Terraform 0.14: Concise Plan Diff

We have a new concise diff renderer, released today in Terraform 0.14.0.

This post explains why we’ve taken this approach, how the rendering algorithm works, and asks for your feedback.


Terraform 0.12 introduced a new plan file format and structural diff renderer, which was a significant change from 0.11. Most notably, for updated resources, Terraform moved from showing only the changed attribute path/values, to showing the entire resource with changed values prefixed with ~.

For plans which slightly change existing resources, this can result in very large diffs which make it difficult to find the actual changes.

Diff Renderer Design

The diff renderer used by terraform plan, terraform apply, and terraform show <planfile> will be updated to hide unchanged and irrelevant fields. This means:

  • Always show all identifying fields, initially defined as id, name, and tags, even if unchanged
  • Only show changed, added, or removed primitive values: string, number, or bool
  • Only show added or removed elements in unordered collections and structural types: map, set, and object
  • Show added or removed elements with up to two contextual unchanged elements for sequence types: list and tuple
  • Only show added or removed nested blocks, or blocks with changed attributes

If any attributes, collection elements, or blocks are hidden, a count will be kept and displayed at the end of the parent scope. This ensures that the diff is clearly only displaying a subset of the resource.

Diff Rendering Details

Changed primitive values will render as before: prefixed with a ~, and showing the old and new value. Any hidden attributes will be counted, and the total displayed at the end of the resource:

~ attribute_name   = "old value" -> "new value"
  # (12 unchanged attributes hidden)

Unordered collections (sets or maps) with added or removed elements will use the same approach:

~ regions = [
    - "us-east-1",
    - "us-west-2",
    + "eu-west-1",
    + "eu-west-2",
      # (1 unchanged element hidden)

Sequences (lists or tuples) will display context around changes:

~ words     = [
      # (3 unchanged elements hidden)
    - "delta",
    + "data",
      # (5 unchanged elements hidden)
    - "Lima",
    + "London",
      " (13 unchanged elements hidden)

Any nested blocks for a resource which are unchanged will also be counted and the total displayed:

# (3 unchanged blocks hidden)

When color is enabled, these hidden value counts will be displayed in a lower-contrast color.

Diff Examples

Changes to attributes

  # test_resource.foo will be updated in-place
  ~ resource "test_resource" "foo" {
        id       = "foo_123"
      ~ checksum = 28987129 -> (known after apply)
      - mode     = "test" -> null
        name     = "Foo Test"
        tags     = []
      ~ totals   = {
          - "bar" = 5 -> null
          + "baz" = 5
            # (2 unchanged elements hidden)
      ~ values   = [
          - "alpha",
          - "gamma",
          + "alpaca",
          + "goblin",
          + "zephyr",
            # (23 unchanged elements hidden)
        # (5 unchanged attributes hidden)

        # (3 unchanged blocks hidden)

Adding a new block

  # test_resource.foo will be updated in-place
  ~ resource "test_resource" "foo" {
        id       = "foo_123"
      ~ checksum = 28987129 -> (known after apply)
        name     = "Foo Test"
        tags     = []
        # (8 unchanged attributes hidden)

      + sub_item {
          + identifier = "bar"
          + size       = 4
          + type       = "whatever"
        # (3 unchanged blocks hidden)

Example from issue 23402

  # google_container_cluster.nonprod will be updated in-place
  ~ resource "google_container_cluster" "nonprod" {
      ~ additional_zones            = [
          - "us-central1-a",
          - "us-central1-b",
          - "us-central1-c",
        id                          = "nonprod"
        name                        = "nonprod"
      - region                      = "us-central1" -> null
        # (24 unchanged attributes hidden)

        # (13 unchanged blocks hidden)

Prototype Screenshots

Changed attributes:

Changed set elements:

Changed list elements:

Block attributes changed:

New block added:

Is it intentional that the new plan diff includes details of module outputs?

Here’s a tiny example configuration:

And the plan output:

I would not expect the outputs of modules to appear in the top-level plan. And if they do appear, their name should reflect they are in a module, like:

Changes to Outputs:
  + module.mymodule.null_resource

Hi @alexjurkiewicz,

If there isn’t also an output "null_resource" block in your root module then that does indeed seem like a bug. Would you mind opening a bug report about it, so we can capture the reproduction steps and get it in the queue to be fixed? Thanks!

1 Like

Hi @alexjurkiewicz. This looks like a duplicate of issue #26676, which has been fixed in this PR and will be released in the next Terraform 0.14 beta.