The gluetool framework

The gluetool framework is a command-line centric, modular Python framework. It allows to quickly develop modules which can be executed on the command-line by the gluetool command, forming a sequential pipeline.


The gluetool framework was created with various features in mind. These should provide an easy and straightforward way how to write, configure and execute modules.

Generic core

The core of the framework is completely decoupled from the modules and their specific functionality. It could be used for implementation of other tools.


See How to: gluetool modules for more information about gluetool modules.


The framework provides an easy way how to define configuration for the framework and the modules. The configuration files use the ConfigParser format. The configuration option key in the config file is the long option string as defined in the options dictionary.

gluetool searches for configuration files in several directories, in specific order, and it opens relevant files in all of them if they are present there, with, given the order in which directories are being examined, values from later files replace those from the former ones.

Following directories are examined (the list is defined as MODULE_CONFIG_PATHS):

  • /etc/gluetool.d
  • ~/.gluetool.d
  • ./.gluetool.d

The configuration directory layout is:

├── gluetool                        - gluetool configuration
└── config                     - per module configurations, one file per unique module name
    ├── <module_config_file>
    └── ...


Note that this directory can be used for storing additional configuration files and directories according to the needs of the modules.

Configuration of gluetool

The gluetool file defines the default options for the gluetool command itself. It can be used to define defaults for any of the supported options. The options need to be defined in the [default] section. You can view all the supported options of gluetool by running the command gluetool -h. For example, to enable the debug mode by default, we can use this configuration

$ cat ~/.gluetool.d/gluetool
debug = True

Modules Configuration

The config subdirectory can define a default configuration for each module. The configuration filename must be the same as the module’s name. All options must be defined in the [default] section of the configuration file. You can view the module available options by running gluetool <module> -h, e.g. gluetool openstack -h for the (hypothetical) openstack module.

Below is an example of configuration for this openstack module.

$ cat ~/.gluetool.d/config/openstack
auth-url =
username = batman
project-name = gotham_ci
ssh-key = ~/.ssh/id_rsa
ssh-user = root
key-name = id_rsa
ip-pool-name =

Shared Functions

Shared functions are the only way how modules can share data to the subsequent modules on the command-line pipeline. Each module can define a shared function via the shared_functions list. The available shared functions then can be easily called from any subsequent module being executed via the shared method.

To list all shared functions provided by the available modules, use the gluetool’s -L option

$ gluetool -L

Shared function names are unique, but different modules can expose the same shared function. This is useful for generalization, where for example different modules can provide a provision - or any other name your team agreed on - shared function returning a list of provisioned machines from different virtualization providers.

Shared functions can have arguments and they behave the same way as ordinary Python functions.


The documentation of the shared function is generated automatically from the docstring of the method and displayed in the help of the module. As an example, see the help of the dep-list module by running gluetool dep-list -h. You’ll see the module provides prepare_dependencies shared function.

Uniform Logging

The gluetool framework provides uniform logging. Modules can use their own info, warn, debug and verbose methods to log messages on different log levels. The log level can be changed using the -d/--debug and -v/--verbose options of the gluetool command.


Note that the -d/--debug and -v/--verbose options will enable the logging after parsing the command line and configuration. To enable the debug mode as early as possible, i.e. during the initialization of the logging system, export the variable GLUETOOL_DEBUG to any value.