Advanced Custom Buttons

Button visibility and enablement

Starting with CloudForms 4.6, we can make custom buttons visible if certain requirements are met. We can also make the button active or inactive as needed. Both features significantly improve the user experience by simplifying the interface and making it more dynamic.

Button enablement

The Enablement expression is validated to enable or disable the button based on the specified check. This allows you to enable the button only if some specific requirements are met. In the example below, we want to run an Ansible Playbook inside the VM. The expression validates the VM Power State and the button will be disabled if the VM is not powered on. An additional text will inform the user why the button is disabled and how to solve the issue.

Button visibility

The Visibility allows you to define an expression which is validated to decide if the button should be shown at all. For example, if the guest Operating System is not Linux, the Ansible Playbook used will not work. If CloudForms detects a non-Linux VM, the menu will not be shown at all.

Role based access control

Note that the visibility settings on the bottom of the dialog are the same as in previous versions. This option allows us to make the button only available for certain user roles, for example administrators, operators or normal users.

Configure Enablement

Let’s configure an regular expression which verifies the Virtual Machine is powered on.

Navigate to Automation -> Automate -> Customization

navigate to Customization

You should already be in this menu if you followed the previous steps

Click on the “Install Package” Button you created in the previous lab

navigate to install package button

Click on Configuration -> Edit this Button

edit custom button

Click on the Advanced tab

Click on Expression

Build the following Expression:

Field: VM and Instance - Power State = on

enablement expression power on

Don’t forget to click on the check mark to save the expression!

Add Disabled Button Text: VM must be powered on to run Ansible Playbook

save enablement expression

Click Save

Configure Visibility

The install package Playbook will only work on RHEL 7 Virtual Machines. It will fail on RHEL 6 Virtual Machines, because the lab internal YUM mirror does not have a copy of the relevant channels.

Since this is a known limitation, it is a good idea to not show the button if the guest Operating System of the selected Virtual Machine does not meet the requirements. With the new “Visibility” expression filter, this is easy to implement.

Navigate to Automation -> Automate -> Customization

navigate to Customization

You should already be in this menu if you followed the previous steps

Click on the “Tools” Button Group you created in the previous lab

navigate to tools button group

Click on Configuration -> Edit this Button

edit custom button

Click on the Advanced tab

in the Visibility section of the dialog, create the following expression:

Field: VM and Instance.OS: Product Name - STARTS WITH "rhel_7"

Visibility expression

Don’t forget to click on the check mark to save the expression!

save enablement expression

Click Save

Improve the Service Dialog

The automatically generated Service Dialog is not perfect. It might confuse the user with too many input fields. It asks for the “Machine Credentials”, but those have already been defined in the Service Catalog Item. It also asks for the “Host”, but this one is automatically adjusted to be the selected Virtual Machine. And finally the field “package_name” could benefit from a more descriptive text.

In the following steps, we want to make the Service Dialog more user friendly by simplifying it.

Edit the Service Dialog

Navigate to Automation -> Automate -> Customization

navigate to Customization

Click on Service Dialogs in the accordion on the left

navigate to Service Dialogs

Click the check box next to “InstallPackage”

Click on Configuration -> Copy the selected Dialog to a new Dialog

copy install package service dialog

Let’s improve the Service Dialog by applying the following changes:

Dialog’s name: Install Package from Button

Hide the element “Machine Credentials” by clicking on the little pen icon.

edit machine credentials

The edit icon only shows if you move the mouse pointer over the “Machine Credentials” text box.

Do not delete the element, only hide it! The element is still needed for some CloudForms internal logic and should not be removed.

Click on Overridable Options and switch the Visible switch to “No”

visible no for machine credentials

Click Save to close the dialog

Repeat this for the “Hosts” element. Click on the pen icon next to it.

edit hosts

The edit icon only shows if you move the mouse pointer over the “Hosts” text box.

Click on Options and switch Visible to “No”

visible no for hosts

Do not delete the element, only hide it! The element is still needed for some CloudForms internal logic and should not be removed.

Click on the little pen icon next to the “package_name” text box

The edit icon only shows if you move the mouse pointer over the “package_name” text box.

Change the label to something more descriptive:

Label: Enter Package Name

Do not change the field “Name” - it is the name of the variable used internally by CLoudForms and the Ansible Playbook. if you change the name of this field, the Playbook will not pickup the new variable and hence ignore the user input.

Also let’s give more information to the user by improving the “Help” text:

Help: Enter the name of the RPM package to be installed on the system

package_name field details

Click Save to apply the changes

install package Service Dialog

Click Save To save all changes we made in the Service Dialog

This concludes this part of the lab.

Create improved Service Catalog Item

To be able to use the new Service Dialog with our button, we first have to create an additional Service Catalog Item, which points to the Service Dialog.

Navigate to Services -> Catalogs

navigate to Services Catalogs

Navigate to Catalog Items in the accordion on the left

navigate to Catalog Items

Click on Configuration -> Add a New Catalog Item

create new catalog item

Select Ansible Playbook as Catalog Item Type

select ansible playbook as type

Use the following parameters when defining the Service Catalog Item:

Name: Install Package from Button

Description: Install Package via Ansible Playbook

Display in Catalog: Yes

Catalog: Ansible

Repository: Github

Playbook: playbooks/InstallPackage.yml

Machine Credentials: Virtual Machine credentials

Variables & Default Values: add one new entry with:

Variable: package_name

Default Value: httpd

Click the little plus (“+”) icon to save the row.

Dialog: Use Exiting

Use “Install Package from Button” as the name of the Dialog, which is the one we created in the step before.

dialog to create InstallPackage Service Catalog Item

Click Add to save all changes

Update the Button definition

As the last step, we have to change the definition of our button, to point to the just created Service Catalog Item.

Navigate to Automation -> Automate -> Customization

navigate to Customization

Click on Buttons in the accordion on the left

navigate to buttons

Click on the “Install Package” Button you created in the previous lab

navigate to tools button group

Click on Configuration -> Edit this Button

Change the Playbook Catalog item to the new one you just created “Install Package from Button”

change playbook catalog item

Click Save to store all changes

Test the improved Button

Navigate to Compute -> Infrastructure -> Virtual Machines

navigate to virtual machines

Click on the “cfme001” tile if not already selected

VM cfme001 is turned on

On the details page of “cfme001” click on Tools -> Install Package

VM with additional tools menu

Click on Tools -> Install Package

Ansible button dialog

You should see the simplified version of the Dialog. The Package Name has a better description, there is a tool tip if you hover the mouse over the little “i” icon and the redundant fields for “Machine Credentials” and “Hosts” are gone.

Click Submit to execute the Button action

Navigate to Services -> My Services

navigate to Services, My Services

As a result of your action, a new “My Services” object was created. If you don’t see it yet, wait a minute and click on the reload button.

Click on the “Install Playbook” item to see the details

details of Ansible Playbook

Click on the Provisioning tab to see output from your Ansible Playbook

Ansible Playbook output

This concludes this part of the Ansible lab.

Feel free to repeat this part of the lab with a different package name. You could use “screen” as an example instead of httpd - or some other package you want to install.