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Timoni compared to other tools


If you are familiar with Helm, a Timoni module is the equivalent of a chart, a Timoni bundle is the equivalent of an umbrella chart, and a Timoni instance is the equivalent of a Helm release.

Authoring differences

  • Instead of using charts, Timoni utilizes CUE modules distributed as OCI artifacts.
  • Timoni modules can only be pushed and pulled to/from container registries.
  • Timoni modules can be signed and verified with Cosign for integrity, unlike Helm's reliance on Helm provenance and OpenPGP signatures.
  • Timoni works with CUE templates and CUE types generated from Kubernetes API Go types, eliminating the need for Go templating of Kubernetes YAML.
  • Timoni leverages CUE types generated from Kubernetes CRDs for validating custom resources, eliminating the need for 3rd-party tooling like kubeconform.
  • Timoni enables templating of CRDs, whereas Helm only supports plain YAML CRDs.
  • Timoni allows authors to group Kubernetes resources and define the apply order for each group, instead of using Helm's pre/post install/upgrade hooks.

User differences

  • Timoni expects users to provide values as CUE definitions instead of supplying them in YAML format.
  • Unlike Helm, Timoni allows condition statements in values and bundle files, enabling users to express logic using CUE.
  • Timoni employs Kubernetes server-side apply and Flux's drift detection instead of Helm's client-side apply.
  • Timoni patches only the Kubernetes objects that have changed during upgrades, while Helm applies all manifests.
  • Timoni applies resources in stages, ensuring readiness for each resource group before proceeding to the next one (e.g., CRDs and namespaces, then workloads, then custom resources).
  • Timoni supports upgrading CRDs and their controllers, unlike Helm, which ignores changes to CRDs.
  • Timoni's garbage collector can delete CRDs and PVCs, whereas Helm leaves them on the cluster during uninstallation.
  • Timoni performs health checks on Kubernetes custom resources, which Helm ignores.
  • Unlike Helm, Timoni doesn't require keeping a copy of all YAML manifests in a Kubernetes secret, eliminating the limit on the number of objects constituting an application.
  • Timoni provides a apply --diff command for displaying a preview of the cluster state changes for an upgrade.
  • Timoni Bundles offer a declarative way of grouping multiple apps into a deployable unit, serving as an alternative to Helm's umbrella charts.
  • Timoni Runtime API offers a way to define values which are fetched from the Kubernetes API (ConfigMaps, Secrets, Custom Resources) and mapped to fields inside a Bundle.
  • Timoni modules can be referenced by their OCI SHA256 digest, ensuring immutability and reproducibility, unlike Helm charts that are referenced only by version.