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Let’s begin by writing our first ansible playbook. The playbook is where you list the steps you would like to automate into a repeatable set of plays and tasks. To begin we will setup our directory structure for storing our playbooks. This directory structure will sync with a source control management (SCM) system to version our playbooks. We will be using git as out SCM.

A playbook can have multiple plays and a play can have one or multiple tasks. The goal of a play is to map a group of hosts. The goal of a task is to implement modules against those hosts.

For our first playbook, we are only going to write 1 play and 3 tasks.

All of our playbooks will be stored in a single git repository. Multiple users can use the same repository and git will manage file conflicts and versions.

Overview

Starting at this task we are going to use Visual Studio Code as our editor. In addition, we will use GitLab for source code control. This will allow us to minimize development work on the linux command line. Other editors or source code solutions can be used, but this will show the general workflow.

Section 1: Creating a Directory Structure and Files for your Playbook

There is a best practice on the preferred directory structures for playbooks. We strongly encourage you to read and understand these practices as you develop your Ansible skills. That said, our playbook today is very basic and a complex directory structure is not necessary.

Instead, we are going to create a very simple directory structure for our playbook, and add just a couple of files.

Step 1:

Open Visual Studio Code

For this lab, we have already created a clone of your Git repository for you.

To access it, click the link for VS Code Access from the workshop page.

VS Code Access

At this point in the Explorer sidebar you should have a WORKSHOP_PROJECT section with only a README file in it.

Student Playbooks Repo

Step 2: Create a directory called iis_basic and a file called install_iis.yml

Hover over the WORKSHOP_PROJECT section and click the New Folder button. Create a folder called iis_basic. Then click that folder so it is selected. Right click the new folder you’ve created and create a file called install_iis.yml.

You should now have an editor open in the right pane that can be used for creating your playbook.

Empty install_iis.yml

Section 2: Defining Your Play

Now that you are editing install_iis.yml, let’s begin by defining the play and then understanding what each line accomplishes

---
- name: install the iis web service
  hosts: windows

Section 3: Adding Tasks to Your Play

Now that we’ve defined your play, let’s add some tasks to get some things done. Align (vertically) the t in task with the h in hosts. Yes, it does actually matter. In fact, you should make sure all of your playbook statements are aligned in the way shown here. You also must use spaces for indentation. Tabs are not valid YAML syntax. If you want to see the entire playbook for reference, skip to the bottom of this exercise.

      tasks:
       - name: install iis
         win_feature:
           name: Web-Server
           state: present

       - name: start iis service
         win_service:
           name: W3Svc
           state: started

       - name: Create website index.html
         win_copy:
           content: "{{ iis_test_message }}"
           dest: C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\index.html

       - name: Show website address
         debug:
           msg: "http://{{ ansible_host }}"
    win_feature:
      name: Web-Server
      state: present
    win_service:
      name: W3Svc
      state: started
    win_copy:
      content: "{{ iis_test_message }}"
      dest: C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\index.html
    debug:
      msg: http://{{ ansible_host }}

Section 4: Saving your Playbook

Now that you’ve completed writing your playbook, it would be a shame not to keep it. Click File > Save from the menu.

And that should do it. You should now have a fully written playbook called install_iis.yml.

But wait!!! We haven’t committed our changes from our local copy to git. Click the Source Code icon as shown below (It is the middle on the far left of the page that has the blue circle with # 1 in it)

Git Commit

Type in a commit message such as Adding install_iis.yml in the text box at the top of the sidebar. Click the check box above to commit. This message is intended to describe the changes you made so that others (including yourself) better understand what is changing when comparing versions.

Git Commit install_iis.yml

Now you need to push the committed changes to your repository.

On the bottom left blue bar, click the section that contains the circular arrows to push the changes.

Git Push Origin

This may take as long as 30 seconds to push. After your first push, you may get a pop-up message asking if you would like to periodically run git fetch. Because you’re the only one working on the git repo, you can click Yes or No.

Git Push Origin

If you’re interested in validating the code is in git, you can connect to GitLab to verify. Go back to the workshop page, and click the link under GitLab Access taking note of your username and password.

GitLab access

You are ready to automate!

Note

Ansible (well, YAML really) can be a bit particular about formatting especially around indentation/spacing. When you get back to the office, read up on this YAML Syntax a bit more and it will save you some headaches later. In the meantime, your completed playbook should look like this. Take note of the spacing and alignment.

---
- name: install the iis web service
  hosts: windows

  tasks:
    - name: install iis
      win_feature:
        name: Web-Server
        state: present

    - name: start iis service
      win_service:
        name: W3Svc
        state: started

    - name: Create website index.html
      win_copy:
        content: "{{ iis_test_message }}"
        dest: C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\index.html

    - name: Show website address
      debug:
        msg: http://{{ ansible_host }}



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