Getting started
Escape
Escape Inventory

 Output Variables

In the previous section we have seen how we can use input variables to configure dependencies, but what if our dependency has created some very interesting output that we would like to re-use or reference in our parent? For example: we may be deploying a website at a certain URL, a database that generates a new connection string, a Kubernetes cluster with new credentials, etc.

What we need is a programmatic way to deal with outputs coming out of our dependencies. Let’s go back to our original escape.yml for the quickstart/hello-world package and add an outputs field:

name: quickstart/hello-world
version: 0.0.@
description: 
logo: 

includes:
- README.md

build: hello_world.sh
deploy: hello_world.sh

inputs:
- id: who
  default: World
  type: string
  description: Who should we be greeting?

outputs:
- id: literal
  default: "Some static configuration value"
  description: Defining outputs as literals
- id: who
  default: $this.inputs.who
  description: Defining outputs using the Escape scripting language.
- id: script_output
  description: This variable should be set in the hello_world.sh script.

This is very similar to configuring dependencies in that we can use literals or the scripting language to define output values. However, crucially, we can also let our script define output variables, and if no default output value is set Escape actually requires it:

$ escape run build            
Build: Running build step /home/user/workspace/hello_world.sh.
Build: hello_world.sh: Hello World!
Build: Error: Missing value for variable 'script_output'

Outputting Values from Scripts

When Escape runs a script (e.g. build, deploy) it passes the location of a file as a first argument. We can use this location in our script to write a JSON object containing key-value pairs defining our outputs. BASH isn’t great for JSON, but our assumption is that packages that are complex enough to warrant outputs are probably not going to be written in BASH (although there’s always jq). That being said, let’s make our above plan work by changing hello_world.sh to:

#!/bin/bash -e

echo "Hello ${INPUT_who}!"

echo '{"script_output": "We had a great time running this script. Thanks."}' > $1

This will make our build work again:

$ escape run build            
Build: Running build step /home/user/workspace/hello_world.sh.
Build: hello_world.sh: Hello World!
Build: ✔️ Completed build% 

You can’t tell from this log output, but behind the scenes Escape has persisted the outputs in the state file:

escape state show-deployment

Using Dependency Outputs

Before we try and use the refurbished hello-world package we should release it to our Inventory so that it can be picked up by our parent package:

escape run release

The “parent” package we’ve built in the previous section was using the following Escape plan (saved in escape-dep.yml):

name: quickstart/introduction
version: 0.0.@
description: 
logo: 

depends:
- release_id: quickstart/hello-world-latest
  mapping:
    who: $this.inputs.who

inputs:
- id: who
  default: Everyone

Since this is a contrived example we’ll just show a few patterns:

Outputting Dependency Outputs

Sometimes we’d like to make our dependency outputs available to our upstream dependencies. This can be useful for writing wrappers or exposing certain configuration outputs that may be useful down the line (e.g. URLs, …). We can once again use the scripting language to wire things up without having to fall-back to BASH scripts:

name: quickstart/introduction
version: 0.0.@
description: 
logo: 

depends:
- quickstart/hello-world-latest as hello

outputs:
- id: who
  default: $hello.outputs.who

Using Dependency Outputs as Inputs

In our previous example we have used the parent input to configure a dependency, but we can also use a dependency output to configure a parent:

name: quickstart/introduction
version: 0.0.@
description: 
logo: 

depends:
- quickstart/hello-world-latest as who

inputs:
- id: literal
  default: $hello.outputs.literal
  eval_before_dependencies: false

Note the use of eval_before_dependencies. Normally inputs are evaluated before dependencies, but using this option we can defer it to after. Using this technique we can for instance depend on a database package and use its outputs to configure our application. However, there might be a slightly more appropriate way to model this, which we’ll explore in the next section: