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generator-living-atlas npm version

A Yeoman Generator for Living Atlas Ansible Inventories


This is a simple yeoman generator, so, just by asking some simple questions about your Living Atlases Node, you will get a functional configuration for the setup of your Virtual Machines (VMs) using ansible.

The main goal of this utility is to allow you to configure, install & maintain a Living Atlas infrastructure in a fast & smooth way.

In others words, with the ansible inventories produced by this yeoman generator and the ala-install ansible playbooks you should deploy the main LA services quickly and without too much pain.

Also, thanks to yeoman, you can rerun this generator, for instance, to enable new modules in the future, or to enable eg. SSL, etc. and reuse your previous settings and compare the differences (see the screenshots).

You can also use this generator via the LA Toolkit.



We assume you have pre-installed a recent version of node.js, you can use for eg. to get update it.


You will need also to clone or download the ala-install repository. We recommend to use the latest release, for instance with:

git clone --depth 1 --branch v2.1.1


Install Yeoman and generator-living-atlas using npm:

npm install -g yo

As this is a yeoman development environment you can get some EPERM or EACCESS errors, so check the yeoman setup guide for proper configuration.

python docopt

apt install python-docopt


Later, install the LA generator itself:

npm install -g generator-living-atlas

Then generate your new LA project, just type:

yo living-atlas

and follow the questions.


  • Use yo living-atlas --replay to reuse all the previous responses and regenerate the inventories with some new modifications (or improvements if you update this repo). More info below.
  • Use yo living-atlas --replay-dont-ask if you only want to repeat the inventories generation (for instance, with a new version of this generator to get some update, or when you edit carefully the ../.yo-rc.json answers file to, for instance, enable ssl or some service, and only want to regenerate the inventories with the changes).
  • Also, you can use --debug to see some verbose debug info.


A screen recording re-running the generator but using another solr hostname and switching to use SSL (see the differences in the generated inventories):

After running the inventories following the instructions from the generated README over two VMs (like in the Paris 2019 Workshop):

Using it for Tanzania demo session:

Differences beween two runs:

Rerunning the generator

You can rerun the generator with the option yo living-atlas --replay to reuse all the previous responses and regenerate the inventories with some modifications (if for instance you want to add a new service, or use a new version of this generator with improvements or other upgrades).

With --replay-dont-ask you can regenerate the playbooks with previous answers without being asked again. This is useful for new versions of this generator, or if you manually edit .yo-rc.json where your answers are stored, or for automated processes (like CI integrations).

We recommend to override and set variables adding then to quick-start-local-extras.yml and quick-start-spatial-local-extras.yml without modification of the generated quick-start-inventory.yml and quick-start-spatial-inventory.yml, so you can rerun the generator in the future without losing local changes. The *-local-extras.sample files will be updated with future versions of this generator, so you can compare from time to time these samples with your *-local-extras.yml files to add new vars, etc.

See the changelog for more upgrade details, new variables to take into account, etc.

Ansible wrapper

Furthermore the utility ansiblew is generated. ansiblew is an ansible-playbook wrapper that can help you to use the inventories and can be easily modified by you to suit your needs. It depends on python-docopt package (sudo apt install python-docopt in debian and derivatives).

Help output:

$ ./ansiblew --help

This is an ansible wrapper to help you to exec the different playbooks with your

By default don't exec anything only show the commands. With --nodryrun you can exec
the real commands.

With 'main' only operates over your main host.

   ansiblew --alainstall=<dir_of_ala_install_repo> [options] [ main | collectory | ala_hub | biocache_service | ala_bie | bie_index | images | lists | regions | logger | solr | cas | biocache_backend | biocache_cli | spatial |  all ]
   ansiblew -h | --help
   ansiblew -v | --version

  --nodryrun             Exec the ansible-playbook commands
  -p --properties        Only update properties
  -l --limit=<hosts>     Limit to some inventories hosts
  -s --skip=<tags>       Skip tags
  -h --help              Show help options.
  -d --debug             Show debug info.
  -v --version           Show ansiblew version.
ansiblew 0.1.0
Copyright (C) 2019
Apache 2.0 License

So you can install the CAS service or the spatial service with simple commands like:

./ansiblew --alainstall=../ala-install cas --nodryrun


./ansiblew --alainstall=../ala-install spatial --nodryrun

or all the services with something like:

./ansiblew --alainstall=../ala-install all --nodryrun

Without --nodryrun you will get only the full ansible-playbook command to use these inventories .

Sample ~/.ssh/config

A sample dot-ssh-config.sample is generated that you can edit and move to ~/.ssh/config in orther to access to you VMs easily.

Maintain your inventories over time

As we mentioned previously you can rerun the generator with the option yo living-atlas --replay to reuse all the previous responses and regenerate the inventories with some modifications (if for instance you want to add a new service, or use a new version of this generator with improvements).


  • Currently running several services in the same machine and the same domain doesn't configure correctly nginx vhosts. See this enhancement issue in ala-install. Workaround: Use different hostnames per each service in the same machine. So, if for instance, bie and bie-ws are in the same machine, this machine receives multiple names (like and and nginx doesn't overwrite each service vhost configuration. See the LA FAQ for more details.

Any problem with this generator?

Please add an issue give us details of your problem and we'll try to help you and to improve the generator. Thanks!

About Yeoman


Apache-2.0 © Living Atlases


An Yeoman Generator for Living Atlas Ansible Inventories







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