Open source Puppet documentation

The recommended method to create custom types and providers is to use the Resource API, which is built on top of Puppet core. It is easier, faster and safer than the old types and providers method.

To get started developing types and providers with the Resource API:
  1. Download the Puppet Development Kit (PDK) appropriate to your operating system and architecture.
  2. Create a new module with the PDK, or work with an existing PDK-enabled module. To create a new module, run pdk new module <MODULE_NAME> from the command line, specifying the name of the module. Respond to the dialog questions.
  3. To add the puppet-resource_api gem and enable modern rspec-style mocking, open the sync.yml file in your editor, and add the following content:
    # .sync.yml
          - gem: 'puppet-resource_api'
      mock_with: ':rspec'
  4. Apply these changes by running pdk update
  5. To create the required files for a new type and provider in the module, run: pdk new provider <provider_name>
    You will get the following response: 
    $ pdk new provider foo
    pdk (INFO): Creating '.../example/lib/puppet/type/foo.rb'from template.
    pdk (INFO): Creating '.../example/lib/puppet/provider/foo/foo.rb' from template.
    pdk (INFO): Creating '.../example/spec/unit/puppet/provider/foo/foo_spec.rb' from template.
    The three generated files are the type (resource definition), the provider (resource implementation), and the unit tests. The default template contains an example that demonstrates the basic workings of the Resource API. This allows the unit tests to run immediately after creating the provider, which will look like this:
    $ pdk test unit
    [✔] Preparing to run the unit tests.
    [✔] Running unit tests.  
    Evaluated 4 tests in 0.012065973 seconds: 0 failures, 0 pending.
    [✔] Cleaning up after running unit tests.

Writing the type and provider

Write a type to describe the resource and define its metadata, and a provider to gather information about the resource and implement changes.

Writing the type

The type contains the shape of your resources. The template provides the necessary name and ensure attributes. You can modify their description and the name's type to match your resource. Add more attributes as you need.  
# lib/puppet/type/foo.rb
require 'puppet/resource_api'

  name: 'foo',
  docs: <<-EOS,
      This type provides Puppet with the capabilities to manage ...
  attributes: {
    ensure: {
      type:    'Enum[present, absent]',
      desc:    'Whether this apt key should be present or absent on the target system.',
      default: 'present',
    name: {
      type:      'String',
      desc:      'The name of the resource you want to manage.',
      behaviour: :namevar,
The following keys are available for defining attributes:
  • type: the Puppet 4 data type allowed in this attribute. You can use all data types matching Scalar and Data.

  • desc: a string describing this attribute. This is used in creating the automated API docs with puppet-strings.

  • default: a default value used by the runtime environment; when the caller does not specify a value for this attribute.

  • behaviour / behavior: how the attribute behaves. Available values include:

    • namevar: marks an attribute as part of the primary key or identity of the resource. A given set of namevar values must distinctively identify an instance.

    • init_only: this attribute can only be set during the creation of the resource. Its value will be reported going forward, but trying to change it later leads to an error. For example, the base image for a VM or the UID of a user.

    • read_only: values for this attribute will be returned by get(), but set() is not able to change them. Values for this should never be specified in a manifest. For example, the checksum of a file, or the MAC address of a network interface.

    • parameter: these attributes influence how the provider behaves, and cannot be read from the target system. For example, the target file on inifile, or the credentials to access an API.

Writing the provider

The provider is the most important part of your new resource, as it reads and enforces state. Here is the example generated by pdk new provider:
require 'puppet/resource_api'
require 'puppet/resource_api/simple_provider'

# Implementation for the foo type using the Resource API.
class Puppet::Provider::Foo::Foo < Puppet::ResourceApi::SimpleProvider
  def get(_context)
        name: 'foo',
        ensure: 'present',
        name: 'bar',
        ensure: 'present',

  def create(context, name, should)
    context.notice("Creating '#{name}' with #{should.inspect}")

  def update(context, name, should)
    context.notice("Updating '#{name}' with #{should.inspect}")

  def delete(context, name)
    context.notice("Deleting '#{name}'")

The optional initialize method can be used to set up state that is available throughout the execution of the catalog. This is most often used for establishing a connection, when talking to a service (for example, when managing a database).

The get(context) method returns a list of hashes describing the resources that are on the target system. The basic example would return an empty list. Here is an example of resources that could be returned from this:
    name: 'a',
    ensure: 'present',
    name: 'b',
    ensure: 'present',

The create, update, and delete methods are called by the SimpleProvider base class to change the system as requested by the catalog. The name argument is the name of the resource that is being processed. should contains the attribute hash — in the same format as get returns — with the values in the catalog.

Unit testing

The generated unit tests in spec/unit/puppet/provider/foo_spec.rb are evaluated when you run pdk test unit.

puppet device support

To support remote resources using puppet device, a few more steps are needed. First a Puppet::Util::NetworkDevice::<device type>::Device class needs to exist, which provides facts and connection management. That device class can inherit from Puppet::Util::NetworkDevice::Simple::Device to receive a simple default configuration parser using HOCON.

The provider needs to specify the remote_resource feature to enable the second part of the machinery.

After this, puppet device will be able to use the new provider, and supply it (through the device class) with the URL specified in the  device.conf file.

Back to top