Template defined placeholders

Sometimes templates need to make decisions. For example one might want to conditionally include some code or not. Another use case might be that the user of a template should be able to choose out of provided options in an interactive way. Also, it might be helpful to offer a reasonable default value that the user just simply can use.

Since version 0.6.0 it is possible to use placeholders in a cargo-generate.toml that is in the root folder of a template. Here an example:

type = "string"
prompt = "What hypervisor to use?"
choices = ["uhyve", "qemu"]
default = "qemu"

type = "bool"
prompt = "Want to enable network?"
default = true

As you can see the placeholders configuration section accepts a table of keywords that will become the placeholder name.

In this example the placeholder hypervisor and network_enabled will become template variables and can be used like this:

{% if network_enabled %}
use std::net::TcpListener;

fn main() {
    let listener = TcpListener::bind("").unwrap();
    loop {
        let (conn, addr) = listener.accept().unwrap();
        println!("Incoming Connection from {}", addr);
        std::io::copy(&mut &conn, &mut &conn).unwrap();
{% else %}
fn main() {
    println!("Hello Rusty Hermit 🦀");
{% endif %}

💡 Tip: similar to dependencies in the Cargo.toml file you can also list them as one liners:

hypervisor = { type = "string", prompt = "What hypervisor to use?", choices = ["uhyve", "qemu"], default = "qemu" }
network_enabled = { type = "bool", prompt = "Want to enable network?", default = true }

prompt property

The prompt will be used to display a question / message for this very placeholder on the interactive dialog when using the template.

🤷  What hypervisor to use? [uhyve, qemu] [default: qemu]:

type property

A placeholder can be of type string or bool. Boolean types are usually helpful for conditionally behaviour in templates.

choices property (optional)

A placeholder can come with a list of choices that the user can choose from. It's further also validated at the time when a user generates a project from a template.

choices = ["uhyve", "qemu"]

default property (optional)

A default property must mach the type (string | bool) and is optional. A default should be provided, to ease the interactive process. As usual the user could press enter and the default value would simply be taken, it safes time and mental load.

default = 'qemu'

regex property (optional)

A regex property is a string, that can be used to enforce a certain validation rule. The input dialog will keep repeating until the user entered something that is allowed by this regex.

Placeholder Examples

An example with a regex that allows only numbers

phone_number = { type = "string", prompt = "What's your phone number?", regex = "^[0-9]+$" }

Default values for placeholders

For automation purposes the user of the template may provide the values for the keys in the template using one or more of the following methods.

The methods are listed by falling priority.

--define or -d flag

The user may specify variables individually using the --define flag.

cargo generate template-above -n project-name -d hypervisor=qemu -d network_enabled=true

--template_values_file flag

The user of the template may provide a file containing the values for the keys in the template by using the --template-values-file flag.

⚠️ NOTE: A relative path will be relative to current working dir, which is not inside the expanding template!

The file should be a toml file containing the following (for the example template provided above):

hypervisor = "qemu"
network_enabled = true

Individual values via environment variables

Variables may be specified using environment variables. To do so, set the env var CARGO_GENERATE_VALUE_<variable key> to the desired value.

cargo generate template-above

⚠️ Windows does not support mixed case environment variables. Internally, cargo-generate will ensure the variable name is all lowercase. For that reason, it is strongly recommended that template authors only use lowercase variable/placeholder names.

Template values file via environment variable

The user may use the environment variable CARGO_GENERATE_TEMPLATE_VALUES to specify a file with default values.

For the file format, see above.

Default values

Default values may be specified in the config file (specified with the --config flag, or in the default config file $CARGO_HOME/cargo-generate)

Example config file:

placeholder1 = "default value"

git = "https://github.com/username-on-github/mytemplate.git"

placeholder1 = "default value overriding the default"
placeholder2 = "default value for favorite"