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Strongly agree. Support for new AWS features hits Terraform much faster than CloudFormation (still waiting for CF support for AWS's managed ElasticSearch service that was unveiled two months ago--Terraform got it right away). Some of the critiques below are true... HCL is fine, but Terraform's interpolation syntax has a long way to go. That said, CF's JSON is way more painful to deal with. As for the other problems, they go back mainly to someone using a tool they don't fully understand. Yes you can get into some odd states in rare cases, but Terraform gives you the ability to rapidly build and tear down your infrastructure over and over if necessary to work out details and you have fine-grained control over which pieces are built how. Not only that but you can inspect the logs to see what's happening and if there are bugs, you can fix them yourself because the tool is open source and free. CloudFormation gives zero visibility, no fine-grained control, and it's completely opaque and where it's broken, you can't fix it.

Terraform is relatively new and improving rapidly. It has its problems, but it's light-years beyond CloudFormation. It's clear that Amazon doesn't place a high priority on making CloudFormation easy to use, or to support new features. The right approach to any problems with Terraform is not to spread FUD about it like below, but to contribute code fixes.




> HCL is fine, but Terraform's interpolation syntax has a long way to go

Oh, HCL is fine, you say so authoritatively? Well then do me a solid and show me an if statement, show me a for loop. Because you're not building nontrivial, reusable infrastructural modules without logic. I know. I've tried. I've committed, between different projects and clients, somewhere around ten thousand lines of Terraform and probably half are copy-paste garbage because HCL is so crippled a tool.

It hurts me to say this at a deep and visceral level: Terraform's interpolation syntax makes freaking Ansible and its "no, really, it's totally cool, string templates for logic are awesome" look good.

> The right approach to any problems with Terraform is not to spread FUD about it like below, but to contribute code fixes.

Spread FUD? Oh, no no no, you can take your assertions of FUD and insert them somewhere uncomfortable, thank you very much. I wrote Terraframe[1] specifically to contribute back to the Terraform community, to make it better, and stopped (to create a different project) because I was stymied. By no documentation, by HCL <-> JSON not actually working, and by no interest from the developers in any sort of dialogue about actually fulfilling the promises they themselves assert for their software. Between this and bugs that a trivial testing framework should catch (Why are you validating AWS resource names differently between point releases? Why are you changing that validation to be wrong? Why are you breaking my existing states when you've done this? Why did your tests not catch this before you pushed this out to your entire userbase?) I cannot take the project seriously as a tool for being used in infrastructure I care about. Because I don't trust them to take Terraform seriously, either.

[1] - https://github.com/eropple/terraframe


I believe you can hack an if statement by doing a length, substring and equality comparison to make it equivalent.


I'm a big Terraform fan, but I really don't like HCL and its limitations. I ended up writing a PHP "SDK" of sorts that generates JSON that Terraform consumes [1]. It uses the AWS SDK for some things (like listing all available AZs in a VPC), and provides some macros. I made this for use at work, and it powers a few production sites for a large company.

There's still a lot to do to make it ideal for public consumption (like writing docs and freezing the API), but it'll get there sometime soon. PRs are most welcome.

[1] https://github.com/ameir/terraform-php




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