Writing Templates

Learn how to write PCT templates.


A PCT is an archive containing a templated set of files and folders that represent a completed set of content. Files and folders stored in the template aren’t limited to formal Puppet project types. Source files and folders may consist of any content that you wish to create when the template is used, even if the template engine produces just one file as its output.


You can specify the location of your templates using the --templatepath option:

pct new my-name/my-custom-project --templatepath /home/me/templates


A PCT must contain a pct-config.yml in the root directory, alongside a content directory.

The content directory contains the files and folders required to produce the project or item.

To mark a file as a template, use the .tmpl extension. Templated files can also use the global variable of {{pct_name}} to access the input from the --name cli argument.

Note: Folders within the content directory can also use the {{pct_name}} variable.

Example template file names:


Note: One, all or none of the files can be templated.


Format of pct-config.yml

  id: <a unique name>
  author: <name|username|orgname|handle|etc>
  type: <'item' or 'project'>
  display: <a human readable name>
  version: <semver>
  url: <url to project repo>

<template parameters>

Note: Template id and author must not contain spaces or special characters. We recommend using a hyphen to break up the identifier.

Example pct-config.yml:

  id: example-template
  author: myorgname
  type: project
  display: Example
  version: 0.1.0
  url: https://github.com/puppetlabs/example-template

Example structure for example-template:

> tree ~/templates/example-template
├── content
│   └── example.txt.tmpl
└── pct-config.yml

Templating Language

PCT uses Go’s templating language.

Example pct-config.yml with parameters:

  id: example-template-with-params
  author: myorgname
  type: project
  display: Example with Parameters
  version: 0.1.0
  url: https://github.com/puppetlabs/pct-example-with-params

  foo: "bar"
  isPuppet: true
  - "Red"
  - "Blue"
  - "Green"

In the above template example-template-with-params the parameters can be accessed in a .tmpl file like so:



<no value>
[Red Blue Green]

As a template author you can chose your own parameters and parameter structure so long as it is valid YAML. Then utilise the GO templating language to display or iterate over these.

For most templates, we believe that you can do most of the things you would want with these common template controls:

// Outputs the value of `foo` defined within pct.yml

// A conditional
{{if .example_template.isPuppet}}
 "boo :("

// Loops over all "colours" and renders each using {{.}}
{{range .example_template.colours}} {{.}} {{end}}

For more examples look at the existing templates provided in the Default Template Location.

Dos and Don’ts

  • project templates should provide all the code necessary to create a project from scratch and no more.
  • Do not include configuration files that can be added via an item template later by an end user, for example, CI job configuration.
  • Templates should be self documenting to help guide new users on how to use the file that has been created.