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Back when I first took a look at Puppet 4 features I explored the new Data Types and said:

Additionally I cannot see myself using a Struct like above in the argument list โ€“ to which Henrik says they are looking to add a typedef thing to the language so you can give complex Strucโ€™s a more convenient name and use that. This will help that a lot.

And since Puppet 4.4.0 this has now become a reality. So a quick post to look at that.

The Problem

I’ve been writing a Hiera based node classifier both to scratch and itch and to have something fairly complex to explore the new features in Puppet 4.

The classifier takes a set of classification rules and produce classifications – classes to include and parameters – from there. Here’s a sample classification:

  RedHat VMs:
    match: all
      - fact: "%{}"
        operator: ==
        value: RedHat
      - fact: "%{facts.is_virtual}"
        operator: ==
        value: "true"
      redhat_vm: true
      centos::vm::someprop: someval
      - centos::vm

This is a classification rule that has 2 rules to match against machines running RedHat like operating systems and that are virtual. In that case if both these are true it will:

  • Include the class centos::vm
  • Create some data redhat_vm => true and centos::vm::someprop => someval

You can have an arbitrary amount of classifications made up of a arbitrary amount of rules. This data lives in hiera so you can have all sorts of merging, overriding and knock out fun with it.

The amazing thing is since Puppet 4.4.0 there is now no Ruby code involved in doing what I said above, all the parsing, looping, evaluating or rules and building of data structures are all done using functions written in the pure Puppet DSL.

There’s some Ruby there in the form of a custom backend for the new lookup based hiera system – but this is experimental, optional and a bit crazy.

Anyway, so here’s the problem, before Puppet 4.4.0 my main class had this in:

class classifier (
      match    => Enum["all", "any"],
      rules    => Array[
          fact     => String,
          operator => Enum["==", "=~", ">", " =>", "<", "<="],
          value    => Data,
          invert   => Optional[Boolean]
      data     => Optional[Hash[Pattern[/\A[a-z0-9_][a-zA-Z0-9_]*\Z/], Data]],
      classes  => Array[Pattern[/\A([a-z][a-z0-9_]*)?(::[a-z][a-z0-9_]*)*\Z/]]
  ] $rules = {}
) {

This describes the full valid rule as a Puppet Type. It’s pretty horrible. Worse I have a number of functions and classes all that receives the full classification or parts of it and I’d have to duplicate all this all over.

The Solution

So as of yesterday I can now make this a lot better:
class classifier (
  Classifier::Classifications  $rules = {},
) {

to do this I made a few files in the module:

# classifier/types/matches.pp
type Classifier::Matches = Enum["all", "any"]
# classifier/types/classname.pp
type Classifier::Classname = Pattern[/\A([a-z][a-z0-9_]*)?(::[a-z][a-z0-9_]*)*\Z/]

and a few more, eventually ending up in:

# classifier/types/classification.pp
type Classifier::Classification = Struct[{
  match    => Classifier::Matches,
  rules    => Array[Classifier::Rule],
  data     => Classifier::Data,
  classes  => Array[Classifier::Classname]

Which you can see solves the problem quite nicely. Now in classes and functions where I need lets say just a Rule all I do is use Classifier::Rule instead of all the crazy.

This makes the native Puppet Data Types perfectly usable for me, well worth adopting these.