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The Chef Desktop Development Pattern

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Install the Chef Desktop Cookbook

Copy the Chef Desktop cookbook you received from Chef and unzip that file into your cookbooks directory. Now you have two cookbooks.

Update the metadata.rb file for the Chef Desktop cookbook to add your contact details.

Select Chef Desktop Settings

Chef Desktop comes with a large number of options for configuring your Windows and Mac desktops. Look through the mac.rb and windows.rb files to explore what settings you want to turn on for your testing and evaluation. For those resources you do not want to explore yet, set their action to ‘:nothing’. See the Chef Desktop cookbook documentation for more information about settings.

Test the Chef Desktop Cookbook

Run the Virtual Devices

You downloaded the two virtual devices, also called testing images. Now issue the following command to get them started:

kitchen create

Apply the Desktop Cookbook to VMs

Next, run the following command to ‘converge’ the cookbooks with the base OS testing image:

kitchen converge

Verify the settings

Confirm that the converged code is the code that you meant to apply. In your VSCode Chef Desktop directory, navigate to the test\integration\default directory and examine the generated integration tests. Carefully go through these and adjust them to match the settings you chose in your mac.rb and windows.rb files. Next, run:

kitchen verify

If any of the tests fail, check the output and compare your settings in the mac.rb or windows.rb files against the matching tests.

Cleanup Test Kitchen

When you finish with your testing, you can run the following command to delete the running test images:

kitchen destroy

Combined Kitchen Command

In the future when you get more comfortable, you can run kitchen test to perform all of the above steps at once, including the cleanup step.

kitchen test

Upload the Chef Desktop Cookbook

Upload the Chef Desktop Cookbook to your Chef Infra Server. From the development environment command line, navigate to the /cookbooks directory and run:

knife cookbook upload <your cookbook name>

Knife and other Chef tools use the cookbook name specified inside of either the metadata.rb file or the policyfile.rb file, which is case sensitive. Naming cookbooks in all lower-case is the easiest way to avoid conflicts with your knife or chef commands.

Now your Chef Infra Server has the cookbook and settings it needs to apply to the nodes.

Configure the Policyfile for Chef Infra Server

Check the Policyfile and apply it to our test nodes. Policies are a convenient strategy for managing nodes. Read more about policies.

Check the Policyfile

Your Chef Desktop Policyfile.rb should look similar to:

name 'desktop-config'

# default_source :supermarket, '' do |s|
#   s.preferred_for 'chef-client'
# end

# run_list: chef-client will run these recipes in the order specified.
# cookbook::recipe
run_list 'desktop-config::default'

# Specify a custom source for a single cookbook:
cookbook 'desktop-config', path: '.'

Upload the Policyfile

Upload the Policyfile to the Chef Infra Server. Call chef update first to do some needed housekeeping around your policyfile.

If this is the first time that you are using a Policyfile, use the chef install command to generate a lock file:

chef install Policyfile.rb

Run chef update and chef push every time you update the version of your cookbook:

chef update
chef push 'my_Policy_Group' 'Policyfile.rb'

Deploy Desktop Cookbook to a Node

Now you are ready to try out your Chef Desktop cookbook on your first test node. Before you begin, you need to:

Bootstrap the First Test Node

  1. Create a client.rb file with the basic information needed to connect to the Chef Infra Server instance
  2. Identify a ‘test node’ - a virtual machine or laptop/desktop that you can test your working cookbook against
  3. Get the serial number of your ‘test node’

From your workstation, configure the server and the client.rb file for your node. S90T7HK2 is an example node serial number.

Create a client.rb

Create a local client.rb file with settings similar to:

log_level              :info
log_location           STDOUT
validation_client_name 'my_org-validator'
validation_key         File.expand_path('c:\chef\my_org-validator.pem')
chef_server_url        ""
ssl_verify_mode        :verify_peer
local_key_generation   true
rest_timeout           30
http_retry_count       3
chef_license           'accept'
node_name              'S90T7HK2'

Identify a Test Node

C:\> knife node create S90T7HK2
Created node [S90T7HK2]

Apply the Chef Desktop Policy

Use knife node policy set to apply the policy to a node.

Use the name of the policy specified in the Policyfile.rb that was uploaded to the Chef Infra Server.

knife node policy set S90T7HK2 'Windows_Node_Policy_Group' 'desktop-config'

Install the Chef Infra Client

Go to your test node and install the Chef Infra Client from an elevated PowerShell window, or use sudo if you are installing it from MacOS. For additional information, see the Chef Install Script documentation.

On Windows

. { iwr -useb } | iex; install -project chef

On macOS

curl -L | sudo bash

Load the client.rb

After Chef Infra Client finishes installing, copy the client.rb file with the correct data for your node and Chef Infra Server, and place that in c:\chef.

Load the Key

Then copy the validator.pem file you downloaded from your Chef Infra Server at the beginning of the guide and put it in the same folder.

Deploy the Chef Desktop Cookbook to Your Test Node

Run the client:


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