IaC for vRealize: Updating Archetypes and Adding Boilerplate For Your vRO Actions


Welcome to the 5th post in the series. This is going to be a relatively small post where we will take a look at archetypes and how to update these and also discuss a standard layout for creating vRO Actions. At this stage, the focus is on ensuring that we have everything required when creating new projects, instead of having to add new files to the project or modify existing ones.

Archetype

By now you have come across the term ‘archetype‘ when working with Maven. If you’re not a Java developer or ever worked with Maven before, then you likely have no idea what this means in the context of creating projects.

Here is a dictionary definition for archetype:

So if we look at the first definition, we can think of a Maven archetype as a model for our projects. In essence, think of an archetype as a ‘template’ for Maven projects.

Notice what happens when we create a project for the first time, we would execute a command similar to this:

We specify ‘archetype:generate‘, which tells Maven that the project should be generated from an existing archetype. We also specify ‘archetypeGroupId‘, ‘archetypeArtifactId‘, and ‘archetypeVersion‘, which tells Maven how to find the archetype.

Once we have executed the above command, Maven will download several artefacts that it requires for the project. Once this task completes, you will have a directory structure that looks something like the following (depending on what type of project you are creating):

The ‘src‘ directory also includes a ‘main‘ and ‘test‘ subdirectory that includes a sample Action and unit test.

This directory structure and the files have been predefined inside of an archetype. When a new project is created, Maven downloads this archetype and unpacks the contents to form the project directory. This means that every project that we create will look the same.

But what if we want to change this, or perhaps add additional files or update existing ones? Well, it’s quite easy, we just have to locate the artefact for the archetype and update it.

Update Existing Archetype

If you think back to the very first post, we downloaded the vRealize Build Tools package from the VMware flings website. From within this package, there was an ‘iac-maven-repository.zip‘ file, which we copied to a CI server (I used the Artifactory server in my first post). This file includes all the archetypes that are used for our projects.

Depending on which project type you create, the following archetypes are available:

  • iac-maven-repository/com/vmware/pscoe/o11n/archetypes/package-actions-archetype
  • iac-maven-repository/com/vmware/pscoe/o11n/archetypes/package-mixed-archetype
  • iac-maven-repository/com/vmware/pscoe/o11n/archetypes/package-vrealize-archetype
  • iac-maven-repository/com/vmware/pscoe/o11n/archetypes/package-xml-archetype
  • iac-maven-repository/com/vmware/pscoe/vra/archetypes/package-vra-archetype

Inside each of these directories, there is a ‘<version>/<archetype>-<version>.jar‘ file and an associated pom file. For a JS based project, you will see:

The jar file is just a zip file and can be opened with any zip software. When you open this file (I’m using 7Zip on WIndows) then you will see two folders, ‘META-INF‘ and ‘archetype-resources‘.

If you navigate into ‘archetype-resources‘, you will see the same folder structure that you get when creating a new project.

So all that you need to do, is add, remove or modify files in this location, which will then be used for all future projects that you create that are based on the archetype. The easiest way to do this would be to extract the ‘jar‘ files contents to a folder of the same name and then make the changes. Below you can see the folder that contains the extracted content of the jar file.

You will also need to update the decrypter for these files is in the ‘META-INF\Maven‘ folder. You will need to edit the ‘archetype-metadata.xml‘ file accordingly. In my environment, I have removed the ‘release.sh‘ file, added ‘.eslintrc.json‘ and updated the existing ‘.gitignore‘ file.

Once you have made your changes, you need to repackage the jar file. Simply create a new zip file of the folder and change the extension to ‘.jar‘ (you will need to remove the existing jar file first).

You will now need to re-upload the artefacts to the virtual repository in Artifactory. If you recall in my first post, that we prepared and uploaded the vRealize artefacts, which you can take a look at here to refresh your memory. In that post, we staged the artefacts inside a local folder on the Artifactory server and then uploaded them using the Jfrog CLI.

I am making the changes to these archetype files on my desktop, which I will then copy (using WinSCP/SSH) to the local ‘vrealize_artifacts‘ folder on the Artifactory server and then re-upload them again using the Jfrog CLI.

Your local workstation (or wherever you run the Maven commands) also keeps a cached copy of any artefacts that have been downloaded from Artifactory in your ‘home_directory/.m2/repository‘ folder. Therefore, we have to remove these so that the updated ones are re-downloaded when we create a new project.

Remove the following folders:

  • .m2\repository\com\vmware\pscoe\o11n\archetypes
  • .m2\repository\com\vmware\pscoe\vra\archetypes

The next time you create a new project, the updated archetypes will be downloaded.

And the new project will look like the updated archetype:

If you don’t get the expected result, then go back through the steps above and see if something was missed.

Adding Boilerplate For Actions

This section is an extension to a post I wrote quite a while ago on vRealize Orchestrator: Standardising Modules & Actions, where I discussed strategies on managing your vRO repository and a default template (boilerplate) to use for creating Actions.

I have slightly updated this template to make it suitable for the Maven projects.

I have replaced the ‘sample.js‘ provided in the archetypes with my code above. This means that I always have my code available when creating a new project.

You don’t have to use my template, or may even have your own, but it’s just another example of why modifying the archetypes is useful. Just follow the same process to update and upload the archetype.

 

That’s it for this post. Hopefully, updating the archetypes can help you remove any repetition when creating new projects. If you are having difficulty updating these then please feel free to contact me either in the comments or via the Drift App.

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