Webinar Recap

Everything you Need to Know About Airflow 2.2

Presented by Ash Berlin-Taylor, Director of Airflow Engineering at Astronomer

Airflow 2.2.0 is finally almost here! The new release combines two new big features and a whole lot of small quality of life improvements to make Airflow even more powerful, and also fixes some long-standing complaints.

Airflow 2.2.0 new features


AIP stands for Airflow Improvement Proposal. Any kind of big architectural change or a fundamental change to the way Airflow operates goes through the Airflow improvement proposal process and a vote. It ensures that the big fundamental changes get by in front of the community.

1. AIP-39: Custom Timetables

  • Schedule where you couldn’t go before!

    • Cron expressions only got us as far as regular time intervals
    • For example, daily Monday-Friday (but not weekend) wasn't possible.
    • Full back-compatibility maintained, schedule_interval is not going away
    • Timetables also introduce explicit "data interval" - super useful when looking at a given data for a specific period of time
    • Now possible to draw Friday data on Saturday or any other funky interval.


  • No more "why didn't my dag run yet?"

    • The concept of "execution_date" was confusing to every new user, so now it is deprecated! In its place there is:
    • logical_date (aka execution_date)
    • data_interval_start (same value as execution_date for built in)
    • data_interval_end (same value asnextexecutiondate, at least for the built-in Timetables)
  • Pluggable timetables! Airflow 2.2 ships with a few built-in timetables that mirror the behavior of schedule_interval.

You can also add your own timetable! Example timetable:

class RunAtTimetable(Timetable):
   def __init__(self, cron: str, timezone: Timezone) -> None:
       self._expression = cron_presets.get(cron, cron)
       self._timezone = timezone

   def infer_manual_data_interval(self, *, run_after: DateTime) -> DataInterval:
       return DataInterval(None, None)

   def next_dagrun_info(self, *,
                        last_automated_data_interval: DataInterval | None,
                        restriction: TimeRestriction) -> DagRunInfo | None:
       # TODO: handle restriction.latest and restriction.catchup
       when = last_automated_data_interval or restriction.earliest
       cron = croniter(self._expression, start_time=when)
       scheduled = cron.get_next(datetime.datetime)

       return make_aware(scheduled.in_timezone(self._timezone))
  • Limitations

    • Should return same result every time it's called (no HTTP requests please - event triggering coming in future)
    • Timetables "evaluated" inside scheduler when creating DagRuns, to keep it fast and error-free
  • NYSE trading timetable (Astronomer customers only!)

    from astronomer.timetables.trading_hours \
    import USTradingHoursTimetable
    with DAG(timetable=USTradingHoursTimetable()):
       def fetch_daily_trades():

2. AIP-40: Deferrable Tasks

Allows tasks or sensors to free up worker resources when waiting for external systems/events.


  • Ideal use case: submit then poll operators

    • Airbnb introduced smart sensors, a first tackle of this issue
    • Deferrable task is a great for anything that submits a job to external system then polls for status (not just sensors)
    • Does not consume a worker slot while in deferral mode - instead, runs hundreds at once in an async process
    • Uses fewer resources, and is more reliable
    • Doesn’t need a DAG running
  • Advantages of async


  • New component!


  • Async operators:

    • DateTimeSensorAsync
    • TimeDeltaSensorAsync
    • Astronomer customers only:
    • DatabricksRunNowOperatorAsync
    • DatabricksSubmitRunOperatorAsync
    • HttpSensorAsync
    • ExternalTaskSensorAsync

3. @task.docker decorator

@task.docker(image='python:3.9-slim-buster', multiple_outputs=True)
def transform(order_data_dict: dict):
   total_order_value = 0

   for value in order_data_dict.values():
       total_order_value += value

   return {"total_order_value": total_order_value}

4. Other features

  • Validation of DAG params

The building blocks for true parameterized DAGs

with DAG(
  params: {
    # a int param with default value
    'int_param': Param(10, type='integer', minimum=0, maximum=20),
    # a mandatory str param
    'str_param': Param(type='string', minLength=2, maxLength=4),  
    # a param which can be None as well
    'dummy_param': Param(type=['null', 'number', 'string']),
    # i.e. no data or type validations
    'old_param': 'old_way_of_passing',
    # i.e. no data or type validations
    'simple_param': Param('im_just_like_old_param'),
    'email_param': Param(
  • Airflow standalone Run all the airflow components (migrations, scheduler, webserver, triggerer, etc) directly without a docker.

Thank you for your attention and see you on the day of the release!

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