collections

Ansible best practices: using project-local collections and roles

Note for Tower/AWX users: Currently, Tower requires role and collection requirements to be split out into different files; see Tower: Ansible Galaxy Support. Hopefully Tower will be able to support the requirements layout I outline in this post soon!

Since collections will be a major new part of every Ansible user's experience in the coming months, I thought I'd write a little about what I consider an Ansible best practice: that is, always using project-relative collection and role paths, so you can have multiple independent Ansible projects that track their own dependencies according to the needs of the project.

Early on in my Ansible usage, I would use a global roles path, and install all the roles I used (whether private or on Ansible Galaxy) into that path, and I would rarely have a playbook or project-specific role or use a different playbook-local version of the role.

Automatically building and publishing Ansible Galaxy Collections

I maintain a large number of Ansible Galaxy roles, and publish hundreds of new releases every year. If the process weren't fully automated, there would be no way I could keep up with it. For Galaxy roles, the process of tagging and publishing a new release is very simple, because Ansible Galaxy ties the role strongly to GitHub's release system. All that's needed is a webhook in your .travis.yml file (if using Travis CI):

notifications:
  webhooks: https://galaxy.ansible.com/api/v1/notifications/

For collections, Ansible Galaxy actually hosts an artifact—a .tar.gz file containing the collection contents. This offers some benefits that I won't get into here, but also a challenge: someone has to build and upload that artifact... and that takes more than one or two lines added to a .travis.yml file.

Until recently, I had been publishing collection releases manually. The process went something like:

Collections signal major shift in Ansible ecosystem

Every successful software project I've worked on reaches a point where architectural changes need to be made to ensure the project's continued success. I've been involved in the Drupal community for over a decade, and have written about the successes and failures resulting from a major rearchitecture in version 8. Apple's Macintosh OS had two major failed rewrites which were ultimately scrapped as Apple moved on to Mac OS X.

It's a common theme, and because change is hard, the first response to a major shift in a software project is often negative. Distrust over the project's stewards, or anger about a voice not being heard are two common themes. Even though it has nothing to do with the change (which was being discussed 3 years ago), the acquisition of Red Hat by IBM last year didn't do anything to assuage conspiracy theorists!

How to add integration tests to an Ansible collection with Molecule

Note: Ansible Collections are currently in tech preview. The details of this blog post may be outdated by the time you read this, though I will try to keep things updated if possible.

Ansible 2.8 and 2.9 introduced a new type of Ansible content, a 'Collection'. Collections are still in tech preview state, so things are prone to change.

Ansible Collections must be in a very specific path, like {...}/ansible_collections/{namespace}/{collection}/

You have to make sure your collection is in that specific path—with an empty directory named ansible_collections, then a directory for the namespace, and finally a directory for the collection itself. I opened an issue in the Ansible issue queue asking if ansible-test can allow running tests in an arbitrary collection directory, and for Molecule itself, there's more of a 'meta' issue, Molecule and Ansible Collections.

How to add integration tests to an Ansible Collection with ansible-test

Note: Ansible Collections are currently in tech preview. The details of this blog post may be outdated by the time you read this, though I will try to keep things updated if possible.

Ansible 2.8 and 2.9 introduced a new type of Ansible content, a 'Collection'. Collections are still in tech preview state, so things are prone to change, but one thing that the Ansible team has been working on is improving ansible-test to be able to test modules, plugins, and roles in Collections (previously it was only used for testing Ansible core).

ansible-test currently requires your Collection be in a very specific path, either:

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