The trigger metadata item can be used to cut down the amount of irrelevant settings presented to the user in the rose config-edit GUI by hiding any settings which are not relevant based on the value or state of other settings.

Irrelevant (ignored or trigger-ignored) settings do not get included in output files at runtime. In effect, they are commented out (! or !! prefix in Rose configurations).


In this example, we’ll be ordering pizza.

Create a new Rose application called trigger:

mkdir -p ~/rose-tutorial/trigger
cd ~/rose-tutorial/trigger

Create a rose-app.conf file that looks like this:



source=namelist:pizza_order namelist:side_order

pizza_type='Veggie Supreme'


We’ll add some metadata to make it nice. Create a meta/ sub-directory with a rose-meta.conf file that looks like this:








values='Veggie Supreme', 'Pepperoni', 'BBQ Chicken'

values='none', 'white', 'black'




Once you’ve done that, run rose config-edit in the application directory and navigate around the pages.

There are quite a lot of settings that are only relevant in certain contexts - for example, namelist:pizza_order=extra_chicken is pretty irrelevant if we’re ordering a 'Veggie Supreme'.

Adding Triggers

Let’s add some trigger information.

In the rose-meta.conf file, under [namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type], add:

trigger=namelist:pizza_order=extra_chicken: 'BBQ Chicken';
        namelist:pizza_order=pepperoni_multiple: 'Pepperoni', 'BBQ Chicken';

This states which values of pizza_type are relevant for which settings. This means that extra_chicken is only relevant when pizza_type is 'BBQ Chicken' - otherwise, it should be in an ignored state. pepperoni_multiple is relevant for more than one value of pizza_type.

We should also make sure we don’t order over our budget, especially by splashing out on truffles. Add the following to [env=BUDGET]:

trigger=namelist:pizza_order=truffle: this > 25;
        namelist:side_order: this >= 10;

See Metadata Mini-Language for details on this syntax.

What we’ve done here is use a small subset of the Rose configuration metadata logical syntax to specify a range of allowed values (the this > 25 part). Here, this is a placeholder for the value of env=BUDGET; the expression syntax is essentially Pythonic.

We’ve also specified a section namelist:side_order in the trigger, which is perfectly valid - this means that the whole section and its options will be ignored when the value of env=BUDGET is below 10. The truffle option will be ignored unless env=BUDGET is more than 25.

Fixing Trigger Errors

If we load the config editor (or reload the metadata) again, we should get some trigger errors. These essentially say that some of our settings are in the wrong state now - in our case, they should be trigger-ignored.

You can fix them on the command line by running rose macro --fix or rose macro -F in the app directory (one level up from the meta directory) - this is what you would do if you were working with a text editor and made changes to values.

Similarly, you can run “Autofix” in the config editor. You can do this in three ways:

  • By clicking the Metadata ‣ Autofix all configurations menu.

  • Using the Auto-fix toolbar button.

  • Or via the right-click menu for the root page in the left-hand tree panel, in this case pizza_order.

Run “Autofix” in one of the above ways.


If you accept the changes, the state of these settings will be corrected - if you go to the page, you’ll see that they’ve vanished! They’re actually just commented out, and viewable via the menu View ‣ View All Ignored Variables.

Try altering the values of namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type and env=BUDGET with View ‣ View All Ignored Variables on and off. This should enable and trigger-ignore different settings.

When env=BUDGET is below 10, the namelist:side_order section will be trigger-ignored, and the garlic_bread and soft_drink will be section-ignored - ignored because their parent section is ignored.

You can get more information about why an option is ignored in the config editor by hovering over its ignored flag, or looking at the option’s menu button Info entry.

Setting ids mentioned in the Info dialog are usually clickable links, so you can go directly to the relevant id.

Multiple Inheritance

More than one setting can decide whether something is relevant. In that case, the subject is relevant only if all the parents agree that it is - an AND relationship.

For example, we already have one trigger for namelist:pizza_order=truffle (env=BUDGET) - but it should also only be relevant when namelist:pizza_order=no_mushrooms is .false..

Open the metadata file in a text editor, and add the following to the [namelist:pizza_order=no_mushrooms] metadata section:

trigger=namelist:pizza_order=truffle: .false.

This means that the namelist:pizza_order=truffle option will only be enabled when env=BUDGET is greater than 25 (our older trigger) and namelist:pizza_order=no_mushrooms is .false..

Save the metadata file and reload the metadata in the config editor, and test it for yourself.

Cascading Triggering

Triggering is not just based on values - if a setting is missing or trigger-ignored, any settings that it triggers will be trigger-ignored by default i.e. triggers can act in a cascade - A triggers B triggers C.

We can see this by replacing the env=BUDGET trigger with:

trigger=namelist:pizza_order=truffle: this > 25;
        namelist:side_order: this >= 10;
        namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type: this >= 5;

When env=BUDGET is less than 5, namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type will be trigger-ignored. This means that all of its triggered settings like namelist:pizza_order=extra_chicken are irrelevant and will also be trigger-ignored.

We need to add no_mushrooms to the [namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type] section so that it is trigger-ignored when no pizza can be ordered - replace the [namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type] trigger with:

trigger=namelist:pizza_order=extra_chicken: 'BBQ Chicken';
        namelist:pizza_order=pepperoni_multiple: 'Pepperoni', 'BBQ Chicken';

Save, reload, and try changing env=BUDGET below 5 to see what it does to the options in namelist:pizza_order.

Triggering Based On State

There’s also another way to express a trigger - you don’t have to express a value or range of values in a trigger expression.

Quite often you only want a setting to be trigger-ignored or enabled purely based on the availability of another setting - whether it is present and whether it is trigger-ignored. You might not care what particular value it has.

This can be expressed by adding a trigger but omitting the value part of the syntax. Let’s add an option that we can use.

Add a new variable in the metadata by adding these lines to the metadata file:

values='Garlic','Sour Cream','Salsa','Brown Sauce','Mustard'

We should add a trigger expression as well - replace the [namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type] trigger with:

trigger=namelist:pizza_order=extra_chicken: 'BBQ Chicken';
        namelist:pizza_order=pepperoni_multiple: 'Pepperoni', 'BBQ Chicken';

This means that namelist:pizza_order=dip_type is dependent on namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type, and will only be ignored when that is ignored - but the value of pizza_type doesn’t matter to it.

Save the file and reload the metadata in the config editor. We’ll need to add the namelist:pizza_order=dip_type to use it properly - you can do this from the namelist:pizza_order page via:

  • The Add toolbar button.

  • The right-click page menu.

  • The View ‣ View Latent Variables menu.

After enabling the view, you should see dip_type appear as an option that could be added. It will already have the correct triggered state (the same state as namelist:pizza_order=pizza_type) - verify for yourself that this works! You can then just add it via the menu button for the option.

Further Reading

For more information see Configuration Metadata.