Loops

There are no explicit loops in CFEngine, instead there are lists. To make a loop, you simply refer to a list as a scalar and CFEngine will assume a loop over all items in the list.

It's as if you said "I know three colors: red green blue. Let's talk about color."

body common control
{
    bundlesequence  => { "color_example" };
}

bundle agent color_example
{
    vars:
        "color" slist => { "red", "green", "blue" };

    reports:
        "Let's talk about $(color)";
}

CFEngine will implicitly loop over each $(color):

% cf-agent -K -f ./test_colors.cf

R: Let's talk about red
R: Let's talk about green
R: Let's talk about blue

Here's a more complex example.

body common control
{
    bundlesequence  => { "example" };
}

bundle agent example
{
    vars:
        "component" slist => { "cf-monitord", "cf-serverd", "cf-execd" };

        "array[cf-monitord]" string => "The monitor";
        "array[cf-serverd]" string => "The server";
        "array[cf-execd]" string => "The executor, not executionist";

    reports:
        "$(component) is $(array[$(component)])";
}

In this example, the list component has three elements. The list as a whole may be referred to as @(component), in order to pass the whole list to a promise where a list is expected. However, if we write $(component), i.e. the scalar variable, then CFEngine will substitute each scalar from the list in turn, and thus iterate over the list elements using a loop.

The output looks something like this:

$ cf-agent unit_loops.cf

2013-06-12T18:56:01+0200   notice: R: cf-monitord is The monitor
2013-06-12T18:56:01+0200   notice: R: cf-serverd is The server
2013-06-12T18:56:01+0200   notice: R: cf-execd is The executor, not executionist

You see from this that, if we refer to a list variable using the scalar reference operator $(), CFEngine interprets this to mean "please iterate over all values of the list". Thus, we have effectively a foreach loop, without the attendant syntax.

If a variable is repeated, its value is tied throughout the expression; so the output of:

body common control
{
    bundlesequence  => { "example" };
}

bundle agent example
{
vars:
  "component" slist => { "cf-monitord", "cf-serverd", "cf-execd" };

  "array[cf-monitord]" string => "The monitor";
  "array[cf-serverd]" string => "The server";
  "array[cf-execd]" string => "The executor, not executioner";

commands:
   "/bin/echo $(component) is"
            args => "$(array[$(component)])";
}

is as follows:

2013-06-12T18:57:34+0200   notice: Q: ".../bin/echo cf-mo": cf-monitord is The monitor
2013-06-12T18:57:34+0200   notice: Q: ".../bin/echo cf-se": cf-serverd is The server
2013-06-12T18:57:34+0200   notice: Q: ".../bin/echo cf-ex": cf-execd is The executor, not executioner

Iterating Across Multiple Lists

CFEngine can iterate across multiple lists simultaneously.

bundle agent iteration
{
vars:
    "stats"   slist => { "value", "av", "dev" };

    "monvars" slist => {
                       "rootprocs",
                       "otherprocs",
                       "diskfree",
                       "loadavg"
                       };
reports:
    "mon.$(stats)_$(monvars) is $(mon.$(stats)_$(monvars))";
}

This example uses two lists, stats and monvars. We can now iterate over both lists in the same promise. The reports that we thus generate will report on value_rootprocs, av_rootprocs, and dev_rootprocs, followed next by value_otherprocs, av_otherprocs, etc, ending finally with dev_loadavg.

The order of iteration is an implementation detail and should not be expected to be consistent. Use the sort() function if you need to sort a list in a predictable way.