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Ansible module to deploy a static website builder
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Ansible module used by OSAS to deploy a static website builder. While working, the role is still being written, as seen by the TODO list at the end of this document.

Currently this role supports the following web generators:


The role requires a working web server somewhere, if possible managed by ansible as well. In the simplest invocation, this should be something like this:

$ cat deploy_builder.yml
- hosts: webbuilder
  - role: builder
    builder_name: website_example_org
    git_url: ""
    rsync_location: /var/www/html
    rsync_user: rsync_user

The role defaults to using Middleman, but you can choose the web generator you need by setting the builder variable to either middleman or jekyll.

This will deploy the build of by using rsync as rsync_user on, copying in /var/www/html. If you do not provide it, then no deployment the default builder deployment method is used instead, if any. The OpenShift deployment has been removed as version 2 is EOL.

The script will not sync if build failed, and will not send email (that's on the TODO list, see end of the file). Nevertheless, failures caught by Cron can be sent to an email address if specified by cron_error_email; if you setup multiple builders using the same UNIX user, then beware only the latest email defined will be taken into account.

Handling multiple repositories

In order to support multiple repositories, the script detect if submodules are used and track the latest commit for each and force update if needed. While that's not how submodules are supposed to be used, people often forget to update submodules and so we need to use this as a workaround.

This cannot be turned off for now, but will be added as a option if needed.

Regular rebuild

The role will rebuild the website on a regular basis, every 6h by default. This can be changed with the parameter rebuild_interval, which express the time between automated rebuild attempts if nothing changed, expressed in hours.

Debug the build

In order to debug a non working build, the easiest is to connect to the server as the non privileged user used to build (with ssh + sudo or su most of the time).

Each website to build will have a directory serving as workspace for the build, that contains a status file of the form status_$NAME.yml

$ cat status_website_example_org.yml
last_build: '1467869767'
last_build_commit: 819bcaef161706441f9a4477d664b67a3616049a
last_build_human: Tue Jul  5 03:27:57 2016
submodule_commits: {}

Then, the build script can be run with /usr/local/bin/ -d -f -n ~/website_example_org.yml, which would force a build (-f) without pushing (-n) with debug turned on (-d).

Jenkins integration

If you wish to use the role with a external system to trigger such as Jenkins, you will need to disable the cronjob use to run the build job on a regular basis. This can be done by setting the variable external_trigger to True. This will also likely requires to use the --no-refresh option for the build script to not mess with Jenkins git updating, depending on the setup you want.

Missing features

While being already used in production, several options are missing

  • notification of failure by sending a email
  • notification of the start of a build
    • either by publishing the logs
    • or by pushing a status file on the website
  • proper logging of error
  • handling automatically some errors (like rebuilding gems)
  • change the schedule of automated rebuild
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