The Snapcraft Parts EcosystemJun 27, 2016
Today I am going to be discussing
parts. This is one of the pillars of
snapcraft (together with
plugins and the
For those not familiar, this is snapcraft’s general purpose landing page, http://snapcraft.io/ but if you are a developer and have already been introduced to this new world of snaps, you probably want to just go and hop on to http://snapcraft.io/create/
If you go over this
snapcraft tour you will notice the many uses of
and start to wonder how to get started or think that maybe you are duplicating
work done by others, or even better, maybe an upstream. This is where we start to
think about the idea of sharing parts and this is exactly what we are going
to go over in this post.
To be able to reproduce what follows, you’d need to have snapcraft 2.12 installed.
An overview to using remote parts
So imagine I am someone wanting to use libcurl. Normally I would write the part definition from scratch and be on with my own business but surely I might be missing out on something about optimal switches used to configure the package or even build it. I would also need to research on how to use the specific plugin required. So instead, I’ll see if someone already has done the work for me, hence I will,
$ snapcraft update Updating parts list... | $ snapcraft search curl PART NAME DESCRIPTION curl A tool and a library (usable from many languages) for client side URL tra...
Great, there’s a match, but is this what I want?
$ snapcraft define curl Maintainer: 'Sergio Schvezov <firstname.lastname@example.org>' Description: 'A tool and a library (usable from many languages) for client side URL transfers, supporting FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, TELNET, DICT, FILE and LDAP.' curl: configflags: - --enable-static - --enable-shared - --disable-manual plugin: autotools snap: - -bin - -lib/*.a - -lib/pkgconfig - -lib/*.la - -include - -share source: http://curl.haxx.se/download/curl-7.44.0.tar.bz2 source-type: tar
Yup, it’s what I want.
There are two ways to use these parts in your
snapcraft.yaml, say this is your
parts: client: plugin: autotools source: .
client part which is using sources that sit alongside this
will hypothetically fail to build as it depends on the curl library
I don’t yet have. There are some options here to get this going, one using
in the part definition implicitly, another involving composing and last but not least
just copy pasting what
snapcraft define curl returned for the part.
The implicit path is really straightforward. It only involves making the part look like:
parts: client: plugin: autotools source: . after: [curl]
This will use the cached definition of the part and may potentially be updated by
What if we like the part, but want to try out a new configure flag or source release? Well we can override pieces of the part; so for the case of wanting to change the source:
parts: client: plugin: autotools source: . after: [curl] curl: source: http://curl.haxx.se/download/curl-7.45.0.tar.bz2
And we will get to build curl but using a newer version of curl. The trick
is that the part definition here is missing the
plugin entry, thereby
instructing snapcraft to look for the full part definition from the cache.
This path is a path one would take if they want full control over the part.
It is as simple as copying in the part definition we got from running
snapcraft define curl into your own. For the sake of completeness here’s how it
would look like:
parts: client: plugin: autotools source: . after: [curl] curl: configflags: - --enable-static - --enable-shared - --disable-manual plugin: autotools snap: - -bin - -lib/*.a - -lib/pkgconfig - -lib/*.la - -include - -share source: http://curl.haxx.se/download/curl-7.44.0.tar.bz2 source-type: tar
Sharing your part
Now what if you have a part and want to share it with the rest of the world? It is rather simple really, just head over to https://wiki.ubuntu.com/snapcraft/parts and add it.
In the case of
curl, I would write a yaml document that looks like:
origin: https://github.com/sergiusens/curl.git maintainer: Sergio Schvezov <email@example.com> description: A tool and a library (usable from many languages) for client side URL transfers, supporting FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, TELNET, DICT, FILE and LDAP. project-part: curl
What does this mean? Well, the part itself is not defined on the wiki, just
a pointer to it with some meta data, the part is really defined inside a
snapcraft.yaml living in the
origin we just told it to use.
The extent of the keywords is explained in the documentation, that is an upstream link to it.
The core idea is that a
maintainer decides he wants to share a part. Such a
maintainer would add a
description that provides an idea of what that part
(or collection of parts) is doing. Then, last but not least, the
which parts to expose to the world as maybe not all of them should. The main part
is exposed in
project-part and will carry a top level name, the maintainer can
expose more parts from
snapcraft.yaml using the general
parts keyword. These
parts will be namespaced with the