Certain types of text files are tabular in nature, with field separators (e.g. : or ,). The passwd and group files are classic examples of tabular files, but there are many ways to use this feature. For example, editing a string:

VARIABLE="one two three"

View this line as a tabular line separated by " and with sub-separator given by the space.

Field editing allows us to edit tabular files in a unique way, adding and removing data from addressable fields.

bundle agent example
{
  vars:

   "userset" slist => { "one-x", "two-x", "three-x" };

  files:

    "/tmp/passwd"

         create    => "true",
         edit_line => SetUserParam("mark","6","/set/this/shell");

    "/tmp/group"

         create    => "true",
         edit_line => AppendUserParam("root","4","@(userset)");
}

The promise in this example assumes a parameterizable model for editing the fields of such files.

bundle edit_line SetUserParam(user,field,val)
{
  field_edits:

   "$(user):.*"

      # Set field of the file to parameter

      edit_field => col(":","$(field)","$(val)","set");
}

bundle edit_line AppendUserParam(user,field,allusers)
{
  vars:

    "val" slist => { @(allusers) };

  field_edits:

   "$(user):.*"

      # Set field of the file to parameter

      edit_field => col(":","$(field)","$(val)","alphanum");
}

First you match the line with a regular expression. The regular expression must match the entire line; that is, it is anchored.

body edit_field col(split,col,newval,method)
{
  field_separator => "$(split)";
  select_field    => "$(col)";
  value_separator  => ",";
  field_value     => "$(newval)";
  field_operation => "$(method)";
  extend_fields => "true";
}

Then a field_edits body describes the separators for fields and one level of sub-fields, along with policies for editing these fields, ordering the items within them.


Attributes

edit_field

Type: body edit_field

Example:

body edit_field col(split, col, newval, method)
{
  field_separator    => "$(split)";
  select_field       => "$(col)";
  value_separator    => ",";
  field_value        => "$(newval)";
  field_operation    => "$(method)";
  extend_fields      => "true";
  allow_blank_fields => "true";
  start_fields_from_zero => "true";
}

See also: Common Body Attributes

allow_blank_fields

Description: Setting allow_blank_fields defines how blank fields in a line are handled.

When editing a file using the field or column model, blank fields, especially at the start and end, are generally discarded. If allow_blank_fields is set to true, CFEngine will retain the blank fields and print the appropriate number of field separators.

Type: boolean

Default value: false

Example:

body edit_field example
{
allow_blank_fields => "true";
}

extend_fields

Description: Setting extend_fields can add new fields, to avoid triggering an error.

If a user specifies a field that does not exist, because there are not so many fields, this allows the number of fields to be extended. Without this setting, CFEngine will issue an error if a non-existent field is referenced. Blank fields in a tabular file can be eliminated or kept depending in this setting. If in doubt, set this to true.

Type: boolean

Default value: false

Example:

body edit_field example
{
extend_fields => "true";
}

field_operation

Description: Menu option policy for editing subfields.

The method by which to edit a field in multi-field/column editing of tabular files.

Type: (menu option)

Allowed input range:

  • append

Append the specified value to the end of the field/column, separating (potentially) multiple values with value_separator

  • prepend

Prepend the specified value at the beginning of the field/column, separating (potentially) multiple values with value_separator

  • alphanum

Insert the specified value into the field/column, keeping all the values (separated by value_separator) in alphanumerically sorted order

  • set

Replace the entire field/column with the specified value.

Delete the specified value (if present) in the specified field/column.

Default value: append

Example:

body edit_field example
{
field_operation => "append";
}

field_separator

Description: The regular expression used to separate fields in a line.

Most tabular files are separated by simple characters, but by allowing a general regular expression one can make creative use of this model to edit all kinds of line-based text files.

Type: string

Allowed input range: .*

Default value: none

Example:

body edit_field example
{
field_separator => ":";
}

field_value

Description: Set a field to a constant value.

For example, reset the value to a constant default, empty the field, or set it fixed list.

Type: string

Allowed input range: .*

Example:

body edit_field example(s)
{
field_value => "$(s)";
}

select_field

Description: Sets the index of the field required, see also start_fields_from_zero.

Type: int

Allowed input range: 0,99999999

Example:

body field_edits example
{
select_field => "5";
}

start_fields_from_zero

Description: The numbering of fields is a matter for consistency and convention. Arrays are usually thought to start with first index equal to zero (0), but the first column in a file would normally be 1. By setting this option, you can tell CFEngine that the first column should be understood as number 0 instead, for consistency with other array functions.

Type: boolean

History: Version 3.1.0b1,Nova 2.0.0b1 (2010)

value_separator

Description: Defines the character separator for subfields inside the selected field.

For example, elements in the group file are separated by a colon (':'), but the lists of users in these fields are separated by a comma (',').

Type: string

Allowed input range: ^.$

Default value: none

Example:

body field_edit example
{
value_separator => ",";
}

select_region

Description: Constrains edit_line operations to region identified by matching regular expressions.

This body applies to all promise types within edit_line bundles.

See also: select_region with edit_line operations, select_region in delete_lines, select_region in insert_lines, select_region in replace_patterns