Concepts in Codefresh

Understand terminology and nuances in Codefresh

Familiarize yourself with the main concepts in Codefresh (listed in alphabetical order).


An application is a deployment to a Kubernetes or any Kubernetes-compatible cluster or clusters. Codefresh supports two types of applications:

  • Containerized applications packaged as Docker images or
  • Argo CD applications
Containerized applications

Containerized applications are compiled, packaged, and deployed through Codefresh pipelines. Codefresh has native support for Docker artifacts, and also supports non-Dockerized applications that don’t use a Dockerfile for the actual build.

Deploy an application directly to Kubernetes through the Codefresh UI, or use Helm as a package manager to deploy to Kubernetes, again from Codefresh. Codefresh offers several levels of visibility into your deployments :

  • The Kubernetes dashboard displays the status of pods and Docker images.
  • The Helm dashboard displays the applications deployed to the cluster through Helm packages.
  • The Environment dashboard displays both Helm and Kubernetes releases, the status of the cluster, and most importantly that of the builds that affect it.

Quick starts for Kubernetes and Helm deployments
Deployment options for Kubernetes
Using Helm in Codefresh pipelines

Argo CD applications

Argo CD applications conform to Argo CD’s application definition CRD (Custom Resource Definition). Argo CD supports several types of Kubernetes manifests, including Jsonnet, Kustomize applications, Helm charts, and YAML/json files, and supports webhook notifications from Git.

Create Argo CD applications that are fully GitOps-compliant in Codefresh. Identify and fix errors before commit with our built-in validations. The application manifest is generated, committed to Git, and synced to your cluster.

See Creating and Managing Argo CD applications

Just as with Dockerized applications, you get full visibility into the applications and their deployment through the global Analytics, DORA metrics, and the Application dashboards. The Applications dashboard shows the current state of all the resources in the application, including information for each resource, and possible actions.

See Monitoring Argo CD applications


The pipeline is the central component in Codefresh that implements CI/CD processes. Everything for CI/CD in Codefresh starts and ends with pipelines.

Codefresh pipelines can do only CI, only CD, both CI and CD, or run any custom action, such as unit and integration tests. A CI pipeline can compile and package code, build and push Docker images. A CD pipeline can deploy applications/artifacts to VMs, Kubernetes clusters, FTP sites, S3 buckets, and more. And a CI/CD pipeline can combine code compilation, integration, and deployment for full CI/CD.

Codefresh offers a rich set of capabilities to easily create and maintain pipelines such as ready-to-use steps for common tasks, system and user-defined variables, shared configurations for reuse, and more.

Introduction to Codefresh pipelines
Pipeline definitions YAML
Creating pipelines


A project is a top-level entity in Codefresh for grouping related pipelines. Projects can group pipelines according to any criteria that is relevant to your enterprise. The criteria can be logical and based on teams, departments, or location for example, or functional, and based on microservices in applications. Projects centralize viewing and configuration settings for the pipelines that belong to them:

  • Selecting a pipeline shows the other pipelines in the same project
  • Access control and user-defined variables for the project are inherited by all the pipelines assigned to the project

There are no limits to the number of projects you can create in your account. You can also create standalone pipelines and assign them later to a project, or detach a pipeline assigned to a project.

See Projects in pipelines.


The Runner is the hybrid installation option for pipelines in your Codefresh account. The Runner is installed as a Kubernetes native application on any Kubernetes-compliant cluster. It allows you to run pipelines on your own Kubernetes cluster, including private clusters behind company firewalls.

Codefresh Runner gives you:

  • Access to secure services (such as Git repositories or databases) that are behind the firewall and normally not accessible to the public cloud.
  • The ability to use special resources in your Codefresh pipeline that are unique to your application or other special hardware only present in your data center.
  • Complete control over the build environment in addition to resources for pipelines.

Every Runner installation creates a runtime environment in your account. Assign the Runner to any pipeline to automatically run the pipeline in your own cluster. External integrations (such as Docker registry or Helm repositories) are also available to the Runner making pipelines exactly the same regardless of their runtime environment.

You can have multiple Runner installations in the same Codefresh account. A Runner can also manage multiple remote clusters in your account.

See Codefresh Runner installation and Runner installation behind firewalls


A Runtime in Codefresh is a GitOps installation in your Codefresh account, in either a Hosted or Hybrid installation environment. Hosted Runtimes are installed on a Codefresh cluster and managed by Codefresh. Hybrid Runtimes are installed on customer clusters, and managed by the customers. You can install a single Hosted runtime, and multiple Hybrid Runtines in a Codefresh account.

A single Runtime can connect to and manage multiple remote clusters.

GitOps runtime architecture
Hybrid GitOps Runtime installation
Hosted GitOps Runtime installation


Triggers are events that launch pipelines and Argo Workflows in Codefresh.

Codefresh pipelines offer a rich set of triggers. You have triggers based on code-repository events triggers (Git triggers), triggers based on events in external systems (Docker Hub, Azure, Quay, and more), and triggers based on scheduled jobs (Cron).
See: Triggers in Codefresh pipelines

For Argo Workflows in Codefresh, triggers are managed by Argo Events. You can define the event-source and the Sensor that determines if and when to trigger the event. Codefresh supports Git and Cron events for Argo Workflows.

To enable Argo Workflows in Codefresh, contact support.

See Trigger conditions for events

Argo Workflows

A workflow is a type of Kubernetes resource that lets you define and run automated workflows, and stores their state. Argo Workflows is an open source workflow engine that orchestrates parallel tasks on Kubernetes, implemented as a set of Kubernetes custom resource definitions (CRDs).

Argo Workflows is part of the Argo project, which provides Kubernetes-native software delivery tools including Argo CD, Argo Events and Argo Rollouts.

Codefresh for CI
Codefresh for CD
Codefresh for GitOps