Galaxy Webhooks


question Questions
  • What are Galaxy Webhooks?

  • How to create them?

objectives Objectives
  • Discover what Galaxy Webhooks are

  • Be able to create Webhooks

  • Be able to add a Galaxy Webhook in a Galaxy instance

time Time estimation: 1 hour
Supporting Materials
last_modification Last modification: May 27, 2021


In this tutorial we are going to demonstrate how to add a webhook to the tool-execution endpoint. This is the web-page that appears after you have executed a tool. As a more useful example we are going to ask phdcomics for a random comic that we can display to entertain our users.

At first let’s create a config file that defines the name and the type of your webhook. The name is phdcomics and with the type we define the entry-points at which we modify the Galaxy user-interface. In our case we want to display an image at the tool and workflow entry-point. The key activate gives you control per-webhook to activate or deactivate it.

hands_on Hands-on

  1. Create a file named config/phdcomics.yaml with the following content:

       name: phdcomics
         - tool
         - workflow
       activate: true

The next step is to define HTML/JS part which will control the part of the Galaxy UI. We create a new PHDComicsAppView view extended from Backbone. Inside this view we define a simple div-container with a button and a placeholder for our image called phdcomics-img. You can add additional functionality to your view, for example getting a new image on button click. The essential functionality however is stored getRandomComic. The big problem with phdcomics is that there is no nice API to retrive the comics, so we need to fallback to parse the HTML pages. We decided to do this in Python to demonstrate webhooks abilitity to call self-defined python functions. Please note the url = galaxyRoot + 'api/webhooks/phdcomics/get_data';, which calls an REST endpoint defined by use in the next step. The return value of this endpoint is retrived in JS and can be displayed or modified.

hands_on Hands-on

  1. Create a file named static/script.js with the following content:

        $(document).ready(function() {
            var galaxyRoot = typeof Galaxy != 'undefined' ? Galaxy.root : '/';
            var PHDComicsAppView = Backbone.View.extend({
                el: '#phdcomics',
                appTemplate: _.template(
                    '<div id="phdcomics-header">' +
                       '<div id="phdcomics-name">PHD Comics</div>' +
                        '<button id="phdcomics-random">Random</button>' +
                    '</div>' +
                    '<div id="phdcomics-img"></div>'
                imgTemplate: _.template('<img src="<%= src %>"">'),
                events: {
                    'click #phdcomics-random': 'getRandomComic'
                initialize: function() {
                render: function() {
                    this.$comicImg = this.$('#phdcomics-img');
                    return this;
                getRandomComic: function() {
                    var me = this,
                        url = galaxyRoot + 'api/webhooks/phdcomics/get_data';
                    this.$comicImg.html($('<div/>', {
                        id: 'phdcomics-loader'
                    $.getJSON(url, function(data) {
                        if (data.success) {
                        } else {
                            console.error('[ERROR] "' + url + '":\n' + data.error);
                renderImg: function(src) {
                    this.$comicImg.html(this.imgTemplate({src: src}));
            new PHDComicsAppView();

The following hands-on will define an API endpoint that is called from the JS code of your webhook. Make sure you name the python function main and that all third-party requirements are installed in your Galaxy virtual environment. Please note that the main() can consume params from your client but also the Galaxy trans object, which will give you access to the entire user-object, including histories and datasets.

hands_on Hands-on

  1. Create a file named helper/ with the following content:

    import urllib
    import re
    import random
    import logging
    log = logging.getLogger(__name__)
    def main(trans, webhook, params):
        error = ''
        comic_src = ''
            # Third-party dependencies
                from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
            except ImportError as e:
                return {'success': False, 'error': str(e)}
            # Get latest id
            if 'latest_id' not in webhook.config.keys():
                url = ''
                content = urllib.urlopen(url).read()
                soap = BeautifulSoup(content, 'html.parser')
                pattern = '(?:https://www\.phdcomics\.com/comics\.php\?f=)(\d+)'
                webhook.config['latest_id'] = max([
                    int(, link.text).group(1))
                    for link in soap.find_all('link', text=re.compile(pattern))
            random_id = random.randint(1, webhook.config['latest_id'])
            url = '' % \
            content = urllib.urlopen(url).read()
            soup = BeautifulSoup(content, 'html.parser')
            comic_img = soup.find_all('img', id='comic2')
                comic_src = comic_img[0].attrs.get('src')
            except IndexError:
                pattern = '<img id=comic2 name=comic2 src=([\w:\/\.]+)'
                comic_src =, content).group(1)
        except Exception as e:
            error = str(e)
        return {'success': not error, 'error': error, 'src': comic_src}

To make your webhook appealing you can also add custom CSS which you can use in your HTML/JS code.

hands_on Hands-on

  1. Create a file named static/styles.css with the following content:

        #phdcomics {
            border: 1px solid #52697d;
            text-align: center;
            border-radius: 3px;
            overflow: hidden;
        #phdcomics-header {
            background: #52697d;
            border-bottom: 1px solid #52697d;
            padding: 15px 0;
        #phdcomics-name {
            color: #fff;
            padding-bottom: 10px;
        #phdcomics-header button {
            color: #fff;
            font-size: 14px;
            background-color: #768fa5;
            border: none;
            border-radius: 7px;
            box-shadow: 0 5px #5c768c;
            padding: 5px 10px;
        #phdcomics-header button:focus {
            outline: 0;
        #phdcomics-header button:hover {
            background-color: #67839b;
        #phdcomics-header button:active {
            background-color: #67839b;
            box-shadow: 0 0 #5c768c;
            transform: translateY(5px);
        #phdcomics-img {
            background: #fff;
        #phdcomics-img img {
            padding: 10px;
            max-width: 100%;
            margin-bottom: -4px;
        #phdcomics-loader {
            border: 5px solid #f3f3f3;
            border-top: 5px solid #52697d;
            border-radius: 50%;
            width: 25px;
            height: 25px;
            animation: spin 1.5s linear infinite;
            margin: 15px auto;
        @keyframes spin {
            0% { transform: rotate(0deg); }
            100% { transform: rotate(360deg); }

Please make sure you have activated webhooks in your config/galaxy.yml file by setting the webhooks_dir to the path in which your phdcomics folder is located.

hands_on Hands-on

  1. Submit one tool and see if your webhook is working on the tool-submit page.

If successful it should look like this:

First view


First of all, thank you for completing this tutorial. We have learned how to add webhooks to your Galaxy.

keypoints Key points

  • A Galaxy Webhook provides an easy way to customize the Galaxy UI with plugins

  • Right now there are 4 entry points: tool, workflow, masthead, history-menu

  • With a minimal amount of code you can extend Galaxy’s user-interace.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about this tutorial? Check out the FAQ page for the Development in Galaxy topic to see if your question is listed there. If not, please ask your question on the GTN Gitter Channel or the Galaxy Help Forum


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Citing this Tutorial

  1. Clemens Blank, Martin Čech, Björn Grüning, 2021 Galaxy Webhooks (Galaxy Training Materials). Online; accessed TODAY
  2. Batut et al., 2018 Community-Driven Data Analysis Training for Biology Cell Systems 10.1016/j.cels.2018.05.012

details BibTeX

    author = "Clemens Blank and Martin Čech and Björn Grüning",
    title = "Galaxy Webhooks (Galaxy Training Materials)",
    year = "2021",
    month = "05",
    day = "27"
    url = "\url{}",
    note = "[Online; accessed TODAY]"
        doi = {10.1016/j.cels.2018.05.012},
        url = {},
        year = 2018,
        month = {jun},
        publisher = {Elsevier {BV}},
        volume = {6},
        number = {6},
        pages = {752--758.e1},
        author = {B{\'{e}}r{\'{e}}nice Batut and Saskia Hiltemann and Andrea Bagnacani and Dannon Baker and Vivek Bhardwaj and Clemens Blank and Anthony Bretaudeau and Loraine Brillet-Gu{\'{e}}guen and Martin {\v{C}}ech and John Chilton and Dave Clements and Olivia Doppelt-Azeroual and Anika Erxleben and Mallory Ann Freeberg and Simon Gladman and Youri Hoogstrate and Hans-Rudolf Hotz and Torsten Houwaart and Pratik Jagtap and Delphine Larivi{\`{e}}re and Gildas Le Corguill{\'{e}} and Thomas Manke and Fabien Mareuil and Fidel Ram{\'{\i}}rez and Devon Ryan and Florian Christoph Sigloch and Nicola Soranzo and Joachim Wolff and Pavankumar Videm and Markus Wolfien and Aisanjiang Wubuli and Dilmurat Yusuf and James Taylor and Rolf Backofen and Anton Nekrutenko and Björn Grüning},
        title = {Community-Driven Data Analysis Training for Biology},
        journal = {Cell Systems}

congratulations Congratulations on successfully completing this tutorial!