Actor Registration

When registering an actor, the only required field is a reference to an image on the public Docker Hub. However, there are several other properties that can be set. The following table provides a list of the configurable properties available to all users and their descriptions.

Property Name Description
image The Docker image to associate with the actor. This should be a fully qualified image available on the public Docker Hub. We encourage users to use to image tags to version control their actors.
name A user defined name for the actor.
description A user defined description for the actor.
default_environment The default environment is a set of key/value pairs to be injected into every execution of the actor. The values can also be overridden when passing a message to the reactor in the query parameters (see Messages, Executions, and Logs).
hints A list of strings representing user-defined “tags” or metadata about the actor. “Official” Abaco hints can be applied to control configurable aspects of the actor runtime, such as the autoscaling algorithm used. (see Autoscaling Actors).
link Actor identifier (id or alias) of an actor to “link” this actor’s events to. Requires execute permissions on the linked actor, and cycles are not permitted. (see Networks of Actors).
privileged (True/False) - Whether the actor runs in privileged mode and has access to the Docker daemon. Note: Setting this parameter to True requires elevated permissions.
stateless (True/False) - Whether the actor stores private state as part of its execution. If True, the state API will not be available, but in a future release, the Abaco service will be able to automatically scale reactor processes to execute messages in parallel. The default value is False.

(True/False) - Whether to generate an OAuth access token for every execution of this actor. Generating an OAuth token add about 500 ms of time to the execution start up time.

*Note: the default value for the token attribute varies from tenant to tenant. Always explicitly set the token attribute when registering new actors to ensure the proper behavior.

use_container_uid Run the actor using the UID/GID set in the Docker image. Note: Setting this parameter to True requires elevated permissions.
webhook URL to publish this actor’s events to. (see Networks of Actors).
log_ex Configure the amount of time that your logs will exist, in minutes.
cron_schedule Create a schedule to automatically execute your actor (see Messages, Executions, and Logs).
cron_on A switch to turn your cron schedule on or off


  • The default_environment can be used to provide sensitive information to the actor that cannot be put in the image.
  • In order to execute privileged actors or to override the UID/GID used when executing an actor container, talk to the Abaco development team about your use case.
  • Abaco supports running specific actors within a given tenant on dedicated and/or specialized hardware for performance reasons. It accomplishes this through the use of actor queues. If you need to run actors on dedicated resources, talk to the Abaco development team about your use case.



Here is an example using curl; note that to set the default environment, we must pass content type application/json and be sure to pass properly formatted JSON in the payload.

$ curl -H "Authorization: Bearer $TOKEN" \
-H "Content-Type: application/json" \
-d '{"image": "abacosamples/test", "name": "test", "description": "My test actor using the abacosamples image.", "default_environment":{"key1": "value1", "key2": "value2"} }' \


To register the same actor using the agavepy library, we use the actors.add() method and pass the same arguments through the body parameter. In this case, the default_environment is just a standard Python dictionary where the keys and values are str type. For example,

>>> from agavepy.agave import Agave
>>> ag = Agave(api_server='', token='<access_token>')
>>> actor = {"image": "abacosamples/test",
             "name": "test",
             "description": "My test actor using the abacosamples image registered using agavepy.",
             "default_environment":{"key1": "value1", "key2": "value2"} }
>>> ag.actors.add(body=actor)