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Component Actions

Component Actions offer several exec entrypoints that allow a component to perform additional logic at key stages of its lifecycle. These actions are executed within a shell with the same context as the Zarf binary. For a detailed overview of the execution sequence of component actions, please refer to the Zarf package create lifecycle documentation and package deploy lifecycle documentation. Additionally, you can experiment with the component actions example located in the Component Actions example page.

Action Sets

The component.actions field includes the following optional keys, also known as action sets:

  • onCreate - Runs during zarf package create.
  • onDeploy - Runs during zarf package deploy.
  • onRemove - Runs during zarf package remove.

Action Set Lists

These action sets contain optional action lists. The onSuccess and onFailure action lists are conditional and rely on the success or failure of previous actions within the same component, as well as the component's lifecycle stages.

  • before - sequential list of actions that will run before this component is processed for create, deploy, or remove.
  • after - sequential list of actions that will run after this component is successfully processed for create, deploy, or remove.
  • onSuccess - sequential list of actions that will run after ALL after actions have successfully completed.
  • onFailure - sequential list of actions that will run after ANY error during the above actions or component operations.

Action Set Defaults

In addition to action lists, action sets can also specify a defaults section that will be applied to all actions in the set. The defaults section contains all of the same elements as an action configuration, with the exception of the action specific keys like cmd, description or wait, which are not allowed in the defaults section.

Action Configurations

An action list contains an ordered set of action configurations that specify what a particular action will do. In Zarf there are two action types (cmd and wait), the configuration of which is described below.

Common Action Configuration Keys

Between all action configurations, there are a few common keys that are common to all of them which are described below:

  • description - a description of the action that will replace the default text displayed to the user when the action is running. For example: description: "File to be created" would display Waiting for "File to be created" instead of Waiting for "touch test-create-before.txt".
  • maxTotalSeconds - the maximum total time to allow the command to run (default: 0 - no limit for command actions, 300 - 5 minutes for wait actions).

cmd Action Configuration

A cmd action executes arbitrary commands or scripts within a shell wrapper. You can use the cmd key to define the command(s) to run. This can also be a multi-line script. You cannot use cmd and wait in the same action.

Within each of the action lists (before, after, onSuccess, and onFailure), the following action configurations are available:

  • cmd - (required if not a wait action) the command to run.
  • dir - the directory to run the command in, defaults to the current working directory.
  • mute - whether to mute the realtime output of the command, output is always shown at the end on failure (default: false).
  • maxRetries - the maximum number of times to retry the command if it fails (default: 0 - no retries).
  • env - an array of environment variables to set for the command in the form of name=value.
  • setVariables - set the standard output of the command to a list of variables that can be used in other actions or components (onDeploy only).
  • shell - set a preferred shell for the command to run in for a particular operating system (default is sh for macOS/Linux and powershell for Windows).

By default, multi-line cmd blocks will fail if one of the lines errors out; this is analogous to setting set -e in a shell script, as documented in the GNU bash docs.


Any binaries you execute in your cmd actions must exist on the machine they are executed on. You can bring binaries with a Zarf Package as files with the executable key set, or take advantage of the ./zarf  transformation as described in action transformations.

wait Action Configuration

The wait action temporarily halts the component stage it's initiated in, either until the specified condition is satisfied or until the maxTotalSeconds time limit is exceeded (which, by default, is set to 5 minutes). To define wait parameters, execute the wait key; it's essential to note that you cannot use cmd and wait in the same action. Essentially, a wait action is yaml sugar for a call to ./zarf tools wait-for.

Within each of the action lists (before, after, onSuccess, and onFailure), the following action configurations are available:

  • wait - (required if not a cmd action) the wait parameters.
    • cluster - perform a wait operation on a Kubernetes resource (kubectl wait).
      • kind - the kind of resource to wait for (required).
      • name - the name of the resource to wait for (required), can be a name or label selector.
      • namespace - the namespace of the resource to wait for.
      • condition - the condition to wait for (default: exists).
    • network - perform a wait operation on a network resource (curl).
      • protocol - the protocol to use (i.e. http, https, tcp).
      • address - the address/port to wait for (required).
      • code - the HTTP status code to wait for if using http or https, or success to check for any 2xx response code (default: success).

Action Examples

Below are some examples of putting together simple actions at various points in the Zarf lifecycle:

Below is a simple example of an onCreate action set that declares defaults as well as before and after action lists:

Action Transformations

As you may have noticed mentioned in the before action list of the above Simple onCreate example, Zarf provides some helpful transformations that help enhance cross-platform compatibility and allow you to better orchestrate Zarf and its components.

Below are the transformations that Zarf will make on an action before it is ran:

  • Replace ./zarf  with the path to the currently running Zarf executable.
    • This allows you to run Zarf in Zarf and is designed to help you use zarf tools commands in the air gap.
  • Replace common Unix commands and shell syntax with powershell / pwsh alternatives on Windows.
    • This allows commands like touch to work on Windows and while not perfect enhances cross-platform capabilities.
  • Add env entries for all previously declared Zarf variables.
    • This allows you to use variables in actions and when combined with setVariables allows you to chain variables from an action for use in later actions or templates.

Within onDeploy action lists, you can use the setVariables action configuration to set a list of variables that can be used in other actions or components during zarf package deploy. The variable value will be assigned in two environment variables: ZARF_VAR_{NAME} and TF_VAR_{name}. These values will be accessible in subsequent actions and can be used for templating in files or manifests in other components as ###ZARF_VAR_{NAME}###. This feature allows package authors to define dynamic runtime variables for consumption by other components or actions.


Unlike normal variables, setVariables do not need to be defined with the variables key at the top of the zarf.yaml.

Additional Action Use Cases

Below are a few more use cases from other examples and packages for how actions can be used:

The below example shows the kiwix-serve component from the data injections example which downloads a .zim file with an onCreate.before action for inclusion into the Zarf package.