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Rule APIs

When implementing a rule, you are given a value of type context and are expected to produce providers. This page details those providers and the attributes and APIs that they offer.


  • DefaultInfo(default_outputs : ["artifact"], other_outputs : [["artifact", "cmd_args"]] = [], sub_targets : {str: ["provider"]} = {}) - the provider that is used for:
    • buck2 build - builds everything in default_outputs and other_outputs.
    • $(location) - uses the default_outputs.
    • buck2 build my_target[foo] - selects the foo value from sub_targets.
    • Note: if you use cmd_args in other_outputs, then it will expand to all the inputs referenced by the cmd_args you provide.
  • RunInfo(args) - used for buck2 run, where args is anything that can be converted into cmd_args, including a command line itself.
  • ExternalRunnerTestInfo(...) - for details, see Test Execution.

Type context

The starting type, usually bound as ctx.

  • ctx.attrs - returns the attributes of the target as a Starlark struct with a field for each attribute, which varies per rule.
  • ctx.actions - returns actions allowing you to define actions.
  • ctx.label - returns a label representing the target.

Type actions

Most output filenames can either be artifacts created with declare_output or strings that are implicitly converted to output artifacts.

  • ctx.actions.declare_output([prefix], filename, dir = False) - returns an artifact with the name filename, which when asked for its name, will return filename (which may include a directory portion).

    • prefix (optional) - provides a silent part of the filename, which can be used to disambiguate but whose presence will not be visible to anyone using the artifact. By default, outputs are considered files; pass dir = True to indicate it is a directory.
    • declare_output - mainly used to produce an unbound artifact for passing to
  • ctx.actions.write(filename, content, is_executable : bool = false, allow_args : bool = false) - returns an artifact whose contents are content.

    • filename - can be a string or an existing artifact created with declare_output.
    • is_executable (optional) - indicates whether the resulting file should be marked with executable permissions.
    • allow_args (optional) - must be set to True if you want to write parameter arguments to the file (in particular, macros that write to file).
      • If it is true, the result will be a pair of the artifact containing content and a list of artifact values that were written by macros, which should be used in hidden fields or similar.
  • ctx.actions.write_json(filename, content, with_inputs = False) - returns an artifact whose contents are content written as a JSON value.

    • filename - can be a string, or an existing artifact created with declare_output.
    • content - must be composed of the basic json types (Boolean, number, string, list/tuple, dictionary) plus artifacts and command lines.
      • An artifact will be written as a string containing the path.
      • A command line will be written as a list of strings, unless joined=True is set, in which case it will be a string.
    • If you pass with_inputs = True, you'll get back a cmd_args that expands to the JSON file but carries all the underlying inputs as dependencies (so you don't have to use, for example, hidden for them to be added to an action that already receives the JSON file).
  • ctx.actions.copy_file(dest, src) - copies the source artifact to the destination (which can be a string representing a filename or an output artifact) and returns the output artifact. The copy works for files or directories.

  • ctx.actions.symlink_file(dest, src) - creates a symlink to the source artifact at the destination (which can be a string representing a filename or an output artifact) and returns the output artifact. The symlink works for files or directories.

  • ctx.actions.symlinked_dir(output, srcs : {str: "artifact"}) - returns an artifact that is a directory containing symlinks. The srcs must be a dictionary of path (as string, relative to the result directory) to bound artifact, which will be laid out in the directory.

  • ctx.actions.copied_dir(output, srcs : {str: "artifact"}, copy : bool = false) - returns an artifact which is a directory containing copied files. The srcs must be a dictionary of path (as string, relative to the result directory) to the bound artifact, which will be laid out in the directory.

  • ctx.actions.download_file(output, url : str, sha1: str, is_executable : bool = false) - downloads a URL to an output (filename as string or output artifact). The file at the URL must have the given sha1 or the command will fail. The optional parameter is_executable indicates whether the resulting file should be marked with executable permissions.

  •, category : str, identifier : str = "", env : {str: str} = {}, local_only : bool = false, always_print_stderr : bool = false, weight : int = 1, metadata_env_var: str = None, metadata_path: str = None, no_outputs_cleanup: bool = false) - runs a command.

    • arguments - must be of type cmd_args, or a type convertible to such (such as a list of strings and artifacts) and must contain at least one .as_output() artifact.
    • category and identifier - when used together, identify the action in Buck2's event stream, and must be unique for a given target.
    • weight is used to note how heavy the command is and will typically be set to a higher value to indicate that less such commands should be run in parallel (if running locally).
    • no_outputs_cleanup - if this flag is set then Buck2 won't clean the outputs of a previous build that might be present on a disk; in which case, command from arguments should be responsible for the cleanup (that is useful, for example, when an action is supporting incremental mode and its outputs are based on result from a previous build).
    • metadata_env_var and metadata_path - both should either be set or unset.
      • metadata_path defines a path relative to the result directory for a file with action metadata, which will be created right before the command will be run.
        • Metadata contains the path relative to the Buck2 project root and hash digest for every action input (this excludes symlinks as they could be resolved by a user script if needed). The resolved path relative to the Buck2 project for the metadata file will be passed to command from arguments, via the environment variable, with its name set by metadata_env_var.
      • Both metadata_env_var and metadata_path are useful when making actions behave in an incremental manner (for details, see Incremental Actions)
  • ctx.actions.tset(type, value = None, children = None) - creates a new transitive set (for details, see Transitive Sets).

  • ctx.actions.cas_artifact(output, digest : str, use_case: str, expires_after_timestamp: int, is_executable : bool = false) - downloads a CAS artifact to an output.

    • digest - must look like SHA1:SIZE.
    • use_case - your RE use case.
    • expires_after_timestamp - must be a UNIX timestamp. Your digest's TTL must exceed this timestamp. Your build will break once the digest expires, so make sure the expiry is long enough (preferably, in years).
    • is_executable (optional) - indicates the resulting file should be marked with executable permissions.

Type cmd_args

The cmd_args type is created by cmd_args and is consumed by The type is a mutable collection of strings and artifact values. In general, command lines, artifacts, strings, RunInfo and lists thereof can be added to or used to construct a cmd_args value. All these methods operate mutably on cmd and return that value too.

  • cmd_args(*args, format: str = "", delimiter: str = None, prepend: str = None, quote: str = None) - creates and returns a cmd_args type.

    • *args - a list of things to add to the command line, each of which must be coercible to a command line. Further items can be added with cmd.add.
    • format (optional) - a string that provides a format to apply to the argument. for example, cmd_args(x, format="--args={}") would prepend --args= before x, or if x was a list, before each element in x.
    • delimiter (optional) - added between arguments to join them together. For example, cmd_args(["--args=",x], delimiter="") would produce a single argument to the underlying tool.
    • prepend (optional) - added as a separate argument before each argument.
    • quote (optional) - indicates whether quoting is to be applied to each argument. Note: the only current valid value is "shell".
  • cmd.add(*args) - a list of arguments to be added to the command line, as per cmd_args.

  • cmd.hidden(*args) - things to add to the command line which do not show up but are added as dependencies.

  • cmd.ignore_artifacts() - conceptually the opposite of hidden(). It causes none of the arguments of the command line to be added as dependencies.

    • Use this if you need the path to an artifact but not the artifact itself.
    • Note: if you do find yourself needing any of the inputs referenced by this command, you will hit build errors due to missing dependencies.
  • cmd.relative_to(directory, parent : int = 0) - complex magic. Before using this, please contact Meta's Buck2 team.

  • cmd.absolute_prefix(prefix : str)- adds a prefix to the front of every artifact.

  • cmd.absolute_suffix(suffix : str) - adds a suffix to the end of every artifact.

  • cmd.parent(count : int = 1) - uses the parent of all given artifacts. Often used as cmd_args(artifact, format="-L{}").parent().

  • cmd.replace_regex(pattern : str, replacement : str) - replaces all parts matching pattern regular expression in each argument with replacement string. Several replacements can be added by multiple replace_regex calls.

  • cmd.copy() - returns a copy of the cmd_args such that any modifications to the original or the returned value will not impact each other.

  • cmd.inputs - returns a list of the artifacts that are inputs to this command line.

  • cmd.outputs - returns a list of the artifacts that are outputs of this command line.

Type label

A label represents a configured target.

For example, the label fbcode//buck2/hello:world (ovr_config//platform/linux:x86_64-fbcode-46b26edb4b80a905) has the following attributes:

  • package gives back buck2/hello
  • name gives back world
  • sub_target gives back None
  • path gives back fbcode/buck2/hello
  • cell gives back fbcode
  • raw_target() gives back fbcode//buck2/hello:world without the configuration

Type artifact

An artifact, which has a location on disk. Some of that location is considered private, and some (the suffix) is available for use.

The examples below assume an artifact such as one created with ctx.actions.declare_output("hello/world.txt"). It has the following attributes:

  • basename gives back world.txt
  • extension gives back .txt
  • is_source - True if the artifact is a source, otherwise False.
  • owner gives back a label representing the rule that created it (if it is a build output) or None (if it is a source).
  • as_output() gives a value suitable for setting as an output to
  • short_path gives back hello/world.txt

Projected artifacts

Artifacts can be projected via the project() method. Projecting an artifact yields a path within it.

For example, if artifact foo is a directory containing a file bar, then foo.project("bar") yields the file bar.

It is possible for projected artifacts to hide the prefix in order to have the short name of the resulting artifact only contain the projected path, by passing hide_prefix = True to project().