Propellor ensures that a list of properties about a system are satisfied. But requirements change, and so you might want to revert a property that had been set up before.
For example, I had a system with a webserver container:
Docker.docked container hostname "webserver"
I don't want a web server there any more. Rather than having a separate property to stop it, wouldn't it be nice to be able to say:
revert (Docker.docked container hostname "webserver")
I've now gotten this working. The really fun part is, some properies support reversion, but other properties certianly do not. Maybe the code to revert them is not worth writing, or maybe the property does something that cannot be reverted.
Docker.garbageCollected is a property that makes sure there
are no unused docker images wasting disk space. It can't be reverted.
Nor can my personal
standardSystem Unstable property, which amoung other
things upgrades the system to unstable and sets up my home directory..
I found a way to make Propellor statically check if a property can be
reverted at compile time. So
revert Docker.garbageCollected will fail
to type check!
The tricky part about implementing this is that the user configures Propellor with a list of properties. But now there are two distinct types of properties, revertable ones and non-revertable ones. And Haskell does not support heterogeneous lists..
My solution to this is a typeclass and some syntactic sugar operators. To build a list of properties, with individual elements that might be revertable, and others not:
props & standardSystem Unstable & revert (Docker.docked container hostname "webserver") & Docker.docked container hostname "amd64-git-annex-builder" & Docker.garbageCollected