ecFlow's documentation is now on readthedocs!

This page gives a simple exercise that will allow you to create a very simple ecFlow server, load it with a small suite of minimal tasks and interact with it using the graphical user interface, ecFlowUI. Once you have completed this, the Tutorial is a great way to gradually familiarise yourself with more details of ecFlow.

Create a directory to work in

The instructions here will assume we are working in the directory $HOME/ecflow/quickstart, but any directory will do.

Download the example suite definition

Click the following link to download the files needed to define our sample suite:


Now, move it into your chosen working directory and untar it:

tar xzvf ecflow_quickstart.tar.gz

Inspect and update the suite definition

The file test.def defines a suite called "test". Open this file in a text editor and note the structure.

suite test
   edit ECF_HOME "/replace/with/own/home/ecflow/quickstart"
   task t1
   task t2
        trigger t1 eq complete

We define a suite called "test"; it defines a variable called ECF_HOME, then it defines two tasks ("tasks" are things that actually run) and specifies that task t2 will be run as soon as task t1 has completed. The scripts corresponding to the tasks are specified in ".ecf" files in the test directory. Have a look - they simply print some information about themselves, then sleep for 2 seconds.

The first thing you must do is to complete the path to your working directory in the ECF_HOME definition in test.def and save the file.

Start an ecFlow server

We will start a new running instance of an ecFlow server using the default port. It is possible to use a different port by adding --port=3500 (for example) to every ecFlow command-line action. Note also that we start it as a background task - it will run until the server is stopped. It can be run in the foreground, but in that case you will need to use a new terminal for any subsequent commands!

ecflow_server &

Check that it is running:

ecflow_client --ping

Load your suite definition into the server

ecflow_client --load=test.def

Check that it is loaded by asking the server to give you back the suite definition:

ecflow_client --get

Monitor and interact via the GUI

Start ecFlowUI:

ecflow_ui &

Once ecFlowUI has started, you must tell it how to reach your server. Go to the Servers → Manage Servers menu, click "Add server", then enter the details of your server. Name can be anything you want - it's for you to identify the server to your self; something like "localtest" would be fine here. Host should in this case be "localhost", and Port should be XXX. The other fields can be left blank, but keep the "Add server to current view" box ticked.

You should now see your suite loaded into the GUI! To make the server active, right-click on the top-level node representing the server ("localtest in our case) and choose "Restart". Now right-click on the "test" node and choose "Begin" to make the suite active. The default behaviour is to only refresh its view of the suite every 60 seconds, so you will need to click the green refresh button at the top every so often to see the progress of the tasks.