Ansible community package collections requirements

This section describes the requirements for maintainers of Ansible community collections in the ansible-collections repository or included in the Ansible community package.

Overview

This section provides help, advice, and guidance on making sure your collections are correct and ready for inclusion in the Ansible community package.

Note

Inclusion of a new collection in the Ansible package is ultimately at the discretion of the Ansible Community Steering Committee. Every rejected candidate will get feedback. Differences of opinion should be taken to a dedicated community topic for discussion and a final vote.

Feedback and communications

As with any project it is very important that we get feedback from users, contributors, and maintainers. You can get feedback and help as follows:

Keeping informed

To track changes that affect collections:

Collection infrastructure

The following guidelines describe the required structure for your collection:

  • MUST have a publicly available issue tracker that does not require a paid level of service to create an account or view issues.

  • MUST have a Code of Conduct (CoC).

    • The collection’s CoC MUST be compatible with the Community Code of Conduct.

    • The collections SHOULD consider using the Ansible CoC if they do not have a CoC that they consider better.

    • The Diversity and Inclusion working group may evaluate all CoCs and object to a collection’s inclusion based on the CoCs contents.

    • The CoC MUST be linked from the README.md file, or MUST be present or linked from the CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md file in the collection root.

  • MUST be published to Ansible Galaxy.

  • SHOULD NOT contain any large objects (binaries) comparatively to the current Galaxy tarball size limit of 20 MB, For example, do not include package installers for testing purposes.

  • SHOULD NOT contain any unnecessary files such as temporary files.

  • MUST only contain objects that follow the Licensing rules.

Python Compatibility

A collection MUST be developed and tested using the below Python requirements as Ansible supports a wide variety of machines.

The collection should adhere to the tips at ansible-and-python-3.

Python Requirements

Python requirements for a collection vary between controller environment and other environment. On the controller-environment, the Python versions required may be higher than what is required on the other-environment. While developing a collection, you need to understand the definitions of both the controller-environment and other-environment to help you choose Python versions accordingly:

  • controller environment: The plugins/modules always run in the same environment (Python interpreter, venv, host, and so on) as ansible-core itself.

  • other environment: It is possible, even if uncommon in practice, for the plugins/modules to run in a different environment than ansible-core itself.

One example scenario where the “even if” clause comes into play is when using cloud modules. These modules mostly run on the controller node but in some environments, the controller might run on one machine inside a demilitarized zone which cannot directly access the cloud machines. The user has to have the cloud modules run on a bastion host/jump server which has access to the cloud machines.

An eligible controller Python version for a collection is a Python version that is supported on the controller side by at least one ansible-core version that the collection supports. Similarly, an eligible target Python version for a collection is a Python version that is supported on the target side by at least one ansible-core version that the collection supports. The eligible controller and target Python versions can be determined from the ansible-core support matrix and from the requires_ansible value in meta/runtime.yml in the collection.

Controller environment

Collections MUST support all eligible controller Python versions in the controller environment, unless required libraries do not support these Python versions. The Steering Committee can grant other exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

The collection MUST document all eligible controller Python versions that are not supported in the controller environment. See Python documentation requirements for details.

Other environment

Collections MUST support all eligible controller Python versions in the other environment, unless required libraries do not support these Python versions. The Steering Committee can grant other exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Collections SHOULD support all eligible target Python versions in the other environment.

The collection MUST document all eligible target Python versions that are not supported in the other environment. See Python documentation requirements for details.

Note

Note that dropping support for a Python version for an existing module/plugin is a breaking change, and thus requires a major release. A collection MUST announce dropping support for Python versions in their changelog, if possible in advance (for example, in previous versions before support is dropped).

Python documentation requirements

  • If everything in your collection supports all eligible controller/target Python versions, you do not need to document supported Python versions.

  • If your collection does not support those Python versions, you MUST document which versions it supports in the README.

  • If most of your collection supports the same Python versions as ansible-core, but some modules and plugins do not, you MUST include the supported Python versions in the documentation for those modules and plugins.

For example, if your collection supports Ansible 2.9 to ansible-core 2.13, the Python versions supported for modules are 2.6, 2.7, and 3.5 and newer (until at least 3.10), while the Python versions supported for plugins are 2.7 and 3.5 and newer (until at least 3.10). So if the modules in your collection do not support Python 2.6, you have to document this in the README, for example The content in this collection supports Python 2.7, Python 3.5 and newer..

Standards for developing module and plugin utilities

  • module_utils and plugin_utils can be marked for only internal use in the collection, but they MUST document this and MUST use a leading underscore for file names.

  • It is a breaking change when you make an existing module_utils private and in that case the collection requires a major version bump.

  • Below are some recommendations for module_utils documentation:

    • No docstring: everything we recommend for other-environment is supported.

    • The docstring 'Python versions supported: same as for controller-environment': everything we recommend for controller-environment is supported.

    • The docstring with specific versions otherwise: 'Python versions supported: '.

Repository structure requirements

galaxy.yml

  • The tags field MUST be set.

  • Collection dependencies must meet a set of rules. See the section on Collection Dependencies <collection_dependencies_> for details.

  • The ansible package MUST NOT depend on collections not shipped in the package.

  • If you plan to split up your collection, the new collection MUST be approved for inclusion before the smaller collections replace the larger in Ansible.

  • If you plan to add other collections as dependencies, they MUST run through the formal application process.

README.md

Your collection repository MUST have a README.md in the root of the collection, see collection_template/README.md for an example.

meta/runtime.yml

Example: meta/runtime.yml

  • The meta/runtime.yml MUST define the minimum version of Ansible which this collection works with.

    • If the collection works with Ansible 2.9, then this should be set to >=2.9.10

    • It is usually better to avoid adding <2.11 as a restriction, since this for example makes it impossible to use the collection with the current ansible-base devel branch (which has version 2.11.0.dev0)

meta/execution-environment.yml

If a collection has controller-side Python package and/or system package requirements, to allow easy execution environment building, they SHOULD be listed in corresponding files under the meta directory, specified in meta/execution-environment.yml, and verified.

See the Collection-level dependencies guide for more information and collection_template/meta <https://github.com/ansible-collections/collection_template/tree/main/meta> directory content as an example.

Modules & Plugins

  • Collections MUST only use the directories specified below in the plugins/ directory and only for the purposes listed:

    Those recognized by ansible-core:

    doc_fragments, modules, module_utils, terminal, and those listed in Working with plugins. This list can be verified by looking at the last element of the package argument of each *_loader in https://github.com/ansible/ansible/blob/devel/lib/ansible/plugins/loader.py#L1126

    plugin_utils:

    For shared code which is only used controller-side, not in modules.

    sub_plugins:

    For other plugins that are managed by plugins inside of collections instead of ansible-core. We use a subfolder so there aren’t conflicts when ansible-core adds new plugin types.

    The core team (which maintains ansible-core) has committed not to use these directories for anything which would conflict with the uses specified here.

Other directories

Collections MUST not use files outside meta/, plugins/, roles/ and playbooks/ in any plugin, role, or playbook that can be called by FQCN, used from other collections, or used from user playbooks and roles. A collection must work if every file or directory is deleted from the installed collection except those four directories and their contents.

Internal plugins, roles and playbooks (artifacts used only in testing, or only to release the collection, or only for some other internal purpose and not used externally) are exempt from this rule and may rely on files in other directories.

Documentation requirements

All modules and plugins MUST:

  • Include a DOCUMENTATION block.

  • Include an EXAMPLES block (except where not relevant for the plugin type).

  • Use FQCNs when referring to modules, plugins and documentation fragments inside and outside the collection (including ansible.builtin for the listed entities from ansible-core.

When using version_added in the documentation:

  • Declare the version of the collection in which the options were added – NOT the version of Ansible.

  • If you for some reason really have to specify version numbers of Ansible or of another collection, you also have to provide version_added_collection: collection_name. We strongly recommend to NOT do this.

  • Include version_added when you add new content (modules, plugins, options) to an existing collection. The values are shown in the documentation and can be useful, but you do not need to add version_added to every option, module, and plugin when creating a new collection.

Other items:

  • The CONTRIBUTING.md (or README.md) file MUST state what types of contributions (pull requests, feature requests, and so on) are accepted and any relevant contributor guidance. Issues (bugs and feature requests) reports must always be accepted.

  • Collections are encouraged to use links and formatting macros

  • Including a RETURN block for modules is strongly encouraged but not required.

Contributor Workflow

Changelogs

Collections are required to include a changelog. To give a consistent feel for changelogs across collections and ensure changelogs exist for collections included in the ansible package we suggest you use antsibull-changelog to maintain and generate this but other options exist. Preferred (in descending order):

  1. Use antsibull-changelog (preferred).

  2. Provide changelogs/changelog.yaml in the correct format. (You can use antsibull-lint changelog-yaml /path/to/changelog.yaml to validate the format.)

  3. Provide a link to the changelog file (self-hosted) (not recommended).

Note that the porting guide is compiled from changelogs/changelog.yaml (sections breaking_changes, major_changes, deprecated_features, removed_features). So if you use option 3, you will not be able to add something to the porting guide.

Versioning and deprecation

  • Collections MUST adhere to semantic versioning.

  • To preserve backward compatibility for users, every Ansible minor version series (x.Y.z) will keep the major version of a collection constant. If Ansible 3.0.0 includes community.general 2.2.0, then each 3.Y.z (3.1.z, 3.2.z, and so on) release will include the latest community.general 2.y.z release available at build time. Ansible 3.y.z will never include a community.general 3.y.z release, even if it is available. Major collection version changes will be included in the next Ansible major release (4.0.0 in this example).

  • Therefore, ensure that the current major release of your collection included in 3.0.0 receives at least bugfixes as long as new 3.Y.Z releases are produced.

  • Since new minor releases are included, you can include new features, modules and plugins. You must make sure that you do not break backward compatibility! (See semantic versioning.) This means in particular:

    • You can fix bugs in patch releases, but not add new features or deprecate things.

    • You can add new features and deprecate things in minor releases but not remove things or change the behavior of existing features.

    • You can only remove things or make breaking changes in major releases.

  • We recommend that you ensure that if a deprecation is added in a collection version that is included in Ansible 3.y.z, the removal itself will only happen in a collection version included in Ansible 5.0.0 or later, but not in a collection version included in Ansible 4.0.0.

  • Content moved from ansible/ansible that was scheduled for removal in 2.11 or later MUST NOT be removed in the current major release available when ansible 2.10.0 is released. Otherwise it would already be removed in 2.10, unexpectedly for users! Deprecation cycles can be shortened (since they are now uncoupled from ansible or ansible-base versions), but existing ones must not be unexpectedly terminated.

  • We recommend you announce your policy of releasing, versioning and deprecation to contributors and users in some way. For an example of how to do this, see the announcement in community.general. You could also do this in the README.

Naming

Collection naming

For collections under ansible-collections the repository SHOULD be named NAMESPACE.COLLECTION.

To create a new collection and corresponding repository, first, a new namespace in Galaxy has to be created by submitting Request a namespace.

Namespace limitations lists requirements for namespaces in Galaxy.

For collections created for working with a particular entity, they should contain the entity name, for example community.mysql.

For corporate maintained collections, the repository can be named COMPANY_NAME.PRODUCT_NAME, for example ibm.db2.

We should avoid FQCN / repository names:

  • which are unnecessary long: try to make it compact but clear.

  • contain the same words / collocations in NAMESPACE and COLLECTION parts, for example my_system.my_system.

If your collection is planned to be certified on Red Hat Automation Hub, please consult with Red Hat Partner Engineering through ansiblepartners@redhat.com to ensure collection naming compatibility between the community collection on Galaxy.

Module naming

Modules that only gather information MUST be named <something>_info. Modules that return ansible_facts are named <something>_facts and do not return non-facts. For more information, refer to the Developing modules guidelines.

Collection licensing requirements

Note

The guidelines below are more restrictive than strictly necessary. We will try to add a larger list of acceptable licenses once we have approval from Red Hat Legal.

There are four types of content in collections which licensing has to address in different ways:

modules:

must be licensed with a free software license that is compatible with the GPL-3.0-or-later

module_utils:

must be licensed with a free software license that is compatible with the GPL-3.0-or-later. Ansible itself typically uses the BSD-2-clause license to make it possible for third-party modules which are licensed incompatibly with the GPLv3 to use them. Please consider this use case when licensing your own module_utils.

All other code in plugins/:

All other code in plugins/ must be under the GPL-3.0-or-later. These plugins are run inside of the Ansible controller process which is licensed under the GPL-3.0-or-later and often must import code from the controller. For these reasons, GPL-3.0-or-later must be used.

All other code:

Code outside plugins/ may be licensed under another free software license that is compatible with the GPL-3.0-or-later, provided that such code does not import any other code that is licensed under the GPL-3.0-or-later. If the file does import other GPL-3.0-or-later code, then it must similarly be licensed under GPL-3.0-or-later. Note that this applies in particular to unit tests; these often import code from ansible-core, plugins, module utils, or modules, and such code is often licensed under GPL-3.0-or-later.

Non code content:

At the moment, these must also be under the GPL-3.0-or-later.

Use the list of licenses from gnu.org to find which licenses are compatible with the GPLv3+. The license must be considered open source and compatible with GPLv3+ on both the gnu.org license list and the Debian Free Software Guidelines to be allowed.

These guidelines are the policy for inclusion in the Ansible package and are in addition to any licensing and legal concerns that may otherwise affect your code.

Contributor License Agreements

Collections MUST NOT require community contributors to sign any type of contributor license agreement (CLA) other than the Developer Certificate of Origin or similar agreements that only require confirming the provenance of contributions. This requirement seeks to preserve the community’s ownership over its contributions, prevent unwelcome licensing changes that can occur when one entity owns the copyrights for an entire project, and lower barriers to contribution.

Repository management

Every collection MUST have a public git repository. Releases of the collection MUST be tagged in said repository. This means that releases MUST be git taged and that the tag name MUST exactly match the Galaxy version number. Tag names MAY have a v prefix, but a collection’s tag names MUST have a consistent format from release to release.

Additionally, collection artifacts released to Galaxy MUST be built from the sources that are tagged in the collection’s git repository as that release. Any changes made during the build process MUST be clearly documented so the collection artifact can be reproduced.

We are open to allowing other SCM software once our tooling supports them.

Branch name and configuration

This subsection is only for repositories under ansible-collections! Other collection repositories can also follow these guidelines, but do not have to.

All new repositories MUST have main as the default branch.

Existing repositories SHOULD be converted to use main.

Repository Protections:

  • Allow merge commits: disallowed

Branch protections MUST be enforced:

  • Require linear history

  • Include administrators

CI Testing

Note

You can copy the free-to-use GitHub action workflow file from the Collection Template repository to the .github/workflows directory in your collection to set up testing through GitHub actions. The workflow covers all the requirements below.

Note

Subscribe to the news-for-maintainers repository and keep your matrix up to date in accordance to related announcements. Add new ansible-core versions in a timely manner and consider dropping support and testing against its EOL versions and versions your collection does not support.

If your collection repository is under the ansible-collections GitHub organization, please keep in mind that the number of testing jobs is limited and shared across all the collections in the organization. So, focusing on good test coverage of your collection, please avoid testing against unnecessary entities such as ansible-core EOL versions your collection does not support.

  • You MUST run the ansible-test sanity command from the latest stable ansible-base/ansible-core branch.

    • Collections MUST run an equivalent of the ansible-test sanity --docker command.

    • If they do not use --docker, they must make sure that all tests run, in particular the compile and import tests (which should run for all supported Python versions).

    • Collections can choose to skip certain Python versions that they explicitly do not support; this needs to be documented in README.md and in every module and plugin (hint: use a docs fragment). However, we strongly recommend you follow the Ansible Python Compatibility section for more details.

  • You SHOULD suggest to additionally run ansible-test sanity from the ansible/ansible devel branch so that you find out about new linting requirements earlier.

  • The sanity tests MUST pass.

    • Adding some entries to the test/sanity/ignore*.txt file is an allowed method of getting them to pass, except cases listed below.

    • You SHOULD not have ignored test entries. A reviewer can manually evaluate and approve your collection if they deem an ignored entry to be valid.

    • You MUST not ignore the following validations. They must be fixed before approval:
      • validate-modules:doc-choices-do-not-match-spec

      • validate-modules:doc-default-does-not-match-spec

      • validate-modules:doc-missing-type

      • validate-modules:doc-required-mismatch

      • validate-modules:mutually_exclusive-unknown

      • validate-modules:no-log-needed (use no_log=False in the argument spec to flag false positives!)

      • validate-modules:nonexistent-parameter-documented

      • validate-modules:parameter-list-no-elements

      • validate-modules:parameter-type-not-in-doc

    • The following validations MUST not be ignored except in specific circumstances:
      • validate-modules:undocumented-parameter: this MUST only be ignored in one of these two cases:

        1. A dangerous module parameter has been deprecated or removed, and code is present to inform the user that they should not use this specific parameter anymore or that it stopped working intentionally.

        2. Module parameters are only used to pass in data from an accompanying action plugin.

    • All entries in ignores.txt MUST have a justification in a comment in the ignore.txt file for each entry. For example plugins/modules/docker_container.py use-argspec-type-path # uses colon-separated paths, can't use type=path.

    • Reviewers can block acceptance of a new collection if they don’t agree with the ignores.txt entries.

  • You MUST run CI against each of the “major versions” (2.10, 2.11, 2.12, etc) of ansible-base/ansible-core that the collection supports. (Usually the HEAD of the stable-xxx branches.)

  • All CI tests MUST run against every pull request and SHOULD pass before merge.

  • At least sanity tests MUST run against a commit that releases the collection; if they do not pass, the collection will NOT be released.

    • If the collection has integration/unit tests, they SHOULD run too; if they do not pass, the errors SHOULD be analyzed to decide whether they should block the release or not.

  • All CI tests MUST run regularly (nightly, or at least once per week) to ensure that repositories without regular commits are tested against the latest version of ansible-test from each ansible-base/ansible-core version tested. The results from the regular CI runs MUST be checked regularly.

All of the above can be achieved by using the GitHub Action template.

To learn how to add tests to your collection, see:

Collections and Working Groups

The collections have:

  • Working group page(s) on a corresponding wiki if needed. Makes sense if there is a group of modules for working with one common entity, for example, postgresql, zabbix, grafana, and so on.

  • Issue for agenda (or pinboard if there are no regular meetings) as a pinned issue in the repository.

When moving modules between collections

All related entities must be moved/copied including:

  • Related plugins and module_utils files (when moving, be sure it is not used by other modules, otherwise copy).

  • CI and unit tests.

  • Corresponding documentation fragments from plugins/doc_fragments.

Also:

  • Change M(), examples, seealso, extended_documentation_fragments to use actual FQCNs in moved content and in other collections that have references to the content.

  • Move all related issues, pull requests, and wiki pages.

  • Look through docs/docsite directory of ansible-base GitHub repository (for example, using the grep command-line utility) to check if there are examples using the moved modules and plugins to update their FQCNs.

See Migrating content to a different collection for complete details.

Development conventions

Besides all the requirements listed in the Conventions, tips, and pitfalls, be sure:

  • Your modules satisfy the concept of idempotency: if a module repeatedly runs with the same set of inputs, it will not make any changes on the system.

  • Your modules do not query information using special state option values like get, list, query, or info - create new _info or _facts modules instead (for more information, refer to the Developing modules guidelines).

  • check_mode is supported in all *_info and *_facts modules (for more information, refer to the Development conventions).

Collection Dependencies

Notation: if foo.bar has a dependency on baz.bam, we say that baz.bam is the collection depended on, and foo.bar is the dependent collection.

  • Collection dependencies must have a lower bound on the version which is at least 1.0.0.

    • This means that all collection dependencies have to specify lower bounds on the versions, and these lower bounds should be stable releases, and not versions of the form 0.x.y.

    • When creating new collections where collection dependencies are also under development, you need to watch out since Galaxy checks whether dependencies exist in the required versions:

      1. Assume that foo.bar depends on foo.baz.

      2. First release foo.baz as 1.0.0.

      3. Then modify foo.bar’s galaxy.yml to specify '>=1.0.0' for foo.baz.

      4. Finally release foo.bar as 1.0.0.

  • The dependencies between collections included in Ansible must be valid. If a dependency is violated, the involved collections must be pinned so that all dependencies are valid again. This means that the version numbers from the previous release are kept or only partially incremented so that the resulting set of versions has no invalid dependencies.

  • If a collection has a too strict dependency for a longer time, and forces another collection depended on to be held back, that collection will be removed from the next major Ansible release. What “longer time” means depends on when the next Ansible major release happens. If a dependent collection prevents a new major version of a collection it depends on to be included in the next major Ansible release, the dependent collection will be removed from that major release to avoid blocking the collection being depended on.

  • We strongly suggest that collections also test against the main branches of their dependencies to ensure that incompatibilities with future releases of these are detected as early as possible and can be resolved in time to avoid such problems. Collections depending on other collections must understand that they bear the risk of being removed when they do not ensure compatibility with the latest releases of their dependencies.

  • Collections included in Ansible must not depend on other collections except if they satisfy one of the following cases:

    1. They have a loose dependency on one (or more) major versions of other collections included in Ansible. For example, ansible.netcommon: >=1.0.0, or ansible.netcommon: >=2.0.0, <3.0.0. In case a collection depends on releases of a new major version outside of this version range that will be included in the next major Ansible release, the dependent collection will be removed from the next major Ansible release. The cut-off date for this is feature freeze.

    2. They are explicitly being allowed to do so by the Steering Committee.

Examples

  1. community.foo 1.2.0 has a dependency on community.bar >= 1.0.0, < 1.3.0.

    • Now community.bar creates a new release 1.3.0. When community.foo does not create a new release with a relaxed dependency, we have to include community.bar 1.2.x in the next Ansible release despite 1.3.0 being available.

    • If community.foo does not relax its dependency on community.bar for some time, community.foo will be removed from the next Ansible major release.

    • Unfortunately community.bar has to stay at 1.2.x until either community.foo is removed (in the next major release), or loosens its requirements so that newer community.bar 1.3.z releases can be included.

  2. community.foonetwork depends on ansible.netcommon >= 2.0.0, <3.0.0.

    • ansible.netcommon 4.0.0 is released during this major Ansible release cycle.

    • community.foonetwork either releases a new version before feature freeze of the next major Ansible release that allows depending on all ansible.netcommon 4.x.y releases, or it will be removed from the next major Ansible release.

Requirements for collections to be included in the Ansible Package

To be included in the ansible package, collections must meet the following criteria:

Other requirements

See also

Ansible collection creator path

A consistent overview of the Ansible collection creator journey