classes

Table of Contents

Classes promises may be made in any bundle. Classes that are set in common bundles are global in scope, while classes in all other bundles are local.

Note: The term class and context are sometimes used interchangeably.

    bundle common g
    {
    classes:

      "one" expression => "any"; # always defined
      "two"; # always defined

      "client_network" expression => iprange("128.39.89.0/24");
    }

Note: You can use the following attributes to make a complete promise.

  • and
  • expression
  • dist
  • or
  • not
  • xor

If you omit any of them, the class is always defined (as if you said expression => "any").

For example, the following promise defines the class web when a file exists:

bundle agent example
{
  classes:
      "web"
        if => fileexists("/etc/httpd/httpd.conf");
}

History: The context attributes expression, and, or, not, xor, dist were made optional in CFEngine 3.9.0. Before that, one of them was required. So the following examples were the valid equivalents of the example above before 3.9.0:

bundle agent example
{
  classes:
      "web"
        expression => fileexists("/etc/httpd/httpd.conf");

      "webserver"
        expression => "any",
        if => fileexists("/etc/httpd/httpd.conf");
}

Attributes

and

Description: Combine class sources with AND

The class on the left-hand side is set if all of the class expressions listed on the right-hand side are true.

Type: clist

Allowed input range: [a-zA-Z0-9_!@@$|.()\[\]{}:]+

Example:

    classes:

      "compound_class" and => { classmatch("host[0-9].*"), "Monday", "Hr02" };

Notes:

If an expression contains a mixture of different object types that need to be ANDed together, this list form is more convenient than providing an expression.

dist

Description: Generate a probabilistic class distribution

Always set one generic class and one additional class, randomly weighted on a probability distribution.

Type: rlist

Allowed input range: -9.99999E100,9.99999E100

Example:

    classes:

      "my_dist"

        dist => { "10", "20", "40", "50" };

Notes:

In the example above the values sum up to 10+20+40+50 = 120. When generating the distribution, CFEngine picks a number between 1-120, and set the class my_dist as well as one of the following classes:

    my_dist_10 (10/120 of the time)
    my_dist_20 (20/120 of the time)
    my_dist_40 (40/120 of the time)
    my_dist_50 (50/120 of the time)

expression

Description: Evaluate string expression of classes in normal form

Set the class on the left-hand side if the expression on the right-hand side evaluates to true. With classes, the notion of "true" is not a boolean state, because classes can never be false. They are not booleans. They can be defined or undefined, but it's important to understand that a class may be defined during the execution of the agent, so the result of an expression may change during execution.

Expressions can be:

  • class names, with or without a namespace

  • the literals true (always defined) and false (never defined) that allow JSON booleans to be used inside expressions

  • the logical and operation, expressed as a&b or a.b, which is true if both a and b are true

  • the logical or operation, expressed as a|b, which is true if either a or b are true

  • the logical not operation, expressed as !a, which is true if a is not true. Note again here that a could become true during the execution. So if you have "myclass" expression => "!x" and x starts undefined but is defined later, you could have both x and myclass defined!

  • parenthesis (whatever) which operate as expected to prioritize expression evaluation

  • the return value of a function that returns a class, such as fileexists() and() userexists() etc.

Type: class

Allowed input range: [a-zA-Z0-9_!@@$|.()\[\]{}:]+

Example:

    classes:

      "class_name" expression => "solaris|(linux.specialclass)";
      "has_toor"   expression => userexists("toor");

      # it's unlikely a machine will become Linux during execution
      # so this is fairly safe
      "not_linux"   expression => "!linux";

      "a_or_b"   expression => "a|b";
      # yes, it's OK to define a class twice, and this is the same outcome
      # with different syntax
      "a_and_b"   expression => "a&b";
      "a_and_b"   expression => "a.b";

      # yes, it's OK to define a class twice, and this is the same outcome
      # with different syntax
      "linux_and_has_toor" expression => and(userexists("toor"), "linux");
      "linux_and_has_toor" and => { userexists("toor"), "linux" };

or

Description: Combine class sources with inclusive OR

The class on the left-hand side will be set if any one (or more) of the class expressions on the right-hand side are true.

Type: clist

Allowed input range: [a-zA-Z0-9_!@@$|.()\[\]{}:]+

Example:

classes:

    "compound_test"

      or => { classmatch("linux_x86_64_2_6_22.*"), "suse_10_3" };

Notes:

This is useful construction for writing expressions that contain functions.

persistence

Description: Make the class persistent to avoid re-evaluation

The value specifies time in minutes.

Type: int

Allowed input range: 0,99999999999

Example:

bundle common setclasses
{
classes:

  "cached_classes"
                or => { "any" },
       persistence => "1";

  "cached_class"
       expression => "any",
       persistence => "1";

}

Notes:

This feature can be used to avoid recomputing expensive classes calculations on each invocation. This is useful if a class discovered is essentially constant or only slowly varying, such as a hostname or alias from a non-standard naming facility. Persistent classes are always global and can not be set to local by scope directive.

For example, to create a conditional inclusion of costly class evaluations, put them into a separate bundle in a file classes.cf.

    # promises.cf

    body common control
    {
    persistent_classes::
      bundlesequence => { "test" };

    !persistent_classes::
      bundlesequence => {  "setclasses", "test" };

    !persistent_classes::
      inputs => { "classes.cf" };
    }


    bundle agent test
    {
    reports:

      !my_persistent_class::
       "no persistent class";

      my_persistent_class::
        "persistent class defined";
    }

Then create classes.cf

    # classes.cf

    bundle common setclasses
    {
    classes:

      "persistent_classes"            # timer flag
             expression => "any",
            persistence => "480";

      "my_persistent_class"
                    or => { ...long list or heavy function... } ,
           persistence => "480";

    }

History: Was introduced in CFEngine 3.3.0

See also: persistance classes attribute, persist_time in classes body

not

Description: Evaluate the negation of string expression in normal form

The class on the left-hand side will be set if the class expression on the right-hand side evaluates to false.

Type: class

Allowed input range: [a-zA-Z0-9_!@@$|.()\[\]{}:]+

Example:

    classes:

       "others"  not => "linux|solaris";
       "no_toor" not => userexists("toor");

Notes:

Knowing that something is not the case is not the same as not knowing whether something is the case. That a class is not set could mean either. See the note on Negative Knowledge.

scope

Description: Scope of the class set by this promise.

Type: (menu option)

Allowed input range:

    namespace
    bundle

Default value: bundle in agent bundles, namespace in common bundles

Example:

    classes:
      "namespace_context"
          scope => "namespace";

      "bundle_or_namespace_context"; # without an explicit scope, depends on bundle type

      "bundle_context"
          scope => "bundle";

See also: scope in body classes

select_class

Description: Select one of the named list of classes to define based on host's fully qualified domain name, the primary IP address and the UID that cf-agent is running under.

The class is chosen deterministically (not randomly) but it is not possible to say which host will end up in which class in advance. Only that hosts will always end up in the same class every time.

Type: clist

Allowed input range: [a-zA-Z0-9_!@@$|.()\[\]{}:]+

Example:

    bundle common g
    {
    classes:
      "selection" select_class => { "one", "two" };

    reports:
      one::
        "One was selected";
      two::
        "Two was selected";
      selection::
         "A selection was made";
    }

Notes:

This feature is similar to the splayclass function. However, instead of selecting a class for a moment in time, it always chooses one class in the list; the same class each time for a given host. This allows hosts to be distributed across a controlled list of classes (e.g for load balancing purposes).

If a list is used as the input to select_class the promise will only actuate if the list is expandable. If the list has not yet been evaluated, the select_class will be skipped and wait for a subsequent evaluation pass.

xor

Description: Combine class sources with XOR

The class on the left-hand side is set if an odd number of class expressions on the right-hand side matches. This is most commonly used with two class expressions.

Type: clist

Allowed input range: [a-zA-Z0-9_!@@$|.()\[\]{}:]+

Example:

    classes:

    "order_lunch" xor => { "Friday", "Hr11"}; # we get pizza every Friday