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File Generation

Terramate supports the generation of arbitrary text files referencing Terramate defined data.

File generation is done using generate_file blocks in Terramate configuration files.

Each generate_file block requires a single label that is the path where the generated file will be saved. For more details about how code generation use labels check the Labels Overview docs.

The block has an optional context attribute which overrides the [generation context] (

The content attribute defines the string that will be written on the file.

The value of the content has access to different Terramate features depending on the context defined.

For context=root it has access to:

  • Terramate Project Metadata references terramate.root.* and terramate.stacks.*
  • Terramate function calls tm_*(...)
  • Expressions using string interpolation "${}"

and for context=stack (the default), it has access to everything that root have plus the features below:

  • Terramate Global references global.*
  • Terramate Stack Metadata references terramate.stack.*

The final evaluated value of the content attribute must be a valid string.

Generating different file types

Generating a JSON file

generate_file "hello_world.json" {
  content = tm_jsonencode({"hello"="world"})

Generating an YAML file

generate_file "hello_world.yml" {
  content = tm_yamlencode({"hello"="world"})

Generating arbitrary text

It is possible ot use strings and templates as known form Terraform.

generate_file "hello_world.json" {
  content = <<-EOT
    whatever text format you want, here is a global reference:

    a = ${global.reference}

    and a metadata reference:

    b = ${terramate.path}

Hierarchical Code Generation

A generate_file block can be defined on any level within a projects hierarchy: Within a stack or in any parent level up to the root of the projects.

There is no overriding or merging behavior for generate_file blocks. Blocks defined at different levels with the same label aren't allowed, resulting in failure of the overall code generation process.

This behavior might change in future versions of Terramate.

Conditional Code Generation

Conditional code generation is achieved by the use of the condition attribute. The condition attribute should always evaluate to a boolean.

The file will be generated only if it evaluates to true.

The default value of the condition attribute is true.

Any expression that produces a boolean can be used, including references to globals and function calls. For example:

generate_file "file" {
  condition = tm_length(global.list) > 0

  content = "file contents"

Will only generate the file for stacks that the expression tm_length(global.list) > 0 evaluates to true.

Other useful conditions include:

  • tm_can(global.myvariable) -> generate when global.myvariable is set to any value
  • tm_try(global.myboolean, false) -> generate when global.myboolean exists and istrue.
  • tm_try(global.myvariable != null, false) -> generate when global.myvariable is set and notnull.

When condition is false the generate_file block won't be evaluated, no file will be created, but any existing file with that name will be removed.

So using condition = false will ensure a file is deleted e.g. if previously created by Terramate.