The easiest way to get started learning Heron is to install and run pre-compiled Heron binaries, which are currently available for:

  • Mac OS X
  • Ubuntu >= 14.04

For other platforms, you need to build from source. Please refer to Heron Developers.

Step 1 — Download Heron binaries using installation scripts

Go to the releases page for Heron and download two installation scripts for your platform. The names of the scripts have this form:


The installation scripts for Mac OS X (darwin), for example, would be named and

Once you’ve downloaded the scripts, run the Heron client script with the --user flag set:

$ chmod +x
$ ./ --user
Heron client installer

Heron is now installed!

Make sure you have "${HOME}/bin" in your path.

To add ~/bin to your path, run:

$ export PATH=$PATH:~/bin

Now run the script for Heron tools (setting the --user flag):

$ chmod +x
$ ./ --user
Heron tools installer

Heron Tools is now installed!

To check Heron is successfully installed, run:

$ heron version : {#{#HUGOSHORTCODE-5#}#} : Sat Aug  6 12:35:47 PDT 2016 : 1470512147000 : ${HOSTNAME} : ${USERNAME} : 26bb4096130a05f9799510bbce6c37a69a7342ef : Clean

Step 2 — Launch an example topology

If you set the --user flag when running the installation scripts, some example topologies will be installed in your ~/.heron/examples directory. You can launch an example topology locally (on your machine) using the Heron CLI tool:

# Submit ExclamationTopology locally in deactivated mode.
$ heron submit local \
~/.heron/examples/heron-examples.jar \
com.twitter.heron.examples.ExclamationTopology \
ExclamationTopology \

INFO: Launching topology 'ExclamationTopology'
[2016-06-07 16:44:07 -0700] com.twitter.heron.scheduler.local.LocalLauncher INFO: \
For checking the status and logs of the topology, use the working directory \
$HOME/.herondata/topologies/local/${ROLE}/ExclamationTopology # working directory

INFO: Topology 'ExclamationTopology' launched successfully
INFO: Elapsed time: 3.409s.

This will submit the topology to your locally running Heron cluster but it won’t activate the topology. That will be explored in step 5 below.

Note the output shows if the topology has been launched successfully and the working directory.

To check what’s under the working directory, run:

$ ls -al ~/.herondata/topologies/local/${ROLE}/ExclamationTopology
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role     2299 Jun  7 16:44 ExclamationTopology.defn
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        5 Jun  7 16:44
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        5 Jun  7 16:44
drwxr-xr-x  11 username  role      374 Jun  7 16:44 heron-conf
drwxr-xr-x   4 username  role      136 Dec 31  1969 heron-core
-rwxr-xr-x   1 username  role  2182564 Dec 31  1969 heron-examples.jar
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        5 Jun  7 16:44
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        0 Jun  6 13:33 heron-executor.stderr
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role    17775 Jun  7 16:44 heron-executor.stdout
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        5 Jun  7 16:44
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        5 Jun  7 16:44
drwxr-xr-x  25 username  role      850 Jun  7 16:44 log-files
-r--r--r--   1 username  role     4506 Jun  8 12:05 metrics.json.metricsmgr-0.0
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        5 Jun  7 16:44
-r-xr-xr-x   1 username  role      279 Dec 31  1969 release.yaml
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        5 Jun  7 16:44

All instances’ log files can be found in log-files under the working directory:

$ ls -al ~/.herondata/topologies/local/${ROLE}/ExclamationTopology/log-files
total 1018440
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role   94145427 Jun  8 12:06 container_1_exclaim1_1.log.0
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role   75675435 Jun  7 16:44 container_1_word_2.log.0
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role  187401024 Jun  8 12:06 gc.container_1_exclaim1_1.log
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role  136318451 Jun  8 12:06 gc.container_1_word_2.log
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role      11039 Jun  8 11:16 gc.metricsmgr.log
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role        300 Jun  7 16:44 heron-shell.log
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role      29631 Jun  7 16:44 heron-ExclamationTopology-scheduler.log.0
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role    2382215 Jun  7 15:16 heron-stmgr-stmgr-1.username.log.INFO
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role       5976 Jun  7 16:44 heron-tmaster-ExclamationTopology2da9ee6b-c919-4e59-8cb0-20a865f6fd7e.username.log.INFO
-rw-r--r--   1 username  role   12023368 Jun  8 12:06 metricsmgr-0.log.0

Step 3 — Start Heron Tracker

The Heron Tracker is a web service that continuously gathers information about your Heron cluster. You can launch the tracker by running the heron-tracker command (which is already installed):

$ heron-tracker
... Running on port: 8888
... Using config file: $HOME/.herontools/conf/heron_tracker.yaml

You can reach Heron Tracker in your browser at http://localhost:8888 and see something like the following upon successful submission of the topology: alt tag

To explore Heron Tracker, please refer to Heron Tracker Rest API

Step 4 — Start Heron UI

Heron UI is a user interface that uses Heron Tracker to provide detailed visual representations of your Heron topologies. To launch Heron UI:

$ heron-ui
... Running on port: 8889
... Using tracker url: http://localhost:8888

You can open Heron UI in your browser at http://localhost:8889 and see something like this upon successful submission of the topology: alt tag

To play with Heron UI, please refer to Heron UI Usage Guide

Step 5 — Explore topology management commands

In step 2 you submitted a topology to your local cluster. The heron CLI tool also enables you to activate, deactivate, and kill topologies and more.

$ heron activate local ExclamationTopology
$ heron deactivate local ExclamationTopology
$ heron kill local ExclamationTopology

Upon successful actions, a message similar to the following will appear:

INFO: Successfully activated topology 'ExclamationTopology'
INFO: Elapsed time: 1.980s.

For more info on these commands, read about topology lifecycles.

To list the available CLI commands, run heron by itself:

usage: heron <command> <options> ...

Available commands:
    activate           Activate a topology
    deactivate         Deactivate a topology
    help               Prints help for commands
    kill               Kill a topology
    restart            Restart a topology
    submit             Submit a topology
    version            Print version of heron-cli

For detailed documentation, go to

To invoke help output for a command, run heron help COMMAND. Here’s an example:

$ heron help submit
usage: heron submit [options] cluster/[role]/[environ] topology-file-name topology-class-name [topology-args]

Required arguments:
  cluster/[role]/[env]  Cluster, role, and environ to run topology
  topology-file-name    Topology jar/tar/zip file
  topology-class-name   Topology class name

Optional arguments:
  --config-path (a string; path to cluster config; default: "$HOME/.heron/conf")
  --config-property (key=value; a config key and its value; default: [])
  --deploy-deactivated (a boolean; default: "false")
  -D DEFINE             Define a system property to pass to java -D when
                        running main.
  --verbose (a boolean; default: "false")

Step 6 — Explore other example topologies

The source code for the example topologies can be found on GitHub. The included example topologies:

  • — A topology with acking enabled.
  • — A topology that supplies JVM options for each component.
  • — A topology that implements custom grouping.
  • — A spout that emits random words to a bolt that then adds an exclamation mark.
  • — a topology with multiple spouts.
  • — A three-stage topology. A spout emits to a bolt that then feeds to another bolt.
  • — A topology that uses a task hook to subscribe to event notifications.


In case of any issues, please refer to Quick Start Troubleshooting.

Next Steps