Eclipse Che is a Kubernetes-Native IDE. It might be interesting to work on your project using remote resources instead of consuming your laptop resources. Another interesting way is to use containers that might be used in production as well.

Also let say you’re running out of battery, you may spare CPU and get extra time !

In this article we’ll cover how to set this up, by:

  1. Defining an Eclipse Che workspace for a project (create a devfile).
  2. Starting an Eclipse Che workspace ready to receive the project.
  3. Pushing / importing the local files into the remote Eclipse Che workspace.
  4. Coding using Eclipse Che.
  5. Synchronizing all code changes with rsync.
  6. Stopping the Che workspace and even deleting it without impacting the local copy.


1. On my laptop: check all tools are available

  • Check local installation of rsync on the laptop by trying to execute the command $ rsync
  • Check installation of kubectl to execute rsync command.
  • Check installation of oc if Eclipse Che is running on top of OpenShift.

If these tools are not installed, please install them.

2. In Eclipse Che Workspace

rsynctool needs to be part of the workspace.

Note: with OpenShift we could useoc rsync command. But there is no exclude filter taken into account for example. So in this blog post I will use only kubectland rsynctools

Eclipse Che workspaces may include several running containers. (Workspace pod). Let’s add a new container that will manage only rsync operations.

For the demo, I will create a custom OCI image based on alpine. In this custom image, I will install rsync tool.

I’ve published this image under so no need to build it.

The image includes the following:

FROM alpine:latest  
RUN apk add --no-cache rsync  

As you can see this just adds thersync tool inside the smallest container possible (based on alpine linux).

I’ve also added an entry-point to keep the container always-on. I added extra permissions to make it compliant with random user-id for OpenShift.

3. A local project

To make sure that everyone can reproduce the test, it’s important to use the same local project :-)

The project I’m using is a clone of

I’ve cloned it into $HOME/react-web-app folder.

The application is a Nodejs example.


1. Define an Eclipse Che workspace for my project (create a devfile)

Let’s start with a minimalist devfile. The devfile is responsible of creating the Eclipse Che workspace.

I set persistVolumes to false as the storage will be our laptop. I don’t want to use remote storage to save my project files.

As seen in prerequisites, rsynctool needs to be part of the workspace. Let’s add a new rsync component and let it have access to /projects folder using mountSources: true

The workspace now includes the rsync tool.

Let’s add new components to work on the project with Eclipse Che.

The project that I want to import is a Nodejs project.

Now I add :

  • Intellisense with a typescript plugin
  • nodejs component to have node tools.

2. Start an Eclipse Che workspace ready to receive my project

The workspace definition is ready with the devfile.

There are a few ways we can start the Che workspace:

  • Importing this devfile into the Eclipse Che dashboard
  • Using chectl with the devfile
  • Opening this direct link that creates and starts the workspace

After the startup of the workspace, we can see the IDE. We can see that there are no files in project tree. This is normal because we want to import our local project folder.

3. Push/Import into the remote Eclipse Che workspace the local files

To push files to the remote workspace and use rsync, we will need some information.

  1. kubectl ready-to-use (authentication performed)
  2. The name of the workspace pod
  3. A rsync bash script

3.1. kubectl

In my example, I am using the online Eclipse Che instance hosted on I will copy the command to be able to log into OpenShift instance.

I can use the OpenShift web console to do that. To get the web console link, open a terminal inside the IDE by using the Workspace panel within the IDE

$ echo ${CHE_OSO_CLUSTER//api/console}

It will display the URL of the console

Use command+click on
It will open link in default browser.
Note: your cluster might be different so the URL might be different as well.

When logged in in the OpenShift console:

  • Open the top right corner link
  • Click on copy Login command and execute that command on your laptop.

You should be now connected from your laptop to the OpenShift cluster.

3.2. Name of the workspace pod

We will copy files from the remote workspace.

We need the name of the workspace. It is available from a terminal with the following command:

$ echo $HOSTNAME

Another way is to usekubectl or octool to find the workspace pod name ($ kubectl get podsor $ oc get pods).

Name of the container that includes rsync is rsync as it’s the alias name we defined in the devfile.

3.3. The rsync script

To import the project files into Eclipse Che workspace, we will now use rsync.

We will need a shell script to perform the copy and this script will use kubectl exec command.

Create a new file with the following content:

And make it executable: chmod u+x and now let’s assume you copy it to ${HOME}/bin folder.

Now, let’s create another script named

Apply permissions by using chmod u+x

Copy it for example to ${HOME}/bin folder. We’re using the -e option in rsync parameters to specify another shell.

Now that our scripts have been setup, it’s time to use them.

First, we store the workspace pod into an env variable:

$ export WORKSPACE_POD=workspacelmog4zkmikhxpc87.workspace-74d787cf95-xbd26

Let’s proceed to the first import.

Assuming our local Nodejs app is in ${HOME}/react-web-app, execute the following command:

$ RSYNC_OPTIONS="--progress --stats --exclude 'node\_modules'" RSYNC_FROM="${HOME}/react-web-app" RSYNC_TO="${WORKSPACE_POD}:/projects/" ${HOME}/bin/

Files are being transferred into the remote workspace.

We see progress due to --progress option.

In the UI now we see react-web-app folder:

4. Code using Eclipse Che

Let’s use yarn command to launch the project inside Eclipse Che.

And now start the webapp using yarn start command inside /projects/react-web-app

And edit src/App.tsx file and see the result.

5. Synchronize back all the changes

All modified files are in my Eclipse Che workspace. But I want to keep my local folder on my laptop in sync with my new remote changes.

We’ll use the same script but we’ll reverse the source and destination. Because now we want to copy remote changes to the laptop and not the previous way. Also, we’ll set this time RSYNC_INFINITE=true to do rsync every 15s (to never miss remote changes).

$ RSYNC_OPTIONS="--exclude node_modules" RSYNC_FROM="${WORKSPACE_POD}:/projects/react-web-app/" RSYNC_TO="${HOME}/react-web-app/" RSYNC_INFINITE="true" ${HOME}/bin/

I dropped --progress --stats from RSYNC_OPTIONS to not generate too much output.

One issue is that when syncing back the changes, we don’t want to download the whole node_modules folder. Adding the --exclude node_modules parameter takes care of that.

The script now checks all the changes every 15 seconds.

All changes from Eclipse Che workspace are now inside my filesystem.

Let’s check:

6. Finishing

When we’re done working we can double-check that the rsync script has finished to copy all files to my laptop, then stop the Eclipse Che workspace. We can even delete the stopped Che workspace as we have all the up-to-date changes saved on our local drive.

Note: With persistVolumes=false , restarting the workspace will result in an empty project tree again until you re-run the laptop-to-remote-Che sync script.