Light weight cookbook resolver
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Batali is a light weight cookbook resolver.

What is Batali?

Batali is a cookbook resolver. It's built to be light weight but feature rich. Batali helps to manage your cookbooks and stay out of your way.


Provide a Batali file:

Batali.define do
  source ''
  cookbook 'postgresql'

and then run:

$ batali update

in the same directory. It will destroy your cookbooks directory by default.


You can make it not destroy your cookbooks directory by providing a different path. A better idea is to not use the cookbooks directory. Just ignore that sucker and let Batali do its thing.


  • batali resolve - Resolve dependencies and produce batali.manifest
  • batali install - Install entries from the batali.manifest
  • batali update - Perform resolve and then install
  • batali display - Show manifest information (cookbook names, versions, etc.)



Currently supported "origins":

  • RemoteSite
  • Path
  • Git
  • ChefServer


This is simply a supermarket endpoint:

source ''

Multiple endpoints can be provided by specifying multiple source lines. They can also be named:

source '', :name => 'opscode'
source '', :name => 'example'

This is a Chef Server endpoint:

chef_server ''

It will use the node_name and client_key defined within the .chef/knife.rb configuration by default. To use the Chef Server URL defined within the configuration, just declare it with no arguments:


Paths are defined via cookbook entries:

cookbook 'example', path: '/path/to/example'

A short cut is also available when your Batali file is located at the root of the cookbook you want to add:


This will extract the name from the metadata file and automatically set the path '.'.


Git sources are defined via cookbook entries:

cookbook 'example', git: 'git://', ref: 'master'

In some crazy instances, you may have a cookbook located in the subdirectory of a git repository:

cookbook 'example', git: 'git://', ref: 'master', path: 'my-cookbook'

Least Impact Updates

After a batali.manifest file has been generated, subsequent resolve requests will update cookbook versions using a "least impact" approach. This means that by default if the Batali file has not changed, running a batali resolve will be a noop, even if new versions of cookbooks may be available. This helps to reduce unintended upgrades that may break things due to a required cookbook update. Allowing a cookbook to be updated is done simply by adding it to the request:

$ batali resolve example

This will only update the version of the example cookbook, and any dependency cookbooks that must be updated to provide resolution. Dependency cookbooks that require an upgrade based on constraints will attempt to upgrade with the least impact possible by attempting to satisfy constraints within the minimum version segement possible. For example, if our Batali file contains the following:

Batali.define do
  source ''
  cookbook 'soup'

and after resolving we have two cookbooks in our manifest:

soup <1.0.0>
salad <0.1.4>

Some time passes and a new version of soup is released, version 1.0.2. In that time multiple new versions of the salad cookbook have been released, with new features and with some breaking changes. For this example, lets assume available versions of the salad cookbook are:


and the soup cookbook has updated its salad dependency:

# soup metadata.rb
depends 'salad', '> 0.2'

Due to the behavior of existing solvers, we may expect the resolved manifest to include salad at the latest possible version: 1.0.0. This is a valid solution, since the dependency is simply stating the constraint requires salad be greater than 0.2 and nothing more. However, this is a very large jump from what we currently have defined within our manifest, and jumps a major and minor version. The possibility of breaking changes being introduced is extremely high.

Since Batali has the least impact feature enabled by default, it will only upgrade salad to the 0.2.2 version. This is due to the fact that the least impact feature prefers the latest cookbook available within the closest version segement of the cookbook version currently defined within the manifest. Since thew new soup dependency contraint requires versions > 0.2, no > 0.1 versions are acceptable. Batali then looks to the next available segment 0.2 and attempts to use the latest version: 0.2.2. This solves the constraint, and is used for the new solution.

Multiple cookbooks can be listed for upgrade:

$ batali resolve example ipsum lorem

or this feature can be disabled to allow everything to be updated to the latest possible versions:

$ batali resolve --no-least-impact

Light weight

One of the goals for batali was being light weight resolver, in the same vein as the librarian project. This means it does nothing more than manage local cookbooks. This includes dependency and constraint resolution, as well as providing a local installation of assets defined within the generated manifest. It provides no extra features outside of that scope.

Multiple platform support

Batali does not rely on the chef gem to function. This removes any dependencies on gems that may be incompatible outside the MRI platform.

Isolated manifest files

Manifest files are fully isolated. The resolver does not need to perform any actions for installing cookbooks defined within the manifest. This allows for easy transmission and direct installation of a manifest without the requirement of re-pulling information from sources.

Infrastructure manifests

Batali aims to solve the issue of full infrastructure resolution: resolving dependencies from an infrastructure repository. Resolving a single dependency path will not provide a correct resolution. This is because environments or run lists can provide extra constraints that will result in unsolvable resolutions on individual nodes. In this case we want to know what cookbooks are allowed within a solution, and ensure all those cookbooks are available. Batali provides infrastructure level manifests by setting the infrastructure flag:

$ batali resolve --infrastructure

NOTE: Depending on constraints defined within the Batali file, this can be a very large manifest

Single cookbook, multiple sources

When running in infrastructure mode, Batali supports single cookbooks being loaded from multiple sources. For example, if all the users cookbooks greater than version 1.0 should be available and an unreleased development version that lives in a git repository, Batali will properly include all versions:

Batali.define do
  source ''
  cookbook 'users', '> 1.0'
  cookbook 'users', git: 'git://', ref: 'development'

The resulting Batali manifest file will include all available versions greater than 1.0 from the supermarket source and the version defined at the specified git end point.

Uploading infrastructure cookbooks

When the infrastructure cookbooks are installed locally, the cookbook directories will have the version number as a suffix. This can cause a problem when attempting to run:

$ knife cookbook upload --all

due to knife using the directory name as the actual cookbook name. To get around this problem the upload command can be used directly with the correct options enabled. These options must be defined within the config file as the options are not accessible via CLI flags. Assuming a .chef/knife.rb file exists:

# .chef/knife.rb

versioned_cookbooks true
$ knife upload cookbooks

Display outdated cookbooks

Want to see what cookbooks have newer versions available within the defined constraints? Use the dry run option to see what upgrades are available without actually changing the manifest:

$ batali resolve --no-least-impact --dry-run

Automatic cookbook discovery

Tired of tracking constraints in multiple places when using Chef Environment cookbook_versions for environment specific constraints? Let Batali manage it for you! Define your Batali file to enable automatic discovery:

Batali.define do
  source ''
  discover true

That's it! Now you can resolve for the infrastructure:

$ batali resolve --infrastructure

which will generate a resulting manifest that includes all required cookbook versions to satisfiy constraints defined by all environments.


Batali can be configured via the .batali file. The contents of the file can be in YAML, JSON, XML, or Ruby. Every option displayed via the help call can be set within this file. The configuration can hold items isolated within a command's name, or defined at the top level of the configuration file. For example: do
  debug true
  resolve do
    debug false

This configuration turns debug output on for all commands except the resolve command. This feature is handy in situations where multiple commands may have the same flag that should always be enabled, like the infrastructure flag: do
  infrastructure true

When flags on the CLI contain a dash, they are referenced within the configuration file as an underscore. For example the least impact flag on the CLI looks like:


and the key in the configuration looks like:


Example configurations

Ruby do
  infrastructure true
  resolve do
    least_impact false


  "infrastructure": true,
  "resolve": {
    "least_impact": false


:infrastructure: true
  :least_impact: false



Test Kitchen

Batali can be used with Test Kitchen:


Batali can be used with ChefSpec. Add the following line to your spec_helper.rb file:

require 'batali/chefspec'

Chef Server Sync

Batali includes a knife plugin to sync cookbooks defined within the local batali.manifest file with the cookbooks available from on the Chef server.

$ knife batali sync

This command will remove any cookbooks on the Chef server that are not found within the batali.manifest file. If cookbooks are defined within the batali.manifest file that have not been uploaded to the Chef server, those cookbooks will be uploaded.


Batali can generate a static supermarket repository from a batali.manifest. The resultant directory can then be hosted with an httpd of choice. To generate a supermarket repository, first run resolve:

$ batali resolve

Next, run the supermarket command to generate the repository:

$ batali supermarket

A new directory will be created (./supermarket) which contains the newly generated supermarket respository. The generated universe file will contain URLs pointing to localhost, which is the default behavior. In practice, it will be desirable to update the URL to provide the customized location:

$ batali supermarket --remote-supermarket-url=""