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Generating Applications with ApplicationSet

Automating the generation of Argo CD Applications with the ApplicationSet Controller

The ApplicationSet controller is a part of Argo CD adds Application automation, and seeks to improve multi-cluster support and cluster multitenant support within Argo CD. Argo CD Applications may be templated from multiple different sources, including from Git or Argo CD's own defined cluster list.

The set of tools provided by the ApplicationSet controller may also be used to allow developers (without access to the Argo CD namespace) to independently create Applications without cluster-administrator intervention.


Be aware of the security implications before allowing developers to create Applications via ApplicationSets.

The ApplicationSet controller is installed alongside Argo CD (within the same namespace), and the controller automatically generates Argo CD Applications based on the contents of a new ApplicationSet Custom Resource (CR).

Here is an example of an ApplicationSet resource that can be used to target an Argo CD Application to multiple clusters:

kind: ApplicationSet
  name: guestbook
  - list:
      - cluster: engineering-dev
      - cluster: engineering-prod
      - cluster: finance-preprod
      name: '{{cluster}}-guestbook'
      project: default
        targetRevision: HEAD
        path: applicationset/examples/list-generator/guestbook/{{cluster}}
        server: '{{url}}'
        namespace: guestbook

The List generator passes the url and cluster fields into the template as {{param}}-style parameters, which are then rendered into three corresponding Argo CD Applications (one for each defined cluster). Targeting new clusters (or removing existing clusters) is simply a matter of altering the ApplicationSet resource, and the corresponding Argo CD Applications will be automatically created.

Likewise, changes made to the ApplicationSet template fields will automatically be applied to every generated Application. Managing a set of multiple Argo CD Applications is thus as easy as managing a single ApplicationSet resource.

Within ApplicationSet there exist other more powerful generators in addition to the List generator, including the Cluster generator (which automatically uses Argo CD-defined clusters to template Applications), and the Git generator (which uses the files/directories of a Git repository to template applications).

To learn more about the ApplicationSet controller, check out ApplicationSet documentation to install the ApplicationSet controller alongside Argo CD.

Note: Starting v2.3 of Argo CD, we don't need to install ApplicationSet Controller separately. It would be instead as part of Argo CD installation.