Variables in a Skillet determine what a user can modify or customize before deployment. In Panhandler, these get generated into a web form that a user can fill out. Each variable can have it’s own ‘type’ determined by the ‘type_hint’ attribute in the variable declaration. This page lists all the available type hints for reference.

Variable Types

  • text

    Default input type for user input. Optional allow_special_characters if false will ensure only letters, digits, underscore, hyphens, and spaces are allowed in the input. Set to True to allow all special characters. Default is to allow special characters. Optional attributes allows forcing a minimum and/or maximum length of the entered value.

- name: FW_NAME
  description: Firewall hostname
  default: panos-01
  type_hint: text
  help_text: Hostname for this firewall.
  allow_special_characters: false
    min: 6
    max: 256
  • password

    This type will mask user input by rendering a password type input box.

- name: user_password
  description: Firewall Password
  type_hint: password
  • ip_address

    This type will ensure the entered value matches an IPv4 or IPv6 pattern without a subnet mask.

- name: ip_address
  description: IP Address
  type_hint: ip_address
  • fqdn_or_ip

    This type will ensure the entered value matches an IPv4, IPv6, or a valid hostname pattern. This is the most flexible option for hostname, FQDNs, ip addresses or CIDRs.

- name: host
  description: Target Host
  type_hint: fqdn_or_ip
  • url

    This type will ensure the entered value matches a valid URL scheme.

- name: clone_url
  description: Git Repo Clone URL
  type_hint: url
  • cidr

    This type will ensure the entered value matches an IPv4 or IPv6 CIDR.

- name: ip_address
  description: IP Address
  type_hint: cidr
  • email

    This type will ensure the entered value matches an email pattern.

- name: email
  description: Email
  type_hint: email
  help_text: Enter your email address here to receive lots of spam
  • number

    This type will ensure the entered value is an integer. You may optionally supply the min and max attributes to ensure the entered value do not exceed or fall below those values.

- name: vlan_id
  description: VLAN ID
  default: 1001
  type_hint: number
    min: 1000
    max: 2000
  • float

    This type will ensure the entered value is a float. You may optionally supply the min and max attributes to ensure the entered value do not exceed or fall below those values.

- name: price_per_mbps
  description: Price Per Mbps
  default: 1.50
  type_hint: float
    min: 1.00
    max: 500.00
  • dropdown

    This type will render a select input control. This ensures the user can only select one of the options given in the dd_list.

- name: yes_no
  description: Yes No
  default: 'no'
  type_hint: dropdown
    - key: 'Yes I do'
      value: 'yes'
    - key: 'No I dont'
      value: 'no'


The default parameter should match the value and not the key. The key is what will be shown to the user and the value is what will be used as the value of the variable identified by name.


Some values such as yes, no, true, false, on, off, etc are treated differently in YAML. To ensure these values are not converted to a boolean type, ensure to put single quotes around both the key and the value as in the example above. Refer to the YAML specification for more details:

  • text_area

    This type renders a TextArea input control. This allows the user to enter multiple lines of input. The optional attributes attribute allows you to customize the size of the text area control.

- name: text_area
  description: Multi-Line Input
  default: |
    This is some very long input with lots of
    newlines and white    space
    and stuff. The optional attributes key can also be specified
    to control now the text_area is rendered in panhandler and other cnc apps.
  type_hint: text_area
    rows: 5
    cols: 10
  • json

    This type renders a TextArea input control and ensures the input is properly formatted JSON data

- name: json_string
  description: JSON Input
  default: |
          "key_test": "value_test",
          "key2_test": "value2_test"
  type_hint: json
  • disabled

    This type will show the default value in an input control, but the user cannot change it. This is useful to show values but not allow then to be changed.

- name: DISABLED
  description: No Bueno
  default: panos-01
  type_hint: disabled
  • radio

    This type allows the user to select one option out of the rad_list.

- name: radio_box_example
  description: radios
  default: maybe
  type_hint: radio
    - key: 'Yes'
      value: 'yes'
    - key: 'No'
      value: 'no'
    - key: 'Maybe'
      value: 'maybe'
  • list

    This type will allow the user to input multiple entries. The values of the multiple entries will be converted to an appropriate type for the Skillet type being used. For python, the entries will be converted to a comma separated list. For Terraform, the values will be converted to a terraform appropriate string representation.

- name: list_input
  description: IP Subnets
  type_hint: list
  • hidden

    This type will NOT show an input form control to the user, but the default value will be passed to the skillet. This is useful is you want to ‘capture’ an input from another skillet and pass it into the input of this skillet without having to include it in the input form.

- name: previous_value
  description: from previous skillet in workflow
  default: some_value
  type_hint: hidden
  • file

    This type will upload a file to a temporary directory and set the variable value to the full path to the file. This is useful for python Skillets to take the file path as an input and open and handle the file contents itself.

- name: uploaded_file_path
  description: Upload a File
  type_hint: file

Panhandler Generated UI

Because Skillets are essentially tooling agnostic, it’s up to the tool to implement the UI presented to the user. Some tools may prefer a different approach, or may not even need a UI at all. For example, in a CI/CD pipeline, the value of the variables may be obtained via the OS environment. A script may use command line arguments, etc.

Panhandler generates a fully customized UI for each Skillet that is configured via the types of ‘type_hint’ supplied with each variable. By default, this is a static web form with a single input form control for each variable.

Dynamic UI Elements

In some cases, it may be desirable for the UI to be more dynamic. Each variable can include ‘hints’ about how the UI should behave, but these, of course, are not guaranteed to be implemented in all tooling. Panhandler will produce dynamic UI elements in the following cases:

  • source

    The optional source attribute on dropdown, radio, and checkbox type_hints will use the value of the ‘source’ attribute as a variable. If this variable is found in the context and it is a list, it’s value will be used to populate the form control. If the variable is not found, the form control reverts to a standard ‘text’ input as a fallback.

- name: selected_interface
  description: Interface
  default: not-saved
  type_hint: dropdown
  source: interface_names

If the 'type_hint' is 'text' and the 'source' variable is a list, then multiple text input controls will be shown
to the user, one for each item in the list. The resulting variable captured after the form is POSTed will be a
'dict' with a key for each item in the list, and it's value from the user. This is useful to capture things like
an ip address for each interface in a list.
    - name: interface_ips
      description: Interface IP Address For
      type_hint: text
      source: interface_names

In this example, a text input control will be generated for each of the items found in the 'interface_names' list.
Assume the 'interface_names' variable contained the following:
"interface_names": [
The resulting UI form will include 4 Text inputs. The item in the list will be appended to the description
and used as the text input label. After the user fills in the information in all 4 text inputs, the interface_ips variable in the jinja context will have the following structure:
"interface_ips": {
  "ethernet1/1": "",
  "ethernet1/2": "",
  "ethernet1/3": "",
  "ethernet1/4": "",
  • toggle_hint

    The optional ‘toggle_hint’ attribute will show a field only when the ‘source’ variable’s value matches the configured ‘value’. If the ‘source’ is not found, or it’s current value does not match ‘value’, this form control will be hidden. This is especially useful when paired with a ‘dropdown’ select control. You may provide more than one option for the ‘value’ by passing in a list. The field will be shown if any of the values match.

- name: bgp_asn
  description: Only Required when BGP is enabled
  default: 64000
  type_hint: text
    source: bgp_type
    value: enable

- name: move_rule
  description: move rule location
  default: top
  type_hint: dropdown
   - key: after
     value: after
   - key: before
     value: before
   - key: top
     value: top
   - key: bottom
     value: bottom

- name: ref_rule_name
  description: rule to move if before or after selected
  default: rule name
  type_hint: text
    source: move_rule
      - before
      - after