Five-minute quickstart

In this quickstart, you will:

  • Add a simple workflow to the central database via the command line

  • Run that workflow

  • Monitor your job status with the FireWorks database

  • Get a flavor of the Python API

This tutorial will emphasize “hands-on” usage of FireWorks via the command line and not explain things in detail.

Start FireWorks

  1. If not already running, start MongoDB (if your MongoDB is hosted and maintained externally, follow the note below regarding lpad init):

    mongod --logpath <FILENAME_TO_LOG_TO> --fork


    If you cannot access the /data/db directory or if you are running MongoDB on a shared machine, make sure that the ``–dbpath` variable is set to a directory that you can access or set the appropriate permissions.


    If MongoDB is outputting a lot of text, you might want to start it in a dedicated Terminal window or use the --quiet option. You may also wish to set up your Mongo config in a file and use the –config option.


    If your MongoDB database is located on a different computer from your FireWorks installation, navigate to the computer containing the FireWorks installation and type lpad init or lpad init -u. Use the -u option only if you want to put all parameters (username, password, database name, etc.) within a single URI (see MongoDB connection URI). Running the appropriate lpad init command successfully will set up a file that points to your remote database (usually called my_launchpad.yaml). You can now run lpad commands from within this directory and FireWorks will automatically detect this file. Alternatively, use the lpad -l option to point to this file or set up this file as your default db location using the FW config.

  2. Reset/Initialize the FireWorks database (the LaunchPad):

    lpad reset


All FireWorks commands come with built-in help. For example, type lpad -h or lpad reset -h. There often exist many different options for each command.

Add a Workflow

  1. There are many ways to add Workflows to the database, including a Python API. Let’s start with an extremely simple example that can be added via the command line:

    lpad add_scripts 'echo "hello"' 'echo "goodbye"' -n hello goodbye -w test_workflow


    2013-10-03 13:51:19,991 INFO Added a workflow. id_map: {0: 1, 1: 2}

    This added a two-job linear workflow. The first jobs prints hello to the command line, and the second job prints goodbye. We gave names (optional) to each step as “hello” and “goodbye”. We named the workflow overall (optional) as “test_workflow”.

  2. Let’s look at our test workflow:

    lpad get_wflows -n test_workflow -d more


        "name": "test_workflow",
        "state": "READY",
        "states": {
            "hello--1": "READY",
            "goodbye--2": "WAITING"
        "created_on": "2014-02-10T22:10:27.024000",
        "launch_dirs": {
            "hello--1": [],
            "goodbye--2": []
        "updated_on": "2014-02-10T22:10:27.029000"

    We get back basic information on our workflows. The second step “goodbye” is waiting for the first one to complete; it is not ready to run because it depends on the first job.

Run all Workflows

  1. You can run jobs one at a time (“singleshot”) or all at once (“rapidfire”). Let’s run all jobs:

    rlaunch --silencer rapidfire



    Clearly, both steps of our workflow ran in the correct order.

  2. Let’s again look at our workflows:

    lpad get_wflows -n test_workflow -d more


        "name": "test_workflow",
        "state": "COMPLETED",
        "states": {
            "hello--1": "COMPLETED",
            "goodbye--2": "COMPLETED"
        "created_on": "2014-02-10T22:18:50.923000",
        "launch_dirs": {
            "hello--1": [
            "goodbye--2": [
        "updated_on": "2014-02-10T22:18:50.923000"

    FireWorks automatically created launcher_ directories for each step in the Workflow and ran them. We see that both steps are complete. Note that there exist options to choose where to run jobs, as well as to tear down empty directories after running jobs.

Launch the web GUI

  1. If you have a web browser, you can launch the web GUI to see your results:

    lpad webgui

Note that there are options to run the web site in a server mode, try lpad webgui -h to see all the options.

Python code

The following Python code achieves the same behavior:

from fireworks import Firework, Workflow, LaunchPad, ScriptTask
from fireworks.core.rocket_launcher import rapidfire

# set up the LaunchPad and reset it
launchpad = LaunchPad()
launchpad.reset('', require_password=False)

# create the individual FireWorks and Workflow
fw1 = Firework(ScriptTask.from_str('echo "hello"'), name="hello")
fw2 = Firework(ScriptTask.from_str('echo "goodbye"'), name="goodbye")
wf = Workflow([fw1, fw2], {fw1:fw2}, name="test workflow")

# store workflow and launch it locally

In the code above, the {fw1:fw2} argument to Workflow is adding a dependency of fw2 to fw1. You could instead define this dependency when defining your FireWorks:

fw1 = Firework(ScriptTask.from_str('echo "hello"'), name="hello")
fw2 = Firework(ScriptTask.from_str('echo "goodbye"'), name="goodbye", parents=[fw1])
wf = Workflow([fw1, fw2], name="test workflow")

Next steps

Now that you’ve successfully gotten things running, we encourage you to learn about all the different options FireWorks provides for designing, managing, running, and monitoring workflows. A good next step is the Introductory tutorial, which takes things more slowly than this quickstart.