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Adding Application Links to the Dashboard

This topic describes how to use the Kubernetes SIG Application and KOTS Application custom resources to add links to the Replicated admin console dashboard.


Replicated recommends that every application include a Kubernetes SIG Application custom resource. The Kubernetes Application custom resource provides a standard API for creating, viewing, and managing applications. For more information, see Kubernetes Applications in the kubernetes-sigs/application GitHub repository.

You can configure the Kubernetes Application custom resource to add links to the Replicated admin console dashboard. A common use case for this is adding a button to the dashboard that users can click on to navigate to dashboards or landing pages for an application. For example, the following shows an Open App button on the dashboard of the admin console for an application named Gitea:

admin console dashboard with Open App link

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KOTS uses the Kubernetes Application custom resource as metadata and does not require or use an in-cluster controller to handle this custom resource. An application that follows best practices does not require cluster admin privileges or any cluster-wide components to be installed.


Before you can add application links to the dashboard, ensure that the target service is exposed through KOTS port forwarding (existing cluster installations) or a NodePort type service (embedded cluster installations with Replicated kURL):

To add a link on the admin console dashboard, configure a Kubernetes SIG Application custom resource that includes a spec.descriptor.links field. The spec.descriptor.links field is an array of application links after the application is deployed.

For example:

# Application Custom resource

kind: Application
name: "gitea"
- description: Open App
url: "http://gitea"

As shown in the example above, each link contains two fields:

  • description: The title of the button that will be added to the admin console. For example, Open App.
  • url : The URL of your application. Consider the following requirements and guidelines:
    • Use http instead of https unless TLS termination takes place in the application Pod.
    • You can use the service name in place of the hostname in the URL. KOTS rewrites the URL with the hostname in the browser.
    • The URL must match a URL in the ports.applicationURL field in the KOTS Application custom resource. For more information, see ports in Application.

      The KOTS Application custom resource ports key is designed to port forward services in existing cluster installations. Although KOTS does not port forward services in embedded kURL clusters, the ports key must be configured in order to add links to the admin console dashboard.