Dbag is a simple Django app that helps you remember, graph and create dashboards for arbitrary metrics that change over time.
It's best used to graph things like:
- number of active user accounts
- % of users who have logged in today
- number of new blog comments
These are things that are easy to run a query or a quick bit of python to determine the answer to the question right now but that are hard or fuzzy to calculate for periods in the past. You want to figure out your number every day and then remember it so you can display fancy graphs and trending (and you want these graphs to just work and be pretty). You also want to reduce complexity by using your existing Django database backend to hold all of the data.
Dbag fills a niche not currently well-covered by existing solutions. Dbag is simpler than existing tools because it does less. If you meet the following conditions, it might be right for you:
- You want to collect a small to moderate amount of data and daily resolution is good enough.
- You have many different ways of getting the data, but you want to collect it from one place.
- You want the simplicity of builtin metric types to get commonly-needed Django metrics, but you also want the flexibility to define arbitrary python functions to collect data.
- You want simple dashboarding that you can use internally and expose to your users without a lot of work (and it should be pretty).
- You want to be able to interact with your metrics via Django's ORM if necessary.
- You want the option to tie a metric to a specific object in your database. If you have a Customer object, you might want the number of active accounts on each specific customer.
What you should use instead
If that's not what you're looking for, then one of the following is probably a better option.
Operations and SysAdmin Graphing
There several great system information graphing applications like , munin and cacti if you want to see CPU usage over time. These are better if you want to know how disk usage is trending across 30 different nodes.
Mixpanel, statsd, Google Analytics, etc are all better at capturing events and high-frequency data. Use them if that's all you need. Dbag would fit in to that equation if you want to regularly slice off or corelate data from those sources and display the changes over time on a dashboard.
If you just want to dump any kind of data at any volume in to one system and then graph it a thousand different ways, you should use graphite. You'll want to put it on a different server and you'll need to figure it out, but you'll get as much scalability and flexibility as you need. dbag actually works well in combination with graphite if you'd like to display simple dashboards of summarized date to your users.
Other Django Dashboards
There are some other Django dashboarding-ish apps around.
- This one isn't meant to be general-purpose, but is used specifically for grabbing metrics for the Django project dashboard. It has very attractive panels with a optional sparklines and a nice master/default layout. Visual inspiration was taken heavily from this project and dbag can be used to effectively recreate the Django project dashboard..
- This sub-project in djutils effectively re-creates Munin using Django. It allows you to collect and aggregate very granular data using whatever python code you'd like. It does not however let you create parameterized panels and metrics (meaning that if you wanted to create separate panels for every Customer in your database, you'd need to write python code registering a panel for each customer.
- These exist but aren't documented or maintained.
1. Get the project source and install it:
pip install dbag
2. Add dbag to your tuple of INSTALLED_APPS.
3. Add the dbag urls to your urls.py. Eg:
urlpatterns = patterns('',
If you're not using `Nexus `_ then you
also need to add this to ``urls.py`` for automatic ``MetricType``
3. Create the database schema:
or if you're using South
./manage.py syncdb --migrate
4. Configure some initial metrics:
5. If you're already using Celery then
ensure that celerybeat is running. Otherwise, you can run:
./manage.py dbag_output_cronjob > /etc/cron.d/dbag_collect_metrics
to set up a cron job to collect your metrics every day. You'll need to
edit the resulting file to use the correct paths and the correct user.
6. If you want to force collection of your first days worth of metrics, you can also run:
Alternatively, you can generate some random fake data to demo with using:
7. Now start up your devserver, login and visit http://localhost:8000/dbag/ (or wherever you told your urls.py to point for dbag).
Add a New Metric
You can add new metrics to start collecting either through the Nexus frontend or via the API in python. Either way you'll be choosing 5 things to define your metric.
The label for the type of metric we're collecting. These python subclasses of dbag.metric_types.MetricType are registered with dbag (with a unique label) and define how a metric is gathered and what options are required to gather it. Included examples are an ActiveUsersCount type that optionally takes an ORM filter to define a subset of users and a MixpanelEvent type that takes an event name and optional properties to slice and records the value for the day.
The human-readable name of this metric.
A unique slug identifying this metric.
An optional long-form description of this metric.
Whether or not to collect new values for this metric (default to False).
Some MetricTypes take required or optional keyword configuration arguments. In the following example, mp_property is an optional keyword argument.
An example API call to create a metric might be:
from dbag import dbag_manager
description="number of comments made by superusers",
Create a New MetricType
You can add a new MetricType whenever you need to gather/summarize data from a new source. An example would be a MetricType that used github's API to count the number of open tickets on a specific project. Subclass dbag.metric_types.MetricType with your object, put it in a dbag_metric_types module in one of your INSTALLED_APPS and then call:
from dbag import dbag_manager
dbag_manager.register_metric_type(< your label >, < your class >)
For now, check the builtin types located at dbag.metric_types for details.
A defensible rationalization is that the name is short for "data bag."
Is it Awesome?
Yes. Increasingly so.