Why you should use the Ansible set_fact module

So far it seems that the Ansible set_fact module is not required very often. I found 2 cases in the roles I write:

In the awx role:

- name: pick most recent tag
    awx_version: ""
    - ""

In the zabbix_server role:

- name: find version of zabbix-server-mysql
    zabbix_server_version: ""

In both cases a “complex” variable strucure is saved into a simpler to call variable name.

Variables that are constructed of other variables can be set in vars/main.yml. For example the kernel role needs a version of the kernel in defaults/main.yml:

kernel_version: 5.0.3

And the rest can be calculated in vars/main.yml:

kernel_unarchive_src: https://cdn.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v.x/linux-.tar.xz

So sometimes set_fact can be used to keep code simple, other (most) times vars/main.yml can help.

For a moral compass Southpark uses Brian Boitano, where my moral coding compass uses Jeff Geerling who would say something like: “If your code is complex, it’s probably not good.”