sourmash plugins via Python entry points

As of version 4.7.0, sourmash has experimental support for Python plugins to load and save signatures in different ways (e.g. file formats, RPC servers, databases, etc.) and to run additional commands via the command-line. This support is provided via the “entry points” mechanism supplied by importlib.metadata and documented here.


Note: The plugin API is not finalized or subject to semantic versioning just yet! Please subscribe to sourmash#1353 if you want to keep up to date on plugin support.

You can define entry points in the pyproject.toml file like so:

a_reader = "module_name:load_sketches"

a_writer = "module_name:SaveSignatures_WriteFile"

new_cli = "module_name:Command_NewCommand"

Here, module_name should be the name of the module to import.

  • load_sketches should be a function that takes a location along with arbitrary keyword arguments and returns an Index object (e.g. LinearIndex for a collection of in-memory signatures).

  • SaveSignatures_WriteFile should be a class that subclasses BaseSave_SignaturesToLocation and implements its own mechanisms of saving signatures. See the sourmash.save_load module for saving and loading code already used in sourmash.

  • Command_NewCommand should be a class that subclasses plugins.CommandLinePlugin and provides an __init__ and main method.

Note that if the reader function or writer class has a priority attribute, this will be used to determine the order in which the plugins are called. Priorities lower than 10 will get called before any internal load or save function, while priorities greater than 80 will get called after almost all internal load/save functions; see src/sourmash/ for details and the current priorities.

The name attribute of the plugin (a_reader, a_writer, and new_cli in pyproject.toml, above) is only used in debugging.

You can provide zero or more plugins, and you can define just a reader, or just a writer, or just a CLI plugin.

Templates and examples

If you want to create your own plug-in, you can start with the sourmash_plugin_template repo.

Some (early stage) plugins are also available as examples:

Debugging plugins

sourmash info -v will list all installed plugins.

sourmash sig cat <input sig> -o <output sig> is a simple way to invoke a save_to plugin. Use -d to turn on debugging output.

sourmash sig describe <input location> is a simple way to invoke a load_from plugin. Use -d to turn on debugging output.

sourmash scripts will list available command-line plugins.

Semantic versioning and listing sourmash as a dependency

Plugins should generally list sourmash as a dependency for installation.

Once plugins are officially supported by sourmash, the plugin API will be under semantic versioning constraints. That means that you should constrain plugins to depend on sourmash only up to the next major version, e.g. sourmash v5.

Specifically, we suggest placing something like:

dependencies = ['sourmash>=4.8.0,<5']

in your pyproject.toml file.