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Gryml YAML Processor

Project description


WARNING: Alpha version, might not be suitable for production

WARNING: API is unstable and might change significantly

Sometimes you just need to substitute a couple of variables in the K8S resource definitions, often using the same value in multiple files.

This tool was born as an attempt to bridge the gap between HELM and Kustomize as they both are lacking simplicity for trivial but common cases. But while Gryml was designed with k8s in mind it is essentially a general purpose YAML processor, and can be used to automate the generation of any yaml files when value substitution is needed.

We provide the full list of features separately, but in this document we will cover the most important ones.


Gryml is now available in the pypi (Python 3.7+ is required):

$ pip install gryml

And you should be able to use CLI version:

$ gryml --help

Gryml supports UNIX pipes for both input and output so something like this is also possible:

$ echo "{say: something} #{world.greeting}" | gryml - --set world.greeting="hello world!"
say: hello world!

But generally you'll use Gryml to process existing template files as shown in the following section.


Gryml can be used as Unix-style CLI to pipe the incoming file or directory combined with the values file or cmd args as a stream of K8S resource definitions to stdout.

This can be used to apply the modified definitions via kubectl:

$ gryml <file>|<dir> --set | kubectl apply -f -

Gryml relies on YAML comments instead of inline templates, which makes it compatible with the tools that can only work with the native k8s resource definition files.

Lets look at the simple example:


apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: "application" #{"app-" ~ ~ "-suffix"}

The name field with the default value "application" has the #{"app-" ~ ~ "-suffix"} Gryml tag.

We can apply the value using the following command:

$ gryml deployment.gryml.yml --set

This will result in the following output:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: "app-simple-suffix" 

Note: if your value is simple and you just to use it as is - you can use the simplified tag version: #{}.

Note: Multiple --set parameters can be used to set multiple values if necessary.

By default all values including objects and lists are replaced with the value of the simplified tag, but sometimes it's necessary to combine static values from the resource definition file with some dynamic values. One of the most common use cases is the container environment variables.

To facilitate that, Gryml provides "value strategies" that can be applied using the following tag syntax:

#[strategy <argument?>]{expression}

where supported strategy is one of the following:

  • set - (default) - replaces the whole value
  • append - adds new array items to the existing array value
  • merge-using <key> - merges two array values containing objects using the values of the fields <key> in both collections to find and replace existing items
  • if <expression> - removes the value or item if expression evaluates as false
  • else - can be used rigth after if strategy to output the value if that strategy was evaluated as false
  • repeat <key:value?> - iterates over values from the expression and repeats the array items
  • template jinja - processes the existing value as Jinja2 template using current values tree as the context

Value files

If the configuration is complex in addition to --set flags Gryml supports values file. You can use the -f <path_to_values_file> argument to use the YAML value file in combination with the --set arguments. Note that --set arguments will override values file.

Additionally, values file provide two important features, making Gryml capable of producing quite complex configurations similar to HELM charts via Gryml directives.

Gryml directives can be defined in the list with the key "gryml" in a values file.

Importing other value files

It is possible to include additional values files using the include field of the gryml metadata object, for example:

  - "another.values.yml"
  - "/workspace/root.values.yml"

Note: Additional values files are imported before the current file and values are merged, you can use override field of the gryml metadata object if you need to apply additional values after the current file was evaluated.


It is possible to reference yaml files that will be also processed and included in the output after all values files and --set arguments are processed and a final value tree has been built.

In combination with the include and override directives this allows different outputs to be generated from a single codebase based on the different initial values files. Moreover, resource definitions can be logically organized into libraries and artifacts in a single or even multiple repositories and then combined together explicitly in a values file.

This basically provides a way to generate "charts" dynamically, significantly reducing the amount of duplicated code between different resource definitions, while deriving the related parts from same values.

Value transformation pipes

Gryml value expressions support Jinja2 filters (we call them value transformation pipes though). Gryml also defines a couple of additional pipes suitable for use with k8s.

Currently Gryml Core defines the following pipes:

  • lowercase - AAA -> aaa
  • limit(<n>) - limits the length of the sting to n symbols
  • k8sName - limits the length of the string to 64 symbols
  • b64enc - converts the value to base64 encoded string
  • randstr - uses the value as length for the generated alphanumeric string
  • source - uses the value as file name that will be loaded as string (relative to the current context)
  • sha256 - converts the value to sha256 hash
  • valmap(<pipe>) - when value is dictionary applies the pipe to the each field-value, preserving keys

Chart management and migrating from HELM

Unlike HELM, Gryml currently does not add any labels into generated resource definitions and is not capable of managing the release versions.

Yet it's still possible to generate and use the "common" labels and annotations in the every output yaml definition, so that they can all be filtered and deleted at once.

We might introduce grymlctl utility in future to manage kubernetes cluster directly and handle gryml packages.

Advanced example

Lets look at this Deployment definition with already added Gryml com-tags.


apiVersion: apps/v1 #{apiVersion.deployment}
kind: Deployment
  name: "application" #{"test-" ~ name ~ "-suffix"}
  replicas: 1 #{replicas}
    type: Recreate #{strategy}
      application: "application" #{name}
        application: "application" #{name}

      serviceAccountName: serviceAccount #{serviceAccountName}
        - name: main #{"main-" ~ roleContainerSuffix}
          image: image #{imageRef}

          env: #[merge-using name]{env.common}
            - name: DEMO_GREETING
              value: "Hello from the environment"
            - name: DEMO_FAREWELL
              value: "Such a sweet sorrow"

        #[if useSecondary]
        - name: secondary #{"secondary-" ~ roleContainerSuffix}
          image: image #{imageRef}

          env: #[append]{env.common}
            - name: DEMO_FAREWELL
              value: "Such a sweet sorrow"

Now lets create values files:


  deployment: 'apps/v1'


    - base.gryml.yml

    - context.gryml.yml

    - deployment.gryml.yml

name: 'custom-name'
role: 'test'
image: 'custom-image'
tag: 'latest'

useSecondary: false

replicas: 2
serviceAccountName: 'custom-serviceAccount'

    - name: "COMMON_GREETING"
      value: "Common hello"
    - name: "DEMO_GREETING"
      value: "Hello from the custom environment"


# Note: dynamic derived values are supported using the com-tags
imageRef: = #{image ~ ":" ~ tag}
roleContainerSuffix: = #{name ~ "-" ~ role ~ "-container"}

Now you can just exec: gryml -f values.gryml.yml, as a result you should be able to see contents of the deployment.gryml.yml file with the substituted values.

Best practices

  • Avoid complex logic in the output yaml files and instead implement this logic in the values files
  • Separate configuration between multiple values files instead of combining it into a single one


Gryml can easily be used as a python module without CLI:

from gryml.core import Gryml
from pathlib import Path

gryml = Gryml()

values = gryml.load_values(

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