I'd like to propose a slightly different approach.

I don't like the idea of introducing a different type of requirement
for this because it really isn't a different type of requirement. You
are still requiring a package, you just want to use a different
mechanism to provide it.

So, instead, what about creating a plugin for tool requirement
handling? You could replace the default dependency injection approach
with one based on modules. So, the tool configurations would not need
to change, you would just change the configuration of your instance to
inject module loads instead of source env.shs.

And yes, we would definitely accept something like this as long as it
is a plugin that is not enabled by default.

James Taylor, Associate Professor, Biology/CS, Emory University

On Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 7:03 PM, Guest, Simon
<simon.gu...@agresearch.co.nz> wrote:
>> > Another vote for the excellent modules system from us at AgResearch
>> Galaxy's dependency injection works in a similar way, without requiring
>> all the external dependencies. We don't need unload since we compose a
>> unique environment for every tool execution. This is much cleaner that
>> loading everything into the environment before running Galaxy, we want
>> tools to be executed with as clean an environment as possible.
> Setting the environment for each tool just prior to running the tool is 
> clearly better.
> What I'm doing currently is loading an environment module just before running 
> a tool in Galaxy.  So far, I have done this in the tool XML file by prefixing 
> the command with a module load command, e.g.
>   <command>. /etc/profile; module load EMBOSS/5.0.0; infoseq -sequence 
> [snipped] </command>
> The ugly ". /etc/profile" is needed for technical reasons.  I don't like 
> this, as it's a bit hacky, but what it achieves is useful and flexible.
> I envisage an extension to the tool XML syntax which would let me write it 
> like this, say:
>   <requirements><requirement type="module" 
> version="5.0.0">EMBOSS</requirement></requirements>
>   <command>infoseq -sequence [snipped] </command>
> This will enable my native EMBOSS wrapper to run the defined version of the 
> (system-installed) EMBOSS suite.  However, it would only be worth me writing 
> this extension if there's a likelihood of getting it into Galaxy.  Is there?
> Here's where I'm coming from.  I already have most of the applications I want 
> installed on my system.  I am working on updating the RPMs to support 
> side-by-side installs of multiple versions, with version selection by the 
> environment modules facility.  This is a small change (and improvement) on 
> what I have today.  It's a work in progress, but it's a manageable amount of 
> work.  It's looking likely that this multi-version packaging approach may be 
> adopted by an official CentOS Scientific Repo, and this could change the 
> landscape in terms of packaging of scientific applications for major Linux 
> distributions.  Who knows, that's all in the future.
> In the meantime, there's work going on in Galaxy land to package every 
> application wanted in Galaxy, by writing install scripts, encapsulating 
> environment variables in tool XML files, etc.  (There is difficulty here in 
> writing install scripts which work on every platform, which I have commented 
> on previously.)
> The big question is, will the Galaxy team accept contributions to Galaxy to 
> support different ways of solving this packaging problem?  In particular, 
> allowing for environment modules to be loaded as part of running a tool, and 
> having this functionality in the toolshed?
> cheers,
> Simon
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