hundreds of objects. That said, this is wholly dependent on how long a basic command like qbec show takes to execute. Most of the time taken by qbec show is in component evaluation, which in turn is dependent on the performance of jsonnet libraries that your components use. A good rule of thumb is that you will have an enjoyable experience with qbec if qbec show executes in less than a second or two and a poorer experience otherwise.

  • Organizing runtime parameters in the recommended manner will let you use the param subcommands effectively. In addition, restricting parameter values to simple scalar values, short arrays of scalar values or small, shallow objects will provide better listing and diffs.


  • If you typically work with just one qbec app, set the QBEC_ROOT environment variable to the app directory so that qbec works from any working directory.

  • Use the component and kind filters to restrict the scope of objects that are acted upon so that you see just the information you care about at any time.

  • Set up your development environment (e.g. the VSCode IDE) with a jsonnet executable that can parse YAML (qbec ships with the jsonnet-qbec command that provides all the native extensions it installs). Configure the extension variable to a valid environment. With this in place, the IDE will be able to show you errors early during development, without even having to run any of the qbec commands.

  • Use the --clean option of the show command so you can see object contents without the additional qbec metadata.

  • Declare a post-processor to add common metadata to all objects.

Continuous Integration

  • Set the QBEC_YES environment variable to true so that all qbec prompts are disabled.

  • Use the --wait option of the apply command so that qbec waits for deployments to fully roll out. Your subsequent functional tests can then rely on the rollout to be complete before they start executing. This ensures that your pods under test are ready and are of the desired version.