Register a Tool on Dockstore
Discover how to register a tool on Dockstore
Publish your tool
This document assumes you already have a tool ready to register.
If you followed Getting Started With CWL to create a CWL tool, you will now have a
Dockstore.cwl in GitHub and have linked your accounts to Dockstore. This will allow you to use the Dockstore GitHub App to register your tool. Of course, you can always follow along with your own unique tools too. Regardless of how you made your tool, this tutorial will assume you are using CWL. For all other languages, you will want to register a workflow.
Dockstore allows the registration of “WDL tools” using legacy registration methods. However, the WDL community does not explicitly differentiate tools versus workflows. We encourage people to register WDLs as workflows instead.
Register Your Tool in Dockstore
You do not need an account to search for workflows on Dockstore or to launch them with our compute partners. However, to register content on Dockstore, you must have an account on Dockstore and link the necessary third-party accounts. Once this is done you can register workflows from the My Workflows page, tools from the My Tools page, or services from the My Services page.
We recommend users register their tool with our GitHub App to benefit from GitHub’s features and automatic syncing. If you do not wish to use GitHub, we do support other methods of registration in our legacy registration methods. Use the following questions to determine which registration method works for you:
Registering a CWL CommandLineTool?
Hosted on GitHub?
Register your tool to automatically sync using GitHub Apps
Hosted on BitBucket or GitLab?
Register using legacy tool registration methods or consider uploading your work to GitHub
Registering a CWL Workflow, WDL, Nextflow, or Galaxy descriptor files?
Hosted on GitHub?
Register your workflow to automatically sync using GitHub Apps
Hosted on BitBucket or GitLab?
Register using legacy workflow registration methods or consider uploading your work to GitHub
Register Your Tool to Automatically Sync with GitHub (Recommended)
Using GitHub Apps, Dockstore can react to changes on GitHub as they are made, keeping Dockstore synced with GitHub automatically. You can learn more in our Dockstore GitHub App doc.
Installing the GitHub App is simple. Navigate to
/my-services using the drop down menu in the top right. In these screenshots, we will go via
/my-tools, but the process is essentially the same for any of the other options.
+ button on the left hand sidebar.
A window will appear asking how you would like to register your tool, workflow, or service. Select
Register using GitHub Apps.
+ Manage Dockstore Installation on GitHub. You’ll then be redirected to GitHub where you can select which repositories can be accessed by the GitHub app.
You’ll then be redirected to GitHub where you can grant the app access to specific repositories within whatever organization you are installing into. Note that GitHub treats your username as its own “organization.” For instance, my GitHub username is aofarrel. If I want to install the GitHub App so it could access aofarrel/mycoolrepo, I would choose the first option here.
After selection of an organization, you can select whether to give access to all current and future repositories or only select ones. If the organization you choose is intended to be just for Dockstore tools/workflows/services, you may want to allow access to all repositories. Otherwise, it is may be more intuitive to select only certain repositories. Click save and you will be taken back to the page you started on in Dockstore – either
/my-services, depending where you started.
The GitHub user who first adds a workflow onto Dockstore must correspond to a user on Dockstore.
You should now see the organization and the repositories you chose to keep track of in the “unpublished” tab. Here’s an example involving
A note on permissions when installing the Dockstore GitHub App to a GitHub organization
Only organization admins and repository admins can install the Dockstore GitHub App.
Organization admins will have the easiest time installing the Dockstore GitHub App because they can install it to any repository in the organization on the installation page. Users who are not organization admins can only install the Dockstore GitHub App on repositories that they are an admin of.
For more information on troubleshooting GitHub App permissions, please see this FAQ entry.
Automatic Syncing with GitHub Apps and .dockstore.yml - details on writing a .dockstore.yml file
Migrating Your Existing Workflows - a tutorial on converting already registered workflows
Troubleshooting and FAQ - tips on resolving Dockstore Github App issues.
Once the GitHub App is installed and a .dockstore.yml is present, please make sure to push one additional commit to your repository. This helps make sure your workflows, tools, and services show up in Dockstore.
Once GitHub app is installed on a repository or organization, you will need to add a .dockstore.yml file to the root directory of a branch of the repository that contains your tool. This file contains information like tool path, test parameter file, tool name, etc. When a push is made or a tag is created on GitHub with a .dockstore.yml, Dockstore will add that branch to the corresponding tool on Dockstore. If the tool doesn’t already exist on Dockstore, one will be registered (but will not automatically be published publically). Note that a single .dockstore.yml file can describe multiple tools, if all of those tools are in the same repository.
Below is a simple example of a .dockstore.yml file for an alignment tool. Note that all file paths in the file must be absolute.
version: 1.2 tools: - subclass: CWL primaryDescriptorPath: /aligner.cwl testParameterFiles: - /test/aligner.cwl.json
If you had our GitHub App installed on the repository
myorg/alignments and then add the above .dockstore.yml to the develop branch,
the following would occur.
A CWL tool with the ID
github.com/myorg/alignmentswill be created on Dockstore
The version develop is added to the tool
The version has the primary descriptor file set to
The version has one test parameter file:
Now that your tool has been added, any time there is a push to a branch on GitHub for this repository that has a .dockstore.yml, it is automatically updated on Dockstore! Anytime there is a deletion of a branch on GitHub that has a .dockstore.yml, the version is removed from Dockstore.
For more information on this method, as well as general troubleshooting advice, please check our Dockstore GitHub Apps Overview page.
Legacy Tool Registration
Workflows and tools added to Dockstore via our legacy registration methods do not automatically stay in sync with their source repository. Instead, someone with access to the entries on Dockstore must periodically log into Dockstore and press a button to trigger a refresh. Although this process is quick and will bring in all new tags, commits, and branches with the click of a button, it is easy to forget to do this and might not be appropriate for frequently-updated tools and workflows. For this reason, we recommend using GitHub App registration instead.
If you are using BitBucket or GitLab and would prefer not to use GitHub, or if you are using GitHub but do not wish to install our app, our legacy registration methods have you covered. Several options are available to you and described in our legacy registration methods documentation. If you must use the legacy tool registration methods, then you may want to read how our definition of tool is different for these legacy methods.
Once registered, you can send links to your tools on Dockstore to colleagues and use it as a public platform for sharing your tools.
Learn about Workflows and how they differ from tools.