Developer updates

Find out what the Bolt team is working on and why we're making the decisions we're making.

April 2021

How Bolt loads scripts

Where we are

Currently, you can point to the location of a script or file as an absolute path or use a Module-style load path. Puppet module-style paths use the syntax <module_name>/<path_to_file>, where the <module_name> is the name of the module on the modulepath to load from, and <path_to_file> is the path to the file within the <module_name>/files/ subdirectory. For example, if you provided Bolt with ruby_task_helper/task_helper.rb, Bolt would find the ruby_task_helper module on the modulepath, and look in ruby_task_helper/files/ for the file task_helper.rb. Similarly, when provided powershell_task_helper/BoltPwshHelper/BoltPwshHelper.psm1, Bolt looks in powershell_task_helper/files/BoltPwshHelper/ for BoltPwshHelper.psm1.

You can also load tasks and plans as first-class citizens of a module, but with a slightly different syntax that uses double colons instead of slashes. For example, provided the task terraform::apply, Bolt finds the terraform module on the modulepath and looks in terraform/tasks for a task called apply (with any file extension). If you used the name terraform::subdir::apply, Bolt would look in terraform/tasks/subdir/ for apply.

All of these loading methods leave out one of the most common Bolt artifacts: scripts. You can load a script using module-style file loading, but the script needs to be in the files/ subdirectory of a module, not the scripts/ subdirectory. It's about time scripts got their due as the Bolt workhorses they are. That's why we're introducing a more elegant and comprehensible workflow for sharing and loading scripts from a module. With these changes, there's no magic to understanding where Bolt is loading a script from, and scripts are more visible as the core Bolt entities that they are.

Where we're going

Eventually, you'll be able to load scripts and files using their fully qualified names. In other words, you'll provide Bolt with a more specific path to the script or file within a module. Files will remain in a module's files/ subdirectory, but scripts will live in a new scripts/ subdirectory. For example, to load a file you'll provide Bolt with <module_name>/files/myfile. To load a script, you'll use the syntax <module_name>/scripts/

This more detailed syntax will make scripts first-class citizens in Bolt, and disambiguate loading files vs loading scripts from a module. Plus, it is easier to understand where files are coming from if the fully qualified name is provided, as opposed to magically looking in the files/ directory for a file. Once this feature is fully rolled out, the old syntax <module_name>/myfile will no longer load from the files/ subdirectory of a module.

How we get there 🚲

This is a big change in how Bolt loads file and scripts, so it's going to take a few different phases to transition from where we are to where we're going. Inevitably, in order for a module to function with older versions of Bolt, module authors will need to have scripts in two places at some point: one under the files/ directory and one in the new location that Bolt will load from. We know this is a burden on content authors, but we think it's worth the improved experience for users new to the Puppet ecosystem and Bolt.

Phase 1: In this phase, fully qualified name will be opt-in using the new file_paths project-level configuration option, which is nested under the future key. When provided with the following paths, Bolt will search these subdirectories in order:

  • Provided: module/

    • Load from files/ (old behavior)

  • Provided: module/scripts/

    • Load from files/scripts/ (old behavior)

    • Fall back to scripts/ (new behavior)

  • Provided: module/files/

    • Load from files/files/ (old behavior)

    • Fall back to files/ (new behavior)

Phase 2: In this phase, we'll switch the precedence of paths that Bolt searches: so Bolt will first look in the new location for a given path, and then the old location. Because this is a breaking change, it will either be gated by the same future flag as above, or will happen with a major version release.

  • Provided: module/

    • Load from files/ (old behavior)

  • Provided: module/scripts/

    • Load from scripts/ (new behavior)

    • Fall back to files/scripts/ (old behavior)

  • Provided: module/files/

    • Load from files/ (new behavior)

    • Fall back to files/files/ (old behavior)

Phase 3: In this phase, we will issue a deprecation warning when Bolt finds a script in a files directory, or if you provide Bolt with the old module-style name.

  • Provided: module/

    • Raise deprecation warning

  • Provided: module/scripts/

    • Raise a deprecation warning if file is found at files/scripts/

  • Provided: module/files/

    • Raise a deprecation warning if file is found at files/files/

Phase 4: In the final phase, Bolt will only load scripts from specific paths and will error if provided a non-specific module syntax.

  • Provided: module/

    • Error

  • Provided: module/scripts/

    • Load from scripts/

  • Provided: module/files/

    • Load from files/

We don't have a timeline yet for when each phase will happen, beyond that Phase 1 is already in progress and should be rolled out in late-April or early-May. We will communicate when we're moving into a new phase as best we can once we are ready to move into that phase.

March 2021

Deprecating dotted fact names

With the release of Facter 4, dotted fact names are automatically converted to structured facts. For example, the custom fact = server becomes the following structured fact:

  "role" => {
    "name" => "server"

This is a significant change from earlier versions of Facter, which permitted dotted fact names.

Because Bolt allows you to set facts in the inventory file or during a plan run, and uses Facter directly (such as when running the apply_prep function) and indirectly (such as when making a PuppetDB query), we've updated Bolt to warn you when it detects a dotted fact name.

If Bolt detects that a target has a dotted fact name set in either the inventory or during a plan run, it displays a deprecation warning. Bolt does not automatically convert these facts to structured facts, which is inconsistent behavior with Facter 4.

To suppress these deprecation warnings, you can either update your facts or add the dotted_fact_name ID to the disable-warnings option in your project configuration.

November 2020

Changes coming in Bolt 3.0

With the new year fast approaching, the team is preparing to release the next major version of Bolt: Bolt 3.0! Over the next few releases you'll start to see deprecation warnings for specific features and configuration options that are slated for removal in Bolt 3.0. To help you prepare for the release, we've compiled a list of expected changes and removals.


  • Ship with Puppet 7

    Bolt packages will ship with Puppet 7. This change should not impact most users, but changes to the Puppet language might require updating your Bolt plans.

    To read more about the changes in Puppet 7, see the Puppet 7 release notes.

  • Ship with Ruby 2.7

    Bolt packages will ship with Ruby 2.7 instead of Ruby 2.5.1. This change will not affect most users who install the Bolt package, as Bolt packages ship with their own Ruby. However, gem installs will require Ruby 2.7 or higher, and users who install gems with Bolt's Ruby might also need to update their gems.

  • New default modulepath

    Since the introduction of the module feature in Bolt 2.30.0, Bolt has used a shorter, simpler default modulepath when a project enables the feature. Starting in Bolt 3.0, the module management feature will be enabled for all projects, meaning the default modulepath will also be updated.

    To read more about the new module management workflow and the updated modulepath, see the modules overview.

  • Move PowerShell module to PowerShell Gallery

    The PuppetBolt PowerShell module will be distributed through PowerShell Gallery.

  • Ship with bolt.bat file on Windows

    Bolt packages on Windows will ship with a bolt.bat batch file. This will disable the bolt and Invoke-BoltCommandLine commands in Powershell. Users should instead use the built-in PowerShell cmdlets.

  • New default configuration for the local transport

    In Bolt 2.x, Bolt applied the following settings to targets named localhost by default:

      - name: localhost
          transport: local
              .rb: RbConfig.ruby # This uses the Ruby we ship with Bolt
          - puppet-agent

    These settings will now be applied to all targets using the local transport. Settings can be overridden at the target level in inventory. They can also be enabled or disabled starting in Bolt 2.37 using the bundled-ruby local transport config option.

  • apply_settings configuration option renamed to apply-settings

    Most other configuration options in Bolt use hyphens instead of underscores.

    For a full list of project configuration options, see the bolt-project.yaml options reference page.

  • plugin_hooks configuration option renamed to plugin-hooks

    Most other configuration options in Bolt use hyphens instead of underscores.

    For a full list of project configuration options, see the bolt-project.yaml options reference page.

  • puppetfile configuration option renamed to module-install

    This configuration option has a confusing name that implies the path to a Puppetfile. The new name more clearly indicates that it configures how modules are installed.

    For a full list of project configuration options, see the bolt-project.yaml options reference page.

    • target key for YAML plan steps renamed to targets

    This key has been deprecated in favor of the targets key.

    For more information about writing YAML plans, see writing YAML plans.

  • source key for YAML plan upload step renamed to upload

    This key has been deprecated in favor of the upload key.

    For more information about upload YAML plan step, see writing YAML plans.

  • private-key and public-key parameters for pkcs7 plugin renamed to private_key and public_key

    These keys have been deprecated in favor of the private_key and public_key parameters.

    For more information about the pkcs7 plugin, see the Forge documentation.


  • Packages for Debian 8 will be removed

    Debian 8 reached end-of-life on June 30, 2020.

    For a full list of supported platforms, see installing Bolt.

  • Support for bolt.yaml configuration file will be removed

    Bolt will no longer support the bolt.yaml configuration file. Instead, you should use bolt-project.yaml in your project and bolt-defaults.yaml at the user and system level.

    For more information about configuring your project, see configuring Bolt.

  • bolt puppetfile * commands and *-BoltPuppetfile PowerShell cmdlets will be removed

    These commands are being removed in favor of the new bolt module * commands and *-BoltModule PowerShell cmdlets.

    To read more about the new module management workflow and the updated modulepath, see the modules overview.

  • Support for PowerShell 2.0 will be dropped

    PowerShell 2.0 has been deprecated since 2017 and adds unecessary complexity for Bolt. Bolt will no longer support running on controllers when using PowerShell 2.0 or when connecting to remote targets running PowerShell 2.0.

  • --boltdir command-line option will be removed

    This command-line option has been deprecated in favor of --project.

  • --configfile command-line option will be removed

    This command-line option provides little value and adds unecessary complexity to Bolt. Instead, use the --project command-line option to run Bolt from a specific project.

  • --debug command-line option will be removed

    This command-line option has been deprecated in favor of --log-level debug. Additionally, Bolt now writes a debug log to bolt-debug.log by default, removing the need to explicitly run in debug mode for most users.

  • --description command-line option will be removed

    This command-line option provides little value.

  • inventoryfile configuration option will be removed

    Bolt already offers the --inventoryfile command-line option to use a non-default inventory file for a single run. However, there is little value in configuring a permanent non-default inventoryfile for a project.

  • notice log level will be removed

    The notice log level has already been soft-deprecated. Bolt does not log any messages at this level. Messages logged in apply blocks using the notice() function are logged by Bolt at the info level.

Updating your project

While some of these changes will require you to manually update files, others can be made automatically with Bolt. We'll be updating the project migrate command to automatically update your Bolt project to use the latest features and best practices. You can run this command now to pick up any changes that have already been made, or wait until Bolt 3.0 is released to pick up all changes at once.

To migrate your project, run the following command in your project directory:

*nix shell command

bolt project migrate

PowerShell cmdlet


Keep in mind that this command only makes changes to a project. Changes to plans and configuration files at the user and system level will need to be made manually. For more information on how the migrate command changes your project files, see Migrate a Bolt project.

Puppet 7 Release Prep

Puppet 7 is set to be released November 19th, 2020. While the Bolt package won't be pulling in Puppet 7 until early next year, the puppet_agent::install task bundled with Bolt will pick up Puppet 7 agents by default when the packages are available. This means that using the apply_prep() Bolt plan function or the install task directly will be pulling in a major version bump for the agent. While we don't anticipate any of the changes in the agent to affect Bolt users, if you find you need to use the Puppet 6 agent, you can configure apply_prep() and the puppet_agent::install task to do so.

The puppet_agent::install task accepts a collections parameter that tells the task which collection to download the package from. This defaults to puppet which maps to the latest collection, but you can set this value to puppet6 to pull in the latest Puppet 6 agent. You can pass this parameter on the command line:

*nix shell command

bolt task run puppet_agent::install -t mytargets collection='puppet6'

PowerShell cmdlet

Invoke-BoltTask -Name puppet_agent::install -Targets mytargets collection='puppet6'

Or to the run_task() plan function:

run_task('puppet_agent::install', $targets, { collection => 'puppet6' })

If you need the apply_prep() plan function to install the Puppet 6 agents instead of Puppet 7, you can configure this by configuring the puppet_library plugin hook in either bolt-project.yaml or bolt-defaults.yaml:

    task: puppet_agent
    collection: puppet6

September 2020

Module management in Bolt projects

We've recently finished work on a major improvement to Bolt projects: module management! With this improvement, you no longer need to manually manage your modules and their dependencies in a Puppetfile and can instead automate that process with Bolt.

If you want to try it out, create a project or migrate an existing project with the following command:

*nix shell command

bolt project migrate

PowerShell cmdlet


Why are we making these changes?

So why did we make this change to how Bolt manages modules? Because managing a project's modules could be a frustrating process that includes multiple steps:

  • Find the module you want to add to your project

  • Find all of the dependencies for that module

  • Determine which version of each module is compatible with every other module you have installed

  • Manually update your Puppetfile to include each module

  • Install the Puppetfile

By offloading most of this work to Bolt, you now only need to list the modules you care about in your project configuration. Bolt takes care of resolving a module's dependencies and installing compatible versions. This greatly simplifies the process of managing your project's modules:

  • Find the module you want to add to your project

  • Tell Bolt to install the module with all of its dependencies

With these changes, we've also updated where Bolt installs modules. You no longer need to worry about accidentally overwriting local modules when you install a Puppetfile, because Bolt installs modules to a special directory that is not part of the configured modulepath.

The new module management feature is available starting with Bolt 2.30.0. To try it out, create a project or migrate an existing project.

Here's a summary of what's changed:

  • Managed module installation directory: Bolt now installs modules it manages into the .modules/ directory instead of modules/. Avoid committing .modules/ to source control. Your users can download your Bolt project and use the bolt module install *nix shell command, or Install-BoltModule cmdlet to download the required modules.

  • Non-managed module directory: Bolt no longer uses the site-modules/ directory. Store any modules that you don't want Bolt to manage in the modules/ directory.

  • Module configuration: Your bolt-project.yaml file contains a modules key that lists the direct module dependencies of your Bolt project. Unless you need to pin a module to a specific version, avoid editing the modules list directly. Instead, use the bolt module add command.

  • Puppetfile: The Puppet file is now a lock file. Bolt generates a Puppetfile each time you modify your modules with a Bolt command. Do not edit the Puppetfile directly. Instead, use Bolt commands to manage your modules, and rely on Bolt to manage the Puppetfile. You can compare a Puppetfile to a Gemfile.lock file in Ruby, or a yarn.lock file in Yarn.

  • modulepath: The new modulepath is ['modules'] and Bolt always appends .modules to the modulepath.