Tutorial: building WRF after adding support for it

boegel edited this page Jan 10, 2013 · 4 revisions
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This brief tutorial shows how to add support to EasyBuild for building and installation a software package.

For this, we'll use the WRF weather modeling software package, and assume that EasyBuild doesn't already provide the necessary support to build it (because it does, see the actual WRF easyblock).

We will present and discuss the EB_WRF easyblock that implements the (very non-standard) WRF build procedure, and how to make sure that EasyBuild can find it and use it.

Once the easyblock is implemented and supplied to EasyBuild we present a WRF easyconfig file that specifies the install specifications to EasyBuild, and show how easy it is to build a particular WRF version once the necessary support is in place.

## Adding support for building WRF: writing an easyblock

The Python code below shows the easyblock that implements the support for building WRF, which is a trimmed down version of the WRF easyblock provided with EasyBuild.

We discuss this Python module block by block.

Import statements

import fileinput, os, re, sys

import easybuild.tools.environment as env
from easybuild.easyblocks.netcdf import set_netcdf_env_vars
from easybuild.framework.easyblock import EasyBlock
from easybuild.framework.easyconfig import MANDATORY
from easybuild.tools.filetools import patch_perl_script_autoflush, run_cmd, run_cmd_qa
from easybuild.tools.modules import get_software_root

The import statements make sure that all the standard Python modules and functionality provided by EasyBuild that we require is available. How the various classes and functions provided by EasyBuild are use is shown in the next sections.

Class definition, class constructor and defining extra easyconfig options

class EB_WRF(EasyBlock):

  def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
    super(EB_WRF, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
    self.build_in_installdir = True

  def extra_options():
    extra_vars = [('buildtype', [None, "Type of build (e.g., dmpar, dm+sm).", MANDATORY])]
    return EasyBlock.extra_options(extra_vars)

The EB_WRF class is derived from the 'abstract' easyblock class EasyBlock in this case, since there are no (generic) easyblocks that provide functionality that can be reused for supporting the WRF build and procedure (did we already mention that it's quite non-standard?). The class naming encoding scheme is documented here.

The generic easyblocks provided by EasyBuild that can serve as base class for an easyblock are hosted in the easybuild.easyblocks.generic package.

The class constructor __init__ simply calls the parent constructor, and initializes a class variable build_in_installdir to indicate to EasyBuild that WRF lacks an actual installation step. This will make EasyBuild unpack the sources and run the build procedure in the install directory, thus making an actual installation step not necessary.

By defining the static method extra_options and passing a list of extra easyconfig options to the extra_options method of EasyBlock, we can provide additional WRF-specific easyconfig parameters that can steer the build procedure.

Configuration, part 1: preparation configuration

  def configure_step(self):
    # prepare to configure

    jasper = get_software_root('JasPer')
    jasperlibdir = os.path.join(jasper, "lib")
    if jasper:
      env.setvar('JASPERINC', os.path.join(jasper, "include"))
      env.setvar('JASPERLIB', jasperlibdir)

    env.setvar('WRFIO_NCD_LARGE_FILE_SUPPORT', '1')

    patch_perl_script_autoflush(os.path.join("arch", "Config_new.pl"))

    known_build_types = ['serial', 'smpar', 'dmpar', 'dm+sm']
    self.parallel_build_types = ["dmpar", "smpar", "dm+sm"]
    bt = self.cfg['buildtype']

    if not bt in known_build_types:
      self.log.error("Unknown build type: '%s' (supported: %s)" % (bt, known_build_types))

The first part of the configuration as implemented in the configure_step method is basically preparation for the actual configuration shown below.

It consists of setting various environment variables for the WRF dependencies netCDF (via the set_netcdf_env_vars function provided by the netCDF easyblcok) and JasPer, indicating that large file support should be enabled and checking whether the specified build type is sensible.

Using the patch_perl_script_autoflush provided by EasyBuild we patch the interactive Config_new.pl Perl script to allow EasyBuild to perform the configuration fully autonomously (see below).

Configuration, part 2: running configure script and patching resulting config file

    # run configure script
    bt_option = "Linux x86_64 i486 i586 i686, ifort compiler with icc"
    bt_question = "\s*(?P<nr>[0-9]+).\s*%s\s*\(%s\)" % (bt_option, bt)

    cmd = "./configure"
    qa = {"(1=basic, 2=preset moves, 3=vortex following) [default 1]:": "1",
          "(0=no nesting, 1=basic, 2=preset moves, 3=vortex following) [default 0]:": "0"}
    std_qa = {r"%s.*\n(.*\n)*Enter selection\s*\[[0-9]+-[0-9]+\]\s*:" % bt_question: "%(nr)s"}
    run_cmd_qa(cmd, qa, no_qa=[], std_qa=std_qa, log_all=True, simple=True)

    # patch configure.wrf
    cfgfile = 'configure.wrf'

    comps = {
             'SCC': os.getenv('CC'), 'SFC': os.getenv('F90'),
             'CCOMP': os.getenv('CC'), 'DM_FC': os.getenv('MPIF90'),
             'DM_CC': "%s -DMPI2_SUPPORT" % os.getenv('MPICC'),
    for line in fileinput.input(cfgfile, inplace=1, backup='.orig.comps'):
      for (k, v) in comps.items():
        line = re.sub(r"^(%s\s*=\s*).*$" % k, r"\1 %s" % v, line)

The second part of the configuration consits of running the configure script (which is not a script generated by autoconf, as one would expect). The script is run using the run_cmd_qa function provided by EasyBuild which provides support for running interactive scripts fully autonomously. It sufficies to provide two dictionaries, one with simple string patterns and one with regular expression patterns as keys, that map questions to answers. In this particular case, we even extract the answer (the number of an item in a list) from the question, see the named group nr defined in bt_question and the value of the only entry in std_qa that is passed to run_cmd_qa.

Afterwards, the configure.wrf configuration file produced by configure is patched to correctly set the various compiler entries SCC, SFC, CCOMP, etc., which completes the configuration of the WRF build.

Building WRF

  def build_step(self):
    """Build WRF using the compile script."""
    par = self.cfg['parallel']
    cmd = "./compile -j %d wrf" % par
    run_cmd(cmd, log_all=True, simple=True, log_output=True)

    # build two test cases to produce ideal.exe and real.exe
    for test in ["em_real", "em_b_wave"]:
      cmd = "./compile -j %d %s" % (par, test)
      run_cmd(cmd, log_all=True, simple=True, log_output=True)

  def install_step(self):
    """No separate installation step for WRF."""

Building WRF consists of simply calling the compile script with wrf as an argument. We make sure we perform the build in parallel (if requested) by using the -j option. We also build two test cases (em_real and em_b_wave), to make sure the ideal.exe and real.exe binaries are also being built.

The install step is just empty, since the build as performed in the installation directory (as specified with the build_in_installdir class variable set in the constructor).

Sanity check (simplified)

  def sanity_check_step(self):
    """Custom sanity check for WRF."""

    wrf_subdir = "WRFV%s" % self.version.split('.')[0]
    custom_paths = {
                    'files': [os.path.join(wrf_subdir, "main", x) for x in ["ideal.exe", "real.exe", "wrf.exe"]],
                    'dirs': []

    super(EB_WRF, self).sanity_check_step(custom_paths=custom_paths)

The sanity_check_step method checks whether the expected files and directories are indeed present after the build and install procedure was performed. Here, we assume that WRF was built correctly if the ideal.exe, real.exe and wrf.exe binaries are indeed present.

What's missing?

In this simplified easyblock, we omitted a couple of things for brevity, including:

  • support for other compilers: in the easyblock shown, we assume that the Intel compilers are always used, while the actual EB_WRF easyblock provided by EasyBuild has support for multiple compilers
  • testing: the test_step function that run the various testcases shipped with WRF is omitted since it's quite involved
  • module customization: since the binaries and libraries are in a non-standard place, the module generated by EasyBuild should update the PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH accordingly; likewise, some environment variables need to be set for the netCDF dependency which is also omitted here

The fully featured easyblock implementing support for building, testing and installing WRF is available here.

Providing easyblock to EasyBuild

To provide the easyblock to EasyBuild so it can be used, you need to add it to the easybuild.easyblocks package, or set up your own.

Simply place the Python module that is the easyblock with the appropriate name (wrf.py in this case), and EasyBuild should pick it up as needed.

Checking whether EasyBuild finds your easyblock can be done with eb --list-easyblocks or eb --easyblock EB_WRF --avail-easyconfig-params=detailed.

## Build and install a particular WRF version: putting together an easyconfig file and using `eb`

Finally, to build and install WRF using EasyBuild, you need to compose a simple easyconfig file that specifies all the details for the build (version, compiler toolchain to use, etc.).

An example easyconfig file is shown below. Note that we request a distributed parallel build of WRF by setting the build type to dmpar. We also list the various dependencies (assuming EasyBuild already has support for these), and specify various patches that required to correctly build WRF with the Intel compilers, which are part of the ictce compiler toolchain that is selected.

The name of the easyconfig file should follow the naming scheme expected by the EasyBuild dependency resolver (a.k.a. robot), i.e. <name>-<version>-<toolchain>-<versionsuffix>, i.e. WRF-3.4-ictce-3.2.2.u3-dmpar.eb for this particular example, so it can also be used when resolving dependencies for other builds (e.g. WPS, which depends on WRF).

name = 'WRF'
version = '3.4'

homepage = 'http://www.wrf-model.org'
description = 'Weather Research and Forecasting'

tcver = '3.2.2.u3'
toolchain = {'name': 'ictce','version': tcver}
toolchainopts = {'opt': False, 'optarch': False}

sources = ['%sV%s.TAR.gz' % (name, version)]

patches = [

dependencies = [('JasPer', '1.900.1'),
                ('netCDF', '4.2'),
                ('netCDF-Fortran', '4.2')]

buildtype = 'dmpar'
versionsuffix = '-%s' % buildtype

With that easyconfig file, building WRF is a matter of running a single command with EasyBuild:

eb WRF-3.4-ictce-3.2.2.u3-dmpar.eb --robot

The --robot command line option enables the dependency resolves and will make EasyBuild install any missing dependencies before building and installing WRF itself (assuming it knows how, of course).