Using the New Python 3 Runtime and IBM Cloud Services in your Serverless Apps
5 min read
Simplifying the use of IBM services and data science
IBM Cloud Functions sets a limit of 48 MB for your action code, including dependencies, which can be large. This means you wouldn’t be able to upload certain actions (if too large), or the upload could take a long time, specifically when you update often. To relieve you from that burden, we preinstalled several important packages.
The new runtime includes packages that are useful when integrating with IBM Cloud services such as DB2, Watson, Cloudant, and Cloud Object Storage.
In addition, some popular Python packages for data science are also pre-installed, such as numpy, pandas, scipy, and scikit-learn.
The version of Python is 3.6 and is based on a Debian/Ubuntu (Jessie release) operating system.
If you have your own python modules, or third party packages you can always package them using the virtualenv approach, and uploading a zip. If the zip is too large, you can extend the runtime, and install additional python packages, or add system utilities and libraries by using
For more details on the Python 3 environment, check the documentation.
Using IBM Cloud Services from Python 3 Functions
Let’s build an application that handles customer feedback that is composed with two actions in a sequence. The first one takes the text from a customer feedback form, and translates it with the IBM Watson Language service. The second action stores the content in a database by using the IBM DB2 on Cloud service.
Watson: Translate Action using Python 3
Create a Python file
translateForm.py with the following code:
DB2: Store Action using Python 3
Create a Python file storeFormDB.py with the following code:
Tip: The Action assumes that a DB table named
CUSTOMER_FEEDBACK is already created and available.
Sequence: Deploy the Actions
Deploy your actions that use the kind
python-jessie:3 to use the new Python 3 runtime:
Set up the credentials for the Actions
Bind the service credentials to the actions parameters. You can use the IBM Cloud Functions CLI to bind your actions to IBM Cloud Services.
Bind the action `translateForm` to the `language_translator` service credentials:
Bind the action `storeFormDB` to the `dashDB` service credentials:
Tip: You must have at least one set of Credentials for the service before running the
bx wsk service bindcommand.
This CLI command copied the service credentials and set them as default action parameter, by convention a single parameter of type JSON object named
You can also do this directly by setting the default parameters with the values from your service credentials into any parameter, and then adjust your action code.
Note: Cloud Object Storage can’t be bound to actions by using the CLI, but support will be added soon. This blog post will be updated when support becomes available.
Update: Now the CLI support for Cloud Object Storage is added with
bx wsk service bind command.
Test your Customer Feedback Application
You can now test your application by invoking your sequence action:
Python and Data Science
Python is often the programming language of choice for data scientists for prototyping, visualization, and running data analyses on data sets. Many libraries, applications, and techniques are available to analyze data in Python.
Deploy your data science action
Invoke your data science action
Learn more about IBM Cloud Functions