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RFC Title Author Status Type Tracking
Universe Endpoint for Chef Server
Daniel DeLeo <>
Standards Track

Universe Endpoint for Chef Server

Use Case

Users would like to host their cookbook artifacts on their chef-server and use these artifacts with an external dependency solver. There are a variety of motivations for hosting cookbooks internally:

  • User wants to control the availability of the service they fetch cookbooks from.
  • User wants to publish closed source cookbooks to a centralized artifact server for internal distribution within their organization.
  • User wants to vet third party cookbooks before other users in their organization access them for compliance and/or stability reasons.

Users can currently publish cookbooks to a chef server using knife or any other tool that implements the server's HTTP API. If the user wants to find a version compatible set of cookbooks and dependencies, however, they currently must recursively query the chef server, making a request for the list of cookbook names, the list of versions of each cookbook, and the dependencies of each version. The large number of round trips involved would make this operation prohibitively time-consuming. Currently, working around this limitation requires caching the dependency information and refreshing it periodically, which implies running a separate service that periodically polls the chef server for updates to the dependency information. This workaround is suboptimal because it requires the overhead of managing a separate service and adds latency to the dissemination of cookbooks after publishing.

Universe Endpoint

This proposal addresses the described use case by adding a dependency API to the chef server. The endpoint is accessed by making an HTTP GET request to BASE_SERVER_URL/universe; in Enterprise Chef a full URL may look like

Assuming the request meets all authentication and authorization requirements, the server responds with a JSON document containing the list of all cookbooks, their available versions, and the dependencies of each. The format of this document is mostly identical to the format of the response given by the supermarket universe API, which is documented here: The response given by the chef server differs from the supermarket API in that the location_type field in the response is set to "chef_server".


This work is in the public domain. In jurisdictions that do not allow for this, this work is available under CC0. To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.