Understanding Modules#

In Inmanta all orchestration model code and related files, templates, plugins and resource handlers are packaged in a module. Modules can be defined in two different formats, the V1 format and the V2 format. The biggest difference between both formats is that all Python tools can run on V2 modules, because V2 modules are essentially Python packages. New modules should use the V2 module format. The following sections describe the directory layout of the V1 and the V2 module formats and their metadata files.


V2 modules can not depend on V1 modules.

V2 module format#

A complete V2 module might contain the following files:

|__ setup.cfg
|__ pyproject.toml
|__ model
|    |__ _init.cf
|    |__ services.cf
|__ inmanta_plugins/<module-name>/
|    |__ __init__.py
|    |__ functions.py
|__ files
|    |__ file1.txt
|__ templates
     |__ conf_file.conf.tmpl
  • The root of the module directory contains a setup.cfg file. This is the metadata file of the module. It contains information, such as the version of the module. More details about the setup.cfg file are defined in the next section.

  • The pyproject.toml file defines the build system that should be used to package the module and install the module into a virtual environment from source.

  • The only mandatory subdirectory is the model directory containing a file called _init.cf. What is defined in the _init.cf file is available in the namespace linked with the name of the module. Other files in the model directory create subnamespaces.

  • The inmanta_plugins/<module-name>/ directory contains Python files that are loaded by the platform and can extend it using the Inmanta API. This python code can provide plugins or resource handlers.

The template, file and source plugins from the std module expect the following directories as well:

  • The files directory contains files that are deployed verbatim to managed machines.

  • The templates directory contains templates that use parameters from the orchestration model to generate configuration files.

The setup.cfg metadata file#

The setup.cfg file defines metadata about the module. The following code snippet provides an example about what this setup.cfg file looks like:

name = inmanta-module-mod1
version = 1.2.3
license = Apache 2.0

install_requires =
  inmanta-modules-net ~=0.2.4
  inmanta-modules-std >1.0,<2.5


feature-x =


include = inmanta_plugins*
  • The metadata section defines the following fields:

    • name: The name of the resulting Python package when this module is packaged. This name should follow the naming schema: inmanta-module-<module-name>.

    • version: The version of the module. Modules must use semantic versioning.

    • license: The license under which the module is distributed.

    • deprecated: Optional field. If set to True, this module will print a warning deprecation message when used.

  • The install_requires config option in the options section of the setup.cfg file defines the dependencies of the module on other Inmanta modules and external Python libraries. These version specs use PEP440 syntax. Adding a new module dependency to the module should be done using the inmanta module add command instead of altering the setup.cfg file by hand. Dependencies with extras can be defined in this section using the dependency[extra-a,extra-b] syntax.

  • The options.extras_require config option can be used to define optional dependencies, only required by a specific feature of the inmanta module.

A full list of all available options can be found in here.

The pyproject.toml file#

The pyproject.toml file defines the build system that has to be used to build a python package and perform editable installs. This file should always have the following content:

requires = ["setuptools", "wheel"]
build-backend = "setuptools.build_meta"

The MANIFEST.in file#

This file enables setuptools to correctly build the package. It is documented here. An example that includes the model, files, templates and metadata file in the package looks like this:

include inmanta_plugins/mod1/setup.cfg
recursive-include inmanta_plugins/mod1/model *.cf
graft inmanta_plugins/mod1/files
graft inmanta_plugins/mod1/templates

You might notice that the model, files and templates directories, nor the metadata file reside in the inmanta_plugins directory. The inmanta build tool takes care of this to ensure the included files are included in the package installation directory.

V1 module format#

A complete module might contain the following files:

|__ module.yml
|__ model
|    |__ _init.cf
|    |__ services.cf
|__ plugins
|    |__ functions.py
|__ files
|    |__ file1.txt
|__ templates
|    |__ conf_file.conf.tmpl
|__ requirements.txt

The directory layout of the V1 module is similar to that of a V2 module. The following difference exist:

  • The metadata file of the module is called module.yml instead of setup.cfg. The structure of the module.yml file also differs from the structure of the setup.cfg file. More information about this module.yml file is available in the next section.

  • The files contained in the inmanta_plugins/<module-name>/ directory in the V2 format, are present in the plugins directory in the V1 format.

  • The requirements.txt file defines the dependencies of this module to other V2 modules and the dependencies to external libraries used by the code in the plugins directory. This file is not present in the V2 module format, since V2 modules defined their dependencies in the setup.cfg file. Dependencies with extras are supported in the requirements.txt file using the dependency[extra-a,extra-b] syntax.

  • The pyproject.toml file doesn’t exist in a V1 module, because V1 modules cannot be packaged into a Python package.

Module metadata#

The module.yml file provides metadata about the module. This file is a yaml file with the following three keys mandatory:

  • name: The name of the module. This name should also match the name of the module directory.

  • license: The license under which the module is distributed.

  • version: The version of this module. For a new module a start version could be 0.1dev0 These versions are parsed using the same version parser as python setuptools.

  • deprecated: Optional field. If set to True, this module will print a warning deprecation message when used.

For example the following module.yml from the Quickstart

name: lamp
license: Apache 2.0
version: 0.1

The requires key can be used to define the dependencies of this module on other Inmanta modules. Each entry in the list should contain the name of an Inmanta module, optionally associated with a version constraint. These version specs use PEP440 syntax. Adding a new entry to the requires list should be done using the inmanta module add <module-name> command.

An example of a module.yml file that defines requires:

license: Apache 2.0
name: ip
source: git@github.com:inmanta/ip
version: 0.1.15
    - net ~= 0.2.4
    - std >1.0 <2.5

source indicates the authoritative repository where the module is maintained.

A full list of all available options can be found in here.

Convert a module from V1 to V2 format#

To convert a V1 module to the V2 format, execute the following command in the module folder

inmanta module v1tov2

Inmanta module template#

To quickly initialize a module use the inmanta module template.

Extending Inmanta#

Inmanta offers module developers an orchestration platform with many extension possibilities. When modelling with existing modules is not sufficient, a module developer can use the Python SDK of Inmanta to extend the platform. Python code that extends Inmanta is stored in the plugins directory of a module. All python modules in the plugins subdirectory will be loaded by the compiler when at least a __init__.py file exists, exactly like any other python package.

The Inmanta Python SDK offers several extension mechanism:

  • Plugins

  • Resources

  • Resource handlers

  • Dependency managers

Only the compiler and agents load code included in modules (See Architecture). A module can include external dependencies. Both the compiler and the agent will install this dependencies with pip install in an virtual environment dedicated to the compiler or agent. By default this is in .env of the project for the compiler and in /var/lib/inmanta/agent/env for the agent.

Inmanta uses a special format of requirements that was defined in python PEP440 but never fully implemented in all python tools (setuptools and pip). Inmanta rewrites this to the syntax pip requires. This format allows module developers to specify a python dependency in a repo on a dedicated branch. And it allows inmanta to resolve the requirements of all module to a single set of requirements, because the name of module is unambiguously defined in the requirement. The format for requires in requirements.txt is the following:

  • Either, the name of the module and an optional constraint

  • Or a repository location such as git+https://github.com/project/python-foo The correct syntax to use is then: eggname@git+https://../repository#branch with branch being optional.

Installing modules#

Since modules often have dependencies on other modules, it is common to develop against multiple modules (or a project and one or more modules) simultaneously. One might for example need to extend a dependent module to add support for some new feature. Because this use case is so common, this section will describe how to work on multiple modules simultaneously so that any changes are visible to the compiler. This procedure is of course applicable for working on a single module as well.

Setting up the dev environment#

To set up the development environment for a project, activate your development Python environment and install the project with inmanta project install. To set up the environment for a single v2 module, run inmanta module install -e instead.

The following subsections explain any additional steps you need to take if you want to make changes to one of the dependent modules as well.

v1 modules#

Any modules you find in the project’s modulepath after starting from a clean project and setting up the development environment are v1 modules. You can make changes to these modules and they will be reflected in the next compile. No additional steps are required.

v2 modules#

All other modules are v2 and have been installed by inmanta project install into the active Python environment. If you want to be able to make changes to one of these modules, the easiest way is to check out the module repo separately and run inmanta module install -e <path> on it, overwriting the published package that was installed previously. This will install the module in editable form: any changes you make to the checked out files will be picked up by the compiler. You can also do this prior to installing the project, in which case the pre-installed module will remain installed in editable form when you install the project, provided it matches the version constraints. Since these modules are essentially Python packages, you can double check the desired modules are installed in editable mode by checking the output of pip list --editable.

Working on the dev environment#

After setting up, you should be left with a dev environment where all required v2 modules have been installed (either in editable or in packaged form). If you’re working on a project, all required v1 modules should be checked out in the modulepath directory.

When you run a compile from the active Python environment context, the compiler will find both the v1 and v2 modules and use them for both their model and their plugins.

Similarly, when you run a module’s unit tests, the installed v2 modules will automatically be used by the compiler. As for v1 modules, by default, the pytest-inmanta extension makes sure the compile itself runs against an isolated project, downloading any v1 module dependencies. If you want to compile against local versions of v1 modules, have a look at the --use-module-in-place option in the pytest-inmanta documentation.

Module installation on the server#

The orchestrator server generally installs modules from the configured Python package repository, respecting the project’s constraints on its modules and all inter-module constraints. The server is then responsible for supplying the agents with the appropriate inmanta_plugins packages.

The only exception to this rule is when using the inmanta export command. It exports a project and all its modules’ inmanta_plugins packages to the orchestrator server. When this method is used, the orchestrator does not install any modules from the Python package repository but instead contains all Python code as present in the local Python environment.

Configure the Inmanta server to install modules from a private python package repository#

V2 modules can be installed from a Python package repository that requires authentication. This section explains how the Inmanta server should be configured to install v2 modules from such a Python package repository.

Create a file named /var/lib/inmanta/.netrc in the orchestrator’s file system. Add the following content to the file:

machine <hostname of the private repository>
login <username>
password <password>

For more information, please refer to the documentation about pip authentication.

You will also need to specify the url of the repository in the project.yml file of your project (See: Specify locations from where V2 modules will be installed).

By following the previous steps, the Inmanta server will be able to install modules from a private Python package repository.