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directory resource

Resources Reference page


Use the directory resource to manage a directory, which is a hierarchy of folders that comprises all of the information stored on a computer. The root directory is the top-level, under which the rest of the directory is organized. The directory resource uses the name property to specify the path to a location in a directory. Typically, permission to access that location in the directory is required.

Syntax


A directory resource block declares a directory and the permissions needed on that directory. For example:

directory '/etc/apache2' do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

where:

  • '/etc/apache2' specifies the directory
  • owner, group, and mode define the permissions

The full syntax for all of the properties that are available to the directory resource is:

directory 'name' do
  group                      String, Integer
  inherits                   true, false
  mode                       String, Integer
  owner                      String, Integer
  path                       String # defaults to 'name' if not specified
  recursive                  true, false
  rights                     Hash
  action                     Symbol # defaults to :create if not specified
end

where:

  • directory is the resource.
  • name is the name of the resource block; when the path property is not specified, name is also the path to the directory, from the root
  • action identifies the steps Chef Infra Client will take to bring the node into the desired state
  • group, inherits, mode, owner, path, recursive, and rights are properties of this resource, with the Ruby type shown. See “Properties” section below for more information about all of the properties that may be used with this resource.

Actions


The directory resource has the following actions:

:create
Default. Create a directory. If a directory already exists (but does not match), update that directory to match.
:delete
Delete a directory.
:nothing
This resource block does not act unless notified by another resource to take action. Once notified, this resource block either runs immediately or is queued up to run at the end of a Chef Infra Client run.

Properties


The directory resource has the following properties:

group
Ruby Type: Integer, String

A string or ID that identifies the group owner by group name, including fully qualified group names such as domain\group or group@domain. If this value is not specified, existing groups remain unchanged and new group assignments use the default POSIX group (if available).

inherits
Ruby Type: true, false | Default Value: true

Microsoft Windows only. Whether a file inherits rights from its parent directory.

mode
Ruby Type: Integer, String

A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode. For example: '755', '0755', or 00755. If mode is not specified and if the directory already exists, the existing mode on the directory is used. If mode is not specified, the directory does not exist, and the :create action is specified, Chef Infra Client assumes a mask value of '0777', and then applies the umask for the system on which the directory is to be created to the mask value. For example, if the umask on a system is '022', Chef Infra Client uses the default value of '0755'.

The behavior is different depending on the platform.

UNIX- and Linux-based systems: A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode that is passed to chmod. For example: '755', '0755', or 00755. If the value is specified as a quoted string, it works exactly as if the chmod command was passed. If the value is specified as an integer, prepend a zero (0) to the value to ensure that it is interpreted as an octal number. For example, to assign read, write, and execute rights for all users, use '0777' or '777'; for the same rights, plus the sticky bit, use 01777 or '1777'.

Microsoft Windows: A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode that is translated into rights for Microsoft Windows security. For example: '755', '0755', or 00755. Values up to '0777' are allowed (no sticky bits) and mean the same in Microsoft Windows as they do in UNIX, where 4 equals GENERIC_READ, 2 equals GENERIC_WRITE, and 1 equals GENERIC_EXECUTE. This property cannot be used to set :full_control. This property has no effect if not specified, but when it and rights are both specified, the effects are cumulative.

owner
Ruby Type: Integer, String

A string or ID that identifies the group owner by user name, including fully qualified user names such as domain\user or user@domain. If this value is not specified, existing owners remain unchanged and new owner assignments use the current user (when necessary).

path
Ruby Type: String | Default Value: The resource block's name

The path to the directory. Using a fully qualified path is recommended, but is not always required. Default value: the name of the resource block. See “Syntax” section above for more information.

recursive
Ruby Type: true, false | Default Value: false

Create parent directories recursively and delete directories, subdirectories, and files recursively. The owner, group, and mode properties apply only to the leaf directory.

rights
Ruby Type: Integer, String

Microsoft Windows only. The permissions for users and groups in a Microsoft Windows environment. For example: rights <permissions>, <principal>, <options> where <permissions> specifies the rights granted to the principal, <principal> is the group or user name, and <options> is a Hash with one (or more) advanced rights options.

Recursive Directories

The remote_directory resource can be used to recursively create the path outside of remote directory structures, but the permissions of those outside paths are not managed. This is because the recursive attribute only applies group, mode, and owner attribute values to the remote directory itself and any inner directories the resource copies.

A directory structure:

/foo
  /bar
    /baz

The following example shows a way create a file in the /baz directory:

remote_directory "/foo/bar/baz" do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

But with this example, the group, mode, and owner attribute values will only be applied to /baz. Which is fine, if that’s what you want. But most of the time, when the entire /foo/bar/baz directory structure is not there, you must be explicit about each directory. For example:

%w[ /foo /foo/bar /foo/bar/baz ].each do |path|
  remote_directory path do
    owner 'root'
    group 'root'
    mode '0755'
  end
end

This approach will create the correct hierarchy—/foo, then /bar in /foo, and then /baz in /bar—and also with the correct attribute values for group, mode, and owner.

Windows File Security

To support Microsoft Windows security, the template, file, remote_file, cookbook_file, directory, and remote_directory resources support the use of inheritance and access control lists (ACLs) within recipes. Access Control Lists (ACLs)

The rights property can be used in a recipe to manage access control lists (ACLs), which allow permissions to be given to multiple users and groups. Use the rights property can be used as many times as necessary; Chef Infra Client will apply them to the file or directory as required. The syntax for the rights property is as follows:

rights permission, principal, option_type => value

where

permission

Use to specify which rights are granted to the principal. The possible values are: :read, :write, read_execute, :modify, and :full_control.

These permissions are cumulative. If :write is specified, then it includes :read. If :full_control is specified, then it includes both :write and :read.

(For those who know the Microsoft Windows API: :read corresponds to GENERIC_READ; :write corresponds to GENERIC_WRITE; :read_execute corresponds to GENERIC_READ and GENERIC_EXECUTE; :modify corresponds to GENERIC_WRITE, GENERIC_READ, GENERIC_EXECUTE, and DELETE; :full_control corresponds to GENERIC_ALL, which allows a user to change the owner and other metadata about a file.)

principal

Use to specify a group or user name. This is identical to what is entered in the login box for Microsoft Windows, such as user_name, domain\user_name, or user_name@fully_qualified_domain_name. Chef Infra Client does not need to know if a principal is a user or a group.

option_type

A hash that contains advanced rights options. For example, the rights to a directory that only applies to the first level of children might look something like: rights :write, 'domain\group_name', :one_level_deep => true. Possible option types:

Option Type Description
:applies_to_children Specify how permissions are applied to children. Possible values: true to inherit both child directories and files; false to not inherit any child directories or files; :containers_only to inherit only child directories (and not files); :objects_only to recursively inherit files (and not child directories).
:applies_to_self Indicates whether a permission is applied to the parent directory. Possible values: true to apply to the parent directory or file and its children; false to not apply only to child directories and files.
:one_level_deep Indicates the depth to which permissions will be applied. Possible values: true to apply only to the first level of children; false to apply to all children.

For example:

resource 'x.txt' do
  rights :read, 'Everyone'
  rights :write, 'domain\group'
  rights :full_control, 'group_name_or_user_name'
  rights :full_control, 'user_name', :applies_to_children => true
end

or:

rights :read, ['Administrators','Everyone']
rights :full_control, 'Users', :applies_to_children => true
rights :write, 'Sally', :applies_to_children => :containers_only, :applies_to_self => false, :one_level_deep => true

Some other important things to know when using the rights attribute:

  • Only inherited rights remain. All existing explicit rights on the object are removed and replaced.
  • If rights are not specified, nothing will be changed. Chef Infra Client does not clear out the rights on a file or directory if rights are not specified.
  • Changing inherited rights can be expensive. Microsoft Windows will propagate rights to all children recursively due to inheritance. This is a normal aspect of Microsoft Windows, so consider the frequency with which this type of action is necessary and take steps to control this type of action if performance is the primary consideration.

Use the deny_rights property to deny specific rights to specific users. The ordering is independent of using the rights property. For example, it doesn’t matter if rights are granted to everyone is placed before or after deny_rights :read, ['Julian', 'Lewis'], both Julian and Lewis will be unable to read the document. For example:

resource 'x.txt' do
  rights :read, 'Everyone'
  rights :write, 'domain\group'
  rights :full_control, 'group_name_or_user_name'
  rights :full_control, 'user_name', :applies_to_children => true
  deny_rights :read, ['Julian', 'Lewis']
end

or:

deny_rights :full_control, ['Sally']
Inheritance

By default, a file or directory inherits rights from its parent directory. Most of the time this is the preferred behavior, but sometimes it may be necessary to take steps to more specifically control rights. The inherits property can be used to specifically tell Chef Infra Client to apply (or not apply) inherited rights from its parent directory.

For example, the following example specifies the rights for a directory:

directory 'C:\mordor' do
  rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions'
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
end

and then the following example specifies how to use inheritance to deny access to the child directory:

directory 'C:\mordor\mount_doom' do
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
  inherits false # Sauron is the only person who should have any sort of access
end

If the deny_rights permission were to be used instead, something could slip through unless all users and groups were denied.

Another example also shows how to specify rights for a directory:

directory 'C:\mordor' do
  rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions'
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
  rights :write, 'SHIRE\Frodo' # Who put that there I didn't put that there
end

but then not use the inherits property to deny those rights on a child directory:

directory 'C:\mordor\mount_doom' do
  deny_rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions' # Oops, not specific enough
end

Because the inherits property is not specified, Chef Infra Client will default it to true, which will ensure that security settings for existing files remain unchanged.


Common Resource Functionality


Chef resources include common properties, notifications, and resource guards.

Common Properties

The following properties are common to every resource:

ignore_failure

Ruby Type: true, false | Default Value: false

Continue running a recipe if a resource fails for any reason.

retries

Ruby Type: Integer | Default Value: 0

The number of attempts to catch exceptions and retry the resource.

retry_delay

Ruby Type: Integer | Default Value: 2

The retry delay (in seconds).

sensitive

Ruby Type: true, false | Default Value: false

Ensure that sensitive resource data is not logged by Chef Infra Client.

Notifications

notifies

Ruby Type: Symbol, 'Chef::Resource[String]'

A resource may notify another resource to take action when its state changes. Specify a 'resource[name]', the :action that resource should take, and then the :timer for that action. A resource may notify more than one resource; use a notifies statement for each resource to be notified.

A timer specifies the point during a Chef Infra Client run at which a notification is run. The following timers are available:

:before

Specifies that the action on a notified resource should be run before processing the resource block in which the notification is located.

:delayed

Default. Specifies that a notification should be queued up, and then executed at the end of a Chef Infra Client run.

:immediate, :immediately

Specifies that a notification should be run immediately, per resource notified.

The syntax for notifies is:

notifies :action, 'resource[name]', :timer
subscribes

Ruby Type: Symbol, 'Chef::Resource[String]'

A resource may listen to another resource, and then take action if the state of the resource being listened to changes. Specify a 'resource[name]', the :action to be taken, and then the :timer for that action.

Note that subscribes does not apply the specified action to the resource that it listens to - for example:

file '/etc/nginx/ssl/example.crt' do
  mode '0600'
  owner 'root'
end

service 'nginx' do
  subscribes :reload, 'file[/etc/nginx/ssl/example.crt]', :immediately
end

In this case the subscribes property reloads the nginx service whenever its certificate file, located under /etc/nginx/ssl/example.crt, is updated. subscribes does not make any changes to the certificate file itself, it merely listens for a change to the file, and executes the :reload action for its resource (in this example nginx) when a change is detected.

A timer specifies the point during a Chef Infra Client run at which a notification is run. The following timers are available:

:before

Specifies that the action on a notified resource should be run before processing the resource block in which the notification is located.

:delayed

Default. Specifies that a notification should be queued up, and then executed at the end of a Chef Infra Client run.

:immediate, :immediately

Specifies that a notification should be run immediately, per resource notified.

The syntax for subscribes is:

subscribes :action, 'resource[name]', :timer

Guards

A guard property can be used to evaluate the state of a node during the execution phase of a Chef Infra Client run. Based on the results of this evaluation, a guard property is then used to tell Chef Infra Client if it should continue executing a resource. A guard property accepts either a string value or a Ruby block value:

  • A string is executed as a shell command. If the command returns 0, the guard is applied. If the command returns any other value, then the guard property is not applied. String guards in a powershell_script run Windows PowerShell commands and may return true in addition to 0.
  • A block is executed as Ruby code that must return either true or false. If the block returns true, the guard property is applied. If the block returns false, the guard property is not applied.

A guard property is useful for ensuring that a resource is idempotent by allowing that resource to test for the desired state as it is being executed, and then if the desired state is present, for Chef Infra Client to do nothing.

Properties

The following properties can be used to define a guard that is evaluated during the execution phase of a Chef Infra Client run:

not_if

Prevent a resource from executing when the condition returns true.

only_if

Allow a resource to execute only if the condition returns true.

Examples


The following examples demonstrate various approaches for using the directory resource in recipes:

Create a directory

directory '/tmp/something' do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

Create a directory in Microsoft Windows

directory "C:\\tmp\\something" do
  rights :full_control, "DOMAIN\\User"
  inherits false
  action :create
end

or:

directory 'C:\tmp\something' do
  rights :full_control, 'DOMAIN\User'
  inherits false
  action :create
end

Note

The difference between the two previous examples is the single- versus double-quoted strings, where if the double quotes are used, the backslash character (\) must be escaped using the Ruby escape character (which is a backslash).

Create a directory recursively

%w{dir1 dir2 dir3}.each do |dir|
  directory "/tmp/mydirs/#{dir}" do
    mode '0755'
    owner 'root'
    group 'root'
    action :create
    recursive true
  end
end

Delete a directory

directory '/tmp/something' do
  recursive true
  action :delete
end

Set directory permissions using a variable

The following example shows how read/write/execute permissions can be set using a variable named user_home, and then for owners and groups on any matching node:

user_home = "/#{node[:matching_node][:user]}"

directory user_home do
  owner 'node[:matching_node][:user]'
  group 'node[:matching_node][:group]'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

where matching_node represents a type of node. For example, if the user_home variable specified {node[:nginx]...}, a recipe might look similar to:

user_home = "/#{node[:nginx][:user]}"

directory user_home do
  owner 'node[:nginx][:user]'
  group 'node[:nginx][:group]'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

Set directory permissions for a specific type of node

The following example shows how permissions can be set for the /certificates directory on any node that is running Nginx. In this example, permissions are being set for the owner and group properties as root, and then read/write permissions are granted to the root.

directory "#{node[:nginx][:dir]}/shared/certificates" do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  recursive true
end

Reload the configuration

The following example shows how to reload the configuration of a chef-client using the remote_file resource to:

  • using an if statement to check whether the plugins on a node are the latest versions
  • identify the location from which Ohai plugins are stored
  • using the notifies property and a ruby_block resource to trigger an update (if required) and to then reload the client.rb file.
directory 'node[:ohai][:plugin_path]' do
  owner 'chef'
  recursive true
end

ruby_block 'reload_config' do
  block do
    Chef::Config.from_file('/etc/chef/client.rb')
  end
  action :nothing
end

if node[:ohai].key?(:plugins)
  node[:ohai][:plugins].each do |plugin|
    remote_file node[:ohai][:plugin_path] +"/#{plugin}" do
      source plugin
      owner 'chef'
      notifies :run, 'ruby_block[reload_config]', :immediately
    end
  end
end

Manage dotfiles

The following example shows using the directory and cookbook_file resources to manage dotfiles. The dotfiles are defined by a JSON data structure similar to:

"files": {
  ".zshrc": {
    "mode": '0755',
    "source": "dot-zshrc"
    },
  ".bashrc": {
    "mode": '0755',
    "source": "dot-bashrc"
     },
  ".bash_profile": {
    "mode": '0755',
    "source": "dot-bash_profile"
    },
  }

and then the following resources manage the dotfiles:

if u.has_key?('files')
  u['files'].each do |filename, file_data|

  directory "#{home_dir}/#{File.dirname(filename)}" do
    recursive true
    mode '0755'
  end if file_data['subdir']

  cookbook_file "#{home_dir}/#{filename}" do
    source "#{u['id']}/#{file_data['source']}"
    owner 'u['id']'
    group 'group_id'
    mode 'file_data['mode']'
    ignore_failure true
    backup 0
  end
end