Developing Light Chutes

Light chutes build and install the same way as normal chutes and can do many of the same things. However, they make use of prebuilt base images that are optimized for different programming languages.

Light chutes offer these advantages over normal, heavy chutes.

  • Safety: Light chutes have stronger confinement properties, so you can feel safer installing a light chute written by a third party developer.
  • Fast installation: Light chutes use a common base image that may already be cached on the router, so installation can be very fast.
  • Simplicity: You do not need to learn how to write and debug a Dockerfile to develop a chute. Instead, you can use the package management tools you may already be using (e.g. package.json for npm and requirements.txt for pip).
  • Portability: With ARM suppport coming soon for ParaDrop, your light chutes will most likely run on ARM with extra work on your part. This is not the case for normal chutes that use a custom Dockerfile.

We will look at the node-hello-world chute as an example of a light chute for ParaDrop.


Our hello-world chute is a git project with the following files:

The project contains the typical files for a node.js project as well as a special file called “paradrop.yaml”.


The paradrop.yaml file contains information that ParaDrop needs in order to run the chute. Here are the contents for the hello-world example:

version: 1
type: light
use: node
command: node index.js

All of these fields are required and very simple to use.

version: 1

This specifies the version of the paradrop.yaml schema in order to allow future changes without breaking existing chutes. You should specify version 1.

type: light

This indicates that we are building a light chute.

use: node

This indicates that we are using the node base image for this chute. You should choose the base image appropriate for your project. Supported images are: node and python2.

command: node index.js

This line indicates the command for starting your application. You can either specified it this way, as a string with spaces between the parameters, or you can use a list of strings. The latter format would be particularly useful if your parameters include spaces. Here is an example:

  - node
  - index.js

Persistent Data

Each running chute has a persistent data storage that is not visible to other chutes. By default the persistent data directory is named “/data” inside the chute’s filesystem. Files stored in this directory will remain when upgrading or downgrading the chute and are only removed when uninstalling the chute.