As noted in Creating Reusable Playbooks, include and import statements are very similar, however the Ansible executor engine treats them very differently.
import*statements are pre-processed at the time playbooks are parsed.
include*statements are processed as they encountered during the execution of the playbook.
Please refer to Creating Reusable Playbooks for documentation concerning the trade-offs one may encounter when using each type.
Also be aware that this behaviour changed in 2.4. Prior to Ansible 2.4, only
include was available and it behaved differently depending on context.
New in version 2.4.
It is possible to include playbooks inside a master playbook. For example:
- import_playbook: webservers.yml - import_playbook: databases.yml
The plays and tasks in each playbook listed will be run in the order they are listed, just as if they had been defined here directly.
Prior to 2.4 only
include was available and worked for both playbooks and tasks as both import and include.
New in version 2.4.
Breaking tasks up into different files is an excellent way to organize complex sets of tasks or reuse them. A task file simply contains a flat list of tasks:
# common_tasks.yml - name: placeholder foo command: /bin/foo - name: placeholder bar command: /bin/bar
You can then use
include_tasks to execute the tasks in a file in the main task list:
tasks: - import_tasks: common_tasks.yml # or - include_tasks: common_tasks.yml
You can also pass variables into imports and includes:
tasks: - import_tasks: wordpress.yml vars: wp_user: timmy - import_tasks: wordpress.yml vars: wp_user: alice - import_tasks: wordpress.yml vars: wp_user: bob
See Variable Precedence: Where Should I Put A Variable? for more details on variable inheritance and precedence.
Task include and import statements can be used at arbitrary depth.
key=valuesyntax for passing variables to import and include is deprecated. Use YAML
Includes and imports can also be used in the
handlers: section. For instance, if you want to define how to restart Apache, you only have to do that once for all of your playbooks. You might make a
handlers.yml that looks like:
# more_handlers.yml - name: restart apache service: name=apache state=restarted
And in your main playbook file:
handlers: - include_tasks: more_handlers.yml # or - import_tasks: more_handlers.yml
Be sure to refer to the limitations/trade-offs for handlers noted in Creating Reusable Playbooks.
You can mix in includes along with your regular non-included tasks and handlers.
Please refer to Roles for details on including and importing roles.