Migrating Roles to Roles in Collections on Galaxy

You can migrate any existing standalone role into a collection and host the collection on Galaxy. With Ansible collections, you can distribute many roles in a single cohesive unit of re-usable automation. Inside a collection, you can share custom plugins across all roles in the collection instead of duplicating them in each role’s library/` directory.

You must migrate roles to collections if you want to distribute them as certified Ansible content.

Note

If you want to import your collection to Galaxy, you need a Galaxy namespace.

See Developing collections for details on collections.

Comparing standalone roles to collection roles

Standalone roles have the following directory structure:

  role/
  ├── defaults
  ├── files
  ├── handlers
  ├── library
  ├── meta
  ├── module_utils
  ├── [*_plugins]
  ├── tasks
  ├── templates
  ├── tests
  └── vars

The highlighted directories above will change when you migrate to a collection-based role. The collection directory structure includes a roles/ directory:

mynamespace/
└── mycollection/
  ├── docs/
  ├── galaxy.yml
  ├── plugins/
  │   ├── modules/
  │   │   └── module1.py
  │   ├── inventory/
  │   └── .../
  ├── README.md
  ├── roles/
  │   ├── role1/
  │   ├── role2/
  │   └── .../
  ├── playbooks/
  │   ├── files/
  │   ├── vars/
  │   ├── templates/
  │   └── tasks/
  └── tests/

You will need to use the Fully Qualified Collection Name (FQCN) to use the roles and plugins when you migrate your role into a collection. The FQCN is the combination of the collection namespace, collection name, and the content item you are referring to.

So for example, in the above collection, the FQCN to access role1 would be:

mynamespace.mycollection.role1

A collection can contain one or more roles in the roles/ directory and these are almost identical to standalone roles, except you need to move plugins out of the individual roles, and use the FQCN in some places, as detailed in the next section.

Note

In standalone roles, some of the plugin directories referenced their plugin types in the plural sense; this is not the case in collections.

Migrating a role to a collection

To migrate from a standalone role that contains no plugins to a collection role:

  1. Create a local ansible_collections directory and cd to this new directory.

  2. Create a collection. If you want to import this collection to Ansible Galaxy, you need a Galaxy namespace.

$ ansible-galaxy collection init mynamespace.mycollection

This creates the collection directory structure.

  1. Copy the standalone role directory into the roles/ subdirectory of the collection. Roles in collections cannot have hyphens in the role name. Rename any such roles to use underscores instead.

$ mkdir mynamespace/mycollection/roles/my_role/
$ cp -r /path/to/standalone/role/mynamespace/my_role/\* mynamespace/mycollection/roles/my_role/
  1. Update galaxy.yml to include any role dependencies.

  2. Update the collection README.md file to add links to any role README.md files.

Migrating a role with plugins to a collection

To migrate from a standalone role that has plugins to a collection role:

  1. Create a local ansible_collections directory and cd to this new directory.

  2. Create a collection. If you want to import this collection to Ansible Galaxy, you need a Galaxy namespace.

$ ansible-galaxy collection init mynamespace.mycollection

This creates the collection directory structure.

  1. Copy the standalone role directory into the roles/ subdirectory of the collection. Roles in collections cannot have hyphens in the role name. Rename any such roles to use underscores instead.

$ mkdir mynamespace/mycollection/roles/my_role/
$ cp -r /path/to/standalone/role/mynamespace/my_role/\* mynamespace/mycollection/roles/my_role/
  1. Move any modules to the plugins/modules/ directory.

$ mv -r mynamespace/mycollection/roles/my_role/library/\* mynamespace/mycollection/plugins/modules/
  1. Move any other plugins to the appropriate plugins/PLUGINTYPE/ directory. See Migrating other role plugins to a collection for additional steps that may be required.

  2. Update galaxy.yml to include any role dependencies.

  3. Update the collection README.md file to add links to any role README.md files.

  4. Change any references to the role to use the FQCN.

---
- name: example role by FQCN
  hosts: some_host_pattern
  tasks:
    - name: import FQCN role from a collection
      import_role:
        name: mynamespace.mycollection.my_role

You can alternately use the collections keyword to simplify this:

---
- name: example role by FQCN
  hosts: some_host_pattern
  collections:
    - mynamespace.mycollection
  tasks:
    - name: import role from a collection
      import_role:
        name: my_role

Migrating other role plugins to a collection

To migrate other role plugins to a collection:

  1. Move each nonmodule plugins to the appropriate plugins/PLUGINTYPE/ directory. The mynamespace/mycollection/plugins/README.md file explains the types of plugins that the collection can contain within optionally created subdirectories.

$ mv -r mynamespace/mycollection/roles/my_role/filter_plugins/\* mynamespace/mycollection/plugins/filter/
  1. Update documentation to use the FQCN. Plugins that use doc_fragments need to use FQCN (for example, mydocfrag becomes mynamespace.mycollection.mydocfrag).

  2. Update relative imports work in collections to start with a period. For example, ./filename and ../asdfu/filestuff works but filename in same directory must be updated to ./filename.

If you have a custom module_utils or import from __init__.py, you must also:

  1. Change the Python namespace for custom module_utils to use the FQCN along with the ansible_collections convention. See Updating module_utils.

  2. Change how you import from __init__.py. See Importing from __init__.py.

Updating module_utils

If any of your custom modules use a custom module utility, once you migrate to a collection you cannot address the module utility in the top level ansible.module_utils Python namespace. Ansible does not merge content from collections into the Ansible internal Python namespace. Update any Python import statements that refer to custom module utilities when you migrate your custom content to collections. See module_utils in collections for more details.

When coding with module_utils in a collection, the Python import statement needs to take into account the FQCN along with the ansible_collections convention. The resulting Python import looks similar to the following example:

from ansible_collections.{namespace}.{collectionname}.plugins.module_utils.{util} import {something}

Note

You need to follow the same rules in changing paths and using namespaced names for subclassed plugins.

The following example code snippets show a Python and a PowerShell module using both default Ansible module_utils and those provided by a collection. In this example the namespace is ansible_example and the collection is community.

In the Python example the module_utils is helper and the FQCN is ansible_example.community.plugins.module_utils.helper:

 from ansible.module_utils.basic import AnsibleModule
 from ansible.module_utils._text import to_text
 from ansible.module_utils.six.moves.urllib.parse import urlencode
 from ansible.module_utils.six.moves.urllib.error import HTTPError
 from ansible_collections.ansible_example.community.plugins.module_utils.helper import HelperRequest

 argspec = dict(
         name=dict(required=True, type='str'),
         state=dict(choices=['present', 'absent'], required=True),
 )

 module = AnsibleModule(
         argument_spec=argspec,
         supports_check_mode=True
 )

 _request = HelperRequest(
       module,
         headers={"Content-Type": "application/json"},
      data=data
)

In the PowerShell example the module_utils is hyperv and the FQCN is ansible_example.community.plugins.module_utils.hyperv:

#!powershell
#AnsibleRequires -CSharpUtil Ansible.Basic
#AnsibleRequires -PowerShell ansible_collections.ansible_example.community.plugins.module_utils.hyperv

$spec = @{
        name = @{ required = $true; type = "str" }
      state = @{ required = $true; choices = @("present", "absent") }
}
$module = [Ansible.Basic.AnsibleModule]::Create($args, $spec)

Invoke-HyperVFunction -Name $module.Params.name

$module.ExitJson()

Importing from __init__.py

Because of the way that the CPython interpreter does imports, combined with the way the Ansible plugin loader works, if your custom embedded module or plugin requires importing something from an __init__.py file, that also becomes part of your collection. You can either originate the content inside a standalone role or use the file name in the Python import statement. The following example is an __init__.py file that is part of a callback plugin found inside a collection named ansible_example.community.

from ansible_collections.ansible_example.community.plugins.callback.__init__ import CustomBaseClass

Example: Migrating a standalone role with plugins to a collection

In this example we have a standalone role called my-standalone-role.webapp to emulate a standalone role that contains dashes in the name (which is not valid in collections). This standalone role contains a custom module in the library/ directory called manage_webserver.

my-standalone-role.webapp
├── defaults
├── files
├── handlers
├── library
├── meta
├── tasks
├── templates
├── tests
└── vars
  1. Create a new collection, for example, acme.webserver:

$ ansible-galaxy collection init acme.webserver
- Collection acme.webserver was created successfully
$ tree acme -d 1
acme
└── webserver
       ├── docs
       ├── plugins
       └── roles
  1. Create the webapp role inside the collection and copy all contents from the standalone role:

$ mkdir acme/webserver/roles/webapp
$ cp my-standalone-role.webapp/* acme/webserver/roles/webapp/
  1. Move the manage_webserver module to its new home in acme/webserver/plugins/modules/:

$ cp my-standalone-role.webapp/library/manage_webserver.py acme/webserver/plugins/modules/manage.py

Note

This example changed the original source file manage_webserver.py to the destination file manage.py. This is optional but the FQCN provides the webserver context as acme.webserver.manage.

  1. Change manage_webserver to acme.webserver.manage in tasks/ files in the role ( for example, my-standalone-role.webapp/tasks/main.yml) and any use of the original module name.

Note

This name change is only required if you changed the original module name, but illustrates content referenced by FQCN can offer context and in turn can make module and plugin names shorter. If you anticipate using these modules independent of the role, keep the original naming conventions. Users can add the collections keyword in their playbooks. Typically roles are an abstraction layer and users won’t use components of the role independently.

Example: Supporting standalone roles and migrated collection roles in a downstream RPM

A standalone role can co-exist with its collection role counterpart (for example, as part of a support lifecycle of a product). This should only be done for a transition period, but these two can exist in downstream in packages such as RPMs. For example, the RHEL system roles could coexist with an example of a RHEL system roles collection and provide existing backwards compatibility with the downstream RPM.

This section walks through an example creating this coexistence in a downstream RPM and requires Ansible 2.9.0 or later.

To deliver a role as both a standalone role and a collection role:

  1. Place the collection in /usr/share/ansible/collections/ansible_collections/.

  2. Copy the contents of the role inside the collection into a directory named after the standalone role and place the standalone role in /usr/share/ansible/roles/.

All previously bundled modules and plugins used in the standalone role are now referenced by FQCN so even though they are no longer embedded, they can be found from the collection contents.This is an example of how the content inside the collection is a unique entity and does not have to be bound to a role or otherwise. You could alternately create two separate collections: one for the modules and plugins and another for the standalone role to migrate to. The role must use the modules and plugins as FQCN.

The following is an example RPM spec file that accomplishes this using this example content:

Name: acme-ansible-content
Summary: Ansible Collection for deploying and configuring ACME webapp
Version: 1.0.0
Release: 1%{?dist}
License: GPLv3+
Source0: acme-webserver-1.0.0.tar.gz

Url: https://github.com/acme/webserver-ansible-collection
BuildArch: noarch

%global roleprefix my-standalone-role.
%global collection_namespace acme
%global collection_name webserver

%global collection_dir %{_datadir}/ansible/collections/ansible_collections/%{collection_namespace}/%{collection_name}

%description
Ansible Collection and standalone role (for backward compatibility and migration) to deploy, configure, and manage the ACME webapp software.

%prep
%setup -qc

%build

%install

mkdir -p %{buildroot}/%{collection_dir}
cp -r ./* %{buildroot}/%{collection_dir}/

mkdir -p %{buildroot}/%{_datadir}/ansible/roles
for role in %{buildroot}/%{collection_dir}/roles/*
  do
         cp -pR ${role} %{buildroot}/%{_datadir}/ansible/roles/%{roleprefix}$(basename ${role})

         mkdir -p %{buildroot}/%{_pkgdocdir}/$(basename ${role})
         for docfile in README.md COPYING LICENSE
          do
      if [ -f ${role}/${docfile} ]
          then
              cp -p ${role}/${docfile} %{buildroot}/%{_pkgdocdir}/$(basename ${role})/${docfile}
      fi
         done
done


%files
%dir %{_datadir}/ansible
%dir %{_datadir}/ansible/roles
%dir %{_datadir}/ansible/collections
%dir %{_datadir}/ansible/collections/ansible_collections
%{_datadir}/ansible/roles/
%doc %{_pkgdocdir}/*/README.md
%doc %{_datadir}/ansible/roles/%{roleprefix}*/README.md
%{collection_dir}
%doc %{collection_dir}/roles/*/README.md
%license %{_pkgdocdir}/*/COPYING
%license %{_pkgdocdir}/*/LICENSE