Since v3.5.0, EasyBuild supports hooks that can be used to customise the behaviour of EasyBuild according to site policies if needed, without having to change the EasyBuild framework or the existing easyblocks.

What are hooks?

Hooks are user-defined functions that are called by the EasyBuild framework at specific times during the installation procedure. They can be leveraged to alter or augment the installation procedure.

This is usually done to conform with site-specific policies that are difficult to enforce otherwise, but it can also be (ab)used to fix specific problems or inject self-implemented enhancements (before you flesh them out in a proper contribution, for example).

Both the EasyBlock instance and the parsed easyconfig file that are being used are fully accessible (and modifiable) from within hook implementations. Hence, this mechanism provides a lot of flexibility to change the EasyBuild functionality should you require it, without having to modify the codebase of EasyBuild itself.

Configuring EasyBuild to use your hook implementations

To instruct EasyBuild to use your hook implementations, you only need to specify the location of the Python module (*.py) that implements them.

This is done via the --hooks configuration option (or equivalently via the $EASYBUILD_HOOKS environment variable, or via hooks = ... in an EasyBuild configuration file, see also Configuring EasyBuild).

For example:

eb --hooks=$HOME/my_eb_hooks.py ...


export EASYBUILD_HOOKS=$HOME/my_eb_hooks.py
eb ...

Available hooks

Currently, two types of hooks are supported:

  • start_hook and end_hook, which are triggered once before starting software installations, and once right after completing all installations, respectfully;
  • hooks that are triggered before and after every step of each installation procedure that is performed, aptly named ‘pre’- and ‘post’-hooks

The list of currently available hooks in order of exeuction, which can also be consulted using eb --avail-hooks, is:

  • start_hook (only called once in an EasyBuild session)
  • pre_fetch_hook, post_fetch_hook
  • pre_ready_hook, post_ready_hook
  • pre_source_hook, post_source_hook
  • pre_patch_hook, post_patch_hook
  • pre_prepare_hook, post_prepare_hook
  • pre_configure_hook, post_configure_hook
  • pre_build_hook, post_build_hook
  • pre_test_hook, post_test_hook
  • pre_install_hook, post_install_hook
  • pre_extensions_hook, post_extensions_hook
  • pre_postproc_hook, post_postproc_hook
  • pre_sanitycheck_hook, post_sanitycheck_hook
  • pre_cleanup_hook, post_cleanup_hook
  • pre_module_hook, post_module_hook
  • pre_permissions_hook, post_permissions_hook
  • pre_package_hook, post_package_hook
  • pre_testcases_hook, post_testcases_hook
  • end_hook (only called once in an EasyBuild session)

All functions implemented in the provided Python module for which the name ends with _hook are considered.

If any *_hook functions are encountered that do not match with any of the available hooks, an error is reported. EasyBuild will try to provide suggestions for available hooks that closely match with the encountered unknown hook.

For example:

$ eb --hooks wrong_hooks.py example.eb
== temporary log file in case of crash /tmp/eb-nMawy1/easybuild-Gu2ZP6.log
ERROR: Found one or more unknown hooks:
* stat_hook (did you mean 'start_hook'?)
* this_is_not_a_hook
* install_hook (did you mean 'pre_install_hook', or 'post_install_hook'?)

Run 'eb --avail-hooks' to get an overview of known hooks

Implementing hooks

To implement hooks, simply define one or more functions in a Python module (*.py), each named after an available hook.

Do take into account the following:

  • for start_hook and end_hook, no arguments are provided
  • for the pre- and post-step hooks, one argument is provided: the EasyBlock instance used to perform the installation (usually referred to as self)
  • the parsed easyconfig file can be accessed in the step hooks via the EasyBlock instance, i.e., via self.cfg

It is recommended to anticipate possible changes in the provided (named) arguments, using the *args and **kwargs mechanism commonly used in Python. This avoids that your hook implementations may break when updating to future EasyBuild versions. For example:

# example pre-configure hook that anticipates changes in provided arguments
def pre_configure_hook(self, *args, **kwargs):

In hooks, you have access to the full functionality provided by the EasyBuild framework, so do import from easybuild.tools.* (or other easybuild.* namespaces) to leverage those functions.

Examples of hook implementations

Example hook to replace --with-verbs with --without-verbs in OpenMPI configure options

def pre_configure_hook(self, *args, **kwargs):
    "Example pre-configure hook to replace --with-verbs with --without -verbs."""
    if self.name == 'OpenMPI' and '--with-verbs' in self.cfg['configopts']:
        self.log.info("[pre-configure hook] Replacing --with-verbs with --without-verbs")
        self.cfg['configopts'] = self.cfg['configopts'].replace('--with-verbs', '--without-verbs')