Extending Flyte#

The core of Flyte is a container execution engine, where you can write one or more tasks and compose them together to form a data dependency DAG, called a workflow. If your work involves writing simple python or java tasks that can either perform operations on their own or can call out to supported external services, then there’s no need to extend Flyte.

Why Extend Flyte?#

Define Custom Types#

Flyte, just like a programming language, has a core type-system, which can be extended by adding user-defined data types. For example, Flyte supports adding support for a dataframe type from a new library, a custom user data structure, or a grouping of images in a specific encoding.

Flytekit natively supports structured data like dataclass() using JSON as the representation format (see Using Custom Python Objects).

For types that are not simply representable as JSON documents, Flytekit allows users to extend Flyte’s type system and implement these types in Python. The user has to implement a TypeTransformer class to enable translation of the type from the user type to the Flyte-understood type.

As an example, instead of using pandas.DataFrame directly, you may want to use Pandera to perform validation of an input or output dataframe (see Basic Schema Example).

To extend the type system, refer to Writing Custom Flyte Types.

Adding a New Task Type#

Often times you want to interact with services like:

  • Databases (e.g. Postgres, MySQL, etc)

  • DataWarehouses (e.g. Snowflake, BigQuery, Redshift etc)

  • Computation (e.g. AWS EMR, Databricks etc)

You might want this to be available like a template for the open source community or within your organization. This can be done by creating a task plugin, which makes it possible to reuse the task’s underlying functionality within Flyte workflows.

If you want users to write code simply using the task() decorator, but you want to provide the capability of running the function as a spark job or a sagemaker training job, then you can extend Flyte’s task system:

def foo(...) -> ...:

Alternatively, you can provide an interface like this:

query_task = SnowflakeTask(
    query="Select * from x where x.time < {{.inputs.time}}",

def my_wf(t: datetime) -> ...:
    df = query_task(time=t)
    return process(df=df)

There are two options when writing a new task type: you can write a task plugin as an extension in Flytekit or you can go deeper and write a plugin in the Flyte backend.

Flytekit-only plugin#

Writing your own Flytekit plugin is simple and is typically where you want to start when enabling custom task functionality.



Simple to write, just implement in python. Flyte will treat it like a container execution and blindly pass control to the plugin

Limited ways of providing additional visibility in progress, or external links etc

Simple to publish: flytekitplugins can be published as independent libraries and they follow a simple API.

Has to be implemented again in every language as these are SDK side plugins only

Simple to perform testing: just test locally in flytekit

In case of side-effects, potential of causing resource leaks. For example if the plugins runs a BigQuery job, it is possible that the plugin may crash after running the Job and Flyte cannot guarantee that the BigQuery job will be successfully terminated.

Potentially expensive: in cases where the plugin runs a remote job, running a new pod for every task execution causes severe strain on k8s and the task itself uses almost no CPUs. Also because of its stateful nature, using spot-instances is not trivial.

A bug fix to the runtime, needs a new library version of the plugin

Not trivial to implement resource controls - e.g. throttling, resource pooling etc

Backend Plugin#

Writing a Backend plugin makes it possible for users to write extensions for FlytePropeller, which is Flyte’s scheduling engine. This enables complete control on the visualization and availability of the plugin.



Service oriented way of deploying new plugins - strong contracts. Maintainers can deploy new versions of the backend plugin, fix bugs, without needing the users to upgrade Libraries etc

Need to be implemented in golang

Drastically cheaper and more efficient to execute. FlytePropeller is written in Golang and uses an event loop model. Each process of FlytePropeller can execute 1000’s of tasks concurrently.

Needs a FlytePropeller build - currently

Flyte will guarantee resource cleanup

Need to implement contract in some spec language like protobuf, openAPI etc

Flyteconsole plugins (capability coming soon) can be added to customize visualization and progress tracking of the execution

Development cycle can be much slower than flytekit only plugins

Resource controls and backpressure management is available

Implement once, use in any SDK or language


flowchart LR U{Use Case} F([Python Flytekit Plugin]) B([Golang<br>Backend Plugin]) subgraph WFTP[Writing Flytekit Task Plugins] UCP([User Container Plugin]) PCP([Pre-built Container Plugin]) end subgraph WBE[Writing Backend Extensions] K8S([K8s Plugin]) WP([WebAPI Plugin]) CP([Complex Plugin]) end subgraph WCFT[Writing Custom Flyte Types] T([Flytekit<br>Type Transformer]) end U -- Light-weight<br>Extensions --> F U -- Performant<br>Multi-language<br>Extensions --> B U -- Specialized<br>Domain-specific Types --> T F -- Require<br>user-defined<br>container --> UCP F -- Provide<br>prebuilt<br>container --> PCP B --> K8S B --> WP B --> CP style WCFT fill:#eee,stroke:#aaa style WFTP fill:#eee,stroke:#aaa style WBE fill:#eee,stroke:#aaa style U fill:#fff2b2,stroke:#333 style B fill:#EAD1DC,stroke:#333 style K8S fill:#EAD1DC,stroke:#333 style WP fill:#EAD1DC,stroke:#333 style CP fill:#EAD1DC,stroke:#333

Use the flow-chart above to point you to one of these examples:

Gallery generated by Sphinx-Gallery