Coming soon: Chef Client 14 and Chef Development Kit 3

At Chef, we understand that Infrastructure Automation enables your business to succeed, but it isn’t the reason your business exists. Ultimately, all software is a careful balancing act of introducing new features, fixing bugs, and saying no to ideas that we might love to do but are too disruptive–and it’s up to us to ensure that our work doesn’t create too much work for you. To ease that burden and help you plan for updates, we’ve introduced a regular release cadence, with backwards compatible releases of Chef Client each month, and a yearly “major” release that may remove old, confusing or dangerous functionality.

With that in mind, we’re very excited to announce that we’ll be releasing Chef Client 14 and Chef Development Kit 3 in April 2018. Chef Client 14 continues the themes that Chef Client 13 introduced, concentrating on ensuring the safety, correctness, and performance of your cookbook code, while introducing many new resources and improved functionality. The ChefDK 3 release will feature the latest and greatest versions of all your favorite Chef developer tools. We will cover these in-depth in a future blog post.

What to expect in Chef Client 14

We’re still laser focused on making writing Custom Resources enjoyable and fast. With that in mind we’re intending to do considerable work on ChefSpec to make it much easier to test custom resources, we’re going to work on our logging so cookbook authors and operators can get exactly the information they need to reason about their Chef Client runs, and we’re going to make it easier to integrate with MySQL and PostgreSQL out of the box.

We will be removing some older behaviors that we found to cause errors in cookbooks. To see a list of these removals, our Deprecations page is continually updated, and Foodcritic will already issue warnings for the changes we’re introducing in Chef Client 14.

We’re also planning on adding a number of frequently used resources. When we think about adding a resource, we examine how stable the resource is (and how frequently the thing it controls changes), how often it’s used, and whether it’s supportable. Including new resources allows you to do more things out of the box, speeding up the development experience and making it easier to choose the best approach to a problem. Some of the resources we’re thinking about adding include:

  • docker_container, docker_registry, docker_exec, and docker_network
  • ohai_hint and chef_handler, for easier cookbook development
  • dmg_package, homebrew_cask, and homebrew_tap for macOS support
  • windows_font, powershell_module, and a few other Windows resources

Chef Client 12 and ChefDK 1 EOL

April 2018 also brings the End of Life of Chef Client 12, nearly four years after its release in December 2014. We understand that for many of you, Chef Client 12 continues to “just work”. However behind the curtains, it’s becoming technologically outdated and less secure. Much of the software that is contained in the Chef Client 12 packages has also become end of life, meaning that we can no longer offer security releases should a vulnerability in (for example) Ruby be found. Continuing to support Chef Client 12 also makes life harder for our community of cookbook authors, requiring them to support a broad set of capabilities. Along with Chef Client 12, ChefDK 1 will also become End of Life and will cease to be updated or supported. Today, we are releasing a new online resource with an overview of the EOL process and resources to ease the transition to Chef 13/14.

Chef 14 discussion and Chef 12 migration

We expect that Chef Client 14 will be the easiest to use and most featureful release we’ve made, and we can’t wait to get it in your hands. Over the next six months watch this space for additional resources to get the most out of Chef 14/CDK 3, and to ease your transition from Chef 12. Finally, we’d also love your feedback on our plans, and especially the set of resources we’re planning on shipping. We have a new official Slack channel for Chef 14 discussion and help with Chef 12 client migration. Join the #Chef-14 channel in our Chef Community Slack at This channel is actively monitored by Chef employees and community members who look forward to answering your questions and helping make your migration a success.

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Thom May

Thom is an engineer on Chef's Community Engineering team, based in London. He works on Chef, ohai, cookbooks and pretty much anything else Chef has ever shipped.