Hints for debugging the Automation for AEM.

Ansible verbose mode

Ansible Commands support the verbose flag

-v # simple verbose output
-vv # more verbose
-vvv # even more verbose
-vvvv # connection debugging
-vvvvv # even more verbose, and so on

Which each added “v” the verbosity increases (and the readability decreases).

It is recommened to write the output to a file like:

ansible-playbook playbook-setup-prod.yml | tee ansible.log

Use --skip-tags

If you want to speed up debugging and want to skip the tasks/roles that are working use the parameter

--skip-tags aem-cms,aem-dispatcher

When working with the Conga Ansible IT Automation it is recommended to skip the compile process of the wcm_io_devops.conga_maven role to save time

--skip-tags conga-maven-compile

For more information refer to: https://docs.ansible.com/ansible/2.6/user_guide/playbooks_tags.html

Use --start-at-task

If you want to start the playbook at a particula task you can use the –start-at-task option:

ansible-playbook playbook-setup-prod.yml --start-at-task="Download AEM quickstart."

Execute interactively

If you want to inspect the result of each task you can run the playbook with the –step option:

ansible-playbook playbook-setup-prod.yml --step

This will cause Ansible to stop on each task if it should execute that task.

Enable debug logs

Ansible is for example hiding the Maven log output. When an error occurs the log-output will be shown.


This role supports the logging of the current maven output to a file which then can be “tailed”.

Refer to:

For more information.

Advanced Debugging

Manipulating Roles

Ansible looks per default in the following pathes to search for roles

  • roles directory, relative to the playbook file.
  • By default, in /etc/ansible/roles

This behavior becomes handy when you want to debug a role in your current project.

Example for wcm_io_devops.conga_aem_packages role

Prepare role for local manipulation

# switch into the ansible playbook dir
mkdir roles && cd roles
git clone https://github.com/wcm-io-devops/ansible-conga-aem-packages.git && git checkout 1.0.0

With this setup the role “wcm_io_devops.conga_aem_packages” will be loaded from the roles directory.

You can then start manipulating the role e.g. by adding debug statements, manual inputs and fail statements to avoid continuing of the play.

Example: Output content of conga_config and continue

- name: Debug conga_config
      - conga_config
      - "{{ conga_config }}"
- fail:
    msg: do not continue

Example: Wait for user input

- name: "Wait for user input"
  prompt: "Continue?"


Playbook Debugger

When you are using Ansible 2.5+ you can use the Playbook Debugger

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Version: 1. Last Published: 2019-08-15.