Using external metadata

To help avoid unnecessary duplication, and for convenience, Snapcraft can process and incorporate external metadata from within snapcraft.yaml by using parse-info within a part and a corresponding adopt-info key.

For example, the following snapcraft.yaml will parse a file called metadata-file. Snapcraft will attempt to extract version, summary and description metadata for the snap, all of which are mandatory:

name: my-snap-name
adopt-info: part-with-metadata

    plugin: dump
    source: .
    parse-info: [metadata-file]

See The snapcraft format for further details on Snapcraft metadata and how it’s used.

Source types

An external metadata source can be one of the following:

  • Appstream: a standard for software components
  • commonly used by Python projects to help with package installation
  • Scriptlets: a snapcraftctl-driven command to generate version and grade

See below for details on incorporating each of the above into your snapcraft.yaml.


Appstream is a metadata standard used to describe a common set software components. It can be parsed by snapcraft to provide the summary, description and icon for a snap, along with the location of an app’s desktop file.

The following is a typical example from an upstream project. It’s an appstream file called sampleapp.metainfo.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<component type="desktop-application">
  <summary>Single-line elevator pitch for your amazing application</summary>
    This is applications's description. A paragraph or two to tell the
    most important story about it.
  <icon type="local">assets/icon.png</icon>
  <launchable type="desktop-id">

We adopt the above metadata into snapcraft.yaml with the following:

name: sampleapp-name
adopt-info: sampleapp

    command: sampleapp
    common-id: com.example.sampleapp

    plugin: dump
    parse-info: [sampleapp.metainfo.xml]

The resulting snap will take the summary and description from the appstream file as well as using the referred icon and desktop files for the app.

Appstream uses a Desktop File ID instead of a path to declare a desktop file.

To link a desktop-id within the appstream file to your app, you must define a common-id in snapcraft.yaml.

Snapcraft will search for a parsed appstream file with the same component identifier, com.example.sampleapp in the above example, and extract the desktop-id from there. It will then search the usr/local/share and usr/share directories relative to the part source, and by following the Desktop File ID rules.

A file is used by many Python projects to help with package installation. If your uses setuptools and defines version and description, these can be extracted from and used as the version and description metadata in the resulting snap.

The following is an example in the root of a hypothetical git tree:

import setuptools

    description='A simple hello world in python',

You can adopt the relevant metadata in the above with the following snapcraft.yaml

name: sampleapp-name
summary: sampleapp summary
adopt-info: sampleapp

    command: sampleapp

    plugin: python
    parse-info: []

Part scriptlets

Individual parts in your snapcraft.yaml can set the version and grade by using snapcraftctl. All you need to do is select which part to adopt using adopt-info:

# ...
adopt-info: my-part
# ...
    # ...
    override-pull: |
      snapcraftctl pull
      snapcraftctl set-version "my-version"
      snapcraftctl set-grade "devel"

See Scriptlets for more details on using scripting elements within snapcraft.yaml.

Snapcraft versions and compatibility

Change snapcraft version
Initial introduction 2.39
appstream support 2.39
common-id 2.40 support 2.41
snapcraftctl set-version 2.41
snapcraftctl set-grade 2.41

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