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YesWorkflow Graph Service

This repository contains the source code for a microservice currently under development for producing YesWorkflow (YW) visualizations of scripts. When provided with the text of a script containing YW markup, the service will return an SVG representation of the YW graph of the script. The GraphViz dot-language source that YesWorkflow uses to produce the SVG is included in the response. Graph properties sent as part of the request allow customization of the visualization.

The graph service is used by the YesWorkflow Editor web application. A demonstration of the editor, graph service, and YesWorkflow can be found at

Running the YW Graph Service

The microservice is implemented using Spring Boot, and employs an embedded Tomcat application server. Running the microservice does not require installing Tomcat or a web server of any kind. Only a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) version 1.8 or higher and an installation of GraphViz are needed to run the microservice.

Install a Java Runtime Environment (JRE)

The YesWorkflow Graph Service requires Java version 1.8 or higher. To determine the version of java installed on your computer use the -version option to the java command. For example,

$ java -version
java version "1.8.0_101"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_101-b13)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.101-b13, mixed mode)

A JRE may be downloaded from Oracle's Java SE Downloads page or installed via a package manager. Install a JDK rather than the JRE if you plan to build the microservice from source.

Install GraphViz

Graphviz may be obtained from or installed via a package manager. Make sure that the dot command is on the PATH following installation.

Download the Jar file for the latest release

A pre-built jar file is included in each release of the YW Graph Service package. Download the jar file to your system. It will be named something like yw-graph-service-

Run the jar file

The microservice now can be run using the java -jar command. For example:

$ java -jar yw-graph-service- 

This will start the service running on the default port of 8000. To run the service on a different port specify it using the server-port option. For example:

$ java -jar yw-graph-service- --server.port=8001

Building from source code

The YW Graph Service is implemented in Java and built using Maven.

JDK and Maven configuration

Before building the Graph Service confirm that the mvn command is in your path, that your version of Maven is at least 3.3.9, and that a JDK version 1.8 (or higher) is found by Maven:

$ mvn --version
Apache Maven 3.3.9 (bb52d8502b132ec0a5a3f4c09453c07478323dc5; 2015-11-10T08:41:47-08:00)
Maven home: C:\Users\tmcphill\Dropbox\Library\Java\apache-maven-3.3.9
Java version: 1.8.0_92, vendor: Oracle Corporation
Java home: C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_92\jre
Default locale: en_US, platform encoding: Cp1252
OS name: "windows 10", version: "10.0", arch: "amd64", family: "dos"

JDK 8 and Maven 3 downloads and detailed installation instructions can be found at the following links:

Building and running with Maven

The YW Graph Service can be built and run from the command line using the following Maven commands:

Command Description
mvn clean Deletes the target directory including all compiled classes.
mvn compile Downloads required dependencies and compiles source code in src/main/java. Only those source files changes since the last compilation or clean are built.
mvn package Packages the compiled classes in target/classes and files found in src/main/resources into an executable jar file and leaves the jar in the target directory. Compiles any changed source files as needed.
mvn spring-boot:run Run the Graph Service without packaging it as a jar. Compiles any changed source files as necessary.

Using the Graph Service

The YW Graph Service itself provides no user interface. Instead, it implements a REST-style web service which can be called from or embedded in other applications. Requests are sent to the service as an HTTP POST with a body containing a JSON object with three fields that provide the script containing YW annotations, the name of the language the script is written in, and the set of desired properties of the requested graph.

The single REST endpoint currently implemented by the service is:


An example of the information contained in a valid (API v1) request (pretty-printed to hide quotation marks) is:

    code:       # @begin script
                print("Hello World")
                # @end script,
    language:   python,
    properties: graph.view = combined

The (API v1) response (pretty-printed again) from the Graph Service for this request (with the dot and svg values truncated) would contain:

    id:         1, 
    skeleton:   # @begin script
                # @end script,
    dot:        /* Start of top-level graph */
                digraph Workflow {
                /* Title for graph */
                fontname=Helvetica; fontsize=18; labelloc=t
    svg:        <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
                <!DOCTYPE svg PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD SVG 1.1//EN"
                <!-- Generated by graphviz version 2.38.0 (20140413.2041)
                <!-- Title: Workflow Pages: 1 -->
                <svg width="110pt" height="120pt"

Additional optional request fields may be added to v1 of the API, and additional fields may be added to API v1 response. New endpoints also may be added to the service. Breaking changes will not be made to API without incrementing the API version number.

Bundling the YW Graph Service with other services

The YW Graph Service may be packaged and run in the same JVM with other Spring Boot REST services. Simply (1) make the yw-graph-service Maven project a dependency of the Maven project representing the bundle of services; and (2) declare to Spring Boot that the org.yesworkflow.service.graph package should be scanned for Spring Boot Controllers. For example:

public class YWEditorApp {
    public static void main(String[] args) {, args);

As shown above, the YW Editor application bundles the Graph Service in this way. This allows the Graph Service to be run either as part of the YW Editor application (in the same server process, using the same host name and port number as the editor services), or independently (on a different port or another host entirely) depending on configuration.


REST microservice for computing YW graphs






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