Developer documentation

This section of the documentation is meant for those who wish to contribute to the Girder Worker platform.

Installing from source

Clone from git:

git clone
cd girder_worker

Install requirements:

pip install -r requirements.txt

# If you plan on developing the worker, you will also want to install system packages and Python requirements:

# Command for Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev

pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

If you want to run the girder_worker as a remote worker from the source install directory, you’ll need to install it with pip in editable mode. If you don’t want to include any girder worker plugins:

pip install -U -e .

Test it:

To test whether the setup without complex dependencies is working

python -m unittest tests.format_test

To test the setup is working with complex dependencies including R and Mongo

python -m unittest -v tests.table_test python -m unittest -v tests.tree_test

Some things not working? You can install a few things so they do. For example, install MongoDB and R, in addition to their Python bindings:

pip install pymongo rpy2  # may need sudo

You’ll need to get a MongoDB server listening on localhost by running mongod.

In R, you’ll need to install some stuff too, currently just the ape package:


Installing worker plugins from pip

An individual plugin can be installed through pip, in editable mode, like so:

pip install -U -e .[r]

You can run this command at any time to install dependencies of other plugins, even if the worker is already installed.

See also

For more information on the worker plugin system, see Application Plugins.

Creating a new release

Girder Worker releases are uploaded to PyPI for easy installation via pip. The recommended process for generating a new release is described here.

  1. From the target commit, set the desired version number in the top level Create a new commit and note the SHA; this will become the release tag.

  2. Ensure that all tests pass.

  3. Clone the repository in a new directory and checkout the release SHA. (Packaging in an old directory could cause extraneous files to be mistakenly included in the source distribution.)

  4. Run python sdist --dist-dir . to generate the distribution tarball in the project directory, which looks like girder-worker-x.y.z.tar.gz.

  5. Create a new virtual environment and install the Python package into it. This should not be done in the repository directory because the wrong package will be imported.

    mkdir test && cd test
    virtualenv release
    source release/bin/activate
    pip install ../girder-worker-<version>.tar.gz
  6. Once that finishes, you should be able to start the worker by simply running girder-worker.

  7. When you are confident everything is working correctly, generate a new release on GitHub. You must be sure to use a tag version of v<version>, where <version> is the version number as it exists in For example, v0.2.4. Attach the tarball you generated to the release.

  8. Add the tagged version to readthedocs and make sure it builds correctly.

  9. Finally, upload the release to PyPI with the following command:

    python sdist upload


The first time you create a release, you will need to register to PyPI before you can run the upload step. To do so, simply run python sdist register.

Task Plugins

This is an example plugin that demonstrates how to extend girder_worker by allowing it to run additional tasks. Plugin’s are implemented as separate pip installable packages. To install this example plugin you can checkout this code base, change directories to examples/plugin_example/ and run pip install . This will add the gwexample plugin to girder_worker. If you then run girder_worker with a log level of ‘info’ (e.g. girder-worker -l info) you should see the following output:

(girder)$ girder-worker -l info

 -------------- celery@minastirith v3.1.23 (Cipater)
---- **** -----
--- * ***  * -- Linux-4.8.6-1-ARCH-x86_64-with-glibc2.2.5
-- * - **** ---
- ** ---------- [config]
- ** ---------- .> app:         girder_worker:0x7f69bfff1050
- ** ---------- .> transport:   amqp://guest:**@localhost:5672//
- ** ---------- .> results:     amqp://
- *** --- * --- .> concurrency: 32 (prefork)
-- ******* ----
--- ***** ----- [queues]
 -------------- .> celery           exchange=celery(direct) key=celery

  . girder_worker.convert
  . girder_worker.validators
  . gwexample.analyses.tasks.fibonacci

[2016-11-08 12:22:56,163: INFO/MainProcess] Connected to amqp://guest:**@
[2016-11-08 12:22:56,184: INFO/MainProcess] mingle: searching for neighbors
[2016-11-08 12:22:57,198: INFO/MainProcess] mingle: all alone
[2016-11-08 12:22:57,218: WARNING/MainProcess] celery@minastirith ready.

Notice that the task gwexample.analyses.tasks.fibonacci is now available. With the girder-worker processes running, you should be able to execute python in the current working directory. After a brief delay, this should print out 121393 - the Fibonacci number for 26.

Writing your own plugin

Adding additional tasks to the girder_worker infrastructure is easy and takes three steps. (1) Creating tasks, (2) creating a plugin class and (3) adding a girder_worker_plugins entry point to your

Creating tasks follows the standard celery conventions. The only difference is the celery application that decorates the function should be imported from E.g.:

from import app

def fibonacci(n):
    if n == 1 or n == 2:
        return 1
    return fibonacci(n-1) + fibonacci(n-2)

Each plugin must define a plugin class the inherits from girder_worker.GirderWorkerPluginABC. GirderWorkerPluginABC’s interface is simple. The class must define an __init__ function and a task_imports function. __init__ takes the girder_worker’s celery application as its first argument. This allows the plugin to store a reference to the application, or change configurations of the application as necessary. The task_imports function takes no arguments and must return a list of the package paths (e.g. importable strings) that contain the plugin’s tasks. As an example:

from girder_worker import GirderWorkerPluginABC

class GWExamplePlugin(GirderWorkerPluginABC):
    def __init__(self, app, *args, **kwargs): = app

        # Update the celery application's configuration
        # it is not necessary to change the application configuration
        # this is simply included to illustrate that it is possible.{
            'TASK_TIME_LIMIT': 300

    def task_imports(self):
        return ['gwexample.analyses.tasks']

Finally, in order to make the plugin class discoverable, each plugin must define a custom entry point in its For our example, this entry point looks like this:

from setuptools import setup

      # ....
          'girder_worker_plugins': [
              'gwexample = gwexample:GWExamplePlugin',
      # ....

Python Entry Points are a way for python packages to advertise classes and objects to other installed packages. Entry points are defined in the following way:

    'entry_point_group_id': [
        'entry_point_name =',

The girder_worker package introduces a new entry point group girder_worker_plugins. This is followed by a list of strings which are parsed by setuptools. The strings must be in the form name = module:plugin_class Where name is an arbitrary string (by convention the name of the plugin), module is the importable path to the module containing the plugin class, and plugin_class is a class that inherits from GirderWorkerPluginABC.

Final notes

With these three components (Tasks, Plugin Class, Entry Point) you should be able to add arbitrary tasks to the girder_worker client. By default, jobs created in girder using the ‘worker’ plugin run the task. This can be overridden to call custom plugin tasks by generating jobs with a celeryTaskName defined in the job’s otherFields key word argument. E.g.:

# Create a job to be handled by the worker plugin
job = jobModel.createJob(
    title='Some Job', type='some_type', handler='worker_handler',
    user=self.admin, public=False, args=(25), kwargs={},
        'celeryTaskName': 'gwexample.analyses.tasks.fibonacci'


This will schedule a job that runs gwexample.analyses.tasks.fibonacci(25) on the girder worker.

Finally, by default the core girder_worker tasks (run, convert, validate) are included along with their plugins etc. If you wish to prevent these tasks from being loaded inside the celery instance, you can configure core_tasks=false in worker.local.cfg under the [girder_worker] section of the configuration.

Writing cancelable tasks

girder_worker provides support for signaling that a task should be canceled using Celery’s revoke mechanism. In order for a task to be able to be canceled cleanly it must periodically check if it has been canceled, if it has then is can do any necessary cleanup and return. girder_worker provides a task base class (girder_worker.utils.Task ) that provides a property that can be used to check if the task has been canceled. An example of its use is shown below:

from import app
from girder_work.utils import Task

def my_cancellable_task(task):
  while not self.cancelled:
     # Do work

The Girder job model associated with the canceled task will be moved into the JobStatus.CANCELED state.