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An introduction to the Airflow UI

One of the main features of Airflow is its user interface (UI), which provides insights into your DAGs and DAG runs. The UI is essential for understanding, monitoring, and troubleshooting your pipelines.

This guide is an overview of some of the most useful features and visualizations in the Airflow UI. If you're not already using Airflow and want to get it up and running to follow along, see Install the Astro CLI to quickly run Airflow locally.

All images in this guide were taken from an Astronomer Runtime Airflow image. Other than some modified colors and an additional Astronomer tab, the UI is the same as when using OSS Airflow. The images in this guide are from Airflow version 2.7, if you are using an older version of Airflow, some UI elements might be slightly different or missing.

Other ways to learn

There are multiple resources for learning about this topic. See also:

Assumed knowledge

To get the most out of this guide, you should have an understanding of:

DAGs

The DAGs view is the landing page when you sign in to Airflow. It shows a list of all your DAGs, the status of recent DAG runs and tasks, the time of the last DAG run, and basic metadata about the DAG like the owner and the schedule. To see the status of the DAGs update in real time, toggle Auto-refresh.

DAGs View

In the DAGs view you can:

  • Pause/unpause a DAG with the toggle to the left of the DAG name.
  • Filter the list of DAGs to show active, paused, or all DAGs.
  • Filter the list of DAGs to show currently running DAGs or DAGs that failed their last DAG run.
  • Trigger or delete a DAG with the buttons in the Actions section.
  • Navigate quickly to other DAG-specific views from the Links section.

To see more information about a specific DAG, click its name or use one of the links.

Grid view

The Grid view is the main DAG view and gives you detailed insights into a specific DAG, including its DAG runs and task instances.

On the left side the Grid view shows a grid representation of the DAG's previous runs, including their duration and the outcome of all individual task instances. Each column represents a DAG run, and each square represents a task instance in that DAG run. Task instances are color-coded according to their status. A small play icon on a DAG run indicates that a run was triggered manually, and a small dataset icon shows that a run was triggered by a dataset update. If no icon is shown, the DAG ran according to its schedule.

Grid view left side

On the right side you can see further details about the item (DAG, DAG run or task instance) that is currently selected.

Grid view right side

When a DAG run, task instance, or task group instance is selected in the Grid view, several action buttons appear:

Grid actions

  • Clear / Clear task : This button will clear the selected DAG run, task group instance, or task instance and run it again. This is useful if you want to re-run a task or DAG run that has failed or during local development. After clicking Clear task you will be offered a detailed interface controlling which task instances should be cleared and rerun. See Manually rerun tasks or DAGs.
  • Mark state as...: This button allows you to mark the selected DAG run, task group instance or task instance as successful or failed without running it. This option is often useful when the root cause of a task failure was fixed manually in the external data tool and there's no need to rerun the task. Many data teams leverage Task Instance Notes and DAG Run Notes in order to document the reason for marking a task instance as failed or successful.
  • Clear Task Filter: This button allows you to filter the tasks shown in the Grid view based on task dependencies. For example, when you select Filter downstream, the UI shows only the tasks downstream of your selected task.

Grid filter

There are several tabs available within the Grid view:

  • Details: Shows more details about the DAG, DAG run or task instance.
  • Graph: Shows a graph representation of the DAG.
  • Gantt: Shows the duration of each task instance in a DAG run as a Gantt chart.
  • Code: Shows the DAG code.
  • Logs: (only available when a task instance is selected) Shows the logs of a task instance.
  • XCom: (only available when a task instance is selected) Shows the XComs pushed by a task instance.
tip

In Airflow 2.7 and later, the Grid view includes keyboard shortcuts. You can see all available shortcuts by pressing shift + / while in the Grid view.

Details

The Details tab displays information about the DAG, individual DAG runs, and in-depth information about each task instance. Here you can find information like total historic runs of a DAG, the data interval start of a DAG run, and the duration of a task instance.

To access the details of a specific DAG run or task instance, you need first need to select it in the grid as shown in the following gif:

Grid view details

When you select a task instance in the Grid view, four additional options appear underneath the tabs:

Grid view task instance

  • More Details: Shows all attributes of a task, including variables and templates.
  • Rendered Template: Shows the task's metadata after it has been templated.
  • XCom: Shows XComs created by that particular task instance.
  • List Instances, all runs: Shows a historical view of task instances and statuses for that particular task.

Graph

In Airflow version 2.6 and later, the Grid view includes an integrated graph visualization of the tasks and dependencies in your DAG. If you select a task or task group instance in the Grid column, the graph highlights and zooms to the selected task. You can also navigate complex DAGs using Filter Tasks and the minimap. This view is useful to explore the DAG structure and task dependencies.

Grid graph

note

Earlier Airflow versions had a different Graph view that was not integrated into the Grid view. See the Airflow documentation of your version for more information.

Code

Under the Code tab you can access the code that generates the DAG you are viewing. While your code should live in source control, the Code tab provides a quick insight into what is going on in the DAG. DAG code can't be edited in the UI.

Grid code

This tab shows code only from the file that generated the DAG. It does not show any code that may be imported in the DAG, such as custom hooks or operators or code in your /include directory.

Logs

To access the logs of a specific task instance, click on the Logs tab which appears in the Grid view, as soon as you select a task instance.

Grid logs

Additional DAG views

There are some additional DAG views that are available, but not discussed in this guide:

  • Calendar view: Shows the state of DAG runs overlaid on a calendar. States are represented by color. If there were multiple DAG runs on the same day with different states, the color is a gradient between green (success) and red (failure).
  • Task Duration: Shows a line graph of the duration of each task over time.
  • Task Tries: Shows a line graph of the number of tries for each task in a DAG run over time.
  • Landing Times: Shows a line graph of the time of day each task started over time.
  • Details: Shows details of the DAG configuration and DagModel debug information.
  • Audit Log: Shows selected events for all DAG runs.

Cluster activity tab

The cluster activity tab was added in Airflow 2.7 and shows aggregated metrics for the entire Airflow cluster. It includes live metrics, such as currently occupied slots in different pools, unpaused DAGs, and scheduler health. It also includes historical metrics like the states of past DAG runs and task instances, as well as how each DAG run was triggered.

Cluster activity

Datasets tab

The Dataset tab was introduced in Airflow 2.4 in support of the new dataset-driven scheduling feature. The Dataset tab links to a page showing all datasets that have been produced in the Airflow environment, as well as all dependencies between datasets and DAGs in a graph.

Datasets

Click a dataset to open the history of all updates to the dataset that were recorded in the Airflow environment.

Dataset History

Security tab

Astro does not support the Security tab

On Astro, role-based access control is managed at the platform level. As a result, the Security tab is not needed and is not available on Airflow deployments on Astro.

The Security tab links to multiple pages, including List Users and List Roles, that you can use to review and manage Airflow role-based access control (RBAC). For more information on working with RBAC, see Security.

Security

If you are running Airflow on Astronomer, the Astronomer RBAC will extend into Airflow and take precedence. There is no need for you to use Airflow RBAC in addition to Astronomer RBAC. Astronomer RBAC can be managed from the Astronomer UI, so the Security tab might be less relevant for Astronomer users.

Browse tab

The Browse tab links to multiple pages that provide additional insight into and control over your DAG runs and task instances for all DAGs in one place.

Browse

The DAG runs and task instances pages are the easiest way to view and manipulate these objects in aggregate. If you need to re-run tasks in multiple DAG runs, you can do so from this page by selecting all relevant tasks and clearing their status.

Task Instance

The DAG Dependencies view shows a graphical representation of any cross-DAG and dataset dependencies in your Airflow environment.

DAG Dependencies

Other views on the Browse tab include:

  • Jobs: Shows a list of all jobs that have been completed. This includes executed tasks as well as scheduler jobs.
  • Audit Logs: Shows a list of events that have occurred in your Airflow environment that can be used for auditing purposes.
  • Task Reschedules: Shows a list of all tasks that have been rescheduled.
  • Triggers: Shows any triggers that occurred in this Airflow environment. To learn more about triggers and related concepts added in Airflow 2.2, you can check out the guide on Deferrable Operators.
  • SLA Misses: Shows any task instances that have missed their SLAs.

Admin tab

The Admin tab links to pages for content related to Airflow administration that are not specific to any particular DAG. Many of these pages can be used to both view and modify your Airflow environment.

Admin

For example, the Connections page shows all Airflow connections stored in your environment. Click + to add a new connection. For more information, see Managing your Connections in Apache Airflow.

Connections

Similarly, the XComs page shows a list of all XComs stored in the metadata database and allows you to easily delete them.

XComs

Other pages on the Admin tab include:

  • Variables: View and manage Airflow variables.
  • Configurations: View the contents of your airflow.cfg file. Note that this can be disabled by your Airflow admin for security reasons.
  • Plugins: View any Airflow plugins defined in your environment.
  • Providers: View all Airflow providers included in your Airflow environment with their version number.
  • Pools: View and manage Airflow pools.

Docs

The Docs tab provides links to external Airflow resources including:

Docs

Conclusion

This guide provided a basic overview of some of the most commonly used features of the Airflow UI.

The Airflow community is consistently working on improvements to the UI to provide a better user experience and additional functionality. Make sure you upgrade your Airflow environment frequently to ensure you are taking advantage of Airflow UI updates as they are released.

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