Running Galaxy workflows

Planemo offers a number of convenient commands for working with Galaxy workflows. Workflows are made up of a number of individual tools, which are executed in sequence, automatically. They allow Galaxy users to perform complex analyses made up of multiple simple steps.

Workflows can be easily created, edited and run using the Galaxy user interface (i.e. in the web-browser), as is described in the workflow tutorial provided by the Galaxy Training Network. However, in some circumstances, executing workflows may be awkward via the graphical interface. For example, you might want to run workflows a very large number of times, or you might want to automatically trigger workflow execution as a particular time as new data becomes available. For these applications, being able to execute workflows via the command line is very useful. This tutorial provides an introduction to the planemo run command, which allows Galaxy tools and workflows to be executed simply via the command line.

Note

Some features described in this tutorial are currently available only in the development version of Planemo and may not work correctly when installing the latest version from PyPI or bioconda. To install the development versions of Planemo and galaxy-tool-util required, run the following commands:

$ # install latest galaxy-tool-util pre-release
$ pip install --pre galaxy-tool-util
$ # install dev version of planemo
$ pip install https://github.com/galaxyproject/planemo/archive/master.tar.gz

The Basics

This tutorial will demonstrate workflow execution with a very simple test workflow from the workflow-testing repository. This repository contains a number of workflows which are tested regularly against the European Galaxy server.

$ git clone https://github.com/usegalaxy-eu/workflow-testing.git
$ cd workflow-testing/example3
$ ls
data  tutorial.ga  tutorial-job.yml  tutorial-tests.yml

The example3 directory contains three files. Firstly, tutorial.ga contains a complete definition of the workflow in JSON format, which can be easily exported from any Galaxy server after creating a new workflow. Secondly, tutorial-job.yml contains a list of the files and parameters (in YAML format) which should be used for each of the workflow inputs upon execution. Thirdly, tutorial-tests.yml contains a list of tests (similar to Galaxy tool tests) which can be used to validate the outputs of the workflow.

The tutorial.ga workflow takes two input datasets and one input parameter, and consists of two steps; firstly, Dataset 1 and Dataset 2 are concatenated together, and secondly, a certain number of lines (specified by the Number of lines parameter) are randomly selected. If you want to view it in the Galaxy interface, you can do so with the command planemo workflow_edit tutorial.ga.

The simplest way to run a workflow with planemo is on a locally hosted Galaxy instance, just like executing a tool test with planemo test. This can be achieved with the command

$ planemo run tutorial.ga tutorial-job.yml --download_outputs --output_directory . --output_json output.json

You can optionally (and probably should) add the --galaxy_root flag with the location of a local copy of the Galaxy source code, which will allow the instance to be spun up considerably faster.

Note that --download_outputs --output_directory . --output_json output.json is optional, but allow saving the output to a local file. The contents should be something like:

$ cat tutorial_output.txt
is
hello
world
$ cat output.json
{"output": {"class": "File", "path": "/home/user/workflow-testing/example3/tutorial_output.txt", "checksum": "sha1$4d7ab2b2bb0102ee5ec472a5971ca86081ff700c", "size": 15, "basename": "tutorial_output.txt", "nameroot": "tutorial_output", "nameext": ".txt"}}

You can also run the workflow on a local Dockerized Galaxy. For this, exactly the same command can be used, with --engine docker_galaxy --ignore_dependency_problems appended. Please note that you need to have Docker installed and that it may take significantly longer to complete than the previous command.

$ planemo run tutorial.ga tutorial-job.yml --download_outputs --output_directory . --output_json output.json --engine docker_galaxy --ignore_dependency_problems

This introduces the concept of an engine, which Planemo provides to allow workflows to be flexibly executed using the setup and workflow execution system of the user’s choice. The full list of engines provided by Galaxy is: galaxy (the default, used in the first example above), docker_galaxy, cwltool, toil and external_galaxy.

As a final example to demonstrate workflow testing, try:

$ planemo test tutorial.ga

In this case, Planemo automatically detects that it should test the workflow with the tutorial-tests.yml, so this file should be present and named correctly. If you inspect its contents:

$ cat tutorial-tests.yml
- doc: Test outline for tutorial.ga
  job:
    Dataset 1:
      class: File
      path: "data/dataset1.txt"
    Dataset 2:
      class: File
      path: "data/dataset2.txt"
    Number of lines: 3
  outputs:
    output:
      class: File
      path: "data/output.txt"

you see that the job parameters are defined identically to the tutorial-job.yml file, with the addition of an output. For the test to pass, the output file produced by the workflow must be identical to that stored in data/output.txt.

The three commands above demonstrate the basics of workflow execution with Planemo. For large scale workflow execution, however, it’s likely that you would prefer to use the more extensive resources provided by a public Galaxy server, rather than running on a local instance. The tutorial therefore now turns to the use of the galaxy_external engine, which as the name suggests, runs workflows on a Galaxy external to Planemo.

Workflow execution against an external Galaxy

The first requirement for executing workflows on an external Galaxy server is a user account for that server. If you don’t already have one, https://usegalaxy.org, https://usegalaxy.eu and https://usegalaxy.org.au all provide free accounts which can be used for this tutorial.

Assuming you have selected a server for this tutorial and have an account, you need to retrieve the API key associated with that account. This can be found at {server_url}/user/api_key, or by going to the ‘User’ dropdown menu, selecting ‘Preferences’ and then clicking on ‘Manage API key’.

Now you can run the workflow with:

$ planemo run tutorial.ga tutorial-job.yml --engine external_galaxy --galaxy_url SERVER_URL --galaxy_user_key YOUR_API_KEY

If you want to set the name of the history in which the workflow executes, add --history_name NAME to the command. You should be able to see the workflow executing in the web browser, if you navigate to the ‘List all histories’ view. If you prefer to download data without interacting with the web interface at all, you can add --download_outputs --output_directory . --output_json output.json to the command as before.

Typing --engine external_galaxy --galaxy_url SERVER_URL --galaxy_user_key YOUR_API_KEY each time you want to execute a workflow is a bit annoying. Fortunately, Planemo provides the option to create ‘profiles’ which save this information for you. To create a new profile called tutorial_profile, you can run a command like the following:

$ planemo profile_create tutorial_profile --galaxy_url SERVER_URL --galaxy_user_key YOUR_API_KEY --engine external_galaxy
Profile [tutorial_profile] created.

This allows creation of multiple profiles (e.g. for different Galaxy servers). A list of all created profiles is provided by the profile_list subcommand:

$ planemo profile_list
Looking for profiles...
tutorial_profile
usegalaxy-eu
usegalaxy-org
3 configured profiles are available.

Once the new tutorial_profile is created, a workflow can be executed with:

$ planemo run tutorial.ga tutorial-job.yml --profile tutorial_profile

Generating the job file

The example workflow used so far provides not only the workflow, but also the job file which specifies the inputs to be used. If you have created and downloaded your own workflow, you need to create this job file yourself. As a first step, ensure that your workflow is linted correctly:

$ planemo workflow_lint tutorial.ga
Applying linter tests... CHECK
.. CHECK: Tests appear structurally correct

In this case, linting completes successfully, but you might see a message such as WARNING: Workflow contained output without a label or WARNING: Test referenced File path not found.

To generate the job file, you can now run:

$ planemo workflow_job_init tutorial.ga -o tutorial-init-job.yml

This generates a template for the job file which you can modify yourself. Opening tutorial-init-job.yml should show the following:

$ cat tutorial-init-job.yml
Dataset 1:
  class: File
  path: todo_test_data_path.ext
Dataset 2:
  class: File
  path: todo_test_data_path.ext
Number of lines: todo_param_value

For each of the specified inputs in the workflow, an entry is created in the output YAML file. The two dataset inputs are classified as class: File, with a placeholder path included, which you should change to the paths of your chosen input files. You can also specify the URL of a file available online, by replacing the path attribute with location (e.g. location: https://website.org/file.txt). The placeholder value for the Number of lines parameter should also be replaced, ensuring it is of the correct type, i.e. in this case an integer.

Another more complex example, also including a collection as input, might look like the following:

input_dataset:
  class: File
  path: todo_test_data_path.ext
input_collection:
  class: Collection
  collection_type: list
  elements:
  - class: File
    identifier: todo_element_name
    path: todo_test_data_path.ext
  - class: File
    identifier: todo_element_name
    path: todo_test_data_path.ext
input_parameter: todo_param_value

For the collection, each dataset is listed, with a path and identifier specified.

If you are creating a workflow for the first time, you should include tests to ensure it works in the way intended. These tests can be run using the planemo test, command, just like Galaxy tool testing (for more information, see here). These tests require a test file, similar to the job file used so far, which also specifies expected outputs which can be used to validate the workflow. An equivalent planemo command for creating a template for these test files is also available:

$ planemo workflow_test_init tutorial.ga -o tutorial-init-test.yml
$ cat tutorial-init-test.yml
- doc: Test outline for tutorial.ga
  job:
    Dataset 1:
      class: File
      path: todo_test_data_path.ext
    Dataset 2:
      class: File
      path: todo_test_data_path.ext
    Number of lines: todo_param_value
  outputs:
    output:
      class: ''

Using workflow and dataset IDs

If you ran all the commands above then you probably noticed that both the workflow and the input datasets get newly uploaded at each execution. If you want to run the same workflow multiple times, you may prefer to avoid this. In the examples given so far, all workflows and datasets are specified by means of a local path, but Planemo also allows you to use the IDs created by Galaxy as well. These IDs are unique to each Galaxy server, so this approach isn’t transferrable if you want to run your workflows on multiple servers.

The first step is to ensure all the datasets which are required for the workflow are already uploaded. You can either do this by running the workflow once in the normal way, as described above, or just manually uploading through the web interface.

To get dataset IDs, you can click on the dataset’s ‘View details’ button (a small letter ‘i’ in a circle). This provides various information about the dataset and the job which created it. Under the ‘Job information’ section, there is a row named ‘History Content API ID’. For each input dataset, copy this string (it will probably look something like 457d46215431cc37baf96108ad87f351) and paste it into the workflow job file so it looks something like the following:

Dataset 1:
  class: File
  galaxy_id: "457d46215431cc37baf96108ad87f351"
Dataset 2:
  class: File
  galaxy_id: "55f30adf41ae36455431abeaa185ed89"
Number of lines: 3

i.e. just replace the path line with galaxy_id.

You can do exactly the same with a collection; either of the following will work:

input_collection1:
  class: Collection
  galaxy_id: "9d362c51f575db89"
input_collection2:
  class: Collection
  collection_type: list
  elements:
  - class: File
    identifier: element 1
    galaxy_id: "457d46215431cc37baf96108ad87f351"

For input_collection1, an existing collection will be used (by specifying its collection ID), whereas for input_collection2, a new collection will be created from a list of existing datasets.

Once the job file has been modified, run planemo run as before. The result should be the same, though it should be a bit faster, since the upload step was skipped. Instead, the selected datasets get copied to a new history, which unlike a new upload, doesn’t result in any additional storage being used.

To run the workflow using a workflow ID, replace the workflow file path with the workflow ID from the Galaxy server:

$ planemo run 501da2f0ba775fd0 tutorial-job.yml --profile tutorial_profile

Using aliases

Once you are dealing with a large number of workflows and datasets, you may find that it becomes difficult to keep track of the file paths or IDs which you are using for execution, particularly if you are executing workflows based on their ID. Planemo offers the option to create aliases, or easily memorable mnemonics, for Galaxy workflows, with the following command:

$ planemo create_alias 501da2f0ba775fd0 --alias my_favorite_workflow --profile tutorial_profile

You can then execute the workflow with:

$ planemo run my_favorite_workflow tutorial-job.yml --profile tutorial_profile

Note that aliases are associated with a particular profile, so if you want to execute the same workflow with multiple profiles, you should recreate the alias for each one. Aliases can be created either for workflow IDs (as above) or for workflow file paths. You can list all aliases associated with a profile with:

$ planemo list_alias --profile tutorial_profile

Checking invocations

Assuming you know the workflow ID (or an alias for it), you can get a list of all created invocations with:

$ planemo list_invocations my_favorite_workflow --profile tutorial_profile

This indicates the number of datasets created, as well as the state they are in (running, errored, paused, etc.)

Profile configuration files

Information about each of the files is located in a configuration file, located at ~/.planemo/profiles/{profile_name}/planemo_profile_options.json.

If you ran all the commands in this tutorial, the contents should be similar to the following:

$ cat ~/.planemo/profiles/tutorial_profile/planemo_profile_options.json
{
  "galaxy_url": "SERVER_URL",
  "galaxy_user_key": "YOUR_API_KEY",
  "galaxy_admin_key": null,
  "engine": "external_galaxy",
  "aliases": {
    "my_favorite_workflow": "501da2f0ba775fd0"
  }
}

You can also delete unwanted profiles or aliases with these commands:

$ planemo delete_alias --alias my_favorite_workflow --profile tutorial_profile
$ planemo profile_delete tutorial_profile