Working with Clusters

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This section describes how to configure Wing to work with a number of containers running in a cluster managed by a container orchestration system. In this model, a selected set of containers are debugged, and code may be launched either in context of the running cluster or in synthesized stand-alone (out-of-cluster) instances of containers.


Projects that use a cluster do so by selecting Cluster for Project Executable in Project Properties and then configuring a cluster. Cluster configurations may also be accessed from Clusters in the Project menu.

A cluster configuration consists of:

Identifier is a unique identifier for the cluster. This name is used only by Wing and does not have to match the cluster orchestration system's identifier for the cluster.

Type selects the container orchestration system that manages the cluster. The available types are supported through the cluster plugin API.

Configuration selects the container orchestration system's configuration file or directory for the selected cluster.

Main Service is the main container service in the cluster, to use as the default location for running processes that are launched out-of-cluster, such as the Python Shell by default. This field's menu is not populated until the Type and Configuration have been set, since those are required to determine which services exist in the cluster.

Connect Hostname is the host name used on containers in the cluster to connect back to the host where Wing is running. This is used to set up remote inspection of the container, and to run unit tests, debug processes, and the Python Shell. Docker 18.03 or later running on Windows and macOS defines host.docker.internal for this purpose. In other cases, the IP address for the host system may need to be determined manually. This value only needs to be valid on the Main Service container and any containers that will be debugged.

Inherit Project Environment tells Wing to set environment variables defined in Project Properties into the cluster's container environments. This is off by default since in most cases containers define their own environment. When any environment variables are defined in Project Properties, Wing will prompt to explain how these will be treated in the container. This prompt can be disabled from the dialog or with the Project > Containers > Show Environment Warning preference.

How Debugging Clusters Works

When a project selects a cluster for Python Executable, starting debug from the Debug menu or toolbar will start the cluster as a whole using an automatically created derived copy of the Configuration specified in Wing's cluster configuration. This derived copy adds some environment variables and file mappings to the services that have been selected for debug in the Containers tool, in order to cause Python code that is run on those container services to be debugged.

This is accomplished using Python's capabilities. Wing mounts a Python package sitecustomize into the user site directory on the container, which is determined by inspecting Python on the container and obtaining the value of site.USER_SITE. This package is automatically loaded by Python at startup and causes Wing's debugger to be activated by importing wingdbstub.

In order to debug multiple containers at once, the Debugger > Processes > Enable Multi-Process Debugging preference must be enabled, which it is by default.

In some cases, as determined by the process model used by the code being run on containers, child process debugging must also be enabled with the Debug > Processes > Debug Child Processes preference or by using the Debug Child Processes property under the Debug/Execute tab in Project Properties. For example, when Flask's auto-reload is enabled, child process debugging must be enabled in Wing, in order to debug the child processes that Flask spawns to implement reloading.

Container Instance Management

As noted above, Wing's default debug behavior is to start the whole cluster and debug selected services. However, Wing can also start debug, unit tests, OS commands, and the Python Shell in out-of-cluster instances of containers that are defined by the cluster orchestration system.

Synthesized out-of-cluster instances of the Main Service selected in Wing's cluster configuration are used by default for most things, but it is possible to specify not only whether or not to run processes in-cluster but also which service in the cluster to run them on. This is done by creating a launch configuration from Launch Configurations in the Project menu, settings Python Executable to Cluster, selecting the service to run on, and choosing whether or not to run in-cluster. The launch configuration can then be used in the following:

File Properties accessed by context menu from the editor or Project tool can select a particular launch configuration to use for an individual file. This is done by setting Environment under the Debug/Execute tab to Use Selected Launch Configuration and selecting the desired launch configuration. The file is then executed and debugged on the selected cluster service, either in-cluster or out-of-cluster.

Unit Tests may be run on a selected service in-cluster or out-of-cluster by setting the Environment under the Testing tab in Project Properties or File Properties to affect only the environment used when running unit tests.

OS Commands may be run on a selected service and in-cluster or out-of-cluster by setting the Execution Context under the Environment tab for Command Line style OS commands, by setting the File Properties on the file used for Python File style OS commands, or by selecting a launch configuration for Named Entry Point style OS commands.

Python Shell processes may be configured run on a particular service, either in-cluster or out-of-cluster, by selecting a launch configuration under Use Environment in the Python Shell's Options menu.

In contrast to debugging all Python code running on cluster services, these configuration options make it possible to start the cluster as a whole without debug from the Containers tool and then debug specific files or tests in-cluster. Which approach to debugging you use depends on the nature of the code running on your cluster.

Cluster Life Cycle

When a cluster configuration is edited while the cluster is active, Wing will terminate any container instances associated with the cluster and restart the Python Shell. Warning dialogs are displayed before and after a configuration change, unless disabled from the dialog or with the preferences on the Project > Containers preferences page:

Warn Before Cluster Configuration controls whether Wing warns before it allows any changes to a cluster configuration that is in use by running processes.

Notify Cluster Configuration Change controls whether Wing notifies that a cluster has been terminated as a result of a change to the container configuration in Wing Pro.

These same warnings are displayed when starting or stopping a cluster from the Containers tool.

Note that Wing terminates but does not auto-restart the cluster as a whole. Only synthesized out-of-cluster service instances are started on demand, for example to run the Python Shell. As a result, for in-cluster execution, you will need to start the cluster manually from the Containers tool before starting the in-cluster debugging, testing, or other processes.

Details and Notes

All cluster services started from Wing, even if they are not being debugged, add a mount of Wing's installation directory into the container at /wingpro10. This is done so that Wing can inspect Python environment and container-only files on the container, and so that additional in-cluster debug processes may be started successfully.

To diagnose problems debugging a cluster, set the environment variable WINGDB_LOGFILE for the services where debug is failing. This can be done in the cluster orchestration system's configuration or by setting it under Environment in Project Properties and enabling Inherit Project Environment in Wing's cluster configuration. The value should be <stderr> for logging into the Messages tool in Wing or a valid writeable file path on the container. Contact for help intepreting this output.