Module Templates

You can create customized templates for modules or sets of modules, and render them using templated modules. These templates allow you to define your own schemas and abstractions, that are then translated at runtime to one or more modules, even including any supporting files (such as Kubernetes manifests, common configuration files, Dockerfiles etc.).

This provides a powerful yet easy-to-use mechanism to tailor Garden's functionality to your needs, improve governance, reduce boilerplate, and to provide higher-level abstractions to application developers.

These templates can be defined within a project, or in a separate repository that can be shared across multiple projects (using remote sources).

This feature was introduced in Garden 0.12.7. Please make sure you have an up-to-date version installed.

How it works

We'll use the templated-k8s-container example to illustrate how module templates work. This example has a k8s-container template, that generates one container module for building an image, and one kubernetes module for deploying that image. A template like this is useful to customize the Kubernetes manifests for your services, but of course it's just one simple example of what you could do.

The template is defined like this:

kind: ModuleTemplate
name: k8s-container
inputsSchemaPath: module-templates.json
  - type: container
    name: ${}-image
    description: ${} image
  - type: kubernetes
    name: ${}-manifests
      dependencies: ["${}-image"]
    files: [.manifests.yml]
      - sourcePath: manifests.yml
        targetPath: .manifests.yml

And it's used like this:

kind: Module
type: templated
template: k8s-container
name: my-service
  containerPort: 8080
  servicePort: 80

First off, notice that we have a kind: ModuleTemplate, which defines the template, and then a module with type: templated which references and uses the ModuleTemplate via the template field. You can have any number of modules referencing the same template.

The sections below describe the example in more detail.

Defining modules

Each template should include one or more modules under the modules key. The schema for each module is exactly the same as for normal Modules with just a couple of differences:

  • In addition to any other template strings available when defining modules, you additionally have ${}, ${} and ${inputs.*} (more on inputs in the next section). It's important that you use one of these for the names of the modules, so that every generated module has a unique name..

  • You can set a path field on the module to any subdirectory relative to the templated module directory. The module directory will be created if necessary.

Defining and referencing inputs

On the ModuleTemplate, the inputsSchemaPath field points to a standard JSON Schema file, which describes the schema for the inputs field on every module that references the template. In our example, it looks like this:

  "type": "object",
  "properties": {
    "containerPort": {
      "type": "integer"
    "servicePort": {
      "type": "integer"
    "replicas": {
      "type": "integer",
      "default": 3
  "required": [

This simple schema says the containerPort and servicePort inputs are required, and that you can optionally set a replicas value as well. Any JSON Schema with "type": "object" is supported, and users can add any parameters that templated modules should specify. These could be ingress hostnames, paths, or really any flags that need to be customizable per module.

These values can then be referenced using ${inputs.*} template strings, anywhere under the modules field, as well as in any files specified under modules[].generateFiles[].sourcePath.

Generating files

You can specify files that should be generated as modules are resolved, using the modules[].generateFiles field. These files can include any of the same template strings as when defining modules.

Note: It's usually advisable to add the generated files to your .gitignore, since they'll be dynamically generated.

In our example, we render a set of Kubernetes manifests. Here's the relevant section in the template:

      - sourcePath: manifests.yml
        targetPath: .manifests.yml

This reads a source file from template/manifests.yml (the sourcePath is relative to the location of the template), and writes it to module/.manifests.yml (targetPath is relative to the templated module).

Instead of specifying sourcePath, you can also specify value to provide the file contents directly as a string.

Escaping template strings

Sometimes you may want to pass template strings through when generating files, instead of having Garden resolve them. This could for example be handy when templating a Terraform configuration file which uses a similar templating syntax.

To do this, simply add an additional $ in front of the template string, e.g. $${var.dont-resolve-me}.

Module references within a templated module

In many cases, it's important for the different modules in a single template to depend on one another, and to reference outputs from one another. You do this basically the same way as in normal modules, but because module names in a template are generally templated themselves, it's helpful to look at how to use templates in module references.

Here's a section from the manifests file in our example:

        - name: main
          image: ${modules["${}-image"].outputs.deployment-image-id}
          imagePullPolicy: "Always"
            - name: http
              containerPort: ${inputs.containerPort}

Notice the image field above. We use bracket notation to template the module name, whose outputs we want to reference: ${modules["${}-image"].outputs.deployment-image-id}. Here we're using that to get the built image ID of the ${}-image module in the same template.

Note that for a reference like this to work, that module also needs to be specified as a build dependency.

Sharing templates

If you have multiple projects it can be useful to have a central repository containing module templates, that can then be used in all your projects.

To do that, simply place your ModuleTemplate configs in a repository (called something like garden-templates) and reference it as a remote source in your projects:

kind: Project
  - name: templates

Garden will then scan that repo when starting up, and you can reference the templates from it across your project.

Further reading

Next steps

Take a look at our Guides section for more of an in-depth discussion on Garden concepts and capabilities.

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