Developing Modules


This section discusses how to develop, debug, review, and test modules.

Ansible modules are reusable, standalone scripts that can be used by the Ansible API, or by the ansible or ansible-playbook programs. They return information to ansible by printing a JSON string to stdout before exiting. They take arguments in one of several ways which we’ll go into as we work through this tutorial.

See All modules for a list of existing modules.

Modules can be written in any language and are found in the path specified by ANSIBLE_LIBRARY or the --module-path command line option or in the library section of the Ansible configuration file.

Should You Develop A Module?

Before diving into the work of creating a new module, you should think about whether you actually should develop a module. Ask the following questions:

  1. Does a similar module already exist?

There are a lot of existing modules available, you should check out the list of existing modules at Importing Modules

  1. Has someone already worked on a similar Pull Request?

It’s possible that someone has already started developing a similar PR. There are a few ways to find open module Pull Requests:

If you find an existing PR that looks like it addresses the issue you are trying to solve, please provide feedback on the PR - this will speed up getting the PR merged.

  1. Should you use or develop an action plugin instead?

Action plugins get run on the master instead of on the target. For modules like file/copy/template, some of the work needs to be done on the master before the module executes on the target. Action plugins execute first on the master and can then execute the normal module on the target if necessary.

For more information about action plugins, read the action plugins documentation.

  1. Should you use a role instead?

Check out the roles documentation.

  1. Should you write multiple modules instead of one module?

The following guidelines will help you determine if your module attempts to do too much, and should likely be broken into several smaller modules.

  • Modules should have a concise and well defined functionality. Basically, follow the UNIX philosophy of doing one thing well.
  • Modules should not require that a user know all the underlying options of an api/tool to be used. For instance, if the legal values for a required module parameter cannot be documented, that’s a sign that the module would be rejected.
  • Modules should typically encompass much of the logic for interacting with a resource. A lightweight wrapper around an API that does not contain much logic would likely cause users to offload too much logic into a playbook, and for this reason the module would be rejected. Instead try creating multiple modules for interacting with smaller individual pieces of the API.

How To Develop A Module

The following topics will discuss how to develop and work with modules:

Ansible Module Architecture
A description of Ansible’s module architecture.
Ansible Module Development Walkthrough
A general overview of how to develop, debug, and test modules.
Windows Ansible Module Development Walkthrough
A general overview of how to develop, debug and test Windows modules.
Documenting Your Module
How to include in-line documentation in your module.
Conventions, Best Practices, and Pitfalls
Best practices, recommendations, and things to avoid.
Contributing Your Module to Ansible
Checklist for contributing your module to Ansible.
Testing Ansible
Developing unit and integration tests.
Ansible and Python 3
Adding Python 3 support to modules (all new modules must be Python-2.6 and Python-3.5 compatible).
Information for submitting a group of modules
A guide for partners wanting to submit multiple modules.

See also

All modules
Learn about available modules
Developing Plugins
Learn about developing plugins
Python API
Learn about the Python API for playbook and task execution
GitHub modules directory
Browse module source code
Mailing List
Development mailing list
#ansible IRC chat channel