Snakebids workflows are constructed the same way as any other Snakemake workflows, but with a few additions that make it easier to work with BIDS datasets.

To get access to these additions, the base Snakefile for a snakebids workflow should begin with the following boilerplate:

 1import snakebids
 2from snakebids import bids
 4configfile: 'config/snakebids.yml'
 6# Get input wildcards
 7inputs = snakebids.generate_inputs(
 8    bids_dir=config["bids_dir"],
 9    pybids_inputs=config["pybids_inputs"],
10    pybidsdb_dir=config.get("pybidsdb_dir"),
11    pybidsdb_reset=config.get("pybidsdb_reset"),
12    derivatives=config.get("derivatives"),
13    participant_label=config.get("participant_label"),
14    exclude_participant_label=config.get("exclude_participant_label"),

Snakebids workflow features

The snakebids.bids function generates a properly-formatted BIDS filename with the specified entities, as documented in more detail elsewhere in this documentation.

snakebids.generate_inputs returns an instance of snakebids.BidsDataset, a special dict with keys mapping to the BidsComponents defined in the config file. Each BidsComponent contains a number of attributes to assist processing a BIDS dataset with snakemake. generate_inputs() should be called at the beginning of the workflow and assigned to a variable called inputs.

The path member of BidsComponent is generated by snakebids and contains a list of matched files for every input type. Often, the first rule to be invoked will use one or more entries in inputs.path as the input file specification.

The expand() method of BidsComponent is used to expand over files using only the entity-values found in your dataset. A usage pattern is as follows:


Extra entities provided to BidsComponent.expand() will expand the path across every possible combination of values, just like in the snakemake expand().

By default, BidsComponent.expand() prevents partial expansion over paths, consistent with the default snakemake behaviour. To allow the presence of extra wildcards in the path, set the allow_missing argument in BidsComponent.expand() to True.

The wildcards member of BidsComponent is generated by snakebids and contains a dictionary mapping the wildcards for each input type to snakemake-formatted wildcards, for convenient use in the bids function.

Accessing the underlying pybids dataset

In addition to mapping all of the BidsComponents to their names, BidsDataset also has a layout member which gives access to the underlying BIDSLayout. This can be used to access advanced pybids features not covered by snakebids. Note that if custom_paths are specified for every BidsComponent, pybids indexing will be skipped and layout will be set to None. If your workflow relies on accessing this layout, you must ensure your users do not provide a custom_path for every single component, either in the config file or via the CLI (--path_{component}).