Build your first snap
A single text file
Note: We strongly recommend using an Ubuntu 16.04 host, VM or container for this guide. While it is possible to use newer releases of Ubuntu, or other Linux distributions, this may result in incorrect libraries being pulled into the build.
Snapcraft uses a single text file to describe the entire build process for a snap: the
To get started with a template, you can run
It will create a new directory
snap with a file named
snapcraft.yaml in the current directory.
Let’s have a look inside:
$ cat snap/snapcraft.yaml name: my-snap-name # you probably want to 'snapcraft register <name>' version: '0.1' # just for humans, typically '1.2+git' or '1.3.2' summary: Single-line elevator pitch for your amazing snap # 79 char long summary description: | This is my-snap's description. You have a paragraph or two to tell the most important story about your snap. Keep it under 100 words though, we live in tweetspace and your description wants to look good in the Snap Store. grade: devel # must be 'stable' to release into candidate/stable channels confinement: devmode # use 'strict' once you have the right plugs and slots parts: my-part: # See 'snapcraft plugins' plugin: nil
This is the only file needed in the directory. Snapcraft can use local source code or fetch everything needed to build the snap from remote sources as you will see in the following example.
From an app to a snap
Your first snap is going to be a very straightforward one. We are going to snap
GNU Hello, an app that prints “Hello, world!” on the command line.
Let’s edit the
snapcraft.yaml file. First, we need to set the general metadata for the snap:
- its name
- the version of GNU Hello we are going to snap
- a one-line summary and a user friendly description
confinement, which inform the system if the snap is meant to be a stable release (
devel) and if strict security policies should be enforced (
name: hello version: "2.10" summary: GNU Hello, the "hello world" snap description: GNU Hello prints a friendly greeting. grade: stable confinement: strict
Then, you need to declare apps and commands shipped in the snap. In this case, we have a single app (
hello) with a single command (
apps: hello: command: hello
Now, you need to tell snapcraft where to find the hello source code and how to build it. This is done with the
parts keyword, which are building blocks that compose your snap.
In this case, it’s a single part, pulled from a remote tar.gz
source, then built using the
autotools plugin (which will run the usual autotools steps:
parts: gnu-hello: plugin: autotools source: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz
Let’s have a look at our final file:
name: hello version: "2.10" summary: GNU Hello, the "hello world" snap description: GNU Hello prints a friendly greeting. grade: stable confinement: strict apps: hello: command: hello parts: gnu-hello: plugin: autotools source: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz
You can now build a snap out of your
snapcraft.yaml by running
snapcraft in the project directory:
$ snapcraft Preparing to pull gnu-hello Pulling gnu-hello Downloading 'hello-2.10.tar.gz'[=======================] 100% Preparing to build gnu-hello Building gnu-hello [...build...] Staging gnu-hello Priming gnu-hello No libraries to exclude from this release Snapping 'hello' ... Snapped hello_2.10_amd64.snap
Snapcraft just pulled the source code, built and snapped it.
The snap is now available in your directory (along with new
snap directories that allow faster iterations between builds of the same project).
$ ls hello_2.10_amd64.snap parts snap prime
The name of the
.snap file is based on information in the
snapcraft.yaml (its name and version) and the architecture you’re building on:
<name>_<version>_<arch>.snap. Here, the snap was built on an amd64 machine, so the architecture used in the file name reflects that.
Install the snap
Now that everything needed for the hello app to run has been packaged inside a snap. You can install it locally.
--dangerous flag needs to be used here because your snap has not been signed.
$ sudo snap install hello_2.10_*.snap --dangerous hello 2.10 installed
Congratulations, you’ve just made and installed your first snap!
You can run the
hello command to see it in action:
$ hello Hello, World!
You can also use the
snap info command to get more details about it:
$ snap info hello name: hello summary: "GNU Hello, the \"hello world\" snap" publisher: description: GNU Hello prints a friendly greeting commands: - hello tracking: installed: 2.10 (x1) 65kB - refreshed: 2016-12-23 17:03:55 +0100 CET
Record a manifest of the build
You can record a manifest full of details of the build, including information about the machine where the snap was built, what was installed on that machine during the build and what was installed inside the snap. Recording this information is useful for the users to know exactly what they are installing on their systems, and it is useful for you for security auditing. When there is a report of a new security vulnerability, you will know if it affects your snap by checking the manifest.
To record this manifest, run snapcraft with the environment variable
After the build is done, the manifest will be recorded into the file
prime/snap/manifest.yaml. After the snap is installed, it will be available
This file includes the values from the original
snapcraft.yaml, plus the
following annotations for each part:
installed-packages: The names and versions of the packages installed during the build of the part.
stage-packages: The names and versions of the packages installed inside the snap.
installed-snaps: The names and revisions of the snaps installed in the machine during the build.
uname: System information, including kernel version, operating system name and architecture.
If snapcraft was executed in a container build, it will also record
with the fingerprint of the container image, the architecture and the date it
In addition to this, each plugin adds information specific to its build process. For example, if the plugin uses a package manager to install additional dependencies, the name and version of those dependencies will be recorded.
Ubuntu Tutorials are just like learning from pair programming except you can do it on your own.
Recommended snap tutorials to get started: