Use Expressions in Workflow and Pipeline Tags

Updated 8 months ago by Michael Cretzman

Workflow and Pipeline Tags support Harness variable expressions.

Using expressions in Tags lets you create dynamic metadata for your deployments. This can be very helpful when filtering Workflows and Pipelines in the Harness Deployments page.

In this topic:

Before You Begin

Review: Tag Restrictions

There are many restrictions for using variable expressions in Tags. Review the following restrictions.

Expressions in Workflow and Pipelines Tags Only

You can only use variable expressions in the Tags created/modified in Workflows and Pipelines. If you attempt to add one in Tags Management, an error will occur:

If a Tag uses a variable expression in its name or value, you cannot edit it in Tags Management. You must delete the Tag in a Workflow or Pipeline and add it again.

Workflow Variables, Application and Account Defaults Only

For Workflows, you can add variables expressions to Tags for the following:

  • Workflow variables — For example ${workflow.variables.wfvar}.
  • Application Defaults — For example ${app.defaults.RUNTIME_PATH}.
  • Account Defaults — For example ${account.defaults.example}.

For more information, see Workflows and Variables and Expressions in Harness.

Harness built-in variables expressions cannot be used in Tags at deployment runtime.

Application Defaults support some Harness built-in expressions, such as the names and descriptions of Application components.

Standard Format Restrictions Do Not Apply

Normally, Tag names and values must meet specific format restrictions: ^[/A-Za-z0-9 _-]+. No dots are supported.

When using expressions in Tags, you do not need to follow these restrictions. When a variable expression is evaluated by Harness, its result does not have to meet the standard Tag format restrictions. It has no restrictions.

Tag Naming Restrictions for Deployment Tags

When a Workflow/Pipeline using Tags is deployed, we say the Tags have been promoted to Deployment Tags. But there are restrictions on which Tags may be promoted:

  • If the Workflow/Pipeline Tag name or evaluated name contains a dot character, ${, or any unresolved Harness variables, Harness does not promote it as a Deployment Tag.

Cannot Use Expressions in Both Name and Value

You can use a variable expression in a Tag name or value, but not both.

Step 1: Expressions in Workflow Tags

In a Harness Workflow, click Add Tag.

In Name or Value, enter a string or variable expression that references a Workflow variable, Application Default, or Account Default.

In the other setting, enter a string.

For example, here is an Account Default variable added to two Tags. One Tag references the Account Default variable in its Name, and the other in its Value.

Here is an example using Application Default variables for RUNTIME_PATH:

Here is an example using a Workflow variable:

Evaluated Expressions in Deployments

When you deploy the Workflow, the expressions are evaluated by Harness and their values are displayed in the Deployments view.

Here is an example using the three types of variable expressions in the Tag Name:

Step 2: Expressions in Pipeline Tags

In a Harness Pipeline, click Add Tag.

In Name or Value, enter a string or variable expression that references one of the following:

  • Workflow variables — For example ${workflow.variables.wfvar}.
  • Application Defaults — For example ${app.defaults.RUNTIME_PATH}.
  • Account Defaults — For example ${account.defaults.example}.
  • Pipeline Name — Use ${}.
  • Pipeline Description — Use ${pipeline.description}.

Here is an example using expressions for an Application Default and Workflow variable in the Tag Name:

Evaluated Expressions in Deployments

When you deploy the Pipeline, the expressions are evaluated by Harness and their values are displayed in the Deployments view.

The expressions in all Tags on the Workflows deployed by the Pipeline are also evaluated and displayed.

Here is an example where the Pipeline has Tags using expressions for the Application Default and a Workflow variable. In addition, a Workflow in the Pipeline also uses an Account Default expressions in a Tag Name.

As a result, the Pipeline Deployment displays the evaluated expressions for Tags from the Pipeline and its Workflow:

Step 3: Filtering By Tag Expressions in Deployments

In Deployments, you can filter by Tag Name or a combination of Name:Value.

Here is an example of a filter that uses a Tag Name that contains a Workflow expression, ${workflow.variables.wfvar}. Since you are filtering deployments, you must enter the evaluated value for the expression in the Filter (wf-var-value) like this:

The Display matching workflow executions as separate cards in the result filter option allows you to see each Workflow deployment as separate.

The filter results in all deployments for Workflows and Pipelines that use the Tag:

Each deployment is listed separately. If the Tag is used in a single Workflow/Pipeline, but that Workflow/Pipeline has been deployed multiple times, then each deployment is listed separately.

You can also filter by Name:Value using the evaluated expression. So, if the Tag on the Workflow is WorkflowVar: ${workflow.variables.wfvar}, then you can filter by WorkflowVar:wf-var-value.

Step 4: Filtering and Grouping by Tag Expressions in Custom Dashboards

You can create a Harness Custom Dashboard that filters or groups using Tags that use expressions.

You can use a Tag whose name or value uses an expression, but you can only filter or group by Tag name.

You cannot use the expression itself to filter or group. You must use the evaluated expression displayed in Harness Deployments.

You can use expression Tags in the following Widgets:

  • Deployments
  • Lead Time to Production
  • Mean Time to Restore

You simply use the Tag (Deployments) option in the Data Filter or Group By settings of the Widget.

This can be a very powerful method for creating Custom Dashboards.

For example, let's say you had a Workflow or Pipeline Tag named commitID. The value for it is passed in as an expression, such as ${workflow.variables.commitID}. You could provide the value for the variable using a Trigger that passes in a Git commit ID.

When you deploy, the expression is evaluated and the commit ID is displayed in Deployments like commitID:521747298a3790fde1710f3aa2d03b55020575aa.

Now, you can create a Custom Dashboard for the name commitID that filters or groups deployments by each commit ID.


  • When you use Workflow variables for Tags, a value must be provided for the Workflow variable at the time of deployment. The value must be added whether the Workflow is deployed alone, as part of a Pipeline, or as part of a Trigger.

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