BioBlend is a Python library for interacting with the Galaxy API.

BioBlend is supported and tested on:

  • Python 3.8 - 3.12

  • Galaxy release 19.05 and later.

BioBlend’s goal is to make it easier to script and automate the running of Galaxy analyses and administering of a Galaxy server. In practice, it makes it possible to do things like this:

  • Interact with Galaxy via a straightforward API:

    from bioblend.galaxy import GalaxyInstance
    gi = GalaxyInstance('<Galaxy IP>', key='your API key')
    libs = gi.libraries.get_libraries()
    gi.workflows.show_workflow('workflow ID')
    wf_invocation = gi.workflows.invoke_workflow('workflow ID', inputs)
  • Interact with Galaxy via an object-oriented API:

    from bioblend.galaxy.objects import GalaxyInstance
    gi = GalaxyInstance("URL", "API_KEY")
    wf = gi.workflows.list()[0]
    hist = gi.histories.list()[0]
    inputs = hist.get_datasets()[:2]
    input_map = dict(zip(wf.input_labels, inputs))
    params = {"Paste1": {"delimiter": "U"}}
    wf_invocation = wf.invoke(input_map, params=params)

About the library name

The library was originally called just Blend but we renamed it to reflect more of its domain and a make it bit more unique so it can be easier to find. The name was intended to be short and easily pronounceable. In its original implementation, the goal was to provide a lot more support for CloudMan and other integration capabilities, allowing them to be blended together via code. BioBlend fitted the bill.


Stable releases of BioBlend are best installed via pip from PyPI:

$ python3 -m pip install bioblend

Alternatively, the most current source code from our Git repository can be installed with:

$ python3 -m pip install git+

After installing the library, you will be able to simply import it into your Python environment with import bioblend. For details on the available functionality, see the API documentation.

BioBlend requires a number of Python libraries. These libraries are installed automatically when BioBlend itself is installed, regardless whether it is installed via PyPi or by running python3 install command. The current list of required libraries is always available from in the source code repository.

If you also want to run tests locally, some extra libraries are required. To install them, run:

$ python3 test


To get started using BioBlend, install the library as described above. Once the library becomes available on the given system, it can be developed against. The developed scripts do not need to reside in any particular location on the system.

It is probably best to take a look at the example scripts in docs/examples source directory and browse the API documentation. Beyond that, it’s up to your creativity :).


Anyone interested in contributing or tweaking the library is more then welcome to do so. To start, simply fork the Git repository on Github and start playing with it. Then, issue pull requests.

API Documentation

BioBlend’s API focuses around and matches the services it wraps. Thus, there are two top-level sets of APIs, each corresponding to a separate service and a corresponding step in the automation process. Note that each of the service APIs can be used completely independently of one another.

Effort has been made to keep the structure and naming of those API’s consistent across the library but because they do bridge different services, some discrepancies may exist. Feel free to point those out and/or provide fixes.

For Galaxy, an alternative object-oriented API is also available. This API provides an explicit modeling of server-side Galaxy instances and their relationships, providing higher-level methods to perform operations such as retrieving all datasets for a given history, etc. Note that, at the moment, the oo API is still incomplete, providing access to a more restricted set of Galaxy modules with respect to the standard one.

Galaxy API

API used to manipulate genomic analyses within Galaxy, including data management and workflow execution.

Toolshed API

API used to interact with the Galaxy Toolshed, including repository management.


BioBlend allows library-wide configuration to be set in external files. These configuration files can be used to specify access keys, for example.


If you would like to do more than just a mock test, you need to point BioBlend to an instance of Galaxy. Do so by exporting the following two variables:


The unit tests, stored in the tests folder, can be run using pytest. From the project root:

$ pytest

Getting help

If you have run into issues, found a bug, or can’t seem to find an answer to your question regarding the use and functionality of BioBlend, please use the Github Issues page to ask your question.

Indices and tables