Variables Lookup Locations

Lono supports variables files that affect the CloudFormation template at compile-time.

Lookup Direct Locations

You can specify the --variable path directly. Example:

lono cfn deploy my-stack --blueprint demo --variable configs/demo/variables/my-variable.txt

You can also specify variables files that exist outside of the lono project.

lono cfn deploy my-stack --blueprint demo --variable /tmp/my-variable.txt

Direct locations take the highest precedence. Lono also supports powerful conventional lookup paths, which are covered next.

Lookup Locations

You can define variables files in different locations. Lono lookups up each of these locations until it finds a variables file.

Lono will look up the variables file in this order.

  2. configs/BLUEPRINT/variables/LONO_ENV/REQUESTED.txt (recommended for most cases)
  3. configs/BLUEPRINT/variables/REQUESTED.txt
  4. configs/BLUEPRINT/variables/LONO_ENV.txt

To determine what variable file to use, lono searches for files at each level of specificity until it finds a file. Lono starts with the level with the most specificity first. It ends with the generic env level, least specific, last.

  1. template level (most specific)
  2. env level (recommended for most cases)
  3. variables level
  4. variables generic env (least specific)

The BLUEPRINT, LONO_ENV, and TEMPLATE are self-explantory. But what is REQUESTED?

REQUESTED is either the --variable value or the stack name. --variable takes higher precedence than stack name because it is more explicit. Here’s a quick example:

REQUESTED is the --variable value:

lono cfn deploy my-stack --blueprint demo --variable my-variable # REQUESTED=my-variable

REQUESTED is the value of the stack name:

lono cfn deploy my-stack --blueprint demo # REQUESTED=my-stack

Detailed Examples

REQUESTED as variable

If you run the command:

lono cfn deploy my-stack --blueprint demo --variable my-variable

Lono will search for these files:

configs/demo/variables/development/demo/my-variable.txt (template level)
configs/demo/variables/development/my-variable.txt (env level)
configs/demo/variables/my-variable.txt (variables level)
configs/demo/variables/development.txt (variables generic env)

So if you have only created:

configs/demo/variables/development/my-variable.txt (env level)

Lono will use it. The recommendation is to use the env level file. This allows lono to use different variables files based on the Lono.env. When you need to, you can override the variable file with the --variable option.

REQUESTED as stack name

If you run the command:

lono cfn deploy my-stack --blueprint demo

Lono will search for these files:

configs/demo/variables/development/demo/my-stack.txt (template level)
configs/demo/variables/development/my-stack.txt (env level)
configs/demo/variables/my-stack.txt (variables level)
configs/demo/variables/development.txt (variables generic level)

So if you have only created:


Lono will use it. This allow lono to launch stack names that match the variables files.

Thanks to Conventions

Thanks to conventions, the deploy command is greatly simplified. Here’s an example. Let’s say you have these configs/demo files:


Now you can run:

lono cfn deploy my-stack --blueprint demo # uses my-stack.txt
lono cfn deploy demo --variable my-variable     # uses my-variable.txt
lono cfn deploy demo                      # uses development.txt

At the same time, the you can easily override the behavior with --variable.

Always Used: base.rb

If base.rb exists, it will always be loaded first as part of Layering.


Params and Variables Same Lookup Strategy

Params and variables follow the same lookup strategy. So it makes sense to have them located in a similar structure. Example:


The deploy command would be:

lono deploy my-stack --blueprint demo

The --config Option

The --param and --variable option allow you to override each specific config file lookup. The --config option is a convenience option that sets both --param and --variable at the same time. Example:

lono deploy my-stack --blueprint demo --config test

Is the same as:

lono deploy my-stack --blueprint demo --param test --variable test

Pro tip: Use the <- and -> arrow keys to move back and forward.

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