A Catalog is a large, snapshotable, content-addressed datastructure used in Warpforge to communicate human-readable labels for data and filesystem snapshots.

Catalogs can also store associated metadata within the same labelling system, and one major use of this is to attach standardized rebuild instructions (called Replays) the data that has been inserted into and labelled in a Catalog.


A Formula is one of the main API objects used to do work with Warpforge. A Formula contains a set of "inputs", an "action" section that describes some work to do, and some labeled "outputs".

In a Formula, the inputs must all be WareIDs or other literals. (Catalog references, or anything at all that refers to other information outside the Formula object, are not allowed!)

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.


A Plot is one of the main API objects used to do work with Warpforge. A Plot contains a set of "inputs", some "steps" which describe work to do, and some labeled "outputs".

In a Plot, the inputs can use human-readable names from catalog references, and steps can refer to these inputs by local names, as well as use other steps outputs as their own inputs. Each "step" is resolved into a Formula when a Plot is evaluated.

In contrast to a Plot, a Formula is also a major API object in Warpforge which describes doing some work... but its inputs are restricted to being WareIDs and other literals. References to catalog information are not allowed in Formulas, making them both more concrete but simultaneously much less convenient to use directly in comparson to Plots.


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), and can also be used directly in some commands (like warpforge ware unpack), but are often hidden behind a Catalog lookup indirection at higher layers (such as in Plots) that allow human-readable references to be used instead of large hard-to-read hashes.