Create ESXi root account with vRO [CB10104]


TL;DR If you would like to create ESXi local account using vRO, download this package (in.co.cloudblogger.crudEsxiLocalUser.package) to get started.


  1. Introduction
  2. Classes & Methods
  3. Script for creating a local admin account in ESXi
  4. Demo Video
  5. vRO Package for CRUD operation

Introduction

Many organization uses vRO for Host Provisioning. Various hardware vendors provide vRO Scripting APIs via plugins or REST APIs to manage and provision bare-metal servers. While doing so, there is always a possibility that post-provisioning, you would like to access your ESXi host from an account other than root for several reasons like security restrictions, limited access etc. In that case, the best way is to create a fresh new account using vRO with the kind of access mode or lets call it, role that suits the needs. In this post, we will see how to create an ESXi local user account using vRO Scripting API.

Classes & Methods

As shown below, we have used following classes and methods for retrieval of existing accounts, creation, updating & deletion of accounts as well as change access or Role of those accounts.

Script for creating a local admin account in ESXi

Link to gist here.

/**
 *
 * @version 0.0.0
 *
 * @param {VC:HostSystem} host 
 * @param {string} localUserName 
 * @param {SecureString} localUserPassword 
 * @param {string} accessMode 
 * @param {string} localUserDescription 
 *
 * @outputType void
 *
 */
function createEsxiLocalUser(host, localUserName, localUserPassword, accessMode, localUserDescription) {
	if(!host) throw "host parameter not set";
	if(!localUserName || !localUserPassword) throw "Either username or password parameter not set";
	if(!localUserDescription) localUserDescription = "***Account created using vRO***";
	if(localUserDescription.indexOf(localUserPassword) != -1) throw 'Weak Credentials! Avoid putting password string in description';
	
	// Retrieve all system and custom user accounts
	var arrExistingLocalusers = host.configManager.hostAccessManager.retrieveHostAccessControlEntries();
	var accountSpecs = new VcHostAccountSpec(localUserName,localUserPassword,localUserDescription);
	host.configManager.accountManager.createUser(accountSpecs);
	switch(accessMode){
	    case 'Admin': //Full access rights
	        host.configManager.hostAccessManager.changeAccessMode(localUserName,false,VcHostAccessMode.accessAdmin);
	        break;
	    case 'ReadOnly': //See details of objects, but not make changes
	        host.configManager.hostAccessManager.changeAccessMode(localUserName,false,VcHostAccessMode.accessReadOnly);
	        break;
	    case 'NoAccess': //Used for restricting granted access
	        host.configManager.hostAccessManager.changeAccessMode(localUserName,false,VcHostAccessMode.accessNoAccess);
	        break;
	    default: //No access assigned. Note: Role assigned is accessNone
	        host.configManager.hostAccessManager.changeAccessMode(localUserName,false,VcHostAccessMode.accessNone);
	}
	System.warn("  >>> Local user "+localUserName+" created with accessMode "+accessMode+" on host "+host.name);
	
	
}

Demo Video

In this demo, we can see how the workflow is utilized to create a local account testuser1 through which we logged in to ESXi and check if it has required permissions.

vRO Package for CRUD operation

I have created a vRO Workflow to create and manage your ESXi local accounts directly from the input form itself. Please find the vRO package that contains the master workflow and associated actions.

  • Workflow: CRUD Operation on ESXi Local Users 
  • Actions:
    • getEsxiLocalUser
    • deleteEsxiLocalUser
    • updateEsxiLocalUser
    • createEsxiLocalUser
    • getAllEsxiLocalUsers
    • getAllEsxiLocalUsersWithRoles

Link to vRO package: in.co.cloudblogger.crudEsxiLocalUser.package

That’s all in this post. Thanks for reading.

How to modify vRO Workflow description using REST

  1. Requirement
  2. Procedure
  3. Steps
    1. Response body from GET call
    2. Body with updated description for PUT call

Requirement

If you want to update a Workflow’s description as and when you want while working in vRO or from outside, you can use this quick method using vRO’s REST APIs. If we want, we can easily create a workflow out of it.

Procedure

We will be using two REST APIs from vRO.

GET schema: for getting the schema content of the WF which will be modified and used later.

PUT schema: for updating the description of the WF.

Steps

  • Click Execute. If status is 200, you will see the response body with workflow content and obviously its description as well.
  • Now modify this response body so that the new body has updated description.

Response body from GET call

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
  <schema-workflow xmlns:ns2="http://www.vmware.com/vco" root-name="item1" object-name="workflow:name=generic" id="bddbcab3-b4b7-4577-b76e-3301374d805f" version="0.0.0" api-version="6.0.0" restartMode="1" resumeFromFailedMode="0" editor-version="2.0">
    <display-name>demo test</display-name>
    <description>This description needs to be updated programmatically, but how?</description>
    <position y="50.0" x="100.0"/>
    <input/>
    <output/>
.
.
.

Body with updated description for PUT call

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
  <schema-workflow xmlns:ns2="http://www.vmware.com/vco" root-name="item1" object-name="workflow:name=generic" id="bddbcab3-b4b7-4577-b76e-3301374d805f" version="0.0.0" api-version="6.0.0" restartMode="1" resumeFromFailedMode="0" editor-version="2.0">
    <display-name>demo test</display-name>
    <description>The description has been updated using REST API</description>
    <position y="50.0" x="100.0"/>
    <input/>
    <output/>
.
.
.
  • Go to PUT request and provide parameters, id and updated body content. Click Execute.
  • You should see the updated description in the workflow.

Now you can easily automate this to create an action or Workflow where you can simply pass all the IDs of all workflows to update and the Description as well. Let me know in the comment if you want me to create a workflow for this.

That’s it in this post. You can check this question in the VMTN Community for which I have created this post. Don’t forget to subscribe.

Inside vRO’s JavaScript Engine – Rhino 1.7R4 [CB10102]

  1. What is Rhino Engine?
  2. Released 10 years ago
  3. Compatibility with JavaScript features
  4. ECMAScript 5.1 Specifications
  5. Rhino on GitHub
  6. Rhino Engine Limitations in vRO
  7. Access to additional Java Classes
    1. Procedure
  8. Javadoc for Rhino 1.7R4
    1. Feature Set when released
  9. Additional Links

vRealize Orchestrator a.k.a. vRO, which is a drag-and-drop automation tool, is quite an old tool developed and released as early as in 2007 by Dunes Technologies, Switzerland. After VMware acquired Dunes, there were 100’s of releases and updates came year after year. Lots and lots of improvements made over time in the UI, backend technologies, security, multi-language support, etc. However, one thing that remains the same is its JavaScript Engine. vRO uses Mozilla Rhino Engine 1.7R4 which was released in 2012.

In this post, My goal is to provide some insights on this Rhino Engine as it is almost extinct from the internet. However, I am still behind the JavaScript Engine which provides IntelliSense support to vRO 8.x. As you might have noticed and probably be wondering how CTRL+SPACE shows options only available to recent versions of JavaScript. I guess it’s for Node.js runtime.

What is Rhino Engine?

Rhino Engine converts JavaScript scripts into classes. It is intended to be used in desktop or server-side applications, hence there is no built-in support for the Web browser objects that are commonly associated with JavaScript which makes it very suitable for vRO. Rhino works in both compiled and interpreted mode. Rhino Engine got its name from the animal on the cover of the O’Reilly book about JavaScript published many years back.

The Rhino project was started at Netscape in the autumn of 1997. At the time, Netscape was planning to produce a version of Navigator written entirely in Java and so it needed an implementation of JavaScript written in Java. When Netscape stopped work on “Javagator,” as it was called, somehow Rhino escaped the axe (rumor had it that the executives “forgot” it existed). For a time, a couple of major companies (including Sun) licensed Rhino for use in their products and paid Netscape to do so, allowing work on Rhino to continue. Now Rhino is part of Mozilla’s open-source repository.

Released 10 years ago

Released in 2012-06-18, Rhino 1.7R4 is almost prehistoric for today’s standards and that’s been always a point of discussion in the vRO Community.

Release Notes of 1.7R4

Compatibility with JavaScript features

While trying to look deep into its compatibility matrix with ES, I found this Kangax’s Compat-table which gives an excellent and detailed view of all the possible features that Rhino 1.7R4 supports. Click the link to know more.

Rhino Compatibility Matrix with JavaScript

ECMAScript 5.1 Specifications

This document will give you a very in-depth knowledge of the ECMAScript 5.1 that vRO leverages to understand the language better. Learn more at https://262.ecma-international.org/5.1.

You can download this document and read about all the fine details by yourself.

Rhino on GitHub

Currently, on GitHub page of Mozilla, version 1.7R4 is not available. However, you may find some very old scripts that were written at the time of 1.7R4 as I can validate using web-achieve. You can explore their GitHub repo here.

Rhino Engine Limitations in vRO

When writing scripts for workflows, you must consider the following limitations of the Mozilla Rhino implementation in Orchestrator.

  • When a workflow runs, the objects that pass from one workflow element to another are not JavaScript objects. What is passed from one element to the next is the serialization of a Java object that has a JavaScript image. As a consequence, you cannot use the whole JavaScript language, but only the classes that are present in the API Explorer. You cannot pass function objects from one workflow element to another.
  • Orchestrator runs the code in scriptable task elements in a context that is not the Rhino root context. Orchestrator transparently wraps scriptable task elements and actions into JavaScript functions, which it then runs. A scriptable task element that contains System.log(this); does not display the global object this in the same way as a standard Rhino implementation does.
  • You can only call actions that return nonserializable objects from scripting, and not from workflows. To call an action that returns a nonserializable object, you must write a scriptable task element that calls the action by using the System.getModuleModuleName.action() method.
  • Workflow validation does not check whether a workflow attribute type is different from an input type of an action or subworkflow. If you change the type of a workflow input parameter, for example from VIM3:VirtualMachine to VC:VirtualMachine, but you do not update any scriptable tasks or actions that use the original input type, the workflow validates but does not run.

Access to additional Java Classes

By default, vRealize Orchestrator restricts JavaScript access to a limited set of Java classes. If you require JavaScript access to a wider range of Java classes, you must set an vRealize Orchestrator system property.

Allowing the JavaScript engine full access to the Java virtual machine (JVM) presents potential security issues. Malformed or malicious scripts might have access to all the system components to which the user who runs the vRealize Orchestrator server has access. Therefore, by default the vRealize Orchestrator JavaScript engine can access only the classes in the java.util.* package.

If you require JavaScript access to classes outside of the java.util.* package, you can list in a configuration file the Java packages to which to allow JavaScript access. You then set the com.vmware.scripting.rhino-class-shutter-file system property to point to this file.

Procedure

  1. Create a text configuration file to store the list of Java packages to which to allow JavaScript access.For example, to allow JavaScript access to all the classes in the java.net package and to the java.lang.Object class, you add the following content to the file.java.net.* java.lang.Object
  2. Enter a name for the configuration file.
  3. Save the configuration file in a subdirectory of /data/vco/usr/lib/vco. The configuration file cannot be saved under another directory.
  4. Log in to Control Center as root.
  5. Click System Properties.
  6. Click New.
  7. In the Key text box, enter com.vmware.scripting.rhino-class-shutter-file.
  8. In the Value text box, enter vco/usr/lib/vco/your_configuration_file_subdirectory.
  9. In the Description text box, enter a description for the system property.
  10. Click Add.
  11. Click Save changes from the pop-up menu.A message indicates that you have saved successfully.
  12. Wait for the vRealize Orchestrator server to restart.

See an implementation example of accessing external Java classes by BlueCat here. Here, the code implements new java.lang.Long(0)

.
.
.
var testConfig = BCNProteusAPI.createAPIEntity(new java.lang.Long(0),configName,"","Configuration" );
var args = new Array( new java.lang.Long(0), testConfig );
configId = new java.lang.Long( BCNProteusAPI.call( profileName,"addEntity",args ));
System.log( "New configuration was created, id=" + configId );
var addTFTPGroupArgs = new Array( configId, "tftpGroupName1", "" );
var tftpGroupId = new java.lang.Long( BCNProteusAPI.call(profileName,"addTFTPGroup", addTFTPGroupArgs ) );
System.log( "New TFTP Group was created, id=" + tftpGroupId );
.
.
.

Javadoc for Rhino 1.7R4

Feature Set when released

Source: https://contest-server.cs.uchicago.edu/ref/JavaScript/developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/New_in_JavaScript/1-7.html#New_features_in_JavaScript_1.7

how to restart vRealize Orchestrator 8.x vRO

Different Ways to restart Orchestrator 8.x [CB10101]

If you are new to vRO or coming form vRO 7.x, you may find restarting vRO a little tricky and might want to know how to restart vRO in an ordered way to avoid any service failure or corrupt configuration etc. Historically, in 7.x version of vRO, there used to have a restart button in its VAMI interface which generally restart it gracefully but version 8.x skipped that ability. However, there are new ways that we’ll see today in this post.

  1. via vSphere – restart VM guest OS
  2. via SSH – pod recreation
  3. via SSH – run deploy.sh
  4. via Control Center
  5. Older ways to restart vRO services
    1. via SSH – restart services
    2. via Control Center – Startup Options
    3. via vRA VAMI – for embedded vRO

via vSphere – restart VM guest OS

  • Click Virtual Machines in the VMware Host Client inventory, select vRO VM.
  • To restart a virtual machine, right-click the virtual machine and select Power > Restart Guest OS.

via SSH – pod recreation

  • One way is to scale down pods to ZERO which basically destroys them. You can do so by copy paste these commands on your vRO Server over a SSH session.
kubectl scale deployment orchestration-ui-app --replicas=0 -n prelude
kubectl scale deployment vco-app --replicas=0 -n prelude
sleep 120
kubectl scale deployment orchestration-ui-app --replicas=1 -n prelude
kubectl scale deployment vco-app --replicas=1 -n prelude
  • Other way would be to delete these pods directly using this command. After this command, K8s will auto-deploy the pods back again.
kubectl delete pod vco-app
kubectl delete pod orchestration-ui-app

Now monitor till both pods will be fully recreated (3/3 and 1/1) using this command:

kubectl -n prelude get pods

When all services are listed as Running or Completed, vRealize Orchestrator is ready to use. Generally, pod creation may take up to 5-7 mins.

via SSH – run deploy.sh

  • Login to the vRO appliance using SSH or VMRC
  • To stop all services, run/opt/scripts/deploy.sh –onlyClean
  • To shutdown the appliance, run /opt/scripts/deploy.sh –shutdown
  • To start all services, run /opt/scripts/deploy.sh
  • Validate the deployment has finished by reviewing the output from the deploy.sh script
  • Once the command execution completes, ensure that all of the pods are running correctly with the following command ‘kubectl get pods –all-namespaces

When all services are listed as Running or Completed, vRealize Orchestrator is ready to use.

via Control Center

  • Go to Control Center.
  • Open System Properties and add a new property.
  • This will auto-restart the vRO in 2 mins.

Older ways to restart vRO services

There are some older ways of restarting vRO and its services, perhaps for vRO 6.x & 7.x only. But these are not valid anymore for version 8.x. They are just here for the records.

via SSH – restart services

  • Take an SSH session and run this command will restart vRO services.
service vco-server stop && service vco-configurator stop

via Control Center – Startup Options

  • Open Control Center and go to Startup Options.
  • Click Restart button.

via vRA VAMI – for embedded vRO

  • Open vRA VAMI Interface and go to vRA -> Orchestrator settings.
  • Select Service type and Click Restart button.

That’s all in this post. Please comment down if you use any way other than mentioned here. I’ll be happy to add it here. And don’t forget to share this post. #vRORocks

Differences between VMware Aria Automation Orchestrator Forms and VMware Aria Automation Service Broker Forms

Starting with vRealize Automation 8.2, Service Broker is capable of displaying input forms designed in vRealize Orchestrator with the custom forms display engine. However, there are some differences in the forms display engines.

Orchestrator and Service Broker forms

Amongst the differences, the following features supported in vRealize Orchestrator are not yet supported in Service Broker:

  • The inputs presentations developed with the vRealize Orchestrator Legacy Client used in vRealize Orchestrator 7.6 and earlier, are not compatible. vRealize Orchestrator uses a built-in legacy input presentation conversion that is not available from Service Broker yet.
  • The inputs presentation in vRealize Orchestrator has access to all the workflow elements in the workflow. The custom forms have access to the elements exposed to vRealize Automation Service Broker through the VRO-Gateway service, which is a subset of what is available on vRealize Orchestrator.
    • Custom forms can bind workflow inputs to action parameters used to set values in other inputs.
    • Custom forms cannot bind workflows variables to action parameters used to set values in other inputs.

Note You might have noticed VRO-Gateway service when you use WFs as a WBX (Workflow Based Extensibility) in Event Subscriptions where these WFs get triggered by this service.

Basically, It provides a gateway to VMware Realize Orchestrator (vRO) for services running on vRealize Automation. By using the gateway, consumers of the API can access a vRO instance, and initiate workflows or script actions without having to deal directly with the vRO APIs.


It is possible to work around vRealize Automation not having access to workflow variables by one of the following options :

  • Using a custom action returning the variable content.
  • Binding to an input parameter set to not visible instead of a variable.
  • Enabling custom forms and using constants.

The widgets available in vRealize Orchestrator and in vRealize Automation vary for certain types. The following table describes what is supported.

vRAvRO
Input Data TypePossible Form Display TypesAction return type for Default ValueAction return type for Value OptionsPossible Form Display TypesAction return type for Default ValueAction return type for Value Options
StringText, TextField, Text AreaDropdown, Radio GroupStringArray of StringPropertiesArray of Properties (value, label)Text, TextFIeld, Text AreaDropdown, Radio GroupStringArray of String
Array of StringArray Input (vRA 8.2), Dual List, Multi SelectArray of StringPropertiesArray of PropertiesArray of StringDatagrid, Multi Value PickerArray of StringPropertiesArray of PropertiesArray of String
IntegerIntegerNumberArray of NumberNot supportedNot supportedNot supported
Array of IntegerArray Input (vRA 8.2), Datagrid (vRA 8.1)Array of NumberArray of NumberNot supportedNot supportedNot supported
NumberDecimalNumberArray of NumberDecimalNumberArray of Number
Array/NumberArray Input (vRA 8.2), Datagrid (vRA 8.1)Array of NumberArray of NumberDatagridArray of NumberArray of Number
BooleanCheckboxBooleanNot supportedCheckboxBoolean
DateDate TimeDateArray of DateDate TimeDateArray of Date
Array of DateArray Input (vRA 8.2), Datagrid (vRA 8.1)Array of DateArray of DateDatagridArray of DateArray of Date
Composite/ComplexDatagrid, Object Field (vRA 8.3)Composite, Properties, Array/Composite, Array/PropertiesArray of CompositeDatagridComposite(columns…)Array/PropertiesArray of Composite
Array of CompositeDatagrid, Multi Value PickerComposite, Properties, Array/Composite, Array/PropertiesArray of CompositeDatagrid, Multi Value PickerArray/Composite(columns…)Array/PropertiesArray of Composite
Reference / vRO SDK Object typeValue PickerSDK ObjectArray of SDK Object (vRA 8.2)Value PickerSDK ObjectArray of SDK Object
Array of ReferenceMulti Value Picker (vRA 8.3)Array of SDK ObjectArray of SDK Object (vRA 8.3)DatagridArray of SDK ObjectArray of SDK Object
Secure StringPasswordStringNot supportedPasswordStringNot supported
FileNot supportedNot supportedNot supportedFile UploadNot supportedNot supported

For use cases where the widget specified in vRealize Orchestrator is not available from Service Broker, a compatible widget is used.

Because the data being passed to and from the widget might expect different types, formats, and values in the case they are unset, the best practice to develop workflows targeting Service Broker is to:

  1. Develop the vRealize Orchestrator workflow. This can include both the initial development of the workflow or changes of inputs.
  2. Version the workflow manually.
  3. In Cloud Assembly, navigate to Infrastructure > Connections > Integrations and select your vRealize Orchestrator integration.
  4. Start the data collection for the vRealize Orchestrator integration. This step, along with versioning up your workflow, ensure that the VRO-Gateway service used by vRealize Automation has the latest version of the workflow.
  5. Import content into Service Broker. This step generates a new default custom form.
  6. In addition to the input forms designed in vRealize Orchestrator, you can, if needed, develop workflow input forms with the custom forms editor.
  7. If these forms call actions, develop or run these from the vRealize Orchestrator workflow editor.
  8. Test the inputs presentation in Service Broker.
  9. Repeat from step 5 as many times as needed.
  10. Repeat from step 1, in case workflows inputs or forms need to be changed.

Either distribute and maintain the custom forms or alternatively, design vRealize Orchestrator inputs by using the same options or actions as in the custom forms (the above step 1), and then repeat the steps 2 to 8 to validate that the process works.

Using this last option means that:

  • Running the workflow from vRealize Orchestrator can lead to the input presentation not working as expected when started in vRealize Orchestrator.
  • For some cases, you must modify the return type of the actions used for default value or value options so these values can be set from the vRealize Orchestrator workflow editor and, when the workflow is saved, revert the action return types.

Designing the form in the workflow has the following advantages:

  • Form is packaged and delivered as part of the workflow included in a package.
  • Form can be tested in vRealize Orchestrator as long as the compatible widgets are applied.
  • The form can optionally be versioned and synchronized to a Git repository with the workflow.

Designing the custom forms separately has the following advantages:

  • Being able to customize the form without changing the workflow.
  • Being able to import and export the form as a file and reusing it for different workflows.

For example, a common use case is to have a string based drop-down menu.

Returning a Properties type can be used in both the vRealize Orchestrator input form presentation and vRealize Automation custom forms presentation. With the Property type you can display a list of values in the drop-down menu. After being select by the user, these values pass an ID to the parameter (to the workflow and the other input fields that would bind to this parameter). This is very practical to list objects when there is no dedicated plug-in for them as this avoids you having to select object names and having to find object IDs by name.

Returning an array of Properties types has the same goal as returning Properties but does give control on the ordering of the element. It is done by setting for each property in the array the label and value keys. For example, it is possible to sort ascending or descending properties by label or by keys within the action.

All the workflows included in the “drop down” folder of the sample package include drop down menus created with actions that have array of Properties set as the return type.

Advanced JavaScript Snippets in vRO [CB10099]

  1. Introduction
  2. Snippets
    1. External Modules
    2. First-class Functions
    3. Ways to add properties to Objects
    4. Custom Class
    5. Private variable
    6. Label
    7. with keyword
    8. Function binding
    9. Prototype Chaining
  3. Recommended Reading

Introduction

vRO JS code is generally plain and basic just enough to get the job done. But I was wondering, how to fancy it? So, I picked some slightly modern JS code (ES5.1+) and tried running it on my vRO 8.3. I found some interesting things which I would like to share in this article.

Snippets

Here are some JS concepts that you can use writing vRO JavaScript code to make it more compelling and beautiful.

External Modules

To utilize modern features, you can use modules like lodash.js for features such as map or filter etc. Other popular module is moment.js for complex Date and Time handling in vRO.

var _ = System.getModule("fr.numaneo.library").lodashLibrary();
var myarr = [1,2,3];
var myarr2 = [4,5,6];
var concatarr = _.concat(myarr, myarr2);
System.log(concatarr); // [1,2,3,4,5,6];

Find more information on how to leverage Lodash.js in vRO here.

First-class Functions

First-class functions are functions that are treated like any other variable. For example, a function can be passed as an argument to other functions, can be returned by another function and can be assigned as a value to a variable.

// we send in the function as an argument to be
// executed from inside the calling function
function performOperation(a, b, cb) {
    var c = a + b;
    cb(c);
}

performOperation(2, 3, function(result) {
    // prints out 5
    System.log("The result of the operation is " + result);
})

Ways to add properties to Objects

There are 4 ways to add a property to an object in vRO.

// supported since ES3
// the dot notation
instance.key = "A key's value";

// the square brackets notation
instance["key"] = "A key's value";

// supported since ES5
// setting a single property using Object.defineProperty
Object.defineProperty(instance, "key", {
    value: "A key's value",
    writable: true,
    enumerable: true,
    configurable: true
});

// setting multiple properties using Object.defineProperties
Object.defineProperties(instance, {
    "firstKey": {
        value: "First key's value",
        writable: true
    },
    "secondKey": {
        value: "Second key's value",
        writable: false
    }
});

Custom Class

You can create your own custom classes in vRO using the function keyword and extend that function’s prototype.

// we define a constructor for Person objects
function Person(name, age, isDeveloper) {
    this.name = name;
    this.age = age;
    this.isDeveloper = isDeveloper || false;
}

// we extend the function's prototype
Person.prototype.writesCode = function() {
    System.log(this.isDeveloper? "This person does write code" : "This person does not write code");
}

// creates a Person instance with properties name: Bob, age: 38, isDeveloper: true and a method writesCode
var person1 = new Person("Bob", 38, true);
// creates a Person instance with properties name: Alice, age: 32, isDeveloper: false and a method writesCode
var person2 = new Person("Alice", 32);

// prints out: This person does write code
person1.writesCode();
// prints out: this person does not write code
person2.writesCode();

Both instances of the Person constructor can access a shared instance of the writesCode() method.

Private variable

A private variable is only visible to the current class. It is not accessible in the global scope or to any of its subclasses. For example, we can do this in Java (and most other programming languages) by using the private keyword when we declare a variable

// we  used an immediately invoked function expression
// to create a private variable, counter
var counterIncrementer = (function() {
    var counter = 0;

    return function() {
        return ++counter;
    };
})();

// prints out 1
System.log(counterIncrementer());
// prints out 2
System.log(counterIncrementer());
// prints out 3
System.log(counterIncrementer());

Label

Labels can be used with break or continue statements. It is prefixing a statement with an identifier which you can refer to.

var str = '';

loop1:
for (var i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
  if (i === 1) {
    continue loop1;
  }
  str = str + i;
}

System.log(str);
// expected output: "0234"

with keyword

The with statement extends the scope chain for a statement. Check the example for better understanding.

var box = {"dimensions": {"width": 2, "height": 3, "length": 4}};
with(box.dimensions){
  var volume = width * height * length;
}
System.log(volume); //24

// vs

var box = {"dimensions": {"width": 2, "height": 3, "length": 4}};
var boxDimensions = box.dimensions;
var volume2 = boxDimensions.width * boxDimensions.height * boxDimensions.length;
System.log(volume2); //24

Function binding

The bind() method creates a new function that, when called, has its this keyword set to the provided value, with a given sequence of arguments preceding any provided when the new function is called.

const module = {
  x: 42,
  getX: function() {
    return this.x;
  }
};

const unboundGetX = module.getX;
System.log(unboundGetX()); // The function gets invoked at the global scope
// expected output: undefined

const boundGetX = unboundGetX.bind(module);
System.log(boundGetX());
// expected output: 42

Prototype Chaining

const o = {
  a: 1,
  b: 2,
  // __proto__ sets the [[Prototype]]. It's specified here
  // as another object literal.
  __proto__: {
    b: 3,
    c: 4,
  },
};

// o.[[Prototype]] has properties b and c.
// o.[[Prototype]].[[Prototype]] is Object.prototype (we will explain
// what that means later).
// Finally, o.[[Prototype]].[[Prototype]].[[Prototype]] is null.
// This is the end of the prototype chain, as null,
// by definition, has no [[Prototype]].
// Thus, the full prototype chain looks like:
// { a: 1, b: 2 } ---> { b: 3, c: 4 } ---> Object.prototype ---> null

System.log(o.a); // 1
// Is there an 'a' own property on o? Yes, and its value is 1.

System.log(o.b); // 2
// Is there a 'b' own property on o? Yes, and its value is 2.
// The prototype also has a 'b' property, but it's not visited.
// This is called Property Shadowing

System.log(o.c); // 4
// Is there a 'c' own property on o? No, check its prototype.
// Is there a 'c' own property on o.[[Prototype]]? Yes, its value is 4.

System.log(o.d); // undefined
// Is there a 'd' own property on o? No, check its prototype.
// Is there a 'd' own property on o.[[Prototype]]? No, check its prototype.
// o.[[Prototype]].[[Prototype]] is Object.prototype and
// there is no 'd' property by default, check its prototype.
// o.[[Prototype]].[[Prototype]].[[Prototype]] is null, stop searching,
// no property found, return undefined.

Free vRealize Automation 8.3 Enterprise Course by VMware

Disclaimer Turned out that this course is not freely available for everyone. I would suggest you give it a try and see if you’re lucky enough.

If you are looking for a course on vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) which is officially developed by VMware, is enterprise-level, not just the basic one and most importantly FREE, then you should go for this course. It has 41 lessons, more than 70,000 views and is a ELS (Enterprise) course and talks on vRA architecture, installation, Cloud templates, integration with NSX-T, Kubernetes, Public Clouds, SaltStack, vRO Workflows and extensibility and a lot more. I personally went through this course after I completed the Udemy’s Getting started with VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 and while Udemy’s push start your journey in vRA 8.x, this VMware course will take it to another level. Recommended for someone who is in VMware Automation, coming from vRA 7.x, Looking for migrating from 7.x to 8.x, deployment of vRA etc. In this post, I have shared some basic steps on how to get to that course and get yourself started.

Bonus Tip

VMware will accept this course as prerequisite for Cloud Management and Automation 2022 (VCP-CMA 2022) certification.

How to enroll?

  • Scroll down and search for vrealize automation.
  • Open the course, enroll yourself and get started.
  • Once you start the course, Bharath N will take over as your course instructor.

Course Content

Let’s see what you will find in the course content.

Feel free to share this article to your team members and connections.

vRO JavaScript Style Guide [CB10096]

  1. Introduction
  2. JavaScript Language Rules
    1. var
    2. Constants
    3. Semicolons
    4. Nested functions
    5. Function Declarations Within Blocks
    6. Exceptions
    7. Custom exceptions
    8. Standards features
    9. Wrapper objects for primitive types
    10. delete
    11. JSON.parse()
    12. with() {}
    13. this
    14. for-in loop
    15. Multiline string literals
    16. Array and Object literals
    17. Modifying prototypes of built-in objects
  3. JavaScript Style Rules
    1. Naming
    2. Deferred initialization
    3. Code formatting
    4. Parentheses
    5. Strings
    6. Comments
    7. Tips and Tricks
  4. vRO Element Naming Rules
    1. Actions
    2. Workflows
    3. Action Modules
    4. Resource Elements and Configuration Elements
    5. Attributes inside Configuration Elements

Introduction

If you are new to vRealize Orchestrator and want to look for some code style references, this post can help you with some basic guidelines to write the perfect JavaScript code in your vRO Workflows and Actions. These are industry standards are preferred by almost every industry. Keep in mind that this guide won’t help you with writing your first vRO code, instead can be used as style reference while writing your vRO JavaScript code. In short, helps you to achieve 7 things:

  1. Code that’s easier to read
  2. Provide clear guidelines when writing code
  3. Predictable variable and function names
  4. Improve team’s efficiency to collaborate
  5. Saves time and makes communication between teams more efficient
  6. Reduces redundant work
  7. Enables each team member to share the same clear messaging with potential customers

vRealize Orchestrator uses JavaScript 1.7 as its classic language of choice for all the automation tasks that gets executed inside Mozilla Rhino 1.7R4 Engine along with some limitations listed here. This style guide is a list of dos and don’ts for JavaScript programs that you write inside your vRO. Let’s have a look.

JavaScript Language Rules

var

Always declare variables with var, unless it’s a const.

Constants

  • Use NAMES_LIKE_THIS for constant values, that start with const keyword.

Semicolons

Always use semicolons.

Why?

JavaScript requires statements to end with a semicolon, except when it thinks it can safely infer their existence. In each of these examples, a function declaration or object or array literal is used inside a statement. The closing brackets are not enough to signal the end of the statement. JavaScript never ends a statement if the next token is an infix or bracket operator.

This has really surprised people, so make sure your assignments end with semicolons.

Clarification: Semicolons and functions

Semicolons should be included at the end of function expressions, but not at the end of function declarations. The distinction is best illustrated with an example:

var foo = function() {
  return true;
};  // semicolon here.

function foo() {
  return true;
}  // no semicolon here.

Nested functions

Yes

Nested functions can be very useful, for example in the creation of continuations and for the task of hiding helper functions. Feel free to use them.

Function Declarations Within Blocks

No

Do not do this:

if (x) {
  function foo() {}
}

ECMAScript only allows for Function Declarations in the root statement list of a script or function. Instead use a variable initialized with a Function Expression to define a function within a block:

if (x) {
  var foo = function() {};
}

Exceptions

Yes

You basically can’t avoid exceptions. Go for it.

Custom exceptions

Yes

Sometimes, It becomes really hard to troubleshoot inside vRealize Orchestrator. But, custom exceptions can certainly help you there. Feel free to use custom exceptions when appropriate and throw them using System.error() for soft errors or throw "" for hard errors.

Standards features

Always preferred over non-standards features

For maximum portability and compatibility, always prefer standards features over non-standards features (e.g., string.charAt(3) over string[3].

Wrapper objects for primitive types

No

There’s no reason to use wrapper objects for primitive types, plus they’re dangerous:

var x = new Boolean(false);
if (x) {
  alert('hi');  // Shows 'hi'.
}

Don’t do it!

However type casting is fine.

var x = Boolean(0);
if (x) {
  alert('hi');  // This will never be alerted.
}
typeof Boolean(0) == 'boolean';
typeof new Boolean(0) == 'object';

This is very useful for casting things to numberstring and boolean.

delete

Prefer this.foo = null.

var dispose = function() {
  this.property_ = null;
};

Instead of:

var dispose = function() {
  delete this.property_;
};

Changing the number of properties on an object is much slower than reassigning the values. The delete keyword should be avoided except when it is necessary to remove a property from an object’s iterated list of keys, or to change the result of if (key in obj).

JSON.parse()

You can always use JSON and read the result using JSON.parse().

var userInfo = JSON.parse(feed);
var email = userInfo['email'];

With JSON.parse, invalid JSON will cause an exception to be thrown.

with() {}

No

Using with clouds the semantics of your program. Because the object of the with can have properties that collide with local variables, it can drastically change the meaning of your program. For example, what does this do?

with (foo) {
  var x = 3;
  return x;
}

Answer: anything. The local variable x could be clobbered by a property of foo and perhaps it even has a setter, in which case assigning 3 could cause lots of other code to execute. Don’t use with.

this

Only in object constructors, methods, and in setting up closures

The semantics of this can be tricky. At times it refers to the global object (in most places), the scope of the caller (in eval), a newly created object (in a constructor), or some other object (if function was call()ed or apply()ed).

Because this is so easy to get wrong, limit its use to those places where it is required:

  • in constructors
  • in methods of objects (including in the creation of closures)

for-in loop

Only for iterating over keys in an object/map/hash

for-in loops are often incorrectly used to loop over the elements in an Array. This is however very error prone because it does not loop from 0 to length - 1 but over all the present keys in the object and its prototype chain. Here are a few cases where it fails:

function printArray(arr) {
  for (var key in arr) {
    print(arr[key]);
  }
}

printArray([0,1,2,3]);  // This works.

var a = new Array(10);
printArray(a);  // This is wrong.

a = [0,1,2,3];
a.buhu = 'wine';
printArray(a);  // This is wrong again.

a = new Array;
a[3] = 3;
printArray(a);  // This is wrong again.

Always use normal for loops when using arrays.

function printArray(arr) {
  var l = arr.length;
  for (var i = 0; i < l; i++) {
    print(arr[i]);
  }
}

Multiline string literals

No

Do not do this:

var myString = 'A rather long string of English text, an error message \
                actually that just keeps going and going -- an error \
                message to make the Energizer bunny blush (right through \
                those Schwarzenegger shades)! Where was I? Oh yes, \
                you\'ve got an error and all the extraneous whitespace is \
                just gravy.  Have a nice day.';

The whitespace at the beginning of each line can’t be safely stripped at compile time; whitespace after the slash will result in tricky errors.

Use string concatenation instead:

var myString = 'A rather long string of English text, an error message ' +
    'actually that just keeps going and going -- an error ' +
    'message to make the Energizer bunny blush (right through ' +
    'those Schwarzenegger shades)! Where was I? Oh yes, ' +
    'you\'ve got an error and all the extraneous whitespace is ' +
    'just gravy.  Have a nice day.';

Array and Object literals

Yes

Use Array and Object literals instead of Array and Object constructors.

Array constructors are error-prone due to their arguments.

// Length is 3.
var a1 = new Array(x1, x2, x3);

// Length is 2.
var a2 = new Array(x1, x2);

// If x1 is a number and it is a natural number the length will be x1.
// If x1 is a number but not a natural number this will throw an exception.
// Otherwise the array will have one element with x1 as its value.
var a3 = new Array(x1);

// Length is 0.
var a4 = new Array();

Because of this, if someone changes the code to pass 1 argument instead of 2 arguments, the array might not have the expected length.

To avoid these kinds of weird cases, always use the more readable array literal.

var a = [x1, x2, x3];
var a2 = [x1, x2];
var a3 = [x1];
var a4 = [];

Object constructors don’t have the same problems, but for readability and consistency object literals should be used.

var o = new Object();

var o2 = new Object();
o2.a = 0;
o2.b = 1;
o2.c = 2;
o2['strange key'] = 3;

Should be written as:

var o = {};

var o2 = {
  a: 0,
  b: 1,
  c: 2,
  'strange key': 3
};

Modifying prototypes of built-in objects

Modifying builtins like Object.prototype and Array.prototype are strictly forbidden in vRO. Doing so will result in an error.

JavaScript Style Rules

Naming

In general, use functionNamesLikeThisvariableNamesLikeThisEnumNamesLikeThisCONSTANT_VALUES_LIKE_THIS.

Method and function parameter

Optional function arguments start with opt_.

Getters and Setters

EcmaScript 5 getters and setters for properties are discouraged. However, if they are used, then getters must not change observable state.

/**
 * WRONG -- Do NOT do this.
 */
var foo = { get next() { return this.nextId++; } };

Accessor functions

Getters and setters methods for properties are not required. However, if they are used, then getters must be named getFoo() and setters must be named setFoo(value). (For boolean getters, isFoo() is also acceptable, and often sounds more natural.)

Deferred initialization

OK

It isn’t always possible to initialize variables at the point of declaration, so deferred initialization is fine.

Code formatting

Curly Braces

Because of implicit semicolon insertion, always start your curly braces on the same line as whatever they’re opening. For example:

if (something) {
  // ...
} else {
  // ...
}

Array and Object Initializers

Single-line array and object initializers are allowed when they fit on a line:

var arr = [1, 2, 3];  // No space after [ or before ].
var obj = {a: 1, b: 2, c: 3};  // No space after { or before }.

Multiline array initializers and object initializers are indented 2 spaces, with the braces on their own line, just like blocks.

Indenting wrapped lines

Except for array literals, object literals, and anonymous functions, all wrapped lines should be indented either left-aligned to a sibling expression above, or four spaces (not two spaces) deeper than a parent expression (where “sibling” and “parent” refer to parenthesis nesting level).

someWonderfulHtml = '' +
                    getEvenMoreHtml(someReallyInterestingValues, moreValues,
                                    evenMoreParams, 'a duck', true, 72,
                                    slightlyMoreMonkeys(0xfff)) +
                    '';

thisIsAVeryLongVariableName =
    hereIsAnEvenLongerOtherFunctionNameThatWillNotFitOnPrevLine();

thisIsAVeryLongVariableName = siblingOne + siblingTwo + siblingThree +
    siblingFour + siblingFive + siblingSix + siblingSeven +
    moreSiblingExpressions + allAtTheSameIndentationLevel;

thisIsAVeryLongVariableName = operandOne + operandTwo + operandThree +
    operandFour + operandFive * (
        aNestedChildExpression + shouldBeIndentedMore);

someValue = this.foo(
    shortArg,
    'Some really long string arg - this is a pretty common case, actually.',
    shorty2,
    this.bar());

if (searchableCollection(allYourStuff).contains(theStuffYouWant) &&
    !ambientNotification.isActive() && (client.isAmbientSupported() ||
                                        client.alwaysTryAmbientAnyways())) {
  ambientNotification.activate();
}

Blank lines

Use newlines to group logically related pieces of code. For example:

doSomethingTo(x);
doSomethingElseTo(x);
andThen(x);

nowDoSomethingWith(y);

andNowWith(z);

Binary and Ternary Operators

Always put the operator on the preceding line. Otherwise, line breaks and indentation follow the same rules as in other Google style guides. This operator placement was initially agreed upon out of concerns about automatic semicolon insertion. In fact, semicolon insertion cannot happen before a binary operator, but new code should stick to this style for consistency.

var x = a ? b : c;  // All on one line if it will fit.

// Indentation +4 is OK.
var y = a ?
    longButSimpleOperandB : longButSimpleOperandC;

// Indenting to the line position of the first operand is also OK.
var z = a ?
        moreComplicatedB :
        moreComplicatedC;

This includes the dot operator.

var x = foo.bar().
    doSomething().
    doSomethingElse();

Parentheses

Only where required

Use sparingly and in general only where required by the syntax and semantics.

Never use parentheses for unary operators such as deletetypeof and void or after keywords such as returnthrow as well as others (casein or new).

Strings

For consistency single-quotes (‘) are preferred to double-quotes (“). This is helpful when creating strings that include HTML:

var msg = 'This is some message';

Comments

Use JSDoc if you want.

Tips and Tricks

JavaScript tidbits

True and False Boolean Expressions

The following are all false in boolean expressions:

  • null
  • undefined
  • '' the empty string
  • 0 the number

But be careful, because these are all true:

  • '0' the string
  • [] the empty array
  • {} the empty object

This means that instead of this:

while (x != null) {

you can write this shorter code (as long as you don’t expect x to be 0, or the empty string, or false):

while (x) {

And if you want to check a string to see if it is null or empty, you could do this:

if (y != null && y != '') {

But this is shorter and nicer:

if (y) {

Caution: There are many unintuitive things about boolean expressions. Here are some of them:

  • Boolean('0') == true
    '0' != true
  • 0 != null
    0 == []
    0 == false
  • Boolean(null) == false
    null != true
    null != false
  • Boolean(undefined) == false
    undefined != true
    undefined != false
  • Boolean([]) == true
    [] != true
    [] == false
  • Boolean({}) == true
    {} != true
    {} != false

Conditional (Ternary) Operator (?:)

Instead of this:

if (val) {
  return foo();
} else {
  return bar();
}

you can write this:

return val ? foo() : bar();

&& and ||

These binary boolean operators are short-circuited, and evaluate to the last evaluated term.

“||” has been called the ‘default’ operator, because instead of writing this:

function foo(opt_win) {
  var win;
  if (opt_win) {
    win = opt_win;
  } else {
    win = window;
  }
  // ...
}

you can write this:

function foo(opt_win) {
  var win = opt_win || window;
  // ...
}

“&&” is also useful for shortening code. For instance, instead of this:

if (node) {
  if (node.kids) {
    if (node.kids[index]) {
      foo(node.kids[index]);
    }
  }
}

you could do this:

if (node && node.kids && node.kids[index]) {
  foo(node.kids[index]);
}

or this:

var kid = node && node.kids && node.kids[index];
if (kid) {
  foo(kid);
}

vRO Element Naming Rules

Actions

should be named like actionNameLikeThis and must start with a verb like get, create, set, delete, fetch, put, call, and so forth. Then, describe what the action is doing.

Workflows

should be a short statement which briefly tells what the Workflow is doing.

Action Modules

naming should be similar to com.[company].library.[component].[interface].[parent group].[child group]

Where

[company] = company name as a single word

library – Optional

[component] = Examples are: NSX, vCAC, Infoblox, Activedirectory, Zerto.

[interface] – Optional – Examples are: REST, SOAP, PS. Omit this if you are using the vcenter or vcac plugins.

[parent group] – Optional – Parent group i.e. Edges, Entities, Networks, vm.

[child group] – Optional – A group containing collections of child actions that relate to the parent group.

Resource Elements and Configuration Elements

Resource element’s name is actually the filename at time of uploading. It should be clear enough.

Configuration Elements are used for various purposes like Password Containers (Credential store), Environment specific variables, location information, or can be a used as global variables get\set by various workflows. Hence, the name should define its purpose.

Attributes inside Configuration Elements

attribute’s name should have some suffix like DC_ or CONF_. when mapped with variable inside workflow, we should keep that variable’s name same as well. While using it in scripts, pass its value to another variable.

In this example, a attribute DC_EAST_LOCATION inside a Configuration element (named Location Variables) is mapped to a variable DC_EAST_LOCATION in a workflow and this variable is being used in a scriptable task.

//CORRECT WAY
var location = DC_EAST_LOCATION; //pass value to a local variable
System.log("Current location: " + location);

//WRONG WAY
System.log("Current location: " + DC_EAST_LOCATION);

vRO Debugger: How to use advanced features

  1. Introduction
  2. Quick Demo video
  3. Step-by-step Guide
    1. Step 1: Reproduce the bug
    2. Step 2: Pause the code with a breakpoint
    3. Step 3: Open Debugger Mode
    4. Step 4: Step through the code and use expressions
    5. Step 5: Apply a fix
  4. Final Note

Introduction

If you are looking on how to use breakpoints and expression in vRealize Orchestrator, you are probably at right place. Debugging is crucial for every programming interface and vRO is not lacking there. Debug option in vRO exist for a long time now. But its real power uncovered recently with version 8.0 onwards. See how a vRO programmer can quickly use the full potential of Debugger in the video below and then we will see the process in details.

Quick Demo video

Step-by-step Guide

To understand the whole debugging process, we will take an action with 2 inputs and do a sum of 2 numbers. Catch will be that one input is a number and other is a string due to human error.

Step 1: Reproduce the bug

Finding a series of actions that consistently reproduces a bug is always the first step to debugging.

  • Create an action with 2 inputs
  • In the action script, put this code
var sum = number1 + number2;
System.log(number1 + " + " + number2 + " = " + sum);
  • Save and Run it
  • Enter 5 in the number1 text box.
  • Enter 1 in the number2 text box.
  • The log will show 51. The result should be 6. This is the bug we’re going to fix.

Step 2: Pause the code with a breakpoint

A common method for debugging a problem like this is to insert a lot of System.log() or System.debug() statements into the code, in order to inspect values as the script executes.

The System.log() method may get the job done, but breakpoints can get it done faster. A breakpoint lets you pause your code in the middle of its execution, and examine all values at that moment in time. Breakpoints have a few advantages over the System.log() method:

  • With System.log(), you need to manually open the source code, find the relevant code, insert the System.log() statements, and then save it again in order to see the messages in the log console. With breakpoints, you can pause on the relevant code without even knowing how the code is structured.

Lets see how to use line-of-code breakpoints:

On the left side of the code line count, look for a reddish dot and double tap to make it dark red. You have set breakpoint on that line. Next time while we debug, the code will pause on the breakpoint that you just set.

Step 3: Open Debugger Mode


Important While working on actions, Debugger Mode will only open if there is at least 1 breakpoint in the code. While working on workflows, there are 2 ways to set breakpoint. Either inside the scriptable task or on the item itself. Click the red box on top left of an item to set breakpoint.


  • On the top, select Debug
  • You will notice a new tab Debugger in the bottom panel with Watch expressions and Item Variables boxes.
  • The execution will start and will pause at first breakpoint. The breakpoint where the execution is currently paused can be identified with a red star instead of red dot .

Step 4: Step through the code and use expressions

Stepping through your code enables you to walk through your code’s execution, one line at a time, and figure out exactly where it’s executing in a different order, or giving different results than you expected.


Tip We can step through the code using Continue, Step Into, Step Over & Step Return buttons.

Continue: An action to take in the debugger that will continue execution until the next breakpoint is reached or the program exits.

Step Into: An action to take in the debugger. If the line does not contain a function it behaves the same as “step over” but if it does the debugger will enter the called function and continue line-by-line debugging there.

Step Over: An action to take in the debugger that will step over a given line. If the line contains a function the function will be executed and the result returned without debugging each line.

Step Return: An action to take in the debugger that returns to the line where the current function was called.


  • Once you click Debug, vRO will suspend the execution on first breakpoint which will be on var sum = number1 + number2;
  • Click Continue or Step into to execute that step and check the value of sum.

The Watch Expressions tab lets you monitor the values of variables over time. As the name implies, Watch Expressions aren’t just limited to variables. You can store any valid JavaScript expression in a Watch Expression. Try it now:

  1. Click the Watch expressions tab.
  2. Click on Click to Add an Expression.
  3. Type parseInt(number1) + parseInt(number2)
  4. Press . It shows parseInt(number1) + parseInt(number2) = 6.

This implies that the type of either or both of the number variables is not a number as parsing integer value out of them gives right result.

Step 5: Apply a fix

You’ve found a fix for the bug. All that’s left is to try out your fix by editing the code and re-running the demo. You don’t need to leave Debugger mode to apply the fix. You can edit JavaScript code directly within the workflow editor there.

Final Note

That is how you can start using the Debugger in vRO. Over time, you will be able to debug complex code without using persistent log methods as well as building logic on the go right while executing the code using expressions etc. That’s all in today’s post, see you on other posts. Cheers.

vRODoc – Convert vRO Actions to JSDoc Pages

    1. Introduction
    2. What is vRODoc?
    3. How to get started?
    4. Steps to follow
    5. Future Scope
      1. Originally posted on LinkedIn

    Introduction

    It’s always been hard to find a way to document vRO Workflows whether working on large VMware Automation environments or be it your personal projects. I was quite anxious about it as well and tried to find some easy way to do it.

    Then, one day I found a PS script by Jose Cavalheri & Michael Van de gaer where they were trying to get JS actions and configuration elements out of an unzipped vRO Package. It was quite helpful and I used it as a building block for my project that I will be talking about today. I also used export-package mechanism by Burke Azbill and some bits of vROIDE by Garry Hughes.

    So before we start, let me tell you that if you want to make this functionality to work in your project, you should think of moving your code to vRO actions as much as possible.

    vRO Actions are much more flexible in terms of their usage outside of vRO. As you might know, vRO uses XML based approach to save both workflows and actions. However, due to the varied nature of workflows that can contain almost anything in any format makes them convoluted. Actions on the other hand, not only have a defined scope (takes inputs and return one output) but also much easier to use in vRO as well as they provide code reusability. I know, Not everything in vRO can be and should be converted to vRO actions BUT THAT’S OK. We can deal with it. I would recommend to move to action based approach for anyone working on vRO.

    Ultimately, Our objective is to document most of our code and custom APIs that we have created in form of actions.

    What is vRODoc?

    It is mostly a PowerShell script that connects with your vRealize Orchestrator to fetch a package that contains all your action modules and action items, intelligently add JSDoc annotation to those action items and convert them into html pages which can be presented as a web-based code documentation. See a live example here. You can also add other JSDoc comments to your actions. Learn more about JSDoc comments here.

    How to get started?

    Please understand this flow to get started.

    FlowChart of vRODoc

    Steps to follow

    A Quick demo on how to create a Github Pages based website that documents all your vRO actions.

    • Create a package in vRO which will be used to fetch the code-to-be-documented.
    • Using REST, add action modules to your package using this API
    PS> Install-Script -Name vRODoc
    • Edit local copy of your vrodoc_script.ps1 to set your environment parameters
    • Execute this ps1 file. It may take few minutes depending on package size.
    • In your export path, you will notice 1 .zip file and 1 folder with your package-name.
    • Inside package folder, a folder “Actions” will be created with all the converted JSDoc annotated vRO Actions.
    • By now, you have successfully created your website. Inside package folder, go to docs folder and open index.html

    Now, its time to push the content of docs folder to your repository (can be Github.com, Gitlab .com or Gitlab Self-Hosted) – I will take example of Github.com

    • Assuming the repo already exists in your github account, push it to your repo
    • Go to Settings > Pages and select Branch: main and folder/: docs and wait for few minutes for website to load on Github Pages

    If you reading this line, I hope you like this article. This whole process executes from a Powershell script that can be scheduled nightly or something on one of your machine to see the latest documentation next day.

    Future Scope

    I am also working on making it executable from Github or Gitlab runners. That could be tricky and highly environment specific but will give it a try soon. Stay tuned.


    Originally posted on LinkedIn

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vrodoc-convert-vro-actions-js-annotated-javascript-post-goyal/