Development Environments

This covers how to setup and configure a development environment using the Forklift tool suite.

Development Environment Deployment

Deploy a Katello Development Environment

A Katello development environment can be deployed on CentOS 7. Ensure that you have followed the steps to setup Vagrant and the libvirt plugin. There are a variety of useful development environment options that should or can be set when creating a development box. These options are designed to configure your environment ready to use your own fork, and create pull requests. To create a development box:

  1. Copy vagrant/boxes.d/99-local.yaml.example to vagrant/boxes.d/99-local.yaml. If you already have a 99-local.yaml, you can copy the entries in 99-local.yaml.example to your 99-local.yaml.
  2. Fill in any ansible options, examples:
  3. foreman_devel_github_push_ssh: Force git to push over SSH when HTTPS remote is configured
  4. ssh_forward_agent: Forward local SSH keys to the box via ssh-agent
  5. Fill in any foreman-installer options, examples:
  6. --katello-devel-use-ssh-fork: will add your fork by SSH instead of HTTPS
  7. --katello-devel-fork-remote-name: will change the naming convention for your fork's remote
  8. --katello-devel-upstream-remote-name: will change the naming convention for the upstream (non-fork) repositories remote
  9. --katello-devel-extra-plugins: specify other plugins to have setup and configured

For example, if I wanted my upstream remotes to be origin and to install the remote execution and discovery plugins:

  box: centos8-stream
    playbook: 'playbooks/katello_devel.yml'
    group: 'devel'
      katello_devel_github_username: <REPLACE ME>
        - "--katello-devel-extra-plugins theforeman/foreman_remote_execution"
        - "--katello-devel-extra-plugins theforeman/foreman_discovery"
        - "--foreman-proxy-content-enable-ostree=true"

Lastly, spin up the box:

vagrant up centos8-katello-devel

The box can now be accessed via ssh and the Rails server started directly (this assumes you are connecting as the default vagrant user):

vagrant ssh centos8-katello-devel
cd foreman
bundle exec foreman start

Deploy a Stable Katello Development Box

When spinning up a Katello development environment locally, it can take a while to install and isn't always guaranteed to finish successfully. A stable Katello development environment was created to ensure an environment is always available to developers.

The Katello development stable box is named centos8-katello-devel-stable. Please see the documentation on stable boxes for more information on how to use this box.

After spinning up centos8-katello-devel-stable, it's a good idea to pull the latest git branches and update gems and npm packages after spinning up a stable box. If a stable box image hasn't been published in a while, these can be out-of-date.

At this moment, you will have to manually configure any personal customizations such as github remotes.

Starting the Development Server

Our backend requires a rails server to be running. We also use a webpack server for the more "modern" parts of our front-end UI. Webpack is a way of bundling up multiple front-end files and assets to a small amount of files to send to the browser. The files that webpack handles are located in webpack/ directory found in Foreman, Katello, and plugin root directories. If you are editing any files in webpack/ and want to have your changes refresh automatically, you will need a webpack server running.

Because we are using a webpack server in conjunction with a rails server, there are different ways of starting a server depending on your needs and preferences. The following are instructions for starting the server using a base centos8-katello-devel box as a starting point.

Run a rails and webpack server together using foreman start

  • Run bundle exec foreman start in ~/foreman
  • Navigate to https://centos8-katello-devel.<hostname> where <hostname> is the shortname of your hypervisor (machine your VM is running on) and accept the self-signed certs.
  • Accept the self-signed certs on port 3808 at https://centos8-katello-devel.<hostname>
  • Everything should be set for you to run bundle exec foreman start to start your dev server as needed.

NOTE: The foreman in foreman start is actually this gem and not our foreman. It doesn't allow STDIN, which means it doesn't support local debugging. To use a debugger with foreman start, you can use remote debugging with a tool like pry-remote. There is a helpful blog post about remote debugging here with more information.

Run the rails server without a webpack server running

If you don't need to do any development in the webpack/ directories, you can turn the webpack server off and run only the rails server if desired.

  • Run foreman-installer --katello-devel-webpack-dev-server false to disable the webpack server. You can also set this installer option in your boxes.yaml entry to configure this on box creation.
  • Start the rails server with bundle exec foreman start rails in ~/foreman
  • Alternatively, you can start the rails server with bundle exec rails s

Additional info

  • foreman start can be run with rails or webpack to start just that server: i.e. bundle exec foreman start rails. This can be used to start servers separately.

Customizing the Development Environment

Custom files from git repo

A git repo's contents can be copied to the target user's home directory when spinning up a centos8-katello-devel or centos8-katello-devel-stable box. This can be done by specifying the customize_home_git_repo ansible variable. For example:

  box_name: katello/katello-devel
    playbook: 'playbooks/setup_user_devel_environment.yml'

The contents of the specified repo will be copied to the home directory excluding the .git folder and .gitignore file.

As an example, you can keep dotfiles such as .bashrc in the root of your git repository and install packages with a bootstrap script using this structure:

- .bashrc
- .vimrc
- bootstrap

Custom local files

You can have files automatically copied over to the target user's home directory when spinning up a centos8-katello-devel or centos8-katello-devel-stable box. Here are the steps to specify custom files to be copied over:

  1. Create the directory user_devel_env_files/ in Forklift's root directory.
  2. Add any files you want to be copied over to your development box to user_devel_env_files/

The directory user_devel_env_files/ is ignored by git so the files won't be checked into version control. The files added to user_devel_env_files/ will be copied over to the target user's home directory on the development VM when it is created or provisioned.

As an example, you can symlink files that are on your hypervisor to this directory and install packages with a bootstrap script

Both of the local file and git repo custom file strategies are completely optional and are not required to spin up a development environment

Running a boostrap script

For both the git and custom local file strategies, you can run commands from a boostrap script found in root level of the git repo or in user_devel_env_files

A file named bootstrap will be looked for in the home directory and executed if found. This can be used to run any commands you would like to during provisioning. Be sure use the proper language shebang at the top.

A different script location can specified by using the customize_home_bootstrap_script variable. The customize_home_bootstrap_script variable needs to be specified in the format path/to/my/ (don't prepend with ./).

Managing SSH keys

Github provides documentation on how to manage ssh keys using ssh agent forwarding, this can be useful when deploying forklift boxes.

Reviewing Pull Requests

It's easy to checkout pull requests from projects that were installed in development environment. All projects are cloned in vagrant's home, e.g. ~/foreman, ~/katello etc. In order to apply some PR to any of this project, you can use a reviewer script. See following example

cd ~/katello
rpr 5266

rpr is shortcut for review pull request. This fetches information about PR number 5266, defines new remote in you .git/config, fetches new objects from it. Then it creates new local branch called review/pr5266 and pulls the code from the PR. It uses SSH connection so using ssh-agent, with SSH key uploaded to your github account, is recommended. If you're applying a PR on remote machine to which you connected through SSH, make sure you open that connection with agent forwarding, e.g. ssh -a Don't forget to migrate and seed the database if the PR contains related changes. Note that this might create new merge commit so git might want you to set your email and name. You can set that with following commands.

git config --global ""
git config --global "Your Name"

Once reviewing is finished, the repository can be reset to develop/master branch by calling rrpr. It destroys the review branch after it checkouts back to master branch.

If rpr is used in project with config/database.yml it will also create a backup of the db in ./tmp/. When rrpr is called later and in case previous backup was found, it asks whether it should be restored.

Packit PR Builds

Forklift supports using Packit PR builds for testing purposes. To use those one needs to define the packit_prs variable to the list of PRs (in the form of <org>/<repo>/<pr> or as full PR links):

In 99-local.yaml:

      - "theforeman/foreman_maintain/690"
      - ""

Test Puppet Module

Pull Requests

Testing installer puppet module pull requests is possible through an Ansible variable. Any number of modules and associated pull requests may be specified. For example, if a module under goes a refactoring, and you want to test that it continues to work with the installer. The pull requests are indicated by the github project, repository, and pull request number (eg. katello/qpid/23). Note that the name in this situation is the name as laid down in the module directory as opposed to the github repository name. In other words, use 'qpid' not 'puppet-qpid'. The pull requests are specified through the 'foreman_installer_module_prs' variable in the 'ansible' 'variables' section of your box definition. See examples below.

Single module PR in 99-local.yaml:

      - theforeman/katello_devel/97

Multiple modules:

      - theforeman/katello_devel/97
      - theforeman/qpid/34


Testing installer puppet module branches is possible through an Ansible variable. Any number of modules and associated branches may be specified. For example, if a module under goes a refactoring, and you want to test that it continues to work with the installer. The branches are indicated by the github project, repository, and branch (or commit) name (eg. myfork/qpid/my-branch). Note that the name in this situation is the name as laid down in the module directory as opposed to the github repository name. In other words, use 'qpid' not 'puppet-qpid'. The branches are specified through the 'foreman_installer_module_branches' variable in the 'ansible' 'variables' section of your box definition. See examples below.

Single module branch in 99-local.yaml:

      - myfork/katello_devel/switch-to-scl

Multiple modules:

      - myfork/katello_devel/switch-to-scl
      - myfork/foreman/add-puma

Hammer Development

Hammer is the command line interface (CLI) to Foreman and Katello. It supports plugins such as Foreman Tasks and importing/exporting data via CSV. The CLI can be configured to work with any version of Foreman. To facilitate development in Hammer or any of its plugins, a lightweight vagrant box is provided in the boxes.yaml.example file. To use this functionality, copy the centos7-hammer-devel configuration from the example file into your boxes.yaml file, changing options as necessary. Then run the following:

vagrant up centos7-hammer-devel

In the vagrant box, find the Hammer repositories at /home/vagrant/ and the configuration at /home/vagrant/.hammer.

Capsule Development

To use this functionality, add the following configuration to your 99-local.yaml, changing the hostnames as needed

To setup a smart proxy (capsule) and a new development environment

  • setup 99-local.yaml
  box: centos7
    playbook: 'playbooks/foreman_proxy_content_dev.yml'
    group: 'foreman-proxy-content'
    server: 'foo'
  • vagrant up foo
  • ssh into foo and rails s
  • vagrant up capsule-dev

To setup a capsule with an existing development environment

  • Add the following to the existing Katello development server's configuration in 99-local.yaml
    group: 'server'
  • Add a box for a capsule, using the katello server's name in the "server" field:
  box: centos7
    playbook: 'playbooks/foreman_proxy_content_dev.yml'
    group: 'foreman-proxy-content'
    server: 'your-katello-server-name'
  • ssh into existing development server and rails s
  • spin up new capsule vagrant up capsule-dev

Client Development

99-local.yaml defines a katello-client box which can be used to register against a Katello instance. The following example shows some of the extra values that can be set to control how the client is registered.

  box: centos7
    playbook: 'playbooks/katello_client.yml'
    group: 'client'
      katello_client_server: 'centos8-katello-devel'
      katello_client_organization: 'Default_Organization'
      katello_client_environment: 'Library'
      katello_client_username: 'admin'
      katello_client_password: 'changeme'
      katello_client_install_agent: True

Dynflow Development

DYNamic workFLOW orchestration engine

To use this box, copy the configuration from boxes.yaml.example to boxes.yaml, changing options as necessary, then run the following:

vagrant up centos7-dynflow-devel

In the vagrant box, the dynflow repository is cloned to /home/vagrant/dynflow.


The testing tool smoker can be set up with the centos7-foreman-smoker box and tests can be run against a separate Foreman/Katello instance.

To use: 1. Ensure that you have a running instance of Foreman/Katello. 2. Follow the example box definition in vagrant/boxes.d/99-local.yaml.example for centos7-foreman-smoker and update the smoker_base_url variable. With pytest_run_tests set to false, smoker tests will not be run by the playbook, but the box will be set up with pytest and the smoker repository will be cloned to the vagrant user's home directory. 3. Run vagrant up centos7-foreman-smoker. A debug message will print showing the command to run smoker tests and the alias that has been set up. The alias is defined in ~/.bash_profile on the box itself. 4. You can then ssh into the smoker box. Ensure the hostname of the Foreman/Katello instance can be reached by the smoker box. 5. From the smoker box, run tests as the vagrant user using the alias or running pytest commands manually. To change the testing options, please see the smoker documentation and modify the alias or manually run pytest commands as necessary.

Advanced features

These are playbooks, roles and variables provided to use additional funcionalities to test advanced foreman features. This list should be organized by foreman feature.

Foreman with Active Directory

Prepare AD controller

You need the AD controller with domain controller you want to test this against. Easiest is to install Windows server (ideally core to save resources, but its harder to install AD and setup DNS). This controller doesn't need to be searchable in your environmnet, we will point libvirt there.

I will be using the domain and expect your AD controller runs on IP

Setup libvirt

Here we will edit the libvirt network, so its dnsmasq points the domain request to our controller. If you are using another provider, you are on your own to setup the internal dns lookups.

Edit the libvirt network (virsh net-edit network or virt-manager -> connection details -> networks). Add the xmlns scope so the xml is valid and the dnsmasq option to point all requests to our AD controller.

<network xmlns:dnsmasq="">
    <dnsmasq:option value="server=/"/>

Setup forklift machine

Then add the machine and specify the domain, playbook and password for the join user. I'm using a short name as longer names tend to have issues with NETBIOS names that end up shortened, and hostname != NETBIOS name could cause issues. If you choose longer name you're on your own, contributions with fixes welcome! :)

# boxes.d/99-local.yaml

  box: centos7
  memory: 4096
  domain: '' # must be the AD domain
    playbook: 'playbooks/foreman_with_ad.yml'
    group: server
      foreman_realm_directory_admin_password: 'Admin123.'


Provision it

vagrant up foreman-ad

Test it

$ vagrant ssh foreman-ad

foreman-ad$ kinit test-domain-user # initialize Kerberos with an existing user in the AD domain
foreman-ad$ klist # verify the above went smooth
foreman-ad$ curl -k -u : --negotiate # substitute for your fqdn

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