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Travis Boxes makes provisioning and configuring Virtual Box machines simple and easy.
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Travis Boxes

Travis Boxes is a set of tools that team uses to create VM images/Vagrant boxes for CI environment virtual machines.

Build Status

Getting Started

Apart from running bundle install, also run

$ thor travis:init

This will create a blank config/worker.yml, please read 'Box Customization' for more info.

Chef Cookbooks location

We use OpsCode Chef to provision VMs (and everything else). travis-boxes assumes travis-cookbooks are located one directory up, like this:


Building Boxes

Use the provided thor tasks to build VirtualBox base boxes and worker boxes, including uploading them to S3. They can then be distributed to the worker machines and used for updating the vms.

Worker boxes are built per "environment" (i.e. worker type, e.g. "staging", "ruby", "rails", ...)

E.g. for rebuilding the staging base box use:

$ thor travis:box:build -d staging

You can also use the thor tasks to build a new base box which the worker boxes are provisioned on top of.

$ thor travis:base:build

Box Customization

Configuration for the boxes is in the local and shared config/*.yml files.

The shared file config/worker.base.yml will be used for configuration common to all boxes and it will be merged with the shared file config/[environment].yml.

The result is then also merged with

  • the "base" section from the local file config/worker.yml
  • the respective environment section (e.g. "staging") from the local file config/worker.yml

The file config/worker.yml is meant to be local and should not be checked in.


# config/worker.base.yml (in travis-boxes)
foo: foo

# config/worker.staging.yml (in travis-boxes)
bar: bar

# config/worker.yml (in the current working directory)
  secret: secret
  another_secret: another_secret

  'foo' => 'Foo',
  'bar' => 'bar',
  'secret' => 'secret',
  'another_secret' => 'another_secret',

The Standard box

Because different language/technology VM setups overlap, we first build the standard box that only has, for example, 1 Ruby, 1 Python and 1 Node.js version and then provision VM-specific tools on top of that by modifying Chef node attributes in host machine specific worker.yml.

Uploading boxes

To upload a base box you can use:

thor travis:base:upload

This will upload the by default. You can use -d to specify a different base box definition to upload.

To upload a provisioned box you can use:

thor travis:box:upload

This will upload the by default, renaming it to staging/[yyyy-mm-dd-hhmm].box during the upload process. If you want to upload a different provisioned box you can use the -d option, for example:

thor travis:box:upload -d standard
thor travis:box:upload -d ruby

If you need access to, pass your SSH key to @michaelklishin


travis-boxes is released under the MIT license.


2011, The Travis CI Team (

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