Upgrading snapcraft

Snapcraft 3 contains fundamental improvements to the way snaps are built.

In particular, snaps are now built within an isolated build environments that’s tuned for a desired target. This provides API and ABI compatibility for every binary built within the environment, and ensures a build isn’t affected by outside dependencies and system configuration.

Build environments work by leveraging base snaps. A base snap offers a run-time environment with a minimal set of libraries that are common to most applications. At build time, the snapcraft tool ensures you are creating a snap inside an environment specifically tailored for its base.

During normal operation, the build environment is isolated from the user, but there are ways to step into the environment to help with debugging:

  • --shell
    runs the build up to the lifecycle step specified and opens a shell within the build environment.
    Example: snapcraft prime --shell will the build up to the stage step and open a shell.
  • --shell-after
    runs the build up to and through the lifecycle step specified and opens a shell within the build environment.
    Example: snapcraft prime --shell-after will open a shell after the prime step has been processed.
  • --debug
    opens a shell inside the build environment after an error occurs.

Migrating snaps to bases

To make the transition to bases easier, base functionality is only triggered when adding the base keyword in snapcraft.yaml.

Both snapd and snapcraft remain compatible non-base snap configurations, but these snaps cannot take advantage of the latest features. Additionally, with no base defined, snapcraft runs in a special 2.x compatibility mode that lacks the options found in later releases.

Features no longer available with bases

When the base keyword is used within snapcraft.yaml the following, long-deprecated, features are no longer available:

  • wiki parts and their corner case quirks, such as allowing / (forward slash) in parts.
  • cleanbuild and triggering builds using LXD from certain environment variables. See Build on LXD for more details.
  • prepare, build and install keywords, used in parts, have been replaced by override-build and snapcraftctl. This means you can use override- for pull, stage and prime stages too.
  • the snap keyword has been superseded by the prime keyword.
  • when calling build commands through snapcraft, --disable-parallel-build is no longer available. It can be setup per-part using the build-attributes property.
  • similarly, when calling build commands through snapcraft, --use-geoip (which affected stage-packages) is no longer available.

Migrating from deb to snap

On Ubuntu and its derivatives, the deb package of Snapcraft may have been installed via the desktop package manager, or the apt command, and cannot be upgraded to Snapcraft 3.x. You can check by locating the snapcraft executable.

The following location indicates installation from a deb:

$ which snapcraft
/usr/bin/snapcraft

The following is the executable location for a snap:

$ which snapcraft
/snap/bin/snapcraft

To migrate from a deb snapcraft installation to a snap, first remove the deb package and then install the snap:

sudo apt autoremove --purge snapcraft
sudo snap install snapcraft --classic

The latest version of the snap will now be installed and will remain updated.

Last updated 1 year, 27 days ago. Help improve this document in the forum.