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Command Line Tool is a script that runs Taverna 2.x workflows from a terminal. It comes in a form of a command line script called executeworkflow (executeworkflow.bat on Windows and on Linux/UNIX).

You can download the Command Line Tool from the Taverna Web site or use the or executeworkflow.bat that comes bundled with the Taverna Workbench installation.

What is the difference between the bundled and standalone executeworkflow?
  • The standalone command line tool has a separate configuration home directory, called taverna-cmdline-2.x.x - while the bundled tool uses the same configuration from taverna-2.x.x as the Taverna Workbench.
    • Any proxy settings have to be configured manually - copy conf/HttpProxy-B307A902-F292-4D2F-B8E7-00CC983982B6.config from a configured Workbench home directory.
  • The bundled tool will load all the plugins installed for the workbench, including third-party plugins. However it will also load various GUI-supporting functions which might consume extra memory.
    • To install service plugins for the command line tool, one will have to manually edit the plugins/plugins.xml of the installation or home directory. The <plugin>... </plugin> block can be copied from the plugins/plugins.xml from the home directory of a Workbench installation where the plugin is installed.
  • The standalone installation and download is smaller than the workbench - but keeping both installed will use more disk space. (Note: the command line tool could use the {repository}} folder from the workbench using symlinks or modifiying plugins/plugins.xml)
  • The standalone tool can easily be installed and used on remote servers without GUI access.
  • Running the embedded tool with the database and provenance enabled allows the command line runs to show up in the workbench "Workflow runs".
    • On the other hand the tool will have to use -clientserver if the workbench is already running, or if shut down either a standalone -startdb database server process or -embedded.
    • The standalone tool would not be in conflict with the database of the workbench (as it's in a different home directory) - but could be in conflict with parallel runs of the command line tool - in which case a separate -startdb process should be started with the other calls using -clientserver - see #Running the script with database

Executeworkflow Script

To get help and a full set of options for the executeworkflow script type the following in the command prompt:

It will give the following usage options:

usage: executeworkflow [options] [workflow]
 -clientserver                                  connects as a client to a
                                                derby server instance.
 -cmdir <Credential Manager's directory path>   Absolute path to the
                                                directory on the disk
                                                where Credential Manager's
                                                files are located
 -cmpassword                                    Indicates that the master
                                                password for Credential
                                                Manager will be provided
                                                on standard input
 -dbproperties <filename>                       loads a properties file to
                                                configure the database
 -embedded                                      connects to an embedded
                                                Derby database. This can
                                                prevent mulitple
 -help                                          displays comprehensive
                                                help information
 -inmemory                                      runs the workflow with
                                                data stored in-memory
                                                rather than in a database.
                                                This can give performance
                                                inprovements, at the cost
                                                of overall memory usage
 -inputdelimiter <inputname delimiter>          causes an inputvalue or
                                                inputfile to be split into
                                                a list according to the
                                                delimiter. The associated
                                                workflow input must be
                                                expected to receive a list
 -inputdoc <document>                           load inputs from a Baclava
 -inputfile <inputname filename>                load the named input from
                                                file or URL
 -inputvalue <inputname value>                  directly use the value for
                                                the named input
 -janus <file>                                  saves Janus RDF/XML trace
                                                of execution to FILE or
 -logfile <filename>                            the logfile to which more
                                                verbose logging will be
                                                written to
 -opm <file>                                    saves Open Provenance
                                                Model (OPM) RDF/XML trace
                                                of execution to FILE or
 -outputdir <directory>                         save outputs as files in
                                                directory, default is to
                                                make a new directory
 -outputdoc <document>                          save outputs to a new
                                                Baclava document
 -port <portnumber>                             the port that the database
                                                is running on. If set
                                                requested to start its own
                                                internal server, this is
                                                the start port that will
                                                be used.
 -provenance                                    generates provenance
                                                information and stores it
                                                in the database.
 -startdb                                       automatically starts an
                                                internal Derby database


If this directory already exists then an new directory is created, and appended with _<n>, where n is incremented to the next available index.

Results are written out to files named after the output port for that result. If a result is composed of lists, then a directory is created for the output port and individual list items are named after the list element index (with 1 being the first index). The the output is the result of an error, the filename is appended with ‘.error’.

You can provide your own output directory with the -outputdir option. There will be an error if the directory already exists.

You can export the provenance using the -opm or -janus options.

You can also record your results to a Baclava document using -outputdoc option. The document will be overwritten if it already exists. You can use the DataViewer Tool to view Baclava files.

Inputs can be provided in three ways. Both -inputfile and -inputvalue options can be used together; -inputdoc option must be used on its own. -inputfile and -inputvalue options both take two additional arguments, the name of the port for the input, and either a file containing the input data, or the input value itself respectively.

If one of more of you workflow inputs is described as a list, you can create a list by using the -inputdelimiter option, which may be used with either -inputfile or -inputvalue. This option takes two parameters – an input name and the delimiter by which to split the input into a list.

The delimiter may be a simple character, such as a comma or a new-line character, or a regular expression. The input string, or file, will then be converted into a list being split by the delimiter specified.

If a list of greater depth (i.e. a list or lists or deeper) is required then you will need to use the -inputdocoption to pass data from a Baclava file. However, if you provide an input of lower depth to that required, then it will automatically be wrapped in one or more lists up to the required depth. Providing an input of greater depth than that required will result in an error.

Running the script with database

If a workflow has a high memory requirement, then it may be better to run it using a database to store data rather than storing it in memory, which is the default option. There are three options for using a database:

  • -embedded option, runs with an embedded database. This is slightly faster than -clientserver option (below), but has the limitation that only one executeworkflow script may be executed simultaneously.
  • -clientserver option allows the workflow to be executed backed by the database running as a server. By default a database is not started for you, but may be started using -startdb option.
  • -startdb option starts a database. It may be used without providing a workflow to allow a database to be started separately, allowing multiple simultaneous executeworkflow script runs.

More advanced database configurations can be specified using -dbproperties option, allowing you to take full control over the database used. This takes a second argument, the filename of the propeties file, for which the following example contains the default settings used:

in_memory = true
provenance = false
connector = derby
port = 1527
dialect = org.hibernate.dialect.DerbyDialect
start_derby = false
driver = org.apache.derby.jdbc.EmbeddedDriver
jdbcuri = jdbc:derby:t2-database;create=true;upgrade=true

If you want to run the Derby database with client/server setting instead of with the embedded driver, change the properties in the -dbproperties file (described above) as follows:


If you wish to run your own separate Derby server instance, then do not define the start_derby option and define the port on which you are running you Derby server as port=<port>.

If you want to use MySQL database rather than Derby, first you need to drop the mysql-connector-java-5.1.5.jar file from the mySQL website into the lib folder of the Taverna installation directory (Taverna installation directory if where you are running the script from).

You need to edit the -dbproperties file as follows:


It is essential that the database name in the jdbcuri property is T2Provenance, as this database is hard-coded into the MySQL provenance SQL queries.

If you do not specify the port, the script will try to connect to the default port for MySQL server, which is 3306.

When using -dbproperties together with other options, the other options take precedence.


Some examples on how the script can be invoked are shown below.

The above line executes the workflow located in /Users/alex/Taverna Workflows/wf-1.t2flow that has no inputs and uses the memory for data storage (the default option). Make sure to enclose the file path in quotes if it contains spaces. The <workflowName>_outputdirectory will be created in the current directory and outputs will be written to it.

The above line executes the workflow wf-2.t2flow from the current directory passing the value “aaa” to the input port in1 and value “bb b” to the input port in2. If input values contain spaces make sure to enclose them in quotes. Uses the embedded Derby database to store the data. Outputs will be written to the /tmp/wf-2/ directory.

The above line executes the workflow wf-3.t2flow from the current directory passing the value “aaa” to the input port in1 and splitting the content of file input2.txt using “\n” (new line character) as the delimiter and passing the resulting list to the input port in2. Make sure to out the delimiter in quotes, even if it is just a single character, like “;”. The <workflowName>_outputdirectory will be created in the current directory and outputs will be written to it.

The above line executes the workflow /Users/alex/Taverna Workflows/wf-4.t2flow, loading inputs from the Baclava document in /tmp/input-doc.xml, and writing the outputs to a Baclava document /tmp/output-doc.xml.

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