About OpenWDL

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.

  • Mailing list for general conversation with the WDL community
  • Github issues for suggestions and discussions on the WDL specification
  • Slack for real time chat with other community members
  • Stack Overflow for asking questions about writing and using WDL

More information

Core Group

OpenWDL is led by a small core group who help govern the language specfication. Current members include:

  • 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
  • Chris Llanwarne, Broad Institute
    Chris leads the implementation of WDL in the Cromwell workflow engine
  • Mike Lin, sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
    Mike leads development of the miniwdl WDL implementation which provides static analysis, linting and execution for WDL documents
  • 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
  • O. Rodeh, DNAnexus
    Ohad's team develops dxWDL, a compiler for WDL into native DNAnexus platform workflows, and supports its users
  • 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

Former Members

  • Brad Chapman
  • Abirami Prabhakaran