Charm authors need a way to easily share and reuse logic, this is particularly important given the two-sided nature of relations. That is, a given interface type needs logic both on the providing and requiring side which is best handled when that responsibility lies on the same entity (and original author!).

The charmcraft tool supports a first-class mechanism to reuse charm logic. This is essentially a form of Python modules named ‘libraries’ which are published on Charmhub for easy consumption. This model diverges from generic versioning systems (such as git/Github) and package repositories (like PyPI) by providing a simpler mechanism for sharing code. When working with charm libraries, there is no need to utilise external tools to build, distribute or install libraries, nor the requirement for users to register with other platforms.

Charm libraries are directly integrated with Charmhub, increasing the discoverability of relevant libraries (including their documentation) when exploring available charms.

Fundamentally, charm libraries provide a means for charm developers to make the implementation of any relation they define as simple as possible for other developers.


Library creation

Charm libraries should always be initialised using the charmcraft tool. There are more details about finding, creating and publishing libraries with charmcraft in the Publishing Libraries section.

To quickly create a new charm library with charmcraft:

# Initialise a charm library named 'demo'
$ charmcraft create-lib demo

This will create the library at: lib/charms/demo/v0/ in your charm project directory

Libraries are generally a single Python file that encapsulates some specific functionality; there are three fields that must be defined in a charm library file:

Field Example Description
LIBID 2d35a009b0d64fe186c99a8c9e53c6ab A unique identifier for the library across the entire universe of charms. This is assigned by Charmhub/charmcraft automatically at library creation time.

This identifier enables Charmhub and charmcraft to track the library uniquely even if the charm or the library are renamed.
LIBAPI 3 Major version of the library. Must match the major version in the import path.
LIBPATCH 4 Current patch version of the library. Must be updated each time a new version of the library is published to Charmhub.

In addition to pre-populating these fields, the charmcraft create-lib command will also template a library docstring into the resulting file. See below for the complete file created by the above example:

"""TODO: Add a proper docstring here.
This is a placeholder docstring for this charm library. Docstrings are
presented on Charmhub and updated whenever you push a new version of the

See `charmcraft push-lib` and `charmcraft fetch-lib` for details of how to
share and consume charm libraries. They serve to enhance collaboration
between charmers. Use a charmer's libraries for classes that handle
integration with their charm.

Bear in mind that new revisions of the different major API versions (v0, v1,
v2 etc) are maintained independently.  You can continue to update v0 and v1
after you have pushed v3.

Markdown is supported, following the CommonMark specification.

# The unique Charmhub library identifier, never change it
LIBID = "4e70405e1ec34590ad4a3b0654d1f721"

# Increment this major API version when introducing breaking changes

# Increment this PATCH version before using `charmcraft push-lib` or reset
# to 0 if you are raising the major API version

# TODO: add your code here! Happy coding!

Library documentation

Library documentation is critical to enable other charm developers to discover and use your library correctly. There are two key sections to author when creating library documentation:

  • Library header: A Python multiline comment using the """triple-quote syntax""". This section should be written in Markdown, following the CommonMark specification.
  • Python docstrings: Each class, method and function should be documented using Python docstrings. For best results on your library’s page on Charmhub, conform to the Google Python Docstring format.

Header example

The following shows an example library documentation header using CommonMark:


# My Super Awesome Library

This library is super awesome. It is published as part of the [super-
awesome charm]( and has some really
cool features:

- Awesome feature
- Rad feature
- Neat feature

A typical example of including this library might be:

# ...
from charms.super_awesome.v1.awesomelib import AwesomeClass

class SomeApplication(CharmBase):
  def __init__(self, *args):
    # ...
    self.awesome = AwesomeClass(self)
    # ...

You can file bugs [here](!

Docstring example

Explain each function using Google Python Docstring.

def function():
	"""This sentence is a summary of the function.

	This section gives more details about the function and what
	it does. In this case the function returns foo.

    		A string containing "foo"
	return "foo"

class Example:
	"""A one sentence summary of the class.

	This section gives more details about the class and what
	it does.

    		foo (int): the argument foo
    		bar (str): the argument bar

    		foo (int): the attribute foo
    		bar (str): the attribute bar
	def __init__(self, foo, bar): = foo = bar

	def info(self, add=1):
    	"""Return foo plus add.

    	This function adds add to foo

        	add (int, optional): The number to add to foo. Defaults to 1.

    	Returns: plus add
    		return add +

Defining custom events

In the context of regular charms that do not offer libraries, charm authors should not define their own events. This is because most charms have no reason to consume their own custom events, and no downstream charms to consume them either. In the context of libraries however, the definition of custom events provides a convenient mechanism for downstream charm authors to respond to certain conditions that are met within your library.

Simple events

Custom events in their simplest form can be defined in just a couple of lines. Such definitions should be made in a library file at $CHARMDIR/lib/charms/<charm_name>/v<API>/<library_name>.py:

from ops.framework import EventBase

# All custom events must inherit from EventBase (or some derivative of EventBase)
class SimpleCustomEvent(EventBase):

With the event defined, the library must now enable other charms to respond to that event by defining a derivative of the CharmEvents class, which can be instantiated and used to replace a charm’s on class attribute. This will enable the charm to bind callbacks to our custom event with self.framework.observe(self.on.simple_custom, self._callback):

# ...
from ops.charm import CharmEvents
from ops.framework import EventSource
# ...

# A CharmEvents object is usually bound to a Charm's
# 'on' class attribute. Here we create a custom
# version including an EventSource for our custom event
class CustomEventCharmEvents(CharmEvents):
    simple_custom = EventSource(SimpleCustomEvent)

Note that CustomEventCharmEvents inherits from CharmEvents, which is the class that defines a charm’s regular lifecycle events (install, config-changed, etc.). In this case, we inherit the usual lifecycle events and create an additional event. The EventSource class wraps events with a suitable descriptor that facilitates emission and observation of the event. In this case specifically, it is used to define a BoundEvent attribute named simple_custom on the CustomEventCharmEvents class.

Finally, we need to define an object that emits our new event:

from ops.framework import Object

# This is the object that will emit our "SuperCustomEvent"
# A common use for this might be to emit a custom event
# in response to valid relation data being provided by a
# remote unit
class SimpleCustomEmitter(Object):
    # Define a constructor that takes the charm and it's StoredState
    def __init__(self, charm, _stored):
        super().__init__(charm, None)
        self.framework.observe(charm.on.some_relation_changed, self._on_relation_changed)
        # This references the StoredState of the charm consuming the library
        self._stored = _stored
        self.charm = charm

    def _on_relation_changed(self, event):
        # Do some stuff
        self._stored.update({"emitted": "yes"})
        # Emit our custom event so that charm authors using the library can respond

This is a trivial example that responds to a relation-changed event. It could be used, for example, to validate that the correct data was provided by a remote unit, before emitting our custom event to let downstream charms know that it’s okay to proceed with the information provided - essentially implementing a relation interface.

Now, in the charm providing the library and ultimately responding to our custom event, we need to make sure that it is aware of the CustomEventCharmEvents class, and replace its on class attribute so that it can respond to SimpleCustomEvents:

from charms.demo.v0.demo import CustomEventCharmEvents, SimpleCustomEmitter

class CustomEventCharm(CharmBase):
    # ...
    on = CustomEventCharmEvents()
    # ...
    def __init__(self, *args):
        # ...
        self.emitter = SimpleCustomEmitter(self, self._stored)
        self.framework.observe(self.on.simple_custom, self._on_config_changed)
        # ...

Because the CustomEventCharm class has its on attribute replaced with an instance of CustomEventCharmEvents, the developer can access the usual lifecycle events, but also bind callbacks to the self.on.simple_custom event to respond to emissions by the SimpleCustomEmitter implementation.

Complex events

There are certain cases where events may need to carry some data. An example of this in the Charmed Operator Framework is the WorkloadEvent, which carries a workload attribute denoting the Container that is related to the event.

Custom events can also define attributes, but in order for them to be serialised correctly, they must also define a suitable snapshot and restore method. An simple example is below:

# ...
from ops.framework import EventBase

class ComplexCustomEvent(EventBase):
    """Event that carries a 'data' attribute"""

    def __init__(self, handle, data=None):
        super().__init__(handle) = data

    def snapshot(self):
        return {"data":}

    def restore(self, snapshot): = snapshot["data"]

All of the other details from the simple custom event implementation remain the same, with the exception that when the event is emitted, the associated data must be provided:

# ...
def _on_some_event(self, event):
        # Define some arbitrary data....
        some_data = { "id": 1, "action": "save" }
        # Emit our custom event with associated data
# ...

Library example

If we take the example we used to demonstrate provides/requires relations in the relations section, we could choose to implement the relation functionality using a charm library. We will do this by providing two key classes in the library: DemoProvides and DemoRequires, that implement either side of the relation.

Implement requires-side

We’ll start by implementing RelationRequires which will essentially move some of the original charm code from src/ into the library at lib/charms/demo/v0/

# ...
from ops.framework import EventBase, EventSource, Object
from ops.charm import CharmEvents
# ...

# Define a custom event "DemoRelationUpdatedEvent" to be emitted
# when relation change has completed successfully, and handled
# by charm authors.
# See "Notes on defining events" section in docs
class DemoRelationUpdatedEvent(EventBase):

# Define an instance of CharmEvents to allow our initial charm to override
# its 'on' class attribute and respond to self.on.demo_relation_updated
class DemoRelationCharmEvents(CharmEvents):
    demo_relation_updated = EventSource(DemoRelationUpdatedEvent)

class DemoRequires(Object):
    def __init__(self, charm, _stored):
        # Define a constructor that takes the charm and it's StoredState
        super().__init__(charm, None)
        self.framework.observe(charm.on.demo_relation_changed, self._on_relation_changed)
        self.framework.observe(charm.on.demo_relation_broken, self._on_relation_broken)
        self._stored = _stored
        self.charm = charm

    def _on_relation_changed(self, event: RelationChangedEvent):
        # Do nothing if we're not the leader
        if not self.model.unit.is_leader():

        # Check if the remote unit has set the 'leader-uuid' field in the
        # application data bucket
        leader_uuid =[].get("leader-uuid")
        # Store some data from the relation in local state
        self._stored.apps.update({ {"leader_uuid": leader_uuid}})

        # Fetch data from the unit data bag if available
        if event.unit:
            unit_field =[event.unit].get("special-field")
  "Got data in the unit bag from the relation: %s", unit_field)

        # Set some application data for the remote application
        # to consume. We can do this because we're the leader[].update({"token": f"{uuid4()}"})

        # Emit an event so that charm authors using the library can respond

    def _on_relation_broken(self, event: RelationBrokenEvent):
        # Remove the unit data from local state
        self._stored.apps.pop(, None)
        # Emit an event so that charm authors using the library can respond

The above code sample defines a new event DemoRelationUpdatedEvent that inherits from EventBase, as described in Event handling. It also defines DemoRelationCharmEvents, which will be instantiated and used to replace the on class attribute of any consuming charm, so that it can respond to DemoRelationUpdatedEvents with self.on.demo_relation_updated.

Now that we’ve refactored this into the library, we need to adjust the __init__ method of our existing demo charm to use this part of the library. Where previously, we were calling the _on_config_changed handler at the end of the _on_demo_relation_changed handler, we now respond to our new demo_relation_updated event and assign the _on_config_changed callback to it:

# ...
from charms.demo.v0.demo import DemoProvides, DemoRelationCharmEvents

class SpecialCharm(CharmBase):
    # ...
    on = DemoRelationCharmEvents()
    # ...
    def __init__(self, *args):
        # ...
        self.demo = DemoRequires(self, self._stored)
        self.framework.observe(self.on.demo_relation_updated, self._on_config_changed)
        # ...

Implement provides-side

Next, we’ll implement RelationProvides which in this case, would usually require an equivalent implementation by an application charm author:

# ...
from ops.framework import Object
# ...

class DemoProvides(Object):
    # Define a constructor that takes the charm and it's StoredState
    def __init__(self, charm, _stored):
        super().__init__(charm, "demo")
        self.framework.observe(charm.on.demo_relation_changed, self._on_relation_changed)
        self._stored = _stored

    def _on_relation_changed(self, event):
        # `self.unit` isn't available in this context, so use `self.model.unit`.
        if self.model.unit.is_leader():
  [].update({"leader-uuid": self._stored.uuid})

        # Set a field in the unit data bucket[self.model.unit].update({"special-field":})
        # Log if we've received data over the relation
        if self._stored.token == "":
  "Got a new token from '%s'",
            # Get some info from the relation and store it in state
            self._stored.token =[].get("token")

Using the example library

One the above library is published, any charm author could simply make use of our charm library. A developer would first need to identify and fetch our charm library from Charmhub using charmcraft:

# Make sure you're in the charm directory

# List charms - search by name
$ charmcraft list-lib demo
Library name    API    Patch
demo            0      0

# Fetch the library and place it in our codebase
$ charmcraft fetch-lib charms.demo.v0.demo
Library charms.demo.v0.demo version 0.0 downloaded.

# See where charmcraft has put the library
$ ls -l lib/charms/demo/v0/
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user user 1061 Dec 17 15:24 lib/charms/demo/v0/

Now we’ve included the charm library with charmcraft, we can start using it in our application code:

# ...
from charms.demo.v0.demo import DemoProvides
# ...
class SomeApplicationCharm(CharmBase):
    # ...
    def __init__(self, *args):
        # ...
        self.demo = DemoProvides(self, self._stored)
        # ...

While only a trivial example, you can see that a charm developer can effectively implement the relation by adding just two lines of code to their charm.

Last updated 2 years ago. Help improve this document in the forum.