CFEngine takes a pragmatic point of view to ordering. When promising
attributes and properties, ordering is irrelevant and needs not be considered.
More complex patterned data structures require ordering to be preserved, e.g.
editing in files. CFEngine solves this in a two-part strategy:
CFEngine maintains a default order of promise-types. This is based on a simple logic of what needs to come first, e.g. it makes no sense to create something and then delete it, but it could make sense to delete and then create (an equilibrium). This is called normal ordering and is described below. You can override normal ordering in exceptional circumstances by making a promise in a class context and defining that class based on the outcome of another promise.
Agent normal ordering
CFEngine tries to keep variable and class promises before starting to consider any other kind of promise. In this way, global variable and classes can be set.
If you set variables based on classes that are determined by other variables, then you introduce an order dependence to the resolution that might be non-unique. Since CFEngine starts trying to converge values as soon as possible, it is best to define variables in bundles before using them, i.e. as early as possible in your configuration. In general it is wise to avoid class-variable dependency as much as possible.
CFEngine executes agent promise bundles in the strict order defined by the
bundlesequence (possibly overridden by the
command line option).
Within a bundle, the promise types are executed in a round-robin fashion
according to so-called
normal ordering (essentially deletion first, followed
by creation). The actual sequence continues for up to three iterations of the
following, converging towards a final state:
meta vars defaults classes files packages guest_environments methods processes services commands storage databases reports
edit_line bundles in files promises,
the normal ordering is:
meta vars defaults classes delete_lines field_edits insert_lines replace_patterns reports
The order of promises within one of the above types follows their top-down
ordering within the bundle itself. The order may be overridden by making a
promise depend on a class that is set by another promise, or by using the
depends_on attribute in the promise.
Server normal ordering
As with the agent, common bundles are executed before any server bundles;
following this all server bundles are executed (the
bundlesequence is only
used for cf-agent). Within a server bundle, the promise types are unambiguous.
Variables and classes are resolved in the same way as the agent. On
connection, access control must be handled first, then a role request might be
made once access has been granted. Thus ordering is fully constrained by
process with no additional freedoms.
Within a server bundle, the normal ordering is:
vars classes access roles
Monitor normal ordering
As with the agent, common bundles are executed before any monitor bundles;
following this all monitor bundles are executed (the
bundlesequence is only
used for cf-agent). Variables and classes are resolved in the same way as the
Within a monitor bundle, the normal ordering is:
vars classes measurements reports