Quickstart using Python

In this quickstart, you learn how to use the Apache Beam SDK for Python to build a program that defines a pipeline. Then, you run the pipeline by using a direct local runner or a cloud-based runner such as Dataflow.

Before you begin

  1. Sign in to your Google Cloud account. If you're new to Google Cloud, create an account to evaluate how our products perform in real-world scenarios. New customers also get $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads.
  2. In the Google Cloud Console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Cloud project. Learn how to confirm that billing is enabled for your project.

  4. Enable the Dataflow, Compute Engine, Cloud Logging, Cloud Storage, Google Cloud Storage JSON, BigQuery, Cloud Pub/Sub, Cloud Datastore, and Cloud Resource Manager APIs.

    Enable the APIs

  5. Create a service account:

    1. In the Cloud Console, go to the Create service account page.

      Go to Create service account
    2. Select a project.
    3. In the Service account name field, enter a name. The Cloud Console fills in the Service account ID field based on this name.

      In the Service account description field, enter a description. For example, Service account for quickstart.

    4. Click Create and continue.
    5. Click the Select a role field.

      Under Quick access, click Basic, then click Owner.

    6. Click Continue.
    7. Click Done to finish creating the service account.

      Do not close your browser window. You will use it in the next step.

  6. Create a service account key:

    1. In the Cloud Console, click the email address for the service account that you created.
    2. Click Keys.
    3. Click Add key, then click Create new key.
    4. Click Create. A JSON key file is downloaded to your computer.
    5. Click Close.
  7. Set the environment variable GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS to the path of the JSON file that contains your service account key. This variable only applies to your current shell session, so if you open a new session, set the variable again.

  8. Create a Cloud Storage bucket:
    1. In the Cloud Console, go to the Cloud Storage Browser page.

      Go to Browser

    2. Click Create bucket.
    3. On the Create a bucket page, enter your bucket information. To go to the next step, click Continue.
      • For Name your bucket, enter a unique bucket name. Don't include sensitive information in the bucket name, because the bucket namespace is global and publicly visible.
      • For Choose where to store your data, do the following:
        • Select a Location type option.
        • Select a Location option.
      • For Choose a default storage class for your data, select the following: Standard.
      • For Choose how to control access to objects, select an Access control option.
      • For Advanced settings (optional), specify an encryption method, a retention policy, or bucket labels.
    4. Click Create.
  9. Copy the Google Cloud project ID and the Cloud Storage bucket name. You need these values later in this document.

Set up your environment

In this section, use the command prompt to set up an isolated Python virtual environment to run your pipeline project by using venv. This process lets you isolate the dependencies of one project from the dependencies of other projects.

If you don't have a command prompt readily available, you can use Cloud Shell. Cloud Shell already has the package manager for Python 3 installed, so you can skip to creating a virtual environment.

To install Python and then create a virtual environment, follow these steps:

  1. Check that you have Python 3 and pip running in your system:
    python --version
    python -m pip --version
  2. If required, install Python 3 and then set up a Python virtual environment: follow the instructions provided in the Installing Python and Setting up venv sections of the Setting up a Python development environment page.

After you complete the quickstart, you can deactivate the virtual environment by running deactivate.

Get the Apache Beam SDK

The Apache Beam SDK is an open source programming model for data pipelines. You define a pipeline with an Apache Beam program and then choose a runner, such as Dataflow, to run your pipeline.

To download and install the Apache Beam SDK, follow these steps:

  1. Verify that you are in the Python virtual environment that you created in the preceding section. Ensure that the prompt starts with <env_name>, where env_name is the name of the virtual environment.
  2. Install the Python wheel packaging standard:
    pip install wheel
  3. Install the latest version of the Apache Beam SDK for Python:
  4. pip install 'apache-beam[gcp]'

    Depending on the connection, your installation might take a while.

Run the pipeline locally

To see how a pipeline runs locally, use a ready-made Python module for the wordcount example that is included with the apache_beam package.

The wordcount pipeline example does the following:

  1. Takes a text file as input.

    This text file is located in a Cloud Storage bucket with the resource name gs://dataflow-samples/shakespeare/kinglear.txt.

  2. Parses each line into words.
  3. Performs a frequency count on the tokenized words.

To stage the wordcount pipeline locally, follow these steps:

  1. From your local terminal, run the wordcount example:
    python -m apache_beam.examples.wordcount \
      --output outputs
  2. View the output of the pipeline:
    more outputs*
  3. To exit, press q.
Running the pipeline locally lets you test and debug your Apache Beam program. You can view the wordcount.py source code on Apache Beam GitHub.

Run the pipeline on the Dataflow service

In this section, run the wordcount example pipeline from the apache_beam package on the Dataflow service. This example specifies DataflowRunner as the parameter for --runner.
  • Run the pipeline:
    python -m apache_beam.examples.wordcount \
        --region DATAFLOW_REGION \
        --input gs://dataflow-samples/shakespeare/kinglear.txt \
        --output gs://STORAGE_BUCKET/results/outputs \
        --runner DataflowRunner \
        --project PROJECT_ID \
        --temp_location gs://STORAGE_BUCKET/tmp/

    Replace the following:

    • DATAFLOW_REGION: the regional endpoint where you want to deploy the Dataflow job—for example, europe-west1

      The --region flag overrides the default region that is set in the metadata server, your local client, or environment variables.

    • STORAGE_BUCKET: the Cloud Storage name that you copied earlier
    • PROJECT_ID: the Google Cloud project ID that you copied earlier

View your results

When you run a pipeline using Dataflow, your results are stored in a Cloud Storage bucket. In this section, verify that the pipeline is running by using either the Cloud Console or the local terminal.

Cloud Console

To view your results in Cloud Console, follow these steps:

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the Dataflow Jobs page.

    Go to Jobs

    The Jobs page displays details of your wordcount job, including a status of Running at first, and then Succeeded.

  2. Go to the Cloud Storage Browser page.

    Go to Browser

  3. From the list of buckets in your project, click the storage bucket that you created earlier.

    In the wordcount directory, the output files that your job created are displayed.

Local terminal

To view the results from your terminal, use the gsutil tool. You can also run the commands from Cloud Shell.

  1. List the output files:
    gsutil ls -lh "gs://STORAGE_BUCKET/results/outputs*"  
  2. Replace STORAGE_BUCKET with the name of the Cloud Storage bucket used in the pipeline program.

  3. View the results in the output files:
    gsutil cat "gs://STORAGE_BUCKET/results/outputs*"

Modify the pipeline code

The wordcount pipeline in the previous examples distinguishes between uppercase and lowercase words. The following steps show how to modify the pipeline so that the wordcount pipeline is not case-sensitive.
  1. On your local machine, download the latest copy of the wordcount code from the Apache Beam GitHub repository.
  2. From the local terminal, run the pipeline:
    python wordcount.py --output outputs
  3. View the results:
    more outputs*
  4. To exit, press q.
  5. In an editor of your choice, open the wordcount.py file.
  6. Inside the run function, examine the pipeline steps:
    counts = (
            | 'Split' >> (beam.ParDo(WordExtractingDoFn()).with_output_types(str))
            | 'PairWIthOne' >> beam.Map(lambda x: (x, 1))
            | 'GroupAndSum' >> beam.CombinePerKey(sum))

    After split, the lines are split into words as strings.

  7. To lowercase the strings, modify the line after split:
    counts = (
            | 'Split' >> (beam.ParDo(WordExtractingDoFn()).with_output_types(str))
            | 'lowercase' >> beam.Map(str.lower)
            | 'PairWIthOne' >> beam.Map(lambda x: (x, 1))
            | 'GroupAndSum' >> beam.CombinePerKey(sum)) 
    This modification maps the str.lower function onto every word. This line is equivalent to beam.Map(lambda word: str.lower(word)).
  8. Save the file and run the modified wordcount job:
    python wordcount.py --output outputs
  9. View the results of the modified pipeline:
    more outputs*
  10. To exit, press q.

Clean up

To avoid incurring charges to your Google Cloud account for the resources used in this page, follow these steps.

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the Cloud Storage Browser page.

    Go to Browser

  2. Click the checkbox for the bucket that you want to delete.
  3. To delete the bucket, click Delete, and then follow the instructions.

What's next

Apache Beam is a trademark of The Apache Software Foundation or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.