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About Chef InSpec and Train Plugins

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What are Chef InSpec Plugins?

Chef InSpec Plugins are optional software components that extend the capabilities of InSpec. For example, inspec-iggy is a Plugin project that aims to generate Chef InSpec controls from infrastructure-as-code files. Plugins are distributed as RubyGems, and Chef InSpec manages their installation. Chef InSpec Plugins always begin with the prefix ‘inspec-’.

What are Train Plugins?

Train Plugins allow Chef InSpec to speak to new kinds of targets (typically new remote targets or APIs, but you could treat the local system in a new way if you wished to). For example, if you wanted to audit a Kubernetes cluster, you might want a transport that can talk to the supervisor API. You would develop a Train Plugin for that, and install it using the Chef InSpec command line. Train Plugins always begin with the prefix ’train-'.

What can plugins do?

Currently, each plugin can offer one or more of these capabilities:

  • define new output formats (“reporters”)
  • input sources
  • define a new command-line-interface (CLI) command suite (inspec plugins)
  • connectivity to new types of hosts or cloud providers (train plugins)
  • DSL extensions at the file, control, describe block, or test level
  • DSL extensions for custom resources

How do I find out which plugins are available?

The Chef InSpec CLI can tell you which plugins are available:

inspec plugin search inspec-

How do I install and manage plugins?

The Chef InSpec command line now offers a new subcommand just for managing plugins.

You can install a plugin by running:

inspec plugin install inspec-some-plugin
inspec plugin install train-some-plugin

For more details on what the plugin command can do, run inspec plugin help.

How do I use a different Gem server?

You can specify an alternate source by passing the base of your Gem repository to the --source parameter:

inspec plugin search --source https://my.private.server inspec-private
inspec plugin install --source https://my.private.server inspec-private-plugin

How do I write a plugin?

Chef InSpec Plugins

For details on how to author a Chef InSpec Plugin, see the developer documentation

Train Plugins

For details on how to author a Train Plugin, see the developer documentation

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