The Workflow Description Language (WDL) is a way to specify data processing workflows with a human-readable and -writeable syntax. WDL makes it straightforward to define analysis tasks, chain them together in workflows, and parallelize their execution. The language makes common patterns simple to express, while also admitting uncommon or complicated behavior; and strives to achieve portability not only across execution platforms, but also different types of users. Whether one is an analyst, a programmer, an operator of a production system, or any other sort of user, WDL should be accessible and understandable.
WDL was originally developed for genome analysis pipelines by the Broad Institute. As its community grew, both end users as well as other organizations using WDL for their own software, it became clear that there was a need to allow WDL to become a true community driven standard. The OpenWDL community has thus been formed to steward the WDL language specification and advocate its adoption.
How to participate
As OpenWDL is looking to put the active development of WDL into the hands of the community we have set up multiple ways to participate.
OpenWDL is led by a small core group. Current members include:
- Brad Chapman, Harvard Chan School of Public Health
Brad contributes to bcbio community workflows that use Common Workflow Language (CWL) and WDL for cross-platform interoperability. He hopes to help encourage widespread workflow interoperability with WDL and CWL
- Jeff Gentry, Broad Institute
Jeff’s team created WDL and develops the Cromwell workflow engine which is used worldwide for data processing at both small and massive scale
- Mike Lin, DNAnexus
Mike's team develops dxWDL, a compiler for WDL into native DNAnexus platform workflows, and supports its users
- Patrick Magee, DNAstack
Patrick’s team uses WDL to power all of DNAstack’s pipelines and analytics
- Brian O’Connor, UCSC
Brian’s team at UCSC (the Computational Genomics Platform) builds infrastructure for analyzing large genomic datasets on clouds. This includes Toil, a workflow engine that now supports WDL, and the Dockstore, a platform for sharing WDL-described tools and workflows
- Abirami Prabhakaran, Intel
Abi is part of the Analytics Industry Solutions (AIS) team under the Data Center Group (DCG) at Intel. Abi is the community facing member of the Intel team that builds the Broad-Intel Genomics Stack (BIGstack) solution, which uses Cromwell and Best Practices WDL workflows to deliver optimized performance on Intel hardware
- Geraldine Van der Auwera, Broad Institute
Geraldine has been the community manager for WDL since the start. Her team created the current website, runs WDL workshops, and helps to answer user questions