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Checkpoints and Actions


API note

As part of the new modular expectations API in Great Expectations, Validation Operators are evolving into Checkpoints. At some point in the future Validation Operators will be fully deprecated.

The batch.validate() method evaluates one Batch of data against one Expectation Suite and returns a dictionary of Validation Results. This is sufficient when you explore your data and get to know Great Expectations. When deploying Great Expectations in a real data pipeline, you will typically discover additional needs:

  • Validating a group of Batches that are logically related (for example, a Checkpoint for all staging tables).
  • Validating a Batch against several Expectation Suites (for example, run three suites to protect a machine learning model churn.critical, churn.warning, churn.drift).
  • Doing something with the Validation Results (for example, saving them for later review, sending notifications in case of failures, etc.).

Checkpoints provide a convenient abstraction for bundling the validation of a Batch (or Batches) of data against an Expectation Suite (or several), as well as the actions that should be taken after the validation. Like Expectation Suites and Validation Results, Checkpoints are managed using a Data Context, and have their own Store which is used to persist their configurations to YAML files. These configurations can be committed to version control and shared with your team.

The classes that implement Checkpoints are in the :py:mod:great_expectations.checkpoint module.

Validation Actions#

Actions are Python classes with a run method that takes the result of validating a Batch against an Expectation Suite and does something with it (e.g., save Validation Results to disk, or send a Slack notification). Classes that implement this API can be configured to be added to the list of actions used by a particular Checkpoint.

Classes that implement Actions can be found in the :py:mod:great_expectations.checkpoint.actions module.

Checkpoint configuration#

A Checkpoint uses its configuration to determine what data to validate against which Expectation Suite(s), and what actions to perform on the Validation Results - these validations and actions are executed by calling a Checkpoint's run method (analogous to calling validate with a single Batch). Checkpoint configurations are very flexible. At one end of the spectrum, you can specify a complete configuration in a Checkpoint's YAML file, and simply call At the other end, you can specify a minimal configuration in the YAML file and provide missing keys as kwargs when calling run.

At runtime, a Checkpoint configuration has three required and three optional keys, and is built using a combination of the YAML configuration and any kwargs passed in at runtime:

Required keys

  1. name: user-selected Checkpoint name (e.g. "staging_tables")

  2. config_version: version number of the Checkpoint configuration

  3. validations: a list of dictionaries that describe each validation that is to be executed, including any actions. Each validation dictionary has three required and three optional keys:

    • Required keys

      1. batch_request: a dictionary describing the batch of data to validate (learn more about specifying Batches here: Dividing data assets into Batches)
      2. expectation_suite_name: the name of the Expectation Suite to validate the batch of data against
      3. action_list: a list of actions to perform after each batch is validated
    • Optional keys

      1. name: providing a name will allow referencing the validation inside the run by name (e.g. " user_table_validation")
      2. evaluation_parameters: used to define named parameters using Great Expectations Evaluation Parameter syntax
      3. runtime_configuration: provided to the Validator's runtime_configuration (e.g. result_format)

Optional keys

  1. class_name: the class of the Checkpoint to be instantiated, defaults to Checkpoint
  2. template_name: the name of another Checkpoint to use as a base template
  3. run_name_template: a template to create run names, using environment variables and datetime-template syntax (e.g. " %Y-%M-staging-$MY_ENV_VAR")

Configuration defaults and parameter override behavior#

Checkpoint configurations follow a nested pattern, where more general keys provide defaults for more specific ones. For instance, any required validation dictionary keys (e.g. expectation_suite_name) can be specified at the top-level ( i.e. at the same level as the validations list), serving as runtime defaults. Starting at the earliest reference template, if a configuration key is re-specified, its value can be appended, updated, replaced, or cause an error when redefined.


  • name
  • module_name
  • class_name
  • run_name_template
  • expectation_suite_name


  • batch_request: at runtime, if a key is re-defined, an error will be thrown
  • action_list: actions that share the same user-defined name will be updated, otherwise a new action will be appended
  • evaluation_parameters
  • runtime_configuration


  • action_list: actions that share the same user-defined name will be updated, otherwise a new action will be appended
  • validations

SimpleCheckpoint class#

For many use cases, the SimpleCheckpoint class can be used to simplify the process of specifying a Checkpoint configuration. SimpleCheckpoint provides a basic set of actions - store Validation Result, store evaluation parameters, update Data Docs, and optionally, send a Slack notification - allowing you to omit an action_list from your configuration and at runtime.

Configurations using the SimpleCheckpoint class can optionally specify four additional top-level keys that customize and extend the basic set of default actions:

  • site_names: a list of Data Docs site names to update as part of the update Data Docs action - defaults to "all"
  • slack_webhook: if provided, an action will be added that sends a Slack notification to the provided webhook
  • notify_on: used to define when a notification is fired, according to Validation Result outcome - all, failure, or success. Defaults to all.
  • notify_with: a list of Data Docs site names for which to include a URL in any notifications - defaults to all


The return object of a Checkpoint run is a CheckpointResult object. The run_results attribute forms the backbone of this type and defines the basic contract for what a Checkpoint's run method returns. It is a dictionary where the top-level keys are the ValidationResultIdentifiers of the Validation Results generated in the run. Each value is a dictionary having at minimum, a validation_result key containing an ExpectationSuiteValidationResult and an actions_results key containing a dictionary where the top-level keys are names of actions performed after that particular validation, with values containing any relevant outputs of that action (at minimum and in many cases, this would just be a dictionary with the action's class_name).

The run_results dictionary can contain other keys that are relevant for a specific Checkpoint implementation. For example, the run_results dictionary from a WarningAndFailureExpectationSuiteCheckpoint might have an extra key named " expectation_suite_severity_level" to indicate if the suite is at either a "warning" or "failure" level.

CheckpointResult objects include many convenience methods (e.g. list_data_asset_names) that make working with Checkpoint results easier. You can learn more about these methods in the documentation for :py: class:~great_expectations.checkpoint.types.checkpoint_result.CheckpointResult.

Example CheckpointResult:

{    "run_id": run_identifier_object,    "run_results": {        validation_result_identifier_object: {            "validation_result": expectation_suite_validation_result_object,            "actions_results": {                "my_action_name_that_stores_validation_results": {                    "class": "StoreValidationResultAction"                }            }        }    }    "checkpoint_config": my_checkpoint_config_object,    "success": True}

Checkpoint configuration examples#

This configuration specifies full validation dictionaries - no nesting (defaults) are used. When run, this Checkpoint will perform one validation of a single batch of data, against a single Expectation Suite ("").


name: my_fancy_checkpointconfig_version: 1class_name: Checkpointrun_name_template: %Y-%M-foo-bar-template-$VARvalidations:  - batch_request:      datasource_name: my_datasource      data_connector_name: my_special_data_connector      data_asset_name: users      data_connector_query:        index: -1    expectation_suite_name:    action_list:      - name: store_validation_result        action:          class_name: StoreValidationResultAction      - name: store_evaluation_params        action:          class_name: StoreEvaluationParametersAction      - name: update_data_docs        action:          class_name: UpdateDataDocsAction    evaluation_parameters:      param1: $MY_PARAM      param2: 1 + $OLD_PARAM    runtime_configuration:      result_format:        result_format: BASIC        partial_unexpected_count: 20


context.run_checkpoint(  checkpoint_name="my_fancy_checkpoint")