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capirca-xlate is a library for writing network ACL policies in YAML format and converting them to the capirca format for platform-specific ACL generation. It will take an ACL policy like this:


name: "allowtointernet"
comment: |
  Denies all traffic to internal IPs except established tcp replies.
  Also denies access to certain public allocations.

  Ideal for some internal lab/testing types of subnets that are
  not well trusted, but allowing internal users to access.

  Apply to ingress interface (to filter traffic coming from lab)
  - platform: cisconx
      - extended
  - name: accept-dhcp comment: Optional - allow forwarding of DHCP requests.
      - DHCP
      - udp
    action: accept
  - name: accept-to-honestdns {
    comment: Allow name resolution using honestdns.
      - GOOGLE_DNS
      - DNS
      - udp
    action: accept
  - name: accept-tcp-replies
    comment: Allow tcp replies to internal hosts.
      - INTERNAL
      - tcp
      - tcp-established
    action: accept
  - name: deny-to-internal
    comment: Deny access to rfc1918/internal.
      - INTERNAL
    action: deny
  - name: deny-to-specific_hosts
    comment: Deny access to specified public.
    action: deny
  - name: default-permit
    comment: Allow what's left.
    action: accept

And transform it into the capirca ply format below:

header {
  comment:: "Denies all traffic to internal IPs except established tcp replies."
  comment:: "Also denies access to certain public allocations."
  comment:: "Ideal for some internal lab/testing types of subnets that are"
  comment:: "not well trusted, but allowing internal users to access."
  comment:: "Apply to ingress interface (to filter traffic coming from lab)"
  target:: cisconx allowtointernet extended

term accept-dhcp {
  comment:: "Optional - allow forwarding of DHCP requests."
  destination-port:: DHCP
  protocol:: udp
  action:: accept
term accept-to-honestdns { {
  comment:: "Allow name resolution using honestdns."
  destination-address:: GOOGLE_DNS
  destination-port:: DNS
  protocol:: udp
  action:: accept
term accept-tcp-replies {
  comment:: "Allow tcp replies to internal hosts."
  destination-address:: INTERNAL
  protocol:: tcp
  option:: tcp-established
  action:: accept
term deny-to-internal {
  comment:: "Deny access to rfc1918/internal."
  destination-address:: INTERNAL
  action:: deny
term deny-to-specific_hosts {
  comment:: "Deny access to specified public."
  destination-address:: WEB_SERVERS MAIL_SERVERS
  action:: deny
term default-permit {
  comment:: "Allow what's left."
  action:: accept


Using capirca_xlate is straightforward. There are two functions for loading data and three functions for generating ply-formatted policies/definitions. The below is a complete example.

from pathlib import Path

import capirca_xlate.xlate

acl = capirca_xlate.xlate.load_acl(Path('example_acl.yml'))
definitions = capirca_xlate.xlate.load_def(Path('example_def.yml'))


You can look at the acl_schema.yaml and definitions_schema.yaml files in this repo to get a better sense of how to structure your data. These schemas are updated when the code is updated.

Project State and Reasoning

At this time, all functionality should be considered alpha. This is currently a library, not an end-user CLI tool. It can be used to create an end-user CLI tool, but because policies can be arranged and described in a wide variety of ways, the focus for now is on providing the library to manage your own policies the way you want/need.

This library very heavily leverages types. It does this to ensure definitions and policies will be rendered to something valid. For example, it will prevent you from generating the following:

DNS = 53/udp
HTTP = 80/tcp

This is technically valid syntax, but because there is no definition of SSH, capirca will ultimately fail to generate the ACL. Additionally, IPv4 and IPv6 addresses must be valid network addresses in CIDR notation, because this is what capirca expects. Other validations exist, too, such as ensuring you don't typo tcp-established as an options. Finally, it is opinionated in the its data is structured. The structure of the data is not a 1:1 mapping of capirca. For example, in the capirca ply format, multiple references to addresses are simply separated by a blank space ( ). However, this library expects multiple addresses to be unique items in a list.

Everything in this library is exposed for the developer. Althougth the primary intent is to allow for translating between a YAML-based spec and the official ply spec, the data is modeled with classes exposed in such a way that the original source of the data is largely irrelevant. For example, you could write code that fetched the source data from a SQL data base, then created the necessary objects (ACL and Definitions) with the appropriate fields, then pass those objects to the template rendering functions (capirca_xlate.xlate.xlate_acl(), capirca_xlate.xlate.xlate_net(), and capirca_xlate.xlate.xlate_svc()) and get the ply-formatted string back.

The xlate_* functions return the capirca ply format back as a string. They do not write to disk. This is to enable flexibility for developers to programmatically leverage tools such as capirca_xlate, capirca, and nornir or netmiko for full end-to-end ACL automation without needing to repeatedly read from and write to disk.

Feature Support

capirca has a wide variety of options and features, some of which are platform-specific. capirca_xlate does not support all of these. It currently supports common features and options, but not vendor- or platform-specific features, such as from-zone and to-zone.


  • Add a license
  • Add tests
  • Add more examples
  • Show examples of non-YAML source data
  • Show examples of integrating with nornir

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