Today we are announcing our new Red Hat OpenShift extension for Docker Desktop, which helps developers with all of the different steps required to get an application running on Kubernetes. The extension aims to provide a bridge from your local environment to the environments where you run your applications.

  • Get started easily with deploying and testing your application on Kubernetes.
  • Ensure your applications are secure and follow best practices.
  • Build your application with the target runtime environment in mind, knowing all the various prerequisites will be handled.

The Red Hat OpenShift extension for Docker Desktop

The Red Hat OpenShift extension for Docker Desktop lets developers working with OpenShift deploy and test their applications with ease.

Simply choose your target environment and the project you want to deploy to and select the application image from the ones available on Docker Desktop. Then, the extension takes care of deploying the application on OpenShift. Typically, you'll use this extension once you have already built your application and containerized it.

Let’s see a quick demo.


Starting with version 4.8, Docker Desktop provides new Extensions capabilities. You can find the Extensions Marketplace under the new section introduced in the sidebar.

Click "Add Extensions" to browse all available extensions for Docker Desktop. Locate the Red Hat OpenShift extension in the list. You can then install it with a single click.

Note: The extension works only with Red Hat OpenShift.

Simplified Kubernetes development

At Red Hat, we want to simplify the developer experience when using Kubernetes as the runtime environment for their applications.

Testing applications on Kubernetes—and testing in an environment as close as possible to the one used in production—can be a challenge. Getting an environment set up can also be difficult, and once that environment is available, we are exposed to new concepts and new paradigms. On top of that, there is also additional overhead to worry about with the extra config files we need to manage.

Even if we have the commonality of containers, getting them to run on Kubernetes can be a challenge. It’s not as easy as a “build and refresh,” and the turnarounds are getting slower.

This is why we build developer tools to reduce friction and simplify the experience of testing and working with Kubernetes. This is what the new Red Hat OpenShift extension for Docker Desktop is all about!

Key features

The Red Hat OpenShift extension for Docker Desktop (Figure 1) provides the capabilities to:

  • Detect Kubernetes environments: Scan defined kubeconfigs on your local environment and preselect your current default Kubernetes environment. You can also easily switch from one environment to another.
  • Log in into clusters: Directly connect to a new Kubernetes environment not yet configured on your local workstation.
  • List projects (namespace): Browse and select the project in which you want to deploy your application.
  • Select container images: Pick and choose any container image you already have built and deployed on a container registry.
  • Deploy container images: A container image gets deployed by building the necessary resources with the automatic creation of the route to expose the application outside of the cluster. Once deployed, the application opens in a new browser tab.
OpenShift Extension for Docker Desktop
Figure 1: The Red Hat OpenShift extension for Docker Desktop user interface.

Future roadmap

In the future, we plan to add more capabilities, including:

  • Easy access to Kubernetes and OpenShift with the Developer Sandbox: Leverage the Developer Sandbox for Red Hat OpenShift to access OpenShift environments in the cloud at no cost, with zero setup needed.
  • Watch mode: Watch for changes in source code to automatically build, push, and deploy the application on the development cluster.

Learn more and get involved

If you’d like to learn more about the OpenShift extension for Docker Desktop, visit the following links:

To share your feedback, suggestions, ideas, or report an issue, use the GitHub repository to start a discussion or file a bug.

Last updated: September 20, 2023