Ansible Pilot

Break a string over multiple lines - Ansible Literal and Folded Block Scalar operators

How to use multi-line YAML variables in Ansible using the "|", Literal Block Scalar, and the ">", Folded Block Scalar, operators. Plus how to elide the new line "\n" at the end of the line and print multi-line with debug module on a terminal.

How to Break a string over multiple lines with Ansible? And in general with YAML language.

I’m going to show you a live demo with some simple Ansible code. I’m Luca Berton and welcome to today’s episode of Ansible Pilot.

Ansible Break a string over multiple lines

Today we’re talking about Ansible Break a string over multiple lines: Basically, there are two different operators:

It’s easy for me to show you the behavior by example.

Examples

variable1 code

variable1: |
 exactly as you see
 will appear these three
 lines of poetry 

variable1 output

 exactly as you see
 will appear these three
 lines of poetry\n

variable2 code

variable2: >
 this is really a
 single line of text
 despite appearances 

variable2 output

variable2: this is really a single line of text despite appearances\n

Welcome to the examples sections. Let’s assume we have two multi-line variables “variable1” and “variable2”. These are both multi-line variable but variable1 use the “|” - Literal Block Scalar" operator and variable 2 use the “>” Folded Block Scalar" operator. The result of this is that variable1 remains multiline but variable2 has literally collapsed in a single line and substitutes newlines with spaces. Please note that both variables have a newline at the end of the string. Do you want to remove the newline at the end of the strings? Simply add a “-”, a minus, after the “|” or “>” operator!

demo

Break a string over multiple lines with Ansible by examples.

code1

---
- name: debug module demo
  hosts: all
  vars:
    variable1: |
      exactly as you see
      will appear these three
      lines of poetry      
    variable2: >
      this is really a
      single line of text
      despite appearances      
  tasks:
    - name: print variable1
      ansible.builtin.debug:
        var: variable1
- name: print variable2
      ansible.builtin.debug:
        var: variable2

execution1


$ ansible-playbook -i virtualmachines/demo/inventory print\ text\ variable\ during\ execution/multi-line.yml
PLAY [debug module demo] **************************************************************************
TASK [Gathering Facts] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com]
TASK [print variable1] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com] => {
    "variable1": "exactly as you see\nwill appear these three\nlines of poetry\n"
}
TASK [print variable2] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com] => {
    "variable2": "this is really a single line of text despite appearances\n"
}
PLAY RECAP ****************************************************************************************
demo.example.com           : ok=3    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0
ansible-pilot $

code2


---
- name: debug module demo
  hosts: all
  vars:
    variable1: |-
      exactly as you see
      will appear these three
      lines of poetry      
    variable2: >-
      this is really a
      single line of text
      despite appearances      
  tasks:
    - name: print variable1
      ansible.builtin.debug:
        var: variable1
- name: print variable2
      ansible.builtin.debug:
        var: variable2

execution2


$ ansible-playbook -i virtualmachines/demo/inventory print\ text\ variable\ during\ execution/multi-line.yml
PLAY [debug module demo] **************************************************************************
TASK [Gathering Facts] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com]
TASK [print variable1] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com] => {
    "variable1": "exactly as you see\nwill appear these three\nlines of poetry"
}
TASK [print variable2] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com] => {
    "variable2": "this is really a single line of text despite appearances"
}
PLAY RECAP ****************************************************************************************
demo.example.com           : ok=3    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0
ansible-pilot $

code3


---
- name: debug module demo
  hosts: all
  vars:
    variable1: |-
      exactly as you see
      will appear these three
      lines of poetry      
    variable2: >-
      this is really a
      single line of text
      despite appearances      
  tasks:
    - name: print variable1
      ansible.builtin.debug:
        msg: "{{ variable1.split('\n') }}"
- name: print variable2
      ansible.builtin.debug:
        var: variable2

execution3


$ ansible-playbook -i virtualmachines/demo/inventory print\ text\ variable\ during\ execution/multi-line.yml
PLAY [debug module demo] **************************************************************************
TASK [Gathering Facts] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com]
TASK [print variable1] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com] => {
    "msg": [
        "exactly as you see",
        "will appear these three",
        "lines of poetry"
    ]
}
TASK [print variable2] ****************************************************************************
ok: [demo.example.com] => {
    "variable2": "this is really a single line of text despite appearances"
}
PLAY RECAP ****************************************************************************************
demo.example.com           : ok=3    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0
ansible-pilot $

code with ❤️ in GitHub

Recap

Now you know how to use Ansible “>” and “|” operators to break a string over multiple lines. Subscribe to the YouTube channel, Medium, Website and Twitter to not miss the next episode of the Ansible Pilot.

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January 18, 2022

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