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Provide data files to components

Goal

In the guide on building components we saw several examples of defining components for executables and then packaging them. In this document we review ways of making data files available to components in the same package.

Hermetic data files with resource()

At runtime, components are able to read the contents of their own package by accessing the path /pkg/ in their namespace. The resource() template may be used to add contents to the package that may be accessed this way.

import("//build/dist/resource.gni")

# List of greetings
resource("greetings") {
  sources = [ "greetings.txt" ]
  outputs = [ "data/{{source_file_part}}" ]
}

See the resource template for more usage instructions. For information about {{source_file_part}} and similar syntax see GN placeholders.

Using resource() is also demonstrated in additional packaged resources.

Including resources with a component

Add a dependency on the resource target from a component in order to ensure that the resource(s) are included in the same package.

import("//build/components.gni")

# Sends a random greeting to a client
executable("greeter") {
  sources = [ "greeter.cc" ]
  deps = [ ... ]
}

fuchsia_component("greeting_server") {
  deps = [
    ":greeter",
    ":greetings",
  ]
  manifest = "meta/greeting_server.cml"
}

In the example above, at runtime the component will be able to read the file in its namespace at the path /pkg/data/greetings.txt. This will work regardless of what package(s) (defined with fuchsia_package()) this component is included in.

Packaging conventions

  • Small data files (less than 4kb) should be packaged under meta/, though this is not required. Packaging small files under meta/ allows the packaging system to archive them in a single meta.far file, which is a more efficient way to store small files.

  • Otherwise, data files are usually packaged under data/ by convention, though again this is not a technical requirement.

Using different resources in different packages

Sometimes it's desirable to package the same component with different data files.

import("//build/dist/resource.gni")
import("//build/components.gni")

# Sends a random greeting to a client
executable("greeter") {
  sources = [ "greeter.cc" ]
  deps = [ ... ]
}

fuchsia_component("greeting_server") {
  deps = [ ":greeter" ]
  manifest = "meta/greeting_server.cml"
}

# List of production greetings.
# Contains only the finest greetings and the best regards.
resource("greetings") {
  sources = [ "greetings.txt" ]
  outputs = [ "data/greetings.txt" ]
}

fuchsia_package("greeting") {
  deps = [
    ":greeting_server",
    ":greetings",
  ]
}

# Greetings for testing.
# Contains exactly one greeting so that tests are reproducible.
resource("test_greeting") {
  testonly = true
  sources = [ "test_greeting.txt" ]
  outputs = [ "data/greetings.txt" ]
}

# Connects to the greeting server.
# Ensures that the expected greeting is sent back.
fuchsia_test_component("greeting_test_client") {
  ...
}

fuchsia_test_package("greeting_integration_test") {
  test_components = [ ":greeting_test_client" ]
  deps = [
    ":greeting_server",
    ":test_greeting",
  ]
}

In the example above, the same greeting_server component is added to two packages, one for production and another for testing. In both cases the component will find a file under /pkg/data/greetings.txt. However the contents of this file will vary between the production version and the testing version, depending on the package association.

Product-specific configuration with config_data()

Sometimes a component is defined in one repository but its data is defined in another repository. For instance fuchsia.git defines a font provider service, but the workstation product configuration (defined in a different repository) defines which fonts are available to the font provider.

The config_data() template allows developers to make files available to components in a different package without having to directly change the contents of that package.

import("//build/config.gni")

config_data("workstation_fonts") {
  for_pkg = "fonts"
  sources = [
    "RobotoMono-Light.ttf",
    "RobotoMono-Medium.ttf",
    "RobotoMono-Regular.ttf",
  ]
  outputs = [ "fonts/{{source_file_part}}" ]
}

Using config_data() with a v1 component

Include the following in your component manifest (.cmx) file:

{
    "sandbox": {
        "features": [
            "config-data"
        ]
    }
}

At runtime your component will be able to read the config files at the path /config/data. In the fonts example above, this assumes that your component launches from a package named "fonts".

Using config_data() with a v2 component

Include the following in your component manifest (.cml) file:

{
    use: [
        {
            directory: "config-data",
            rights: [ "r*" ],
            path: "/config/data",
        },
    ],
}

At runtime your component will be able to read the config files at the path /config/data.

For the above to work, "config-data" must be offered to your component. For instance your parent may have a declaration that looks like this:

{
    children: [
        {
            name: "font-provider",
            url: "fuchsia-pkg://fuchsia.com/fonts#meta/font-provider.cm",
        },
    ],
    offer: [
        {
            directory: "config-data",
            from: "parent",
            to: [ "#font-provider" ],
            subdir: "fonts",
        },
    ],
}

See also configuration data in the v2 migration guide.

How config_data() works

All config_data() targets that are defined in your build configuration collect their files into a single package called config-data. This package is defined in the system assembly as part of the base package set. The contents of this package replicate the parameters in config_data() definitions, so that they can be routed as subdirectories to components that expect them.

Known issues

  • The config-data package that collects all files from config_data() definitions is part of the base set of packages. As a result its contents do not update in the fx serve developer workflow. To update data files you must repave or OTA your device, or if using an emulator rebuild the system image and restart the emulator.

  • Defining config_data() also requires making changes to component manifest files as shown above. Some of the strings used are repeated in multiple places, which is error-prone. When mistakes are made they can be difficult to troubleshoot.

Due to the above, always prefer using resource() if possible.