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Load Statements


  • module: single file; can export variables, functions, or be templated => some type of result e.g. yaml structure, or string, or None)
  • package: single directory; contains modules
  • library: collection of packages


Load statement allows to load functions from other modules (such as ones from builtin ytt library).

load("@ytt:overlay", "overlay")                # load overlay module from builtin ytt library
load("@ytt:overlay", ov="overlay")             # load overlay symbol under a different alias
load("", "func1", "func2")         # load func1, func2 from Starlark file
load("helpers.lib.yml", "func1", "func2")      # load func1, func2 from YAML file
load("helpers.lib.txt", "func1", "func2")      # load func1, func2 from text file
load("/dir/helpers.lib.yml", "func1")          # load func1 from file relative to root of library
load("sub-dir/helpers.lib.txt", "func1")       # load func1 from a sub-directory
load("@project:dir/helpers.lib.txt", "func1")  # load func1 from a project located under _ytt_lib

load arguments are as follows:

  1. location which takes following shape [@[library]:][package/]{0,n}module, where,
    • library could be ytt or local path under _ytt_lib directory
      • examples: ytt,, common
    • package could be a directory path
      • examples: overlay, regexp, app/, /app/something
    • module is a file name or predefined name (included in ytt library)
      • examples: module.lib.yml
  2. one or more symbols to import with optional aliases
    • examples: func1, func1="as_func1"

Files can be loaded from current or child directories. As of ytt v0.24.0, / package prefix can be used to load files relative to the root of the current library.

Note that there is a distinction between using load("@project:dir/helpers.lib.txt", "func1") or load("@project/dir:helpers.lib.txt", "func1"), in that, : signifies what ytt considers a self-contained library (i.e. is dir simply a package in project or project/dir a standalone library). This allows files to load other files relative to the library root.

To load a set of functions from a single file, you can create a struct that contains references to the functions. For example:

load("@ytt:struct", "struct")

def testfunc():
  return 123

def otherfunc():
  return 456

mod = struct.make(testfunc=testfunc, otherfunc=otherfunc)


#@ load("", "mod")

result: #@ mod.testfunc()
other_result: #@ mod.otherfunc()

_ytt_lib directory

_ytt_lib directory allows to keep private dependencies from consumers of libraries.

For example given following directory structure:

  • app1.yml can load big-corp/sre.lib.yml via @big-corp:sre.lib.yml
  • app1.yml cannot load big-corp/_ytt_lib/big-corp/common/services.lib.yml as it is a private dependency of anything inside _ytt_lib/big-corp/ directory (e.g. sre.lib.yml)

hence making it possible for big-corp/sre.lib.yml module to keep its big-corp/common library dependency private.


To make files available to load statement they have to be given to ytt CLI via --file (-f) option. The argument of that option can be a path to either of:

  • a file: in which case the file can be loaded by its name.
  • a directory: in which case all the files found can be loaded by using paths relative to the directory. If the directory contains a _ytt_lib folder, then libraries in it can also be loaded.

For example, given following directory structure:

  • ytt -f . will make it possible for app1.yml to load:
    • helpers.lib.yml
    • @apps:apps.lib.yml
    • sub-dir/more-helpers.lib.yml
  • ytt -f helpers.lib.yml -f sub-dir -f app1.yml will make it possible for app1.yml to load:
    • helpers.lib.yml
    • more-helpers.lib.yml (not sub-dir/more-helpers.lib.yml)
    • @weird-lib:funcs.lib.yml


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