More modifications, branching, and replacing input files

Now let’s continue with a couple of advanced modifications to our workflow. We hope these convince you about the potential efficiency gains you can expect when working on data-intensive projects!

This time, you can directly start working on the practice questions below. Also take note of our additional explanations for each question.

Practice questions and answers

  1. Please open, and also provide the word count as an additional column. Tip: use len(blob.words) to obtain the word count of the blob variable.

  2. Let’s now swap the name of the JSON file name to fortnite_event_1.json (in Re-run the workflow and compare the final output in /gen/analysis/output.


Branching. Working with reproducible workflows enables you to easily compare the results of one workflow with those of another (modified) one. Think about the question above: comparing the results of our results on fortnite_allevent.json with those obtained on fortnite_event_1.json.

In practice, we make use of the concept of “branching”.

  • There’s one very elegant way to do this using Git (but we don’t cover that one here).

  • The more “clumsy” way of going about is to work in a copy of your entire project directory to see what your modifications will do.

    • Yes, you’ve heard correctly: just copy-paste your entire project infrastructure and then do the modifications there and run make.
    • You now have two main directories on your system and you can directly compare the output of the two analysis.html files in my_project/gen/analysis/output and my_project - copy/gen/analysis/output/.
  1. Last, try to replace the download URL in with a different raw data set, available at "", and run the entire workflow again. Remember to adjust subsequent scripts!!!

Returning back to our “head revision”.

In question #2 above, we’ve “branched out” to understand the implications of modifying the event of interest (JSON file). In this part of the practice questions, we’re returning back to our “main repository” - or, in reproducible-science slang, the “head revision” of our project. A head revision is always the main version of the project. Think about it as your master copy.

Watch the solutions to all questions here