Skip to content

Using

Using commands

After you install Ansible-lint, run ansible-lint --help to display available commands and their options.

$ ansible-lint --help
usage: ansible-lint [-h] [-P | -L | -T]
                    [-f {brief,full,md,json,codeclimate,quiet,pep8,sarif}]
                    [--sarif-file SARIF_FILE] [-q]
                    [--profile {min,basic,moderate,safety,shared,production}]
                    [-p] [--project-dir PROJECT_DIR] [-r RULESDIR] [-R] [-s]
                    [--fix [WRITE_LIST]] [--show-relpath] [-t TAGS] [-v]
                    [-x SKIP_LIST] [--generate-ignore] [-w WARN_LIST]
                    [--enable-list ENABLE_LIST] [--nocolor] [--force-color]
                    [--exclude EXCLUDE_PATHS [EXCLUDE_PATHS ...]]
                    [-c CONFIG_FILE] [-i IGNORE_FILE] [--offline] [--version]
                    [lintables ...]

positional arguments:
  lintables             One or more files or paths. When missing it will enable auto-detection mode.

options:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -P, --list-profiles   List all profiles, no formatting options available.
  -L, --list-rules      List all the rules. For listing rules only the following formats for argument -f are supported: {brief, full, md} with 'brief' as default.
  -T, --list-tags       List all the tags and the rules they cover. Increase the verbosity level with `-v` to include 'opt-in' tag and its rules.
  -f {brief,full,md,json,codeclimate,quiet,pep8,sarif}, --format {brief,full,md,json,codeclimate,quiet,pep8,sarif}
                        stdout formatting, json being an alias for codeclimate. (default: None)
  --sarif-file SARIF_FILE
                        SARIF output file
  -q                    quieter, reduce verbosity, can be specified twice.
  --profile {min,basic,moderate,safety,shared,production}
                        Specify which rules profile to be used.
  -p, --parseable       parseable output, same as '-f pep8'
  --project-dir PROJECT_DIR
                        Location of project/repository, autodetected based on location of configuration file.
  -r RULESDIR, --rules-dir RULESDIR
                        Specify custom rule directories. Add -R to keep using embedded rules from /home/docs/checkouts/readthedocs.org/user_builds/ansible-lint/checkouts/latest/src/ansiblelint/rules
  -R                    Keep default rules when using -r
  -s, --strict          Return non-zero exit code on warnings as well as errors
  --fix [WRITE_LIST]    Allow ansible-lint to perform auto-fixes, including YAML reformatting. You can limit the effective rule transforms (the 'write_list') by passing a keywords 'all' or 'none' or a comma separated list of rule ids or rule tags. YAML reformatting happens whenever '--fix' or '--fix=' is used. '--fix' and '--fix=all' are equivalent: they allow all transforms to run. Presence of --fix in command overrides config file value.
  --show-relpath        Display path relative to CWD
  -t TAGS, --tags TAGS  only check rules whose id/tags match these values
  -v                    Increase verbosity level (-vv for more)
  -x SKIP_LIST, --skip-list SKIP_LIST
                        only check rules whose id/tags do not match these values.             e.g: --skip-list=name,run-once
  --generate-ignore     Generate a text file '.ansible-lint-ignore' that ignores all found violations. Each line contains filename and rule id separated by a space.
  -w WARN_LIST, --warn-list WARN_LIST
                        only warn about these rules, unless overridden in config file. Current version default value is: experimental, jinja[spacing], fqcn[deep]
  --enable-list ENABLE_LIST
                        activate optional rules by their tag name
  --nocolor             disable colored output, same as NO_COLOR=1
  --force-color         Force colored output, same as FORCE_COLOR=1
  --exclude EXCLUDE_PATHS [EXCLUDE_PATHS ...]
                        path to directories or files to skip. This option is repeatable.
  -c CONFIG_FILE, --config-file CONFIG_FILE
                        Specify configuration file to use. By default it will look for '.ansible-lint', '.config/ansible-lint.yml', or '.config/ansible-lint.yaml'
  -i IGNORE_FILE, --ignore-file IGNORE_FILE
                        Specify ignore file to use. By default it will look for '.ansible-lint-ignore' or '.config/ansible-lint-ignore.txt'
  --offline             Disable installation of requirements.yml and schema refreshing
  --version

The following environment variables are also recognized but there is no guarantee that they will work in future versions:

ANSIBLE_LINT_CUSTOM_RULESDIR: Used for adding another folder into the lookup path for new rules.

ANSIBLE_LINT_IGNORE_FILE: Define it to override the name of the default ignore file `.ansible-lint-ignore`

ANSIBLE_LINT_WRITE_TMP: Tells linter to dump fixes into different temp files instead of overriding original. Used internally for testing.

ANSIBLE_LINT_SKIP_SCHEMA_UPDATE: Tells ansible-lint to skip schema refresh.

ANSIBLE_LINT_NODEPS: Avoids installing content dependencies and avoids performing checks that would fail when modules are not installed. Far less violations will be reported.

Command output

Ansible-lint prints output on both stdout and stderr.

  • stdout displays rule violations.
  • stderr displays logging and free-form messages like statistics.

Most ansible-lint examples use pep8 as the output format (-p) which is machine parseable.

Ansible-lint also print errors using their annotation format when it detects the GITHUB_ACTIONS=true and GITHUB_WORKFLOW=... variables.

Caching

For optimal performance, Ansible-lint creates caches with installed or mocked roles, collections, and modules in the {project_dir}/.cache folder. The location of {project_dir} is passed with a command line argument, determined by the location of the configuration file, git project top-level directory, or user home directory.

To perform faster re-runs, Ansible-lint does not automatically clean the cache. If required you can do this manually by simply deleting the .cache folder. Ansible-lint creates a new cache on the next invocation.

You should add the .cache folder to the .gitignore file in your git repositories.

Gradual adoption

For an easier gradual adoption, adopters should consider ignore file feature. This allows the quick introduction of a linter pipeline for preventing the addition of new violations, while known violations are ignored. Some people can work on addressing these historical violations while others may continue to work on other maintenance tasks.

The deprecated --progressive mode was removed in v6.16.0 as it added code complexity and performance overhead. It also presented several corner cases where it failed to work as expected and caused false negatives.

Linting playbooks and roles

Ansible-lint recommends following the collection structure layout whether you plan to build a collection or not.

Following that layout assures the best integration with all ecosystem tools because it helps those tools better distinguish between random YAML files and files managed by Ansible. When you call ansible-lint without arguments, it uses internal heuristics to determine file types.

You can specify the list of roles or playbooks that you want to lint with the -p argument. For example, to lint examples/playbooks/play.yml and examples/roles/bobbins, use the following command:

$ ansible-lint --offline -p examples/playbooks/play.yml examples/roles/bobbins
WARNING  Skipped installing collection dependencies due to running in offline mode.
WARNING  Skipped installing collection dependencies due to running in offline mode.
WARNING  Listing 6 violation(s) that are fatal
examples/playbooks/play.yml:2: name[play]: All plays should be named.
examples/playbooks/play.yml:5: command-instead-of-module: service used in place of service module
examples/playbooks/play.yml:5: no-changed-when: Commands should not change things if nothing needs doing.
examples/roles/bobbins/tasks/main.yml:2: args[module]: missing required arguments: repo (warning)
examples/roles/bobbins/tasks/main.yml:2: fqcn[action-core]: Use FQCN for builtin module actions (git).
examples/roles/bobbins/tasks/main.yml:2: latest[git]: Result of the command may vary on subsequent runs.
Read documentation for instructions on how to ignore specific rule violations.

                          Rule Violation Summary                           
 count tag                       profile    rule associated tags           
     1 command-instead-of-module basic      command-shell, idiom           
     1 name[play]                basic      idiom                          
     1 latest[git]               safety     idempotency                    
     1 no-changed-when           shared     command-shell, idempotency     
     1 fqcn[action-core]         production formatting                     
     1 args[module]                         syntax, experimental (warning) 

Failed: 5 failure(s), 1 warning(s) on 4 files. Last profile that met the validation criteria was 'min'.

Running example playbooks

Ansible-lint includes an ansible-lint/examples folder that contains example playbooks with different rule violations and undesirable characteristics. You can run ansible-lint on the example playbooks to observe Ansible-lint in action, as follows:

$ ansible-lint --offline -p examples/playbooks/example.yml
WARNING  Skipped installing collection dependencies due to running in offline mode.
WARNING  Skipped installing collection dependencies due to running in offline mode.
WARNING  Listing 22 violation(s) that are fatal
examples/playbooks/example.yml:1: schema[playbook]: $[0].tasks[13] None is not of type 'object'
examples/playbooks/example.yml:9: jinja[spacing]: Jinja2 spacing could be improved: echo {{this_variable}} is not set in this playbook -> echo {{ this_variable }} is not set in this playbook
examples/playbooks/example.yml:9: no-changed-when: Commands should not change things if nothing needs doing.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:12: no-changed-when: Commands should not change things if nothing needs doing.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:15: args[module]: missing required arguments: repo (warning)
examples/playbooks/example.yml:15: latest[git]: Result of the command may vary on subsequent runs.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:18: args[module]: missing required arguments: repo (warning)
examples/playbooks/example.yml:18: latest[git]: Result of the command may vary on subsequent runs.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:21: args[module]: Unsupported parameters for (basic.py) module: bobbins. Supported parameters include: accept_hostkey, accept_newhostkey, archive, archive_prefix, bare, clone, depth, dest, executable, force, gpg_whitelist, key_file, recursive, reference, refspec, remote, repo, separate_git_dir, single_branch, ssh_opts, track_submodules, umask, update, verify_commit, version (name). (warning)
examples/playbooks/example.yml:21: no-free-form: Avoid using free-form when calling module actions. (ansible.builtin.git)
examples/playbooks/example.yml:24: command-instead-of-module: git used in place of git module
examples/playbooks/example.yml:24: no-changed-when: Commands should not change things if nothing needs doing.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:27: command-instead-of-module: git used in place of git module
examples/playbooks/example.yml:30: latest[git]: Result of the command may vary on subsequent runs.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:33: jinja[spacing]: Jinja2 spacing could be improved: {{item}} -> {{ item }}
examples/playbooks/example.yml:39: no-free-form: Avoid using free-form when calling module actions. (ansible.builtin.yum)
examples/playbooks/example.yml:39: package-latest: Package installs should not use latest.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:42: name[missing]: All tasks should be named.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:42: no-free-form: Avoid using free-form when calling module actions. (ansible.builtin.debug)
examples/playbooks/example.yml:44: no-free-form: Avoid using free-form when calling module actions. (ansible.builtin.apt)
examples/playbooks/example.yml:44: package-latest: Package installs should not use latest.
examples/playbooks/example.yml:47: name[missing]: All tasks should be named.
Read documentation for instructions on how to ignore specific rule violations.

                         Rule Violation Summary                         
 count tag                       profile rule associated tags           
     2 command-instead-of-module basic   command-shell, idiom           
     2 jinja[spacing]            basic   formatting                     
     4 no-free-form              basic   syntax, risk                   
     1 schema[playbook]          basic   core                           
     2 name[missing]             basic   idiom                          
     3 latest[git]               safety  idempotency                    
     2 package-latest            safety  idempotency                    
     3 no-changed-when           shared  command-shell, idempotency     
     3 args[module]                      syntax, experimental (warning) 

Failed: 19 failure(s), 3 warning(s) on 1 files. Last profile that met the validation criteria was 'min'.

Ansible-lint also handles playbooks that include other playbooks, tasks, handlers, or roles, as the examples/playbooks/include.yml example demonstrates.

$ ansible-lint --offline -q -p examples/playbooks/include.yml
examples/playbooks/include.yml:13:7: syntax-check[specific]

Output formats

pep8

$ ansible-lint --offline -q -f pep8 examples/playbooks/norole.yml
examples/playbooks/norole.yml:5:7: syntax-check[specific]

SARIF JSON

Using --format sarif or --format json the linter will output on stdout a report in SARIF

We also have an option --sarif-file FILE option that can make the linter dump the output to a file while not altering its normal stdout output. This can be used in CI/CD pipelines.

ansible-lint --offline -q -f sarif examples/playbooks/norole.yml
{"$schema": "https://schemastore.azurewebsites.net/schemas/json/sarif-2.1.0-rtm.5.json", "version": "2.1.0", "runs": [{"tool": {"driver": {"name": "ansible-lint", "version": "24.2.1.dev13", "informationUri": "https://github.com/ansible/ansible-lint", "rules": [{"id": "syntax-check[specific]", "name": "syntax-check[specific]", "shortDescription": {"text": "the role 'node' was not found in /home/docs/checkouts/readthedocs.org/user_builds/ansible-lint/checkouts/latest/examples/playbooks/roles:/home/docs/.cache/ansible-compat/5e1e2b/roles:/home/docs/.ansible/roles:/usr/share/ansible/roles:/etc/ansible/roles:/home/docs/checkouts/readthedocs.org/user_builds/ansible-lint/checkouts/latest/examples/playbooks"}, "defaultConfiguration": {"level": "error"}, "help": {"text": ""}, "helpUri": "https://ansible.readthedocs.io/projects/lint/rules/syntax-check/", "properties": {"tags": ["core", "unskippable"]}}]}}, "columnKind": "utf16CodeUnits", "results": [{"ruleId": "syntax-check[specific]", "level": "error", "message": {"text": "the role 'node' was not found in /home/docs/checkouts/readthedocs.org/user_builds/ansible-lint/checkouts/latest/examples/playbooks/roles:/home/docs/.cache/ansible-compat/5e1e2b/roles:/home/docs/.ansible/roles:/usr/share/ansible/roles:/etc/ansible/roles:/home/docs/checkouts/readthedocs.org/user_builds/ansible-lint/checkouts/latest/examples/playbooks"}, "locations": [{"physicalLocation": {"artifactLocation": {"uri": "examples/playbooks/norole.yml", "uriBaseId": "SRCROOT"}, "region": {"startLine": 5, "startColumn": 7}}}]}], "originalUriBaseIds": {"SRCROOT": {"uri": "file:///home/docs/checkouts/readthedocs.org/user_builds/ansible-lint/checkouts/latest/"}}}]}

Code Climate JSON

You can generate JSON reports based on the Code Climate specification as the examples/playbooks/norole.yml example demonstrates.

ansible-lint --offline -q -f codeclimate examples/playbooks/norole.yml
[{"type": "issue", "check_name": "syntax-check[specific]", "categories": ["core", "unskippable"], "url": "https://ansible.readthedocs.io/projects/lint/rules/syntax-check/", "severity": "major", "description": "the role 'node' was not found in /home/docs/checkouts/readthedocs.org/user_builds/ansible-lint/checkouts/latest/examples/playbooks/roles:/home/docs/.cache/ansible-compat/5e1e2b/roles:/home/docs/.ansible/roles:/usr/share/ansible/roles:/etc/ansible/roles:/home/docs/checkouts/readthedocs.org/user_builds/ansible-lint/checkouts/latest/examples/playbooks", "fingerprint": "8baa3f88be792bd42777dd4b689c8ba9d2e49e1f0a789b78dc3a07ac40aaeb20", "location": {"path": "examples/playbooks/norole.yml", "positions": {"begin": {"line": 5, "column": 7}}}}]

Historically -f json was used to generate Code Climate JSON reports but in newer versions we switched its meaning point SARIF JSON format instead.

Warning

When possible we recommend using the SARIF format instead of the Code Climate as that one is more complete and has a full specification and also a JSON validation schema. Code Climate format does not expose our severity levels because we use that field to map warnings as minor and errors as major issues.

Specifying rules at runtime

By default, ansible-lint applies rules found in ansible-lint/src/ansiblelint/rules. Use the -r /path/to/custom-rules option to specify the directory path to a set of custom rules. For multiple custom rule sets, pass each set with a separate -r option.

You can also combine the default rules with custom rules with the -R option along with one or more -r options.

Including rules with tags

Each rule has an associated set of one or more tags. Use the -T option to view the list of tags for each available rule.

You can then use the -t option to specify a tag and include the associated rules in the lint run. For example, the following ansible-lint command applies only the rules associated with the idempotency tag:

$ ansible-lint -t idempotency playbook.yml
WARNING  Skipped installing collection dependencies due to running in offline mode.
WARNING  Skipped installing collection dependencies due to running in offline mode.

Passed: 0 failure(s), 0 warning(s) on 1 files. Last profile that met the validation criteria was 'production'.

The following shows the available tags in an example set of rules and the rules associated with each tag:

ansible-lint -T 2>/dev/null
# List of tags and rules they cover
command-shell:  # Specific to use of command and shell modules
  - risky-shell-pipe
core:  # Related to internal implementation of the linter
  - schema[ansible-lint-config]
  - schema[ansible-navigator-config]
  - schema[changelog]
  - schema[execution-environment]
  - schema[galaxy]
  - schema[inventory]
  - schema[meta-runtime]
  - schema[meta]
  - schema[molecule]
  - schema[playbook]
  - schema[requirements]
  - schema[role-arg-spec]
  - schema[rulebook]
  - schema[tasks]
  - schema[vars]
deprecations:  # Indicate use of features that are removed from Ansible
  - role-name[path]
experimental:  # Newly introduced rules, by default triggering only warnings
  - only-builtins
formatting:  # Related to code-style
  - risky-octal
idempotency:  # Possible indication that consequent runs would produce different results
  - package-latest
idiom:  # Anti-pattern detected, likely to cause undesired behavior
  - var-naming[no-jinja]
  - var-naming[no-reserved]
  - var-naming[pattern]
metadata:  # Invalid metadata, likely related to galaxy, collections or roles
  - role-name[path]
opt-in:  # Rules that are not used unless manually added to `enable_list`
  - only-builtins
risk:
  - no-free-form[raw-non-string]
  - no-free-form[raw]
security:  # Rules related o potentially security issues, like exposing credentials
  - no-log-password
syntax:  # Related to wrong or deprecated syntax
  - no-free-form[raw-non-string]
  - no-free-form[raw]
unpredictability:  # Warn about code that might not work in a predictable way
  - risky-file-permissions
unskippable:  # Indicate a fatal error that cannot be ignored or disabled
  - syntax-check
yaml:  # External linter which will also produce its own rule codes
  - yaml[anchors]
  - yaml[braces]
  - yaml[brackets]
  - yaml[colons]
  - yaml[commas]
  - yaml[comments-indentation]
  - yaml[comments]
  - yaml[document-end]
  - yaml[document-start]
  - yaml[empty-lines]
  - yaml[empty-values]
  - yaml[float-values]
  - yaml[hyphens]
  - yaml[indentation]
  - yaml[key-duplicates]
  - yaml[key-ordering]
  - yaml[line-length]
  - yaml[new-line-at-end-of-file]
  - yaml[new-lines]
  - yaml[octal-values]
  - yaml[quoted-strings]
  - yaml[trailing-spaces]
  - yaml[truthy]

Excluding rules with tags

To exclude rules by identifiers or tags, use the -x SKIP_LIST option. For example, the following command applies all rules except those with the formatting and metadata tags:

$ ansible-lint -x formatting,metadata playbook.yml

Ignoring rules

To only warn about rules, use the -w WARN_LIST option. For example, the following command displays only warns about violations with rules associated with the experimental tag:

$ ansible-lint -w experimental playbook.yml

By default, the WARN_LIST includes the ['experimental'] tag. If you define a custom WARN_LIST you must add 'experimental' so that Ansible-lint does not fail against experimental rules.

Muting warnings to avoid false positives

Not all linting rules are precise, some are general rules of thumb. Advanced git, yum or apt usage, for example, can be difficult to achieve in a playbook. In cases like this, Ansible-lint can incorrectly trigger rule violations.

To disable rule violations for specific tasks, and mute false positives, add # noqa: [rule_id] to the end of the line. It is best practice to add a comment that explains why rules are disabled.

You can add the # noqa: [rule_id] comment to the end of any line in a task. You can also skip multiple rules with a space-separated list.

- name: This task would typically fire git-latest and partial-become rules
  become_user: alice # noqa: git-latest partial-become
  ansible.builtin.git: src=/path/to/git/repo dest=checkout

If the rule is line-based, # noqa: [rule_id] must be at the end of the line.

- name: This would typically fire jinja[spacing]
  get_url:
    url: http://example.com/file.conf
    dest: "{{dest_proj_path}}/foo.conf" # noqa: jinja[spacing]

If you want Ansible-lint to skip a rule entirely, use the -x command line argument or add it to skip_list in your configuration.

The least preferred method of skipping rules is to skip all task-based rules for a task, which does not skip line-based rules. You can use the skip_ansible_lint tag with all tasks or the warn parameter with the command or shell modules, for example:

- name: This would typically fire no-free-form
  command: warn=no chmod 644 X

- name: This would typically fire command-instead-of-module
  command: git pull --rebase
  args:
    warn: false

- name: This would typically fire git-latest
  git: src=/path/to/git/repo dest=checkout
  tags:
    - skip_ansible_lint

Applying profiles

Ansible-lint profiles allow content creators to progressively improve the quality of Ansible playbooks, roles, and collections.

During early development cycles, you need Ansible-lint rules to be less strict. Starting with the minimal profile ensures that Ansible can load your content. As you move to the next stage of developing content, you can gradually apply profiles to avoid common pitfalls and brittle complexity. Then, when you are ready to publish or share your content, you can use the shared and production profiles with much stricter rules. These profiles harden security, guarantee reliability, and ensure your Ansible content is easy for others to contribute to and use.

Note

Tags such as opt-in and experimental do not take effect for rules that are included in profiles, directly or indirectly. If a rule is in a profile, Ansible-lint applies that rule to the content.

After you install and configure ansible-lint, you can apply profiles as follows:

  1. View available profiles with the --list-profiles flag.
ansible-lint --list-profiles
  1. Specify a profile with the --profile parameter to lint your content with those rules, for example:

  2. Enforce standard styles and formatting with the basic profile.

ansible-lint --profile=basic
  • Ensure automation consistency, reliability, and security with the safety profile.
ansible-lint --profile=safety

Vaults

As ansible-lint executes ansible, it also needs access to encrypted secrets. If you do not give access to them or you are concerned about security implications, you should consider refactoring your code to allow it to be linted without access to real secrets:

  • Configure dummy fallback values that are used during linting, so Ansible will not complain about undefined variables.
  • Exclude the problematic files from the linting process.
---
# Example of avoiding undefined variable error
foo: "{{ undefined_variable_name | default('dummy') }}"

Keep in mind that a well-written playbook or role should allow Ansible's syntax check from passing on it, even if you do not have access to the vault.

Internally ansible-lint runs ansible-playbook --syntax-check on each playbook and also on roles. As ansible-code does not support running syntax-check directly on roles, the linter will create temporary playbooks that only include each role from your project. You will need to change the code of the role in a way that it does not produce syntax errors when called without any variables or arguments. This usually involves making use of defaults/ but be sure that you fully understand variable precedence.

Dependencies and requirements

Ansible-lint will recognize requirements.yml files used for runtime and testing purposes and install them automatically. Valid locations for these files are:

  • requirements.yml
  • roles/requirements.yml
  • collections/requirements.yml
  • tests/requirements.yml
  • tests/integration/requirements.yml
  • tests/unit/requirements.yml
  • galaxy.yml