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Example applications

The best way to explore QPacker (QP) is to build some of the examples.

basic-tick-example     a tick setup
cloud-c-example        an integration with C libraries
python-rte             application with embedded Python components

These are in examples/qp, with instructions in the READMEs.


Now you have built the example applications, create your first hello-world application using QPacker.

Make a new directory and a file hello.q:

p)def* hello():
  print("hello from python")

-1 "hello from q";

If you have both embedPy and q installed, you should be able to run this straight away with the command q hello.q.

If you do not, not to worry: you can have QPacker build this entirely with Docker and run the packaged and Dockerized version.

To do this we tell QP two things: dependencies and the entrypoint. We create a file qp.json in the same directory as the hello.q above:

    "default": {
        "depends": [ "py" ],
        "entry": [ "hello.q" ]

entry is a list; multiple entries are used to suggest alternatives

Run qp run to build the Docker image and run it interactively. Should the build fail, use qp doctor to analyze your application and see recommendations to correct the problem.

Project configuration

Working through the examples and building your first application, you see the importance of the qp.json file in configuring the project for use with QPacker.

The root directory of every QP project contains a qp.json file. It holds metadata for the package, such as what is it called, who builds and distributes it, the physical location for entrypoints for the qp run command, and what (if any) the dependencies are. If runtime dependencies are not met, QP synthesizes them by building them with Docker.

Consider again the qp.json from our example.

    "default": {
        "depends": [ "py" ],
        "entry": [ "hello.q" ]

The entrypoint for the program is the hello.q script. Since the file has the .q extension it automatically builds in a dependency on q. The depends clause is an explicit declaration of a dependency on Python.

C-language extensions

An entrypoint is not necessarily source code. QP understands that is the entrypoint even if that file does not yet exist. QP understands Makefile, GNU and cmake build scripts. However, it needs the entrypoint to determine the resulting artefact.

If your make-scripts install dependencies (e.g. via yum) then QP picks them up automatically provided the .so file has an explicit dependency on them. If your .so file loads other .so files dynamically (using dlopen) you will need some customizations.

    "default": {
        "entry": [ "" ]

Also in this directory will be a Makefile that understands how to compile on whatever supported architectures there are.

You will also likely need a q-based entrypoint as well – not just to load (with Dynamic Load) the various functions in the C module, but also to give them usable names for the q processes that depend on this module.

By default, an aging version of gcc is used for the widest-possible compatibility. You can specify an alternative building-image (not to be confused with the running the application under Docker) that you have pre-built as a parameter in your qp.json.

For an example of how a C library is built and subsequently dynamically linked to q functions, refer to the cloud-c-sample.

Building applications with Python

Any projects with Python library dependencies should have a requirements.txt file defined in the project root alongside qp.json. This must include libraries required by any submodules or dependencies, regardless of whether there are other requirements.txt files elsewhere in the directory tree.

requirements.txt will be referenced by the Dockerfile to be used when creating the Docker environment.

If there are no dependent libraries, requirements.txt may be omitted.

Multiprocess packages

Many real applications are made up of multiple processes communicating over the network. QP can build a multi-process application by listing each component in the qp.json, each with its own entrypoint. Consider the basic-tick-system example included: a tickerplant (with a sample feed handler), one or more realtime database, historical databases, and gateway processes. We simply enumerate and name these entrypoints. The basic-tick-system example demonstrates this.

qp build -docker builds five Docker containers given this configuration, which can be run (for interactive testing and development) using qp run tp and qp run hdb, and so on. As these are Docker images, you can use Docker Compose, Kubernetes, or any other orchestration tool that is compatible with Docker.

Remember that the default component is the one used if this module is used as a dependency for another module.