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Args and Profiles

Args

Args are provided to allow users to provide input at different points in the Acorn lifecycle. Args allow Acornfile authors to let the user provide data and values to best suit their needs. Args should be dynamic bits of information. If they are static, use the localData structure to store the variables.

Args are defined in the top level args struct.

Defining default values

Arguments to an Acorn can be standard strings, ints, bools, and other complex types. To define an argument, specify a name and a default value. The type will be inferred from the default value. Here are some examples:

args: {
myIntVar: 1
myStringVar: "somestring"
myBoolVar: true
}

Arg names should be in camelCase, and when entered by the user the will be dash separated.

thisVariableName becomes --this-variable-name when the user passes it on the command line.

Provide the user some guidance

When defining arguments to the Acorn, it is helpful to the end user to also provide some context. When the user runs acorn [IMAGE] --help the output shows all available arguments and if defined provides a short help string.

When defining args add a // Comment above the argument. That will be shown the user when they do a --help

args: {
// Number of instances to run.
replicas: 1
}

When the user passes the --help arg to Acorn for this image they will see

$ acorn MYIMAGE --help
// ...
--replicas Number of instances to run.
// ...

Complex data types

Sometimes more complex data types are needed from the user. If the Acorn provides the minimum production ready configuration for an app, but some users might want to use more advanced features, authors can allow passing in yamlobjects from files.

Authors define the variable like:

args: {
// User configuration data for XYZ tool
userConfigData: {}
}

The user can then create a config.yaml file like:

toplevel:
config:
- key1: "value"
- key2: "valueOther"

The config file can then be passed to the Acorn using
acorn run [IMAGE] --user-config-data @config.yaml

Built-in

To prevent the author from having to create a profile, Acorn provides the args.dev boolean value. It is set to true when running in dev mode (acorn run -i). Acorn authors can use this boolean with if statements to change dev vs. production runtime behaviors.

containers: {
web: {
// ...
if args.dev {
ports: publish: "1313/http"
}
if !args.dev {
ports: publish: "80/http"
}
}
}

Profiles

Profiles specify default arguments for different contexts like dev, test, and prod. This makes it easier for the end user to consume the Acorn application. When developing an application, often there are non-prod ports, different Dockerfile build targets, and replica counts differ from prod. Authors can define a different set of defaults for each environment.

args: {
// Number of instances to run
replicas: 3
}
profiles: {
dev: {
replicas: 1
}
}

In this case when an Acorn consumer deploys the Acorn in production, 3 replicas will be deployed. When the developer working on this app runs it locally with acorn run --profile dev . there will only be a single replica deployed by default.

In either case, consumers of the Acorn can pass --replicas # to customize the deployment.

Using args in the Acornfile

As an environment variable or input to localData

When the value is assigned to any key in the config file, you can use '.' notation to reference the variable.

args: {
// URL to documentation website
docUrl: ""

// App Config Value
configValue: "follower"
}
containers: {
web: {
// ...
env: {
"APP_DOC_URL": args.docUrl
}
}
}
localData: {
web: {
config: {
key: args.configValue
}
}
}

In a string or template

When using an arg in a string or template the '.' variable needs to be placed in "()".

args: {
// A string arg
aStringArg: "default"
}
// ...
secrets: {
type: "template"
data: {
template: """
a_config_line=\(args.aStringArg)
"""
}
}

Complex data input / merging

When allowing the user to pass complex structures to the Acorn, you can merge that with data predefined in localData. If you would like the user to be able to override the default localData copy of the config, you will need to also define it with <type> | *<default> in the localData section of the Acornfile.

Merging data is done with the & operator.

Here is an example of allowing the user to override some defaults, but pass in additional configuration.

args: {
userConfig: {}
}
// ...
localData: {
appConfig: args.userConfig & {
userDefinableInt: 3
staticConfigString: "this is static"
}
}

In the above if the user passes a config that contains a userDefinableInt value the user value will be used. If the user passes staticConfigString in their input, Acorn will error out letting the user know that value is already defined. Everything else the user passes will be added to the appConfig structure.