# WARNING before you start
# Install this tool on a private Galaxy ONLY
# Please NEVER on a public or production instance
# updated august 2014 by John Chilton adding citation support
# updated august 8 2014 to fix bugs reported by Marius van den Beek
# please cite the resource at http://bioinformatics.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/bts573?ijkey=lczQh1sWrMwdYWJ&keytype=ref
# if you use this tool in your published work.
This is an unusual Galaxy tool capable of generating new Galaxy tools.
It works by exposing *unrestricted* and therefore extremely dangerous scripting to
all designated administrators of the host Galaxy server, allowing them to run
scripts in R, python, sh and perl over multiple selected input data sets, writing
a single new data set as output.
*Automated outputs in named sections*
If your script writes to the current directory path, arbitrary mix of (eg) pdfs,
tabular analysis results and run logs, the tool factory can optionally auto-
generate a linked Html page with separate sections showing a thumbnail grid for
all pdfs and the log text, grouping all artifacts sharing a file name and log
eg: if "foo.log" is emitted then *all* other outputs matching foo_* will all be
grouped together - eg
would all be displayed and linked in the same section with foo.log's contents - to
form the "Foo" section of the Html page. Sections appear in alphabetic order and
there are no limits on the number of files or sections.
*Automated generation of new Galaxy tool shed tools for installation into any Galaxy*
Once a script is working correctly, this tool optionally generates a new Galaxy
tool, effectively freezing the supplied script into a new, ordinary Galaxy tool
that runs it over one or more input files selected by the user. Generated tools
are installed via a tool shed by an administrator and work exactly like all
other Galaxy tools for your users.
If you use the Html output option, please ensure that sanitize_all_html is set to False and
uncommented in universe_wsgi.ini - it should show::
# By default, all tool output served as 'text/html' will be sanitized
sanitize_all_html = False
This opens potential security risks and may not be acceptable for public sites
where the lack of stylesheets may make Html pages damage onlookers' eyeballs
but should still be correct.
To use the ToolFactory, you should have prepared a script to paste into a text
box, and a small test input example ready to select from your history to test
your new script. There is an example in each scripting language on the Tool
Factory form. You can just cut and paste these to try it out - remember to
select the right interpreter please. You'll also need to create a small test
data set using the Galaxy history add new data tool.
If the script fails somehow, use the "redo" button on the tool output in your
history to recreate the form complete with broken script. Fix the bug and
execute again. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Once the script runs sucessfully, a new Galaxy tool that runs your script can
be generated. Select the "generate" option and supply some help text and
names. The new tool will be generated in the form of a new Galaxy datatype -
toolshed.gz - as the name suggests, it's an archive ready to upload to a
Galaxy ToolShed as a new tool repository.
Once it's in a ToolShed, it can be installed into any local Galaxy server from
the server administrative interface.
Once the new tool is installed, local users can run it - each time, the script
that was supplied when it was built will be executed with the input chosen
from the user's history. In other words, the tools you generate with the
ToolFactory run just like any other Galaxy tool, but run your script every
Tool factory tools are perfect for workflow components. One input, one output,
*To fully and safely exploit the awesome power* of this tool, Galaxy and the
ToolShed, you should be a developer installing this tool on a
private/personal/scratch local instance where you are an admin_user. Then, if
you break it, you get to keep all the pieces see
** Installation **
This is a Galaxy tool. You can install it most conveniently
using the administrative "Search and browse tool sheds" link. Find the Galaxy
Main toolshed at https://toolshed.g2.bx.psu.edu/ and search for the
toolfactory repository. Open it and review the code and select the option to
If you can't get the tool that way, the xml and py files here need to be copied into a new tools
subdirectory such as tools/toolfactory Your tool_conf.xml needs a new entry pointing to the xml
file - something like::
<section name="Tool building tools" id="toolbuilders">
If not already there (I just added it to datatypes_conf.xml.sample), please add:
<datatype extension="toolshed.gz" type="galaxy.datatypes.binary:Binary" mimetype="multipart/x-gzip" subclass="True" />
to your local data_types_conf.xml.
Of course, R, python, perl etc are needed on your path if you want to test
scripts using those interpreters. Adding new ones to this tool code should be
easy enough. Please make suggestions as bitbucket issues and code. The HTML
file code automatically shrinks R's bloated pdfs, and depends on ghostscript.
The thumbnails require imagemagick .
* Restricted execution * The tool factory tool itself will then be usable
ONLY by admin users - people with IDs in admin_users in universe_wsgi.ini
**Yes, that's right. ONLY admin_users can run this tool** Think about it for a
moment. If allowed to run any arbitrary script on your Galaxy server, the only
thing that would impede a miscreant bent on destroying all your Galaxy data
would probably be lack of appropriate technical skills.
*What it does*
This is a tool factory for simple scripts in python, R and perl
currently. Functional tests are automatically generated. How cool is that.
LIMITED to simple scripts that read one input from the history. Optionally can
write one new history dataset, and optionally collect any number of outputs
into links on an autogenerated HTML index page for the user to navigate -
useful if the script writes images and output files - pdf outputs are shown as
thumbnails and R's bloated pdf's are shrunk with ghostscript so that and
imagemagik need to be available.
Generated tools can be edited and enhanced like any Galaxy tool, so start
small and build up since a generated script gets you a serious leg up to a
more complex one.
*What you do* You paste and run your script you fix the syntax errors and
eventually it runs You can use the redo button and edit the script before
trying to rerun it as you debug - it works pretty well.
Once the script works on some test data, you can generate a toolshed
compatible gzip file containing your script ready to run as an ordinary Galaxy
tool in a repository on your local toolshed. That means safe and largely
automated installation in any production Galaxy configured to use your
*Generated tool Security* Once you install a generated tool, it's just another
tool - assuming the script is safe. They just run normally and their user
cannot do anything unusually insecure but please, practice safe toolshed. Read
the fucking code before you install any tool. Especially this one - it is
If you opt for an HTML output, you get all the script outputs arranged as a
single Html history item - all output files are linked, thumbnails for all the
pdfs. Ugly but really inexpensive.
Patches and suggestions welcome as bitbucket issues please?
copyright ross lazarus (ross stop lazarus at gmail stop com) May 2012
all rights reserved Licensed under the LGPL if you want to improve it, feel
Material for our more enthusiastic and voracious readers continues below - we
**Motivation** Simple transformation, filtering or reporting scripts get
written, run and lost every day in most busy labs - even ours where Galaxy is
in use. This 'dark script matter' is pervasive and generally not reproducible.
**Benefits** For our group, this allows Galaxy to fill that important dark
script gap - all those "small" bioinformatics tasks. Once a user has a
working R (or python or perl) script that does something Galaxy cannot
currently do (eg transpose a tabular file) and takes parameters the way
Galaxy supplies them (see example below), they:
1. Install the tool factory on a personal private instance
2. Upload a small test data set
3. Paste the script into the 'script' text box and iteratively run the
insecure tool on test data until it works right - there is absolutely no
reason to do this anywhere other than on a personal private instance.
4. Once it works right, set the 'Generate toolshed gzip' option and run it
5. A toolshed style gzip appears ready to upload and install like any other
6. Upload the new tool to the toolshed
7. Ask the local admin to check the new tool to confirm it's not evil and
install it in the local production galaxy
**Simple examples on the tool form**
A simple Rscript "filter" showing how the command line parameters can be
handled, takes an input file, does something (transpose in this case) and
writes the results to a new tabular file::
# transpose a tabular input file and write as a tabular output file
ourargs = commandArgs(TRUE)
inf = ourargs
outf = ourargs
inp = read.table(inf,head=F,row.names=NULL,sep='\t')
outp = t(inp)
write.table(outp,outf, quote=FALSE, sep="\t",row.names=F,col.names=F)
Calculate a multiple test adjusted p value from a column of p values - for
this script to be useful, it needs the right column for the input to be
specified in the code for the given input file type(s) specified when the tool
is generated ::
# use p.adjust - assumes a HEADER row and column 1 - please fix for any real use
column = 1 # adjust if necessary for some other kind of input
fdrmeth = 'BH'
ourargs = commandArgs(TRUE)
inf = ourargs
outf = ourargs
inp = read.table(inf,head=T,row.names=NULL,sep='\t')
p = inp[,column]
q = p.adjust(p,method=fdrmeth)
newval = paste(fdrmeth,'p-value',sep='_')
q = data.frame(q)
names(q) = newval
outp = cbind(inp,newval=q)
write.table(outp,outf, quote=FALSE, sep="\t",row.names=F,col.names=T)
Another Rscript example without any input file - generates a random heatmap
pdf - you must make sure the option to create an HTML output file is turned on
for this to work. The heatmap will be presented as a thumbnail linked to the
pdf in the resulting HTML page::
# note this script takes NO input or output because it generates random data
foo = data.frame(a=runif(100),b=runif(100),c=runif(100),d=runif(100),e=runif(100),f=runif(100))
bar = as.matrix(foo)
pdf( "heattest.pdf" )
A Python example that reverses each row of a tabular file. You'll need to
remove the leading spaces for this to work if cut and pasted into the script
box. Note that you can already do this in Galaxy by setting up the cut columns
tool with the correct number of columns in reverse order,but this script will
work for any number of columns so is completely generic::
# reverse order of columns in a tabular file
inp = sys.argv
outp = sys.argv
i = open(inp,'r')
o = open(outp,'w')
for row in i:
rs = row.rstrip().split('\t')
Galaxy as an IDE for developing API scripts
If you need to develop Galaxy API scripts and you like to live dangerously,
please read on.
Galaxy as an IDE?
Amazingly enough, blend-lib API scripts run perfectly well *inside* Galaxy
when pasted into a Tool Factory form. No need to generate a new tool.
Galaxy+Tool_Factory = IDE I think we need a new t-shirt. Seriously, it is
actually quite useable.
Why bother - what's wrong with Eclipse
Nothing. But, compared with developing API scripts in the usual way outside
Galaxy, you get persistence and other framework benefits plus at absolutely no
extra charge, a ginormous security problem if you share the history or any
outputs because they contain the api script with key so development servers
Fire up the Tool Factory in Galaxy.
Leave the input box empty, set the interpreter to python, paste and run an api
script - eg working example (substitute the url and key) below.
It took me a few iterations to develop the example below because I know almost
nothing about the API. I started with very simple code from one of the samples
and after each run, the (edited..) api script is conveniently recreated using
the redo button on the history output item. So each successive version of the
developing api script you run is persisted - ready to be edited and rerun
easily. It is ''very'' handy to be able to add a line of code to the script
and run it, then view the output to (eg) inspect dicts returned by API calls
to help move progressively deeper iteratively.
Give the below a whirl on a private clone (install the tool factory from the
main toolshed) and try adding complexity with few rerun/edit/rerun cycles.
Eg tool factory api script
from blend.galaxy import GalaxyInstance
ourGal = 'http://x.x.x.x:xxxx'
ourKey = 'xxx'
gi = GalaxyInstance(ourGal, key=ourKey)
libs = gi.libraries.get_libraries()
res = 
# libs looks like
# u'url': u'/galaxy/api/libraries/441d8112651dc2f3', u'id': u'441d8112651dc2f3', u'name':.... u'Demonstration sample RNA data',
for lib in libs:
res.append('%s:\n' % lib['name'])
Creating re-usable tools from scripts: The Galaxy Tool Factory
Ross Lazarus; Antony Kaspi; Mark Ziemann; The Galaxy Team
Bioinformatics 2012; doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bts573
Copyright Ross Lazarus 2010
ross lazarus at g mail period com
All rights reserved.
Licensed under the LGPL