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Rob Nagler edited this page Apr 5, 2023 · 52 revisions
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Developing Sirepo

Sirepo is fully open source, as are most of its codes. We are happy to support you, just submit an issue if you have questions.

Sirepo runs on Linux. We use Vagrant and VirtualBox. You will need to install Vagrant/Virtualbox manually before doing anything below.

We deploy using Docker.

We rely heavily on a simple curl installer structure in our download repo. If you are not comfortable with curl installers, please feel free to follow the installer scripts mentioned below.

If you use a Mac, read on. Otherwise, skip to PC Install. We use Macs so they are the best supported.

Once installed, run the server.

Server-side Technologies

  • python programming language
  • Flask lightweight web server framework
  • OpenMPI parallel computing

Client-side Technologies

Mac Install

Once Vagrant is installed, run the vagrant-sirepo-dev installer on your Mac:

mkdir v
cd v
curl | vagrant_dev_no_nfs_src=1 bash -s vagrant-sirepo-dev
vagrant ssh

The directory must be named "v", which will be used as a basis for the hostname The rest of this page assumes is the hostname.

The vagrant_dev_no_nfs_src=1 turns off sharing ~/src between the host (Mac) and guest (VM). This depends on how you develop. If you would like to use an IDE like PyCharm, you might want to share ~/src with the VM. This way you can edit files locally on your Mac. In this case, you would use the command:

curl | bash -s vagrant-sirepo-dev

If you do this, you may want to have a symlink on your mac from /home/vagrant to /Users/<your-user> so that you can directly reference file names in error messages output by sirepo. Make sure /home on your Mac is chmod 755.

The host defaults to (ip You can also specify a different host as an argument to vagrant-sirepo-dev, e.g.

curl | bash -s vagrant-sirepo-dev

The host must be of the form v[1-9]

Next step: Single Server Execution.

PC Install

You can develop on Windows or Linux with Vagrant. You just have to run the install manually.

Linux Note: Always use the repos configured by and, and not the default that comes with your distro. We know for sure that Ubuntu's VirtualBox doesn't work properly.

Once you have installed VirtualBox and Vagrant, create a directory, and use this Vagrantfile:

# -*-ruby-*-
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config| = "fedora/32-cloud-base"
    config.vm.hostname = "" "private_network", ip: ""
    config.vm.provider "virtualbox" do |v|
        v.customize ["guestproperty", "set", :id, "/VirtualBox/GuestAdd/VBoxService/--timesync-set-threshold", 5000]
        v.customize ["setextradata", :id, "VBoxInternal/Devices/VMMDev/0/Config/GetHostTimeDisabled", "0"]
        # If you see network restart or performance issues, try this:
        # v.customize ["modifyvm", :id, "--nictype1", "virtio"]
        # Needed for compiling some the larger codes
        v.memory = 8192
        v.cpus = 4

    config.ssh.forward_x11 = false
    # Undo mapping of hostname to
    config.vm.provision "shell",
        inline: "sed -i '/*' /etc/hosts"

Then install the vbguest plugin:

> vagrant plugin install vagrant-vbguest

This will make sure your time on the machine stays up to date, and also allow you to mount directories from the host. Once the plugin is installed, run:

> vagrant up

Once booted:

> vagrant ssh

And inside the guest VM run the redhat-base installer:

$ curl | bash -s redhat-dev
$ exit

This sets up a lot of environment so logging out is a good idea, then login again and run the sirepo-dev installer:

$ vagrant ssh
$ curl | bash -s sirepo-dev
$ exit

This installs all the codes used by sirepo, and it's fully automatic so go have lunch, and it will be done. Make sure you exit, because you will need to refresh your login environment.

Next step: Single Server Execution.

Simple Server (Runner) Execution

Once installed by one of the methods above, you will have a sirepo development environment. To run sirepo locally, run:

$ cd ~/src/radiasoft/sirepo
$ sirepo service http


In production we use uWSGI and NGINX. To run the server using this configuration in development

$ cd ~/src/radiasoft/sirepo
$ sirepo service uwsgi
# In a different terminal window
$ sirepo service nginx-proxy
# In another terminal window
$ bash etc/ local

Navigate to (note: 8080 not the normal 8000) to access Sirepo.

Vagrant sets up a private network. You can access the server at However, some networks block resolutions to private internet addresses so you may have to visit (this is the case, for example, on Macs with no active internet connection).

Developing with SBatch and Docker

The sirepo service http setup is used for basic application development using the local job driver. However, you may want to use the sbatch or docker drivers for multi-node execution environments.

Job execution is handled by four process components:

  1. Flask server sirepo service http which receives messages from the GUI

  2. Tornado supervisor sirepo job_supervisor which brokers messages between the server and agents

  3. Tornado agents sirepo job_agent, started by job drivers which execute allow the supervisor to execute jobs in different environments.

  4. Command line job commands (sirepo job_cmd), started by agents, which run the template functions in the execution environment.

The job supervisor environment can support executing codes in a local process, on Docker-enabled nodes, on Slurm clusters, and at NERSC (assuming the user has credentials for accessing NERSC).

We can configure three of these environments for development automatically.

Local Jobs

The Flask server can be started manually for the local job driver by running:

bash etc/ local

The Tornado job supervisor separately for the local job driver by running:

bash etc/ local

This is sufficient for a single node execution in development or in private network environment. Do not run the local driver in public environments or where security is a concern.

Docker Jobs

To enable Docker execution, you will need to install docker on your VM:

sudo su - -c 'radia_run redhat-docker'

This will require a reboot and a logout/login. Once you have Docker setup, you will start the job supervisor:

The server can be started with:

bash etc/ docker

The job supervisor using the docker job driver:

bash etc/ docker

Slurm Jobs

You can run Slurm jobs locally, too, but you need to install Slurm:

radia_run slurm-dev

The server can be started with:

bash etc/ sbatch

Start the supervisor:

bash etc/ sbatch

If you want to run sbatch on another node, you can specify that configure it with (on a Mac or Linux), e.g. create a VM called

mkdir ~/v8
cd ~/v8
radia_run vagrant-sirepo-dev
radia_run slurm-dev

Then start the supervisor on with:

bash etc/ sbatch


In order to run on, you need to a socket open so that Cori can reach the server. This can be accomplished through a reverse proxy or socat running on a server with a public IP address.

You start the server basically the same way.

bash etc/ nersc

Let's say the public IP address is and the server is running on port 8001 on your VM ( on that public server.

Start socat which forward port 8001:

socat -d TCP-LISTEN:8001,fork,reuseaddr

The supervisor is started with:

bash etc/ nersc <nersc_user>

To be able to reach Sirepo running on the remote server from the browser on your computer you'll want to setup ssh local forwarding. In your ~/.ssh/config add

Host foo
    LocalForward 8000

Then go to in your browser and traffic will be forwarded.

The <nersc_user> must be a user that has a sirepo development environment setup on

To setup the development environment on NERSC you'll need to do a few things.

SSH into nersc ssh <username>

Install a python environment curl | bash -s nersc-pyenv

Install sirepo and pykern:

$ mkdir -p ~/src/radiasoft/
$ cd $_
$ git clone
$ cd pykern
$ pip install -e .
$ cd ../
$ git clone
$ pip install -e .

Pull the shifter image shifterimg pull docker:radiasoft/sirepo:dev

Codeless Server Execution

You can run Sirepo without any of the scientific codes:

$ SIREPO_FEATURE_CONFIG_SIM_TYPES=myapp sirepo service http

This runs the demo app, which is available at the following link:

Updating VM

As user vagrant:

radia_run sirepo-dev

If radia_run fails, run with debug:

radia_run debug sirepo-dev

Full Stack Sample Server Configuration

First, you need to setup Docker on CentOS/RHEL.

Here's a sample "full stack" server configuration. It runs with a specific IP address (, because it is bound to a specific domain name It requires you have Vagrant and VirtualBox installed, and that you are on a Mac or Linux box to execute the initial curl installer.

mkdir v4
cd v4
curl | bash -s vagrant-centos7
vagrant ssh
sudo su - -c 'radia_run redhat-docker'
# first time disables SELinux; you'll see a message saying this
vagrant reload
vagrant ssh
sudo su - -c 'radia_run redhat-docker'
sudo su -
yum install -y nginx
cd /
curl -s -S -L | tar xzf -
systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl restart docker
docker pull radiasoft/sirepo:dev
systemctl start sirepo_job_supervisor
systemctl start sirepo
systemctl start nginx

You can access the server as from the local host.

Running jupyter lab in the VM

This assumes you will be viewing notebooks in a web browser on your host machine. You may need to install jupyter lab yourself. To do so, log in to the VM and enter:

pip install jupyterlab

You may see a warning similar to the following:

ERROR: pip's dependency resolver does not currently take into account all the packages that are installed. This behaviour is the source of the following dependency conflicts.
ipywidgets 7.6.3 requires jupyterlab-widgets>=1.0.0; python_version >= "3.6", which is not installed.

in which case enter:

pip install jupyterlab-widgets

To run, enter

jupyter lab --ip=

You will see output like

[I 01:02:03.713 LabApp] JupyterLab extension loaded from /home/vagrant/.pyenv/versions/3.7.2/envs/py3/lib/python3.7/site-packages/jupyterlab
[I 01:02:03.714 LabApp] JupyterLab application directory is /home/vagrant/.pyenv/versions/3.7.2/envs/py3/share/jupyter/lab
[I 01:02:03.718 LabApp] Serving notebooks from local directory: /home/vagrant
[I 01:02:03.718 LabApp] Jupyter Notebook 6.1.4 is running at:
[I 01:02:03.719 LabApp]
[I 01:02:03.719 LabApp]  or
[I 01:02:03.720 LabApp] Use Control-C to stop this server and shut down all kernels (twice to skip confirmation).
[W 01:02:03.725 LabApp] No web browser found: could not locate runnable browser.
[C 01:02:03.725 LabApp]

    To access the notebook, open this file in a browser:
    Or copy and paste one of these URLs:

Note that the URLs in the output above assume a browser running on the VM. In particular file:///... and reference the guest (VM) and not the host (desktop) on which it is running.

Following this example, navigate to (or if necessary - see Single Server Execution for more on networking) on your desktop browser. You can also go to and enter the token when prompted. This may be preferable if you want to bookmark the server page, as the token gets regenerated. The browser will display the jupyter interface and you can begin running notebooks.

Note: the jupyter interface will not allow you to open directories above the one in which you started the server. Run it from ~ or a directory containing the notebooks you wish to run.

To stop the server, type ctrl-C twice (or once, then y to confirm)


During the course of development you may find that jupyterlab fails to build, especially if you change versions frequently to test. One possible error for example would be

[webpack-cli] Error: Cannot find module '<my-module>/package.json'

even when that file appears to exist. If that is the case, try

 jupyter labextension list

which will list the installed lab extensions like so:

JupyterLab v<version>
Known labextensions:
   app dir: /home/vagrant/.pyenv/versions/<python_version>/envs/py3/share/jupyter/lab
        <my-module> vx.x.x enabled OK*

   local extensions:
        <my-module>: <path_to_module>/<my-module>/js

If you also see

Uninstalled core extensions:

then jupyterlab is trying to incorporate a non-existent module into its build. Do

rm /home/vagrant/.pyenv/versions/<python version>/envs/py3/share/jupyter/lab/settings/build_config.json
jupyter lab build

and the build should complete successfully.

Developing Jupyterlab

  • We have a dedicated repo for developing jupyterlab extensions
  • See rsjupyterlab repo for more

Developing Jupyterhub

Running jupyterhub development server

  • You can do so with the bash script in sirepo/etc
bash etc/

and navigate to

  • You may be prompted for an email address. Use vagrant@x.x and then check your terminal for something along these lines
  • Paste that URL into your browser it should take you to jupyterhub

Updating Jupyterhub UI

  • Jupyterhub has templates that define the jupyterhub UI which live in $(pyenv prefix)/share/jupyterhub/templates.
  • To modify the UI in a clean way, you can create child templates that inherit from the ones in $(pyenv prefix)/share/jupyterhub/templates. For example,
{% extends "templates/page.html" %}
{% block nav_bar_right_items %}
{{ super() }}
{% endblock %}

The above example inherits from the jupyterhub source code templates and adds a list item to the nav_bar_right_items block. The call to super() ensures that all the stuff in the parent template nav_bar_right_items populates the block in that part of the template

  • Your child templates should live in sirepo/package_data/jupyterhub_templates/
  • points jupyterhub to your child templates with this line: c.JupyterHub.template_paths = [sirepo.jupyterhub.template_dirs()]


  • If the jupyterhub dev server crashes due to some error, then the other server processes might not properly exit. This can result in issues when you try to restart jupyterhub dev server
  • To fix this, you may need to kill these processes manually eg.
pkill -f uwsgi
pkill -f nginx
pkill -f sirepo
  • other process might be left running in which case use ps x to inspect. You can do lsof -i :<port no.> see what is running on port then pkill -f <that process name> as well.

Developing FLASH

The FLASH code is a proprietary code. Users must be granted access in order to use it.

In order to work on Sirepo with the FLASH code developers must either build the FLASH proprietary tarball from source or have access to an already built version (see sections below).

Developing from source

This method builds the proprietary FLASH tarball from the FLASH and Radiasoft source code. If you wish to work on Sirepo and don't need to build from source you only need to follow the instruction in the section below (Developing from tarball)

  1. You will need a copy of the FLASH source code (FLASH-4.6.2.tar.gz). You can get one yourself from the FLASH website. You need to be authorized by the FLASH Center for Computational Science for use of the FLASH code.
  2. cd ~/src/radiasoft && gcl rsconf && cd rsconf && rsconf build
  3. mv <path-to>/FLASH-4.6.2.tar.gz ~/src/radiasoft/rsconf/proprietary
  4. Follow the radiasoft/download Development Notes to start a development installer server
  5. cd ~/src/radiasoft/rsconf && rsconf build
  6. radia_run flash-tarball # Make sure to run this in the window where you exported the install_server
  7. You should now see flash-dev.tar.gz in ~/src/radiasoft/rsconf/proprietary
  8. Now follow the steps in the section below for working on Sirepo

Developing from tarball

  1. Make sure you have flash-dev.tar.gz in ~/src/radiasoft/rsconf/proprietary. If you don't, follow the instructions above.
  2. cd ~/src/radiasoft/sirepo && rm -rf run # Removing the run dir forces the sirepo dev setup to copy the FLASH tarball into the proper location. This can be done manually
  3. Start the Sirepo server with the FLASH code enabled (ex SIREPO_FEATURE_CONFIG_PROPRIETARY_SIM_TYPES=flash sirepo service http)
  4. Visit