The default format for output is YAML, but you can use JSON or XML instead with --format/-f. Note that Clout in JSON may lose some type information (e.g. JSON doesn’t distinguish between an integer and a float). XML output uses a bespoke structure for maps and lists.

For YAML you can add the additional --strict/-y switch to output a stricter YAML, which adds scalar type tags (such as !!str, !!int, !!timestamp) and outputs all strings in double quotes with no | or > notations. This is useful if you are consuming the YAML output with a non-compliant or buggy parser.

Another YAML-specific switch is --timestamps. By default Puccini will allow the YAML “!!timestamp” type in its output. This type was included in YAML 1.1 but made optional in YAML 1.2. Most YAML parsers should support it, but in case your YAML 1.2 parser doesn’t you can disable this feature by setting this switch to false, in which case a canonical ISO-8601 (RFC-3339) string will be output instead.

The --pretty switch (enabled by default) attempts a more human-readable output, with indentation and color highlighting in terminals. Disable this switch for a more compact output.

TOSCA Quirks

pucini-tosca supports “quirks”, via the --quirk/-x switch, which are variations on the default grammar rules. The reason this is required is unfortunate: the low quality of the TOSCA spec, riddled as it is with gaps, inconsistencies, and errors, means that there’s too much room for varying interpretations of the spec as well as missing functionality. Puccini aims to adhere as closely as possible to the spec, literally and in spirit, but also must be pragmatic. Quirks allow Puccini to smooth incompatibilities with other tools and work around a few TOSCA pain points. Example of use:

puccini-tosca compile weird.yaml -x data_types.string.permissive

The list of supported quirks is maintained here.

Errors and Debugging

If TOSCA compilation or parsing fails it will emit a colorful problem report to stderr and exit with code 1. You can use the --quiet/-q to avoid output if all you want to do is check for success.

Logs are written to stderr (with colors) by default. Use --log/-l to output to a file (without colors). Use --verbose/-v to add log verbosity. This can be used twice for maximum verbosity: -vv.

A simple trick for if you just want to see the logs on the console: just redirect stdout to /dev/null (stderr will still be present):

puccini-tosca compile service.yaml -vv > /dev/null


The most common command is compile. The optional input is a filesystem path or URL to a TOSCA service template YAML file or a CSAR file. If no input is provided will attempt to read YAML from stdin. By default the compiled Clout will be output to stdout, but you can use the --output/-o switch to specify a file (or direct to a file in the shell via >):

puccini-tosca compile service.yaml --output clout.yaml


puccini-tosca compile service.yaml > clout.yaml

If your TOSCA service template YAML imports other units, and these imported paths are relative, then Puccini will assume that they are relative to the base URL of the main service template file. This allows you to move your files around, and even host them at a URL, without changing the file contents. This works as expected even within a CSAR file because Puccini uses zip: URLs to locate files within it.


Also useful (or necessary) is the --input/-i switch, which lets you set the inputs for the TOSCA topology template. You may specify this switch multiple times for as many inputs as necessary. The format is name=value, where value is YAML-encoded. For example, to set an integer:

--input cores=4

To set a string:

--input ram=4gb

To set a complex data type:

--input 'port={type:tcp,number:8080}'

You can also load all inputs from YAML context located at a path or URL using the --inputs/-n switch. The --input/-i switch is processed after, so it can be used override values in the YAML content.


By default, the compiler will resolve the topology, which attempts to satisfy requirements with capabilities and create relationships (Clout edges) between node templates. This can be disabled via the --resolve/-r switch:

puccini-tosca compile --resolve=false service.yaml

Topology resolution can be applied after compilation on an existing Clout via the embedded tosca.resolve JavaScript:

cat clout.yaml | puccini-clout scriptlet exec tosca.resolve

Read more about resolution here.


TOSCA functions and constraints are embedded in the Clout (as stubs) and are intended to be executed when necessary. Thus they not called during compilation, unless they are needed for topology resolution. If you want to call all of them and see the evaluated results, pipe the Clout through puccini-clout and execute the embedded tosca.coerce scriptlet:

cat clout.yaml | puccini-clout scriptlet exec tosca.coerce

Values can be re-coerced later according to changing attributes and other external factors.

As a convenience, compile can call tosca.coerce for you via the --coerce/-c switch:

puccini-tosca compile --coerce service.yaml

Note that doing so means you do not get the original compiled output.


If you need more diagnostics for TOSCA parsing use the parse command. It works similarly to compile but does not emit Clout. Instead, it provides you various switches for examining the internal workings of Puccini’s TOSCA parser.

Use --stop/-s to specify a phase (1-5) at which you wish the parser to stop. This could be useful if you’re getting too many problems in your report and wish to minimize them to a more manageable list. Note that -s 0 will skip the TOSCA parser entirely and just check that the YAML input is readable.

--dump/-d is used to dump the internal data of phases. You may specify multiple phases to dump using “,”, e.g. -d 2,3,4. Per phase you will see:

The --filter/-t switch can be used to filter for specific parsed entities. Each entity is given a path that more-or-less follows JSON. For example, a path can be:


The switch will search for all paths that contains your string, e.g. -t properties. You can even include one or more “*” wildcards, e.g. -t 'node*properties*data'.