I searched a lot for exact the same thing that I wanted to do, but found nothing. So, I'm here to ask:

I have a playbook.yml, where defined some tasks. The first task of that playbook is checking existence of file and, if file exists I want to execute only the tasks, that are defined in the tasks.yml file and stop executing of tasks from playbook.yml (or vice versa). I have read Ansible documentation of course, first of all. But I still don't get if I'm able to do exactly what I want with import/include_tasks modules (tried both of them).


Q: "Checking the existence of a file"

A: Use stat. For example

- stat:
    path: /etc/foo.conf
  register: st

Q: "If the file exists execute tasks, that are defined in tasks.yml file"

A: Use include_tasks. For example

- include_tasks: tasks.yml
  when: st.stat.exists

Q: "Stop executing of tasks from playbook.yml"

A: Use meta. For example

- meta: end_play
  when: st.stat.exists
  • thank you for your reply. I wasn't clear enough with my question: the task, that is "checking existence of a file", is used for existence of docker container, so I use shell module it this way: name: Check if there is no container on the host command: docker ps -a | grep container_name register: existence ignore_errors: yes And after that, as you mentioned, I use include_tasks module. But it still works in an unexpected way (I don't understand something, I guess). And thank you very much for mentioning the meta module, I will add that. – Andrey N. Nov 26 '19 at 13:31


- name: Unconditional include
  include_tasks: include.yml

- name: include only if file exists
  include_tasks: '{{ item }}'
        - includeandend.yml
  #  query() returns a blank list for the loop if no files are found.
  loop: "{{ q('first_found', params, errors='ignore') }}"

- debug:
    msg: "If included, this will not execute"


- debug:
    msg: "In an included file. Play will continue."


- debug:
    msg: "In an included file. Play will end now."

- meta: end_play


- hosts: localhost
  gather_facts: False

    - includeandend

In Ansible, it is typical to assume a tasks file exists within a given project. The playbook author will write it that way.

My implementation works around that by only including if exists with a first_found lookup.

Because of the requirement to stop playbook.yml, I use meta: end_play.

  • Thank you for your reply! I'll try to implement your variant on the playbook. – Andrey N. Nov 26 '19 at 13:39

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