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Astro SDK allows rapid and clean development of {Extract, Load, Transform} workflows using Python and SQL, powered by Apache Airflow.

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workflows made easy

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Astro Python SDK is a Python SDK for rapid development of extract, transform, and load workflows in Apache Airflow. It allows you to express your workflows as a set of data dependencies without having to worry about ordering and tasks. The Astro Python SDK is maintained by Astronomer.


  • Apache Airflow >= 2.1.0.


The Astro Python SDK is available at PyPI. Use the standard Python installation tools.

To install a cloud-agnostic version of the SDK, run:

pip install astro-sdk-python

You can also install dependencies for using the SDK with popular cloud providers:

pip install astro-sdk-python[amazon,google,snowflake,postgres]


  1. Ensure that your Airflow environment is set up correctly by running the following commands:

    export AIRFLOW_HOME=`pwd`
    export AIRFLOW__CORE__XCOM_BACKEND=astro.custom_backend.astro_custom_backend.AstroCustomXcomBackend
    airflow db init

    Note: AIRFLOW__CORE__ENABLE_XCOM_PICKLING no longer needs to be enabled for astro-sdk-python. This functionality is now deprecated as our custom xcom backend handles serialization.

    The AIRFLOW__ASTRO_SDK__STORE_DATA_LOCAL_DEV should only be used for local development. The XCom backend docs give further details about how to set this up in non-local environments.

    Currently, custom XCom backends are limited to data types that are json serializable. Since Dataframes are not json serializable, we need to enable XCom pickling to store dataframes.

    The data format used by pickle is Python-specific. This has the advantage that there are no restrictions imposed by external standards such as JSON or XDR (which can’t represent pointer sharing); however it means that non-Python programs may not be able to reconstruct pickled Python objects.

    Read more: enable_xcom_pickling and pickle:

  2. Create a SQLite database for the example to run with:

    # The sqlite_default connection has different host for MAC vs. Linux
    export SQL_TABLE_NAME=`airflow connections get sqlite_default -o yaml | grep host | awk '{print $2}'`
    sqlite3 "$SQL_TABLE_NAME" "VACUUM;"
  3. Copy the following workflow into a file named and add it to the dags directory of your Airflow project:

    Alternatively, you can download

     curl -O
  4. Run the example DAG:

    airflow dags test calculate_popular_movies `date -Iseconds`
  5. Check the result of your DAG by running:

    sqlite3 "$SQL_TABLE_NAME" "select * from top_animation;" ".exit"

    You should see the following output:

    $ sqlite3 "$SQL_TABLE_NAME" "select * from top_animation;" ".exit"
    Toy Story 3 (2010)|8.3
    Inside Out (2015)|8.2
    How to Train Your Dragon (2010)|8.1
    Zootopia (2016)|8.1
    How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)|7.9

Supported technologies

Databricks Delta
Google BigQuery
Amazon Redshift
Microsoft SQL
File types
File stores
Amazon S3
Google GCS
Google Drive
Azure WASB

Available operations

The following are some key functions available in the SDK:

  • load_file: Load a given file into a SQL table
  • transform: Applies a SQL select statement to a source table and saves the result to a destination table
  • drop_table: Drops a SQL table
  • run_raw_sql: Run any SQL statement without handling its output
  • append: Insert rows from the source SQL table into the destination SQL table, if there are no conflicts
  • merge: Insert rows from the source SQL table into the destination SQL table, depending on conflicts:
    • ignore: Do not add rows that already exist
    • update: Replace existing rows with new ones
  • export_file: Export SQL table rows into a destination file
  • dataframe: Export given SQL table into in-memory Pandas data-frame

For a full list of available operators, see the SDK reference documentation.


The documentation is a work in progress--we aim to follow the Diátaxis system:

  • Getting Started Tutorial: A hands-on introduction to the Astro Python SDK
  • How-to guides: Simple step-by-step user guides to accomplish specific tasks
  • Reference guide: Commands, modules, classes and methods
  • Explanation: Clarification and discussion of key decisions when designing the project


The Astro Python SDK follows semantic versioning for releases. Check the changelog for the latest changes.

Release managements

To learn more about our release philosophy and steps, see Managing Releases.

Contribution guidelines

All contributions, bug reports, bug fixes, documentation improvements, enhancements, and ideas are welcome.

Read the Contribution Guideline for a detailed overview on how to contribute.

Contributors and maintainers should abide by the Contributor Code of Conduct.


Apache Licence 2.0

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