In DevOps, What Is a Manifest?

Problem scenario
You have read about manifests in books or articles that pertain to DevOps, but are not sure what they are. What is a manifest in the I.T. field?

Manifest: Syntactic text, usually a file with a variety of details, that is used for the purpose of convergence towards a desired state.

The definition above applies to a Puppet manifest or a Kubernetes manifest. A Puppet manifest is a .pp file with the desired state configuration listed using Puppet's domain-specific language. For more information about Kubernetes manifests, see this Kubernetes website article or this internal posting. In I.T., but not with DevOps specifically, a manifest may be defined differently. Here are some examples:

Merriam Webster's dictionary has different definitions for the noun "manifest". One considers a manifest to be a process of manifesting. This is similar to Kubernetes or Puppet manifests when they are being processed. Another definition of manifest is "a list of passengers or an invoice of cargo" on a transportation vehicle. This is similar to the HTML5 manifest.

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