Sketch Structure

Table of Contents

All Design Center sketches consists of at least two files:

There might be additional supporting files for testing and additional CFEngine policy files (*.cf) for more advanced sketches.


This file contains metadata about the sketch and declares the interface to the sketch. A minimal sketch.json file looks like this:


        "": { desc: "main file", "version": "1.05.2" },

        "name": "Category::sketch_name",
        "description": "What the sketch does",
        "version": "1.0",
        "license": "MIT",
        "tags": [ "cfdc", "enterprise_compatible" ],
        "authors": [ "" ],
        "depends": { "Other::Dependency::Sketch": { }, "cfengine": { "version": "3.6.0" }, "os": [ { "ubuntu" : "Ubuntu", "gentoo" : "Gentoo" } ] }

            { type: "environment", name: "runenv", },
            { type: "metadata", name: "metadata", },
            { type: "string", name: "mystring", description: "Purpose of mystring", validation: "MYSTRING_VALIDATION", example: "example mystring contents" },
            { type: "list", name: "mylist", description: "Purpose of mylist", validation: "MYLIST_VALIDATION", example: "example mylist item contents" }

    namespace: "cfdc_sketch_name_namespace",

    interface: [ "" ]

CFEngine Enterprise Compatibility

For a sketch to work well with the CFEngine Enterprise Design Center graphical user interface (GUI), all of the above attributes must be specified. Some additional requirements are noted below.

The depends.os attribute is checked when a user is activating a sketch, to warn on cases where a user attempts to activate a sketch on an operating system the sketch does not (yet) support. It is therefore useful to make sure that all the operating systems listed in depends.os is working well with the sketch. Each element has the format { "os_class" : "OS friendly name" }. "OS friendly name" is displayed in the GUI.

The enterprise_compatible tag must be set, otherwise it will not show up as an available sketch in the GUI.

All items in api.bundlename:

  • any element that takes input (excluding e.g. runenv and metadata) must have type either string or list (support for more types will be added in the future)
  • validation must be a validation that has been defined in the API (living either in constdata.conf or vardata.conf)
  • the referenced validation can use minimum_value, maximum_value, or valid_regex. Other choices are available in Enterprise 3.6.

Upgrading sketches

There are three ways to upgrade a Design Center sketch repository.

Upgrade a Design Center sketch repository from the Github master branch of Design Center

cf-sketch --install-all --inputs=/var/cfengine/design-center

The installsource is omitted but defaults to the Github master branch, so the above is equivalent to:

cf-sketch --install-all --inputs=/var/cfengine/design-center --installsource=

Upgrade a Design Center sketch repository from the Github 3.6.x branch of Design Center

cf-sketch --install-all --inputs=/var/cfengine/design-center --installsource=

Upgrade a Design Center sketch repository from your own sketch repository

You would do this if you maintain sketches for your own organization.

cf-sketch --install-all --inputs=/var/cfengine/design-center --installsource=/myrepo/sketches/cfsketches.json