Tasks are where the execution takes place. Tasks depend on each other and output targets.

An outline of how a task can look like:

Task breakdown


The requires() method is used to specify dependencies on other Task object, which might even be of the same class. For instance, an example implementation could be

def requires(self):
    return OtherTask(self.date), DailyReport(self.date - datetime.timedelta(1))

In this case, the DailyReport task depends on two inputs created earlier, one of which is the same class. requires can return other Tasks in any way wrapped up within dicts/lists/tuples/etc.

Requiring another Task

Note that requires() can not return a Target object. If you have a simple Target object that is created externally you can wrap it in a Task class like this:

class LogFiles(luigi.ExternalTask):
    def output(self):
        return luigi.contrib.hdfs.HdfsTarget('/log')

This also makes it easier to add parameters:

class LogFiles(luigi.ExternalTask):
    date = luigi.DateParameter()
    def output(self):
        return luigi.contrib.hdfs.HdfsTarget(self.date.strftime('/log/%Y-%m-%d'))


The output() method returns one or more Target objects. Similarly to requires, you can return them wrapped up in any way that’s convenient for you. However we recommend that any Task only return one single Target in output. If multiple outputs are returned, atomicity will be lost unless the Task itself can ensure that each Target is atomically created. (If atomicity is not of concern, then it is safe to return multiple Target objects.)

class DailyReport(luigi.Task):
    date = luigi.DateParameter()
    def output(self):
        return luigi.contrib.hdfs.HdfsTarget(self.date.strftime('/reports/%Y-%m-%d'))
    # ...


The run() method now contains the actual code that is run. When you are using Task.requires and Task.run Luigi breaks down everything into two stages. First it figures out all dependencies between tasks, then it runs everything. The input() method is an internal helper method that just replaces all Task objects in requires with their corresponding output. An example:

class GenerateWords(luigi.Task):

    def output(self):
        return luigi.LocalTarget('words.txt')

    def run(self):

        # write a dummy list of words to output file
        words = [

        with self.output().open('w') as f:
            for word in words:

class CountLetters(luigi.Task):

    def requires(self):
        return GenerateWords()

    def output(self):
        return luigi.LocalTarget('letter_counts.txt')

    def run(self):

        # read in file as list
        with self.input().open('r') as infile:
            words = infile.read().splitlines()

        # write each word to output file with its corresponding letter count
        with self.output().open('w') as outfile:
            for word in words:
                        '{word} | {letter_count}\n'.format(


As seen in the example above, input() is a wrapper around Task.requires that returns the corresponding Target objects instead of Task objects. Anything returned by Task.requires will be transformed, including lists, nested dicts, etc. This can be useful if you have many dependencies:

class TaskWithManyInputs(luigi.Task):
    def requires(self):
        return {'a': TaskA(), 'b': [TaskB(i) for i in xrange(100)]}

    def run(self):
        f = self.input()['a'].open('r')
        g = [y.open('r') for y in self.input()['b']]

Dynamic dependencies

Sometimes you might not know exactly what other tasks to depend on until runtime. In that case, Luigi provides a mechanism to specify dynamic dependencies. If you yield another Task in the Task.run method, the current task will be suspended and the other task will be run. You can also yield a list of tasks.

class MyTask(luigi.Task):
    def run(self):
        other_target = yield OtherTask()

        # dynamic dependencies resolve into targets
        f = other_target.open('r')

This mechanism is an alternative to Task.requires in case you are not able to build up the full dependency graph before running the task. It does come with some constraints: the Task.run method will resume from scratch each time a new task is yielded. In other words, you should make sure your Task.run method is idempotent. (This is good practice for all Tasks in Luigi, but especially so for tasks with dynamic dependencies).

For an example of a workflow using dynamic dependencies, see examples/dynamic_requirements.py.

Task status tracking

For long-running or remote tasks it is convenient to see extended status information not only on the command line or in your logs but also in the GUI of the central scheduler. Luigi implements dynamic status messages and tracking urls which may point to an external monitoring system. You can set this information using callbacks within Task.run:

class MyTask(luigi.Task):
    def run(self):
        # set a tracking url

        # set status messages during the workload
        for i in range(100):
            # do some hard work here
            if i % 10 == 0:
                self.set_status_message("Progress: %d / 100" % i)

Events and callbacks

Luigi has a built-in event system that allows you to register callbacks to events and trigger them from your own tasks. You can both hook into some pre-defined events and create your own. Each event handle is tied to a Task class and will be triggered only from that class or a subclass of it. This allows you to effortlessly subscribe to events only from a specific class (e.g. for hadoop jobs).

def celebrate_success(task):
    """Will be called directly after a successful execution
       of `run` on any Task subclass (i.e. all luigi Tasks)

def mourn_failure(task, exception):
    """Will be called directly after a failed execution
       of `run` on any JobTask subclass


But I just want to run a Hadoop job?

The Hadoop code is integrated in the rest of the Luigi code because we really believe almost all Hadoop jobs benefit from being part of some sort of workflow. However, in theory, nothing stops you from using the JobTask class (and also HdfsTarget) without using the rest of Luigi. You can simply run it manually using

MyJobTask('abc', 123).run()

You can use the hdfs.target.HdfsTarget class anywhere by just instantiating it:

t = luigi.contrib.hdfs.target.HdfsTarget('/tmp/test.gz', format=format.Gzip)
f = t.open('w')
# ...
f.close() # needed

Task priority

The scheduler decides which task to run next from the set of all tasks that have all their dependencies met. By default, this choice is pretty arbitrary, which is fine for most workflows and situations.

If you want to have some control on the order of execution of available tasks, you can set the priority property of a task, for example as follows:

# A static priority value as a class constant:
class MyTask(luigi.Task):
    priority = 100
    # ...

# A dynamic priority value with a "@property" decorated method:
class OtherTask(luigi.Task):
    def priority(self):
        if self.date > some_threshold:
            return 80
            return 40
    # ...

Tasks with a higher priority value will be picked before tasks with a lower priority value. There is no predefined range of priorities, you can choose whatever (int or float) values you want to use. The default value is 0.

Warning: task execution order in Luigi is influenced by both dependencies and priorities, but in Luigi dependencies come first. For example: if there is a task A with priority 1000 but still with unmet dependencies and a task B with priority 1 without any pending dependencies, task B will be picked first.

Namespaces, families and ids

In order to avoid name clashes and to be able to have an identifier for tasks, Luigi introduces the concepts task_namespace, task_family and task_id. The namespace and family operate on class level meanwhile the task id only exists on instance level. The concepts are best illustrated using code.

import luigi
class MyTask(luigi.Task):
    my_param = luigi.Parameter()
    task_namespace = 'my_namespace'

my_task = MyTask(my_param='hello')
print(my_task)                      # --> my_namespace.MyTask(my_param=hello)

print(my_task.get_task_namespace()) # --> my_namespace
print(my_task.get_task_family())    # --> my_namespace.MyTask
print(my_task.task_id)              # --> my_namespace.MyTask_hello_890907e7ce

print(MyTask.get_task_namespace())  # --> my_namespace
print(MyTask.get_task_family())     # --> my_namespace.MyTask
print(MyTask.task_id)               # --> Error!

The full documentation for this machinery exists in the task module.

Instance caching

In addition to the stuff mentioned above, Luigi also does some metaclass logic so that if e.g. DailyReport(datetime.date(2012, 5, 10)) is instantiated twice in the code, it will in fact result in the same object. See Instance caching for more info