Prefect is a new kind of workflow management system. We started with a simple premise:

Your code probably works. But sometimes it doesn't.

When your code works, you might not even need a workflow system. We call that positive engineering. It's only when things go wrong that a system like Prefect starts to be valuable. That's negative engineering: all the little details that guarantee your code either achieves its goal, or fails successfully. In this way, workflow systems are actually risk management tools, like insurance: there when you need them, invisible when you don't.

And yet, we don't see a single tool designed that way. Other workflow systems seem to believe that they're actually positive engineering tools, somehow enabling users to do things they couldn't do otherwise. As a result, they feel no shame in asking users to generate yet another config file, or contort code into a convoluted DAG structure. Prefect already knows you can write incredible code; it just wants to make sure it works.

Prefect takes your code and transforms it into a robust, distributed pipeline. You can continue to use your existing tools, languages, infrastructure, and scripts. Prefect builds a rich DAG structure, but in a way that respects positive engineering and doesn't inhibit it. You can use Prefect's functional API to transform scripts with minimal hooks; or you can access the deferred computational graph directly; or any combination thereof. It's up to you.

The most common thing we hear about negative engineering is: "This should be easy!"

Prefect is the first step toward making that true.

The Prefect Platform

Open-sourcing the Prefect Core engine is a major milestone and completes the first stage of the Prefect platform rollout. In both its free and paid versions, Prefect Cloud automatically extends the Core engine with:

  • a full GraphQL API
  • a complete UI for flows and jobs
  • remote execution clusters
  • automatic scheduling
  • permissions and authorization
  • projects for flow organization
  • secure runtime secrets and parameters
  • ...and a few things we're not ready to talk about yet!

One of our goals is that Prefect runs on Prefect and indeed, Prefect Cloud is already starting to power Prefect HQ. We're working with our Lighthouse Partners to get everything ready for a wider release. Please get in touch to apply for access.

We can't wait to see what you build.

Happy engineering!

- The Prefect Team