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How to manage the .abra directory

Understanding app and server configuration

Co-op Cloud stores per-app configuration in the $USER/.abra/servers directory, on whichever machine you're running abra on (by default, your own workstation).

The format of these configuration files is the same environment variable syntax used by Docker (with the env_file: statement in a docker-compose.yml file, or the --env-file option to docker run) and direnv:

abra app example_wordpress config
## Domain aliases

abra doesn't mind if ~/.abra/servers, or any of its subdirectories, is a symlink, so you can keep your app definitions wherever you like!

mv ~/.abra/servers/ ~/coop-cloud
ln -s ~/coop-cloud ~/.abra/servers

Backing up your app configuration

Just make sure the ~/.abra/servers is included in the configuration of your favourite backup tool.

You can optionally also backup ~/.abra/apps, if you'd like to keep an exact copy of the application versions you currently have deployed. Otherwise, they'll be automatically downloaded the first time you run an abra app... command.

You don't need to worry about ~/.abra/vendor or ~/.abra/src directories, which will be likewise recreated automatically as and when you need them.

Version-control your app configs (using git)

Because ~/.abra/servers is a collection of plain-text files, it's easy to keep your backup configuration in a version control system (we use git, others would almost certainly work).

This is particularly recommended if you're collaborating with others, so that you can all run abra app... commands without having to maintain your own separate, probably-conflicting, configuration files.

In the simple case where you only have one server configured with abra, or everyone in your team is using the same set of servers, you can version-control the whole ~/.abra/servers directory:

cd ~/.abra/servers
git init
git add .
git commit -m "Initial import"

Test your revision-control self-discipline

abra does not yet help keep your app definitions are up-to-date.

Make sure to run git add / git commit after making configuration changes, and cd ~/.abra/servers && git pull before running abra app... commands.

Patches to add some safety checks and auto-updates would be very welcome! 🙏

Collaborating with multiple teams

In a more complex situation, where you're using Co-op Cloud to manage several servers, and you're collaborating with different people on different servers, you can set up a separate repository for each subdirectory in ~/.abra/servers, or even a mixture of single-server and multi-server repositories:

ls -l ~/.abra/servers
#'s own app configuration:
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 user user 49 Oct 30 22:42 -> /home/user/Example/coop-cloud-apps/
# Configuration for one of's clients – part of the same repository:
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 user user 49 Oct 30 22:42 -> /home/user/Example/coop-cloud-apps/
# A completely separate project, part of a different repository:
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 user user 49 Oct 30 22:42 -> /home/user/Demonstration/coop-cloud-apps

To make setting up these symlinks easier, you might want to include a simple installer script in your configuration repositories.

We don't have a public example of this yet, but something like this should do the trick:

  1. Save this as Makefile in your repository:
# -s symlink, -f force creation, -F don't create symlink in the target dir
 @mkdir -p ~/.abra/servers/
 @for SERVER in $$(find -maxdepth 1 -type d -name "[!.]*"); do \
     echo ln -sfF "$$(pwd)/$${SERVER#./}" ~/.abra/servers/ ; \
     ln -sfF "$$(pwd)/$${SERVER#./}" ~/.abra/servers/ ; \

This will set up symlinks from each directory in your repository to a correspondingly-named directory in ~/.abra/servers – if your repository has a directory, it'll be linked as ~/.abra/servers/

  1. Tell your collaborators (e.g. in the repository's README), to run make in their repository check-out.

You're on your own!

As with the simple repository set-up above, abra doesn't yet help you update your version control system when you make changes, nor check version control to make sure you have the latest configuration.

Make sure to commit and push after you make any configuration changes, and pull before running any abra app... commands.

Even more granularity?

The plain-text, file-based configuration format means that you could even keep the configuration for different apps on the same server in different repositories, e.g. having configuration in a separate repository to, using per-file symlinks.

We don't currently recommend this, because it might set inaccurate expectations about the security model – remember that, by default, any user who can deploy apps to a Docker Swarm can manage any app in that swarm.