Ansible Pilot

Automating File Reading with Ansible

How to use find, slurp, and debug to read and display all the text files in a directory.

June 11, 2024
Access the Complete Video Course and Learn Quick Ansible by 200+ Practical Lessons

Introduction

Automation is key in modern IT infrastructure management. Ansible, a powerful automation tool, makes it easy to manage complex environments. One of the many tasks you can automate with Ansible is reading content from multiple files. This article will guide you through a simple playbook that reads content from text files within a specified directory and displays the content.

Understanding the Playbook

The provided playbook is designed to run on the local host and performs the following tasks:

  1. List all text files in the specified directory and its subdirectories.
  2. Read the content from each text file.
  3. Display the content of the files.

Let’s break down each section of the playbook to understand how it works.

Listing Files in a Directory

First, we use the ansible.builtin.find module to list all text files in the specified directory (/path/to/your/directory). The recurse: yes option ensures that the search includes subdirectories.

- name: List files in directory
  ansible.builtin.find:
    paths: "/path/to/your/directory"
    recurse: yes
    patterns: "*.txt"
  register: files_list

The results are stored in a variable called files_list.

Reading Content from Each File

Next, we initialize an empty list to store the file contents using ansible.builtin.set_fact.

- name: Read content from each file
  ansible.builtin.set_fact:
    file_contents: []

We then use a loop to iterate over each file in files_list.files. The ansible.builtin.slurp module reads the content of each file and stores it in the slurped_files variable. The loop_control ensures we use a custom loop variable item_info.

    - name: Read content from each file
      ansible.builtin.slurp:
        src: "{{ item.path }}"
      loop: "{{ files_list.files }}"
      register: slurped_files
      loop_control:
        loop_var: item

    - name: Set fact for file contents
      ansible.builtin.set_fact:
        file_contents: "{{ slurped_files.results | map(attribute='content') | map('b64decode') | list }}"

The Best Resources For Ansible

Certifications

Video Course

Printed Book

eBooks

Displaying File Contents

Finally, we display the content of the files using the ansible.builtin.debug module.

- name: Display file contents
  ansible.builtin.debug:
    var: file_contents

Complete Playbook

Here’s the complete playbook for reference:

---
- name: Read content from multiple files
  hosts: localhost
  gather_facts: no
  tasks:
    - name: List files in directory
      ansible.builtin.find:
        paths: "/path/to/your/directory"
        recurse: yes
        patterns: "*.txt"
      register: files_list

    - name: Read content from each file
      ansible.builtin.slurp:
        src: "{{ item.path }}"
      loop: "{{ files_list.files }}"
      register: slurped_files
      loop_control:
        loop_var: item

    - name: Set fact for file contents
      ansible.builtin.set_fact:
        file_contents: "{{ slurped_files.results | map(attribute='content') | map('b64decode') | list }}"

    - name: Display file contents
      ansible.builtin.debug:
        var: file_contents

Conclusion

Automating file reading tasks with Ansible can save time and reduce errors in managing large numbers of files. By using the ansible.builtin.find and ansible.builtin.slurp modules, you can easily list and read files, respectively. This playbook serves as a basic template that you can expand upon to suit more complex needs, such as processing file contents or integrating with other automation workflows.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel, Medium, and Website, X (formerly Twitter) to not miss the next episode of the Ansible Pilot.

Academy

Learn the Ansible automation technology with some real-life examples in my

My book Ansible By Examples: 200+ Automation Examples For Linux and AWX System Administrator and DevOps

BUY the Complete PDF BOOK to easily Copy and Paste the 250+ Ansible code

Want to keep this project going? Please donate

Access the Complete Video Course and Learn Quick Ansible by 200+ Practical Lessons
Follow me

Subscribe not to miss any new releases