A Catalog is the serializable API used by Warpforge to associate human-readable names to filesystem snapshot hashes.

Catalogs are themselves snapshotable, content-addressed data structures -- just like the filesystem snapshots they label.

Catalogs have an extensible schema and are also meant to store arbitrary associated metadata along with the primary naming information. Major uses of this include both simple metadata -- like "author" -- and also is the basis of more complex and powerful features, like Warpforge's storage of standardized rebuild instructions (called Replays).

See the main articles for Catalogs!


A Formula is one of the main API objects in Warpforge, and it describes some commands to be invoked within an environment.

A Formula contains:

  1. a set of "inputs" (filesystems, and where to mount them),
  2. an "action" section that describes some work to do,
  3. and filesystem paths to collect, save a snapshot of, and report as "outputs" after the work is done.

Formulas look similar to Plots, because both describe actions to be taken, but there are some major differences:

One of the virtues of a formula is that it can be hashed and content-addressed -- and this is a perfect key to use for memoization, since it's a total description of a static environment. (Plots are not similarly suitable, because they allow non-static references!)

Formulas, though used as a part of all processing in Warpforge, are not often seen directly by users. Typically, a Plot is used to generate a Formula (or series of Formulas, if the plot has multiple "steps"), while using human-readable names that allow stitching together larger suites of related work.

See the main articles about Formulas in the Warpforge API docs!


An ingest directive is one of the kinds of input strategy that can be used in a Plot. It directs Warpforge to gather a snapshot of some host filesystem state, then use that snapshot as the input.

Example ingest directives look like ingest:git:.:HEAD or ingest:tar:./path.

Ingests are a non-static kind of input, and so cannot be used in a Formula (although it can be used in a Plot). Ingests are also not valid in a Replay, despite being valid in a Plot -- because ingests are all about bringing unmanaged data into the grasp of Warpforge, they don't make make much sense to attempt to replay.

The main practical uses of ingest directives is easy integration with development environments. Ingests are not useful during release engineering.


A Plot is one of the main API objects used to do work with Warpforge, and describes a series of steps to be evaluated, each of which does some isolated piece of work, and may be described as using other work as inputs.

Plots are very similar to Formulas, except:

Plots are thus very much more "powerful" than Formulas, and as a user you're more likely to use the Plot API for most purposes. However, a Formula is more independent than a Plot, since resolving a Plot may require additional context (like a catalog, or some piece of host filesystem for an ingest, etc).

See the main articles about Plots in the Warpforge API docs!


A WareID is an input identifier string that identifies a filesystem snapshot by a hash.

Example WareIDs look like ware:tar:4z9DCTxoKkStqXQRwtf9nimpfQQ36dbndDsAPCQgECfbXt3edanUrsVKCjE9TkX2v9 or ware:git:d68916538966843121b9362a6b925a151d3fbbd3.

WareIDs are seen in lower-level Warpforge APIs (like Formulas), frequently appear in logs, and can also be used directly in some commands (like warpforge ware unpack).

In higher level APIs (such as in Plots), WareIDs are often not seen directly, but are instead indirected behind a Catalog lookup, which allow human-readable references to be used instead of large hard-to-read hashes.

See the main articles about Wares and WareIDs in the Warpforge API docs!