What Scripting Language Is Used in Ansible?


Heather Bennett

Ansible is an open-source automation tool that allows users to automate various IT tasks, such as configuration management, application deployment, and orchestration. It is widely used in DevOps practices to streamline workflows and improve efficiency. One of the key aspects of Ansible is its use of a scripting language to define the automation tasks.

What Scripting Language Is Used in Ansible?

Ansible uses a simple yet powerful scripting language called YAML (Yet Another Markup Language). YAML is a human-readable data serialization format that is often used for configuration files. In Ansible, YAML is used to define playbooks, which are the files that describe the automation tasks.


YAML was chosen as the scripting language for Ansible due to its simplicity and readability. Unlike other scripting languages like Python or Ruby, which require complex syntax and indentation rules, YAML uses a clean and intuitive structure.

Advantages of using YAML in Ansible:

  • Simplicity: YAML has a minimalistic syntax that makes it easy to understand even for beginners.
  • Readability: The human-readable format of YAML allows users to quickly grasp the logic behind the automation tasks.
  • No compilation required: Unlike compiled languages such as Java or C++, there is no need to compile YAML before executing it.
  • Cross-platform support: YAML is supported by various programming languages, making it versatile and compatible with different systems.

Anatomy of an Ansible Playbook

In Ansible, playbooks are written in YAML and consist of one or more plays. Each play defines a set of tasks to be executed on a specific group of hosts. Let’s take a closer look at the structure of an Ansible playbook:


A play is a high-level section of a playbook that maps to a set of hosts. It consists of the following elements:

  • Name: A descriptive name for the play.
  • Hosts: The Target hosts or groups on which the tasks will be executed.
  • Tasks: The list of tasks to be performed.


A task is a unit of work in Ansible. It represents an action to be executed on the Target hosts. Each task consists of the following elements:

  • Name: A descriptive name for the task.
  • Action: The specific action to be performed, such as installing packages, copying files, or running commands.

Example Playbook

To illustrate how YAML is used in Ansible, here’s an example playbook that installs and starts an Apache web server:

- name: Install and start Apache
  hosts: web_servers
    - name: Install Apache
        name: apache2
        state: present

    - name: Start Apache
        name: apache2
        state: started

In this example, we define a play named “Install and start Apache” that Targets the “web_servers” group. Within the play, we have two tasks: “Install Apache” and “Start Apache”. Each task specifies the action to be performed and any required parameters.

By utilizing the power of YAML, Ansible provides a user-friendly and intuitive way to define automation tasks. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced DevOps practitioner, YAML makes it easy to create efficient and scalable automation workflows.

So, the next time you use Ansible, remember that it leverages the simplicity and readability of YAML as its scripting language, allowing you to automate tasks with ease.

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