ansibleAnsible: Looping

with_items - simple list

A with_items loop in ansible can be used to easily loop over values.

- name: Add lines to this file
  lineinfile: dest=/etc/file line={{ item }} state=present
  with_items:
    - Line 1
    - Line 2
    - Line 3

with_items - predefined list

You can also loop over a variable list.

From vars:

favorite_snacks:
  - hotdog
  - ice cream
  - chips

and then the loop:

- name: create directories for storing my snacks
  file: path=/etc/snacks/{{ item }} state=directory
  with_items: '{{ favorite_snacks }}'

If you are using Ansible 2.0+ you must use quotes around the call to the variable.

with_items - predefined dictionary

It is possible to create more complex loops with dictionaries.

From vars:

packages:
  - present: tree
  - present: nmap
  - absent: apache2

then the loop:

- name: manage packages
  package: name={{ item.value }} state={{ item.key }}
  with_items: '{{ packages }}'

Or, if you don't like to use the key value:

vars:

packages:
  - name: tree
    state: present
  - name: nmap
    state: present
  - name: apache2
    state: absent

then the loop:

- name: manage packages
  package: name={{ item.name }} state={{ item.state }}
  with_items: '{{ packages }}'

with_items - dictionary

You can use a dictionary for a slightly more complex loop.

- name: manage packages
  package: name={{ item.name }} state={{ item.state }}
  with_items:
    - { name: tree, state: present }
    - { name: nmap, state: present }
    - { name: apache2, state: absent }

Nested loops

You can create nested loops using with_nested.

from vars:

keys:
  - key1
  - key2
  - key3
  - key4

then the loop:

- name: Distribute SSH keys among multiple users
  lineinfile: dest=/home/{{ item[0] }}/.ssh/authorized_keys line={{ item[1] }} state=present
  with_nested:
    - [ 'calvin', 'josh', 'alice' ]
    - '{{ keys }}'

This task will loop over each user and populate their authorized_keys file with the 4 keys defined in the list.