The HiGlass server accepts a number of options to customize its use. Some of these options are set using environment variables before the server is started:

export OPTION=value; python runserver

APP_BASEPATH - Allow access to the admin interface at$APP_BASEPATH/admin.

BASE_DIR - Set the Django base directory. This is where Django will

look for the database and the media directories.

REDIS_HOST - The host name for the redis server to use for tile caching. If it’s not specified, then no in-memory tile caching will be performed.

REDIS_PORT - The port for redis server to use for tile caching. If it’s not set and a host is provided, the default port will be used.

Additionally, the following settings are set via config.json (see config.json.sample as an example):

DEBUG - If true the server is started in debug mode.

INSTALLED_APPS - A list of django extensions.

LOG_LEVEL_CONSOLE - Define the console log level.

LOG_LEVEL_FILE - Define the file log level.

LOG_LEVEL_DJANGO - Define the django log level.

LOG_LEVEL_CHROMS - Define the chroms log level.

LOG_LEVEL_FRAGMENTS - Define the fragments log level.

LOG_LEVEL_TILESETS - Define the tilesets log level.

UPLOAD_ENABLED - If true the HiGlass server accepts any kinds of uploads.

PUBLIC_UPLOAD_ENABLED - If true the HiGlass server accepts public uploads.

REDIS_HOST - IP address of your Redis server.

REDIS_PORT - Port number of your Redis server.

SNIPPET_HIC_MAX_OUT_DIM - If specified it limits the maximum size (in pixels) of the longer side of a Hi-C snippet.

SNIPPET_HIC_MAX_DATA_DIM - If specified it limits the maximum size (in bins) of the longer side of the snippet that is pulled out of a cooler file.

SNIPPET_IMG_MAX_OUT_DIM - If specified it limits the maximum size (in pixels) of the longer side of an image snippet.

SNIPPET_OSM_MAX_DATA_DIM - If specified it limits the maximum size (in pixels) of the longer side of the OSM tiles that are pulled out for getting the image snippet.

SNIPPET_IMT_MAX_DATA_DIM - If specified it limits the maximum size (in pixels) of the longer side of the image tiles that are pulled out for getting the image snippet.


Retrieving data (GET)

Retrieving a list of available tilesets:

curl localhost:8000/api/v1/tilesets

To filter by a specific filetype, use the t=filetype parameter:

curl localhost:8000/api/v1/tilesets?t=cooler

To filter by datatype, use the dt=datatype parameter:

curl localhost:8000/api/v1/tilesets?dt=matrix
curl localhost:8000/api/v1/tilesets?dt=gene-annotation
curl localhost:8000/api/v1/tilesets?dt=chromsizes

Retrieving properties of a tileset, for a specific uuid:

curl localhost:8000/api/v1/tilesets/${uuid}/

To delete a tileset, specify the tileset uuid in the URL, and use the DELETE method with authentication credentials:

curl --user ${username}:${password} --request DELETE http://localhost:8000/api/v1/tilesets/${uuid}/

To modify a tileset name, specify the tileset uuid in the URL, use the PATCH method with authentication credentials, and specify the new name in the JSON object passed to the request:

curl --user ${username}:${password} --request PATCH --header "Content-Type: application/json" --data '{"name":"new_name_of_tileset"}' http://localhost:8000/api/v1/tilesets/${uuid}/

To retrieve a particular tile, in this case tile 1 at zoom level 6 for the tileset named by the ${uuid} variable:

curl localhost:8000/api/v1/tiles?d=${uuid}.6.1

To retrieve many tiles at once, in this case tiles 0, 1, and 2 at zoom level 6 for the tileset ${uuid}:

curl localhost:8000/api/v1/tiles?d=${uuid}.6.0&d=${uuid}.6.1&d=${uuid}.6.2

To retrieve multivec tiles with pre-aggregated rows, a POST request can be made to the /api/v1/tiles endpoint, with the following request body, where my_uuid is the tilesetUid for a multivec tileset. The request body will be validated against the JSON schema in the higlass-server repository here.

    "tilesetUid": "my_uuid",
    "tileIds": ["6.0", "6.1"],
    "options": {
      "aggFunc": "mean",
      "aggGroups": [
        [1, 2, 3],
        [0, 4, 9, 11]

The options.aggGroups option takes a 1- or 2- dimensional array of integers, where each integer represents an index of a row in the multivec file. The options.aggFunc option takes one of the following string values: mean, median, std (standard deviation), var (variance), max, min. The aggregation function is evaluated for each sub-array (group of rows) if options.aggGroups is a 2-dimensional array (along axis 0).

The response of the above POST request to /api/v1/tiles will have the following format. The zeroth entry of the shape property is 2 for both of these aggregated tiles, since options.aggGroups contained two groups.

  "my_uuid.6.0": {
    "dense": "9GNDVOl...",
    "dtype": "float16",
    "shape": [
  "my_uuid.6.1": {
    "dense": "mnGScTN...",
    "dtype": "float16",
    "shape": [

Uploading data (POST)

The server API can be used to upload entire tilesets. To use this functionality, you need a username and password. These can be created using higlass-manage create superuser. The should be entered into a file (e.g. ~/.higlass-server-login) in the format username:password.

The rest of the parameters should be specified according to the filetype, datatype, coordSystem and name of the dataset.

curl -u `cat ~/.higlass-server-login` \
    -F 'datafile=@/Users/peter/projects/negspy/negspy/data/mm10/chromInfo.txt' \
    -F 'filetype=chromsizes-tsv' \
    -F 'datatype=chromsizes' \
    -F 'coordSystem=mm10' \
    -F 'name=Chromosomes (mm10)' \

Tile JSON Response Format

Tiles returned by the server vary according to the data type but all are indexed by their tile id. The example below is a tile response from a bedlike track.

  "OHJakQICQD6gTD7skx4EWA.3.2": [
    { "uid": "US2sjy_8SlGuy-0iSshcDQ", "importance": 457.0, "fields": [...] }

The uid is used to unique identify annotations. This is necessary because annotations that span multiple tiles are returned in every tile they intersect. The importance determines the priority with which annotations are hidden. Annotations with a lower importance are hidden before annotations with a higher importance. The fields field contains the actual columns from the bed file.

Management commands

The following commands may be run while logged into a non-Docker HiGlass instance and offer functionality to list and manipulate tileset records.

Ingesting data:

python ingest_tileset --filename --filetype cooler --datatype matrix \
  --project-name "Experiment 3" --coordSystem hg19

Use the filename parameter to indicate where the data file resides, the filetype to tell the server how to read the data, the datatype to tell the client how it can be displayed, the coordinate system to indicate which chromosome sizes to use, and the project name to group it with other tilesets (available in v1.3.0 and above).

To retrieve a list of available tilesets:

python list_tilesets

To modify the name of a tileset:

python modify_tileset --uuid=${uuid} --name=${name}


At this time, the modify_tileset command only provides the ability to modify the tileset name. Future revisions may provide logic to modify other tileset fields.

To delete a tileset:

python delete_tileset --uuid=${uuid}


The delete_tileset command will delete the tileset record from the database backend. It will also delete the underlying file from the HiGlass server’s media/uploads folder, and fail if this file cannot be removed.

Chromosome sizes

Chromosome sizes specify the lengths of the chromosomes that make up an assembly. While they have no intrinsic biological order, HiGlass displays all chromosomes together on a line so the order of the entries in the file does have a meaning.

They must be imported with the chromsizes-tsv filetype and chromsizes datatype to be properly recognized by the server and the API.

docker exec higlass-container python \
        higlass-server/ ingest_tileset \
        --filename /tmp/chromsizes_hg19.tsv \
        --filetype chromsizes-tsv \
        --datatype chromsizes

Or using curl:

curl -u `cat ~/.higlass-server-login` \
    -F "datafile=@/Users/peter/projects/negspy/negspy/data/mm10/chromInfo.txt" \
    -F "filetype=chromsizes-tsv" \
    -F "datatype=chromsizes" \
    -F "coordSystem=mm10" \
    -F "name=Chromosomes (mm10)" \

This should return a JSON object containing a UUID to confirm that the data has been added to the server:

   "name":"Chromosomes (mm10)",


Running the server locally:

python runserver 8000


python test tilesets --failfast

Or to test a more specific code block:

python test tilesets.tests.CoolerTest.test_transforms --failfast

Tests of deletion and modification routes:

python test tilesets.tests.PermissionsTest