Back to top

Add Your Application

Theia Cloud Logo

Containerize Your Theia Application

To launch your Theia application with Theia Cloud, it’s essential to containerize your application first. This tutorial provides a brief guide on achieving this. Of course this needs to be tailored to your application’s build process.

For a practical example, refer to the Theia IDE. It illustrates packaging a Theia-based application in a Dockerfile and creating desktop installers.

A staged build process is recommended, generally comprising at least two stages:

Build Stage

This stage is focused on compiling your application. Aim for a comprehensive build rather than minimizing the image size. Select a base image that facilitates an easy and maintainable build process without excessively optimizing.

Production Stage

Here, you transfer the build results from the first stage. The objective is to install only the necessary software, keeping the image size minimal. Choose a smaller base image, as it need not include the tools required for the build. This stage should include only the dependencies essential for running your application.

Example Dockerfile

# Stage 1: Builder stage
FROM node:20-bullseye as build-stage

# Install build dependencies
RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y libxkbfile-dev libsecret-1-dev

# Set the working directory
WORKDIR /home/theia

# Copy the current directory contents to the container
COPY . .

# Run the build commands. This assumes the following scripts to be present in your root package.json
# build:extensions - Builds all Theia extensions except for the browser-app
# download:plugins - Downloads all Theia plugins and VS Code extensions. Can be omitted if you don't require this.
# build:browser    - Builds the browser-app defining your application
# Note that you might define other build commands. The important thing is to gather all dependencies & VS Code extensions (if any) and build all theia extensions and the browser app.
RUN yarn --frozen-lockfile && \
    yarn build:extensions && \
    yarn download:plugins && \
    yarn build:browser

# Stage 2: Production stage, using a slim image
FROM node:20-bullseye-slim as production-stage

# Create a non-root user with a fixed user id and setup the environment
RUN adduser --system --group --uid 200 theia && \
    chmod g+rw /home && \
    mkdir -p /home/theia && \
    chown -R theia:theia /home/theia
ENV HOME=/home/theia
WORKDIR /home/theia

# Copy the build output to the production environment
COPY --from=build-stage --chown=theia:theia /home/theia /home/theia

# Expose the default Theia port

# Use the non-root user
USER theia

# Set the working directory to the browser application
WORKDIR /home/theia/applications/browser

# Start the application
ENTRYPOINT ["node", "/home/theia/applications/browser/lib/backend/main.js"]
CMD ["--hostname="]

To create a Dockerfile for your application, use the above template as a starting point and customize it as needed.

Build your container image with:

docker build -t your-image:tag -f Dockerfile .
  • -t your-image:tag specifies the image name and tag.
  • -f Dockerfile indicates the Dockerfile path.
  • . denotes the current directory context for the build.

Test your image with:

docker run -p=3000:3000 --rm your-image:tag

Adjust the port number as necessary.

Theia Cloud Logo

Enable Monitor (Optional)

Managing resources within your Kubernetes cluster is crucial for ensuring that users experience fast startup and response times. However, it’s equally important to consider the cost implications. To address this, Theia Cloud provides an optional Monitor component. This component assesses user activity within an IDE session. Users are warned about potential session termination if they remain inactive. Should inactivity continue beyond a specified timeout, the session is automatically stopped.

To leverage this functionality, you must integrate a specific component into your application, enabling communication with Theia Cloud. There are two primary methods for incorporating this monitor.

Theia Extension

The first method involves using a Theia extension, available directly from the npm registry. To include it in your application, simply add @eclipse-theiacloud/monitor-theia to the package.json of your application, as shown below:

"dependencies": {
  "@eclipse-theiacloud/monitor-theia": "next",
  "@theia/core": "1.43.1",
  "@theia/editor": "1.43.1",
  "@theia/editor-preview": "1.43.1",
  "@theia/electron": "1.43.1",
  "@theia/filesystem": "1.43.1",

For an example of how to implement this, consider our test sample application.

VS Code Extension

Alternatively, you may opt for the Theia Cloud Monitor VS Code extension. This extension relies on the VSCode API for activity detection, which may not be as effective as the Theia Extension method. Therefore, we recommend using the Theia Extension over the VS Code extension. The *.vsix file for this extension can be downloaded from our GitHub Releases page. For instance, for release 0.9.0, the extension is available here.

Theia Cloud Logo

Add an App Definition

After creating an image for your application, the next step is to author the App Definition. This definition encapsulates all the universal information about your application, relevant to all users. Use kubectl apply -f your-appdefinition.yaml to deploy this in the cluster. Below is a starter template for the App Definition in YAML format.

kind: AppDefinition
  name: my-theia-application
  namespace: my-namespace
  name: my-theia-application
  image: your-image:tag
  uid: 200
  port: 3000
  ingressname: theia-cloud-demo-ws-ingress
  minInstances: 0
  maxInstances: 10
  requestsMemory: 1000M
  requestsCpu: 100m
  limitsMemory: 1200M
  limitsCpu: "2"
  imagePullPolicy: IfNotPresent
  timeout: 240
  downlinkLimit: 30000
  uplinkLimit: 30000
  mountPath: /home/project/persisted
    port: 8081
      timeoutAfter: 30
      notifyAfter: 25

Mandatory Properties

  • name: This is your application’s identifier and is used to reference this App Definition. It is recommended to match of the Kubernetes resource, meaning that valid characters include lowercase alphanumerics and ‘-’.

  • image: Specify your container image.

  • uid: The UNIX user identifier for the application launch user, typically specified in your Dockerfile. Avoid using the root user’s identifier. Tip: We recommend setting a fixed user id via the --uid option of the adduser command. This guarantees a static id even when the base image or previously installed dependencies change. As the adduser command fails if the chosen user id is already taken, you know that your specified id is used when the docker build succeeds.

  • port: The port on which Theia runs.

  • ingressname: Defines the ingress resource to be patched for exposing new application sessions. Typically, this should match the ingress.instanceName used during the theia-cloud helm chart installation. For the default value, see theia-cloud helm chart details.

  • minInstances: Currently, this should be 0. Future versions may support pre-launching sessions for incoming users. If you need this feature earlier, explore our support options.

  • maxInstances: Sets the maximum number of application instances. Use a positive number for specific limits, or a negative number for no limit.

  • Resource Requests and Limits: requestsMemory, requestsCpu, limitsMemory, and limitsCpu define the application’s resource requirements, similar to Kubernetes resource definitions.

Optional Properties

  • imagePullPolicy: Governs the image pull behavior, with options "Always", "IfNotPresent", or "Never".

  • timeout: Enables a hard shutdown after a specified duration (in minutes). Disable by omitting this property or using 0/negative values.

  • downlinkLimit and uplinkLimit: Specify network speed limits in kilobits per second. Availability may vary based on the cluster and operator.bandwidthLimiter settings during theia-cloud helm chart installation.

  • mountPath: The container path where workspace persistent storage is mounted.

  • Monitor Configuration: monitor.port, monitor.activityTracker.timeoutAfter, and monitor.activityTracker.notifyAfter adjust Theia Cloud Monitor settings. Use the Theia application port for the Theia Cloud Extension, or 8081 for the VS Code extension. notifyAfter and timeoutAfter manage inactivity warnings and session terminations, respectively.