Rabix Composer basics

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

UI Tour

When you open Rabix Composer for the first time you will see the welcome tab, with some tips to help you set up your workspace and get started. The welcome tab is the introductory tab for the tool and workflow editor. You will also see a navigation pane on the left.

Once you have added a local workspace the My Projects tab of the navigation pane shows the tools, workflows and other files in your local workspace. If you have connected a Platform account, the My Projects tab also shows the tools and workflows in your Platform projects, and the Public Apps tab shows the public tools and workflows on the Platform. If you have connected more than one platform account, only one can be active at a time, and you will see the tools and workflows from the active account.

When you double-click an app (a workflow or tool) in the navigation pane, the app opens in the Rabix Composer editor. Each app opens in a separate tab. Workflows open in the workflow editor and tools open in the tool editor. If you double-click an object in the editor, you may also see the object inspector on the right hand side. The object inspector shows you more information about the selected object and allows you to view and set its properties.

The workflow editor

The Rabix Composer workflow editor allows you to create and edit workflows, either locally or directly on the Platform. When you are ready, you can push your workflow to the Platform from the workflow editor. You can also open Platform workflows directly from the workflow editor.

You can read more about the workflow editor here.

There are also some tutorials which walk you through the process of creating and running some simple workflows in the workflow editor. You can learn how to:

The tool editor

The Rabix Composer tool editor allows you to describe command line tools in CWL so they can be run as apps or used in workflows with other tools and apps. The process of creating a Platform tool from a command line tool is often called wrapping the tool.

Like the workflow editor, the tool editor allows you to create tools locally or directly on the Platform. When you are ready, you can push your tool to the Platform from the tool editor. You can also execute Platform tools from the tool editor.

You can read more about the tool editor here.

If you are not familiar with the tool wrapping process, or if you would like a refresher, we recommend you read the introduction to tool wrapping then follow this simple tool editor tutorial before using the tool editor to wrap your first tool.

Saving and pushing apps to the platform

When you are satisfied with your app (tool or workflow) you can click the Save icon at the top right of the editor to save it.

You can also:

  • Click the Push to Platform icon to push the app to a Platform project (local apps only)
  • Click the Open on Platform icon to view the app on the Platform (Platform apps only). From there, you can run the app, and, for CWL sbg:draft-2 apps only, also edit them.
  • Click Revision to view the revision history of the app (Platform apps only).

App versions

Revisions of all apps (public apps or your apps) allow you to replicate an analysis at any time. All apps that are loaded into Rabix Composer from one of the Seven Bridges platform environments also contain a revision history that allows you to easily access any previous revision of the app. To do this:

  1. After opening an app in Rabix Composer’s Visual Editor, click in the top-right corner. This opens the Revisions sidebar showing the complete history of previous app revisions.
  2. Click a revision in the list to load it in the editor.

If you modify a revision of a platform app in Rabix Composer and save it, it will become a new revision and get a new revision number. If you push a local app to the platform, its revision number will automatically become 0, unless an app with the same ID already exists on the platform. In that case you will be prompted to enter a revision note and the new app revision number will be the last revision available on the platform incremented by 1.

Testing apps

If you created your app locally you can test it locally using the integration with Rabix Executor), or using another CWL executor (see the tutorial on creating and executing a local workflow for an example of using Rabix Executor to test a workflow).

If you are a Platform user, this is a useful approach while you are developing an app, as execution is usually faster, and you will not incur Platform computation charges. Then, when your app is working as expected you can push it to the Platform directly from the editor. You can also view and run it on the Platform from the editor, and (for CWL sbg:draft-2 apps only at this time), edit it on the Platform.


The Settings tab allows you to set up and manage connections to your Platform accounts. To open the Settings tab, click the account dropdown menu in the top right of Rabix Composer, and select Settings.

Connect a platform account

To add a platform account from the Settings tab:

  1. Click Add an Account.
  2. In the popup, select the platform name from the dropdown menu and specify your platform authentication token.
  3. Click Add. Notice a new folder for the platform in the left-hand navigation pane. You can now open existing projects and add and edit apps in those projects.

Change the active platform connection

To change the active platform connection, click the drop-down arrow at the top right of Rabix Composer, and select the platform account that you would like to become the active one.

You can also activate and deactivate platform connections from the Settings tab.