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How to Create Your Own Plugins

We built this toolkit for the community, and we knew going in that we couldn't possibly build every feature that every user could want, so we built this thing to be pluggable. You can write your own renderer(s) and use them seamlessly within your own environment, and if you think that others might benefit from your work, you can share your renderer as easy as posting a file online.

Ready?

So you have an idea now. You want to create a renderer called "awesomerenderer" and you want it to do some fancy things with traceroute measurement results. What do you have to do?

Create Your Renderer File

As we've already covered, Magellan will look for renderers in very specific places, so you need to put your file(s) there. Additionally however, you have to make sure that you conform to Python norms, or stuff just won't work. Here's the basic commands to get you started:

$ mkdir -p ${HOME}/.config/ripe-atlas-tools/renderers
$ touch ${HOME}/.config/ripe-atlas-tools/renderers/__init__.py
$ touch ${HOME}/.config/ripe-atlas-tools/renderers/my_renderer.py

The mkdir step there will create the renderers directory (if it doesn't exist already), and the touch commands will create the mandatory init file (for Python) and your renderer. Note that you can use whatever name you like for your renderer, so long as it consists only of letters, numbers, and the underscore and that it starts with a letter. Also, to be compliant with the rest of the project, it should be entirely lowercase. For our purposes though, my_renderer.py will suffice.

(Try to) Run It!

If you run this right now:

$ ripe-atlas report --help

You should see my_renderer int he list of options for --renderer. Pretty cool eh? However, if you try to run that, this'll happen:

$ ripe-atlas report 1000192 --renderer my_renderer
The renderer you selected, "my_renderer" could not be found.

Which kind of makes sense really. You've created a file called my_renderer, but it's totally empty. Magellan found the file alright, but when it tried to import Renderer from it, everything exploded.

Actually Write a Renderer

So now you know that we can see your renderer file, but you need to know what kind of code to put in there. Don't worry, we've got you covered:

Anatomy of a Renderer

A "renderer" is simply a file located in a special place that contains some Python code defining a class called Renderer that subclasses ripe.atlas.tools.renderers.base.BaseRenderer.

Your class need only define one method: on_result(), which is called every time a new result comes down the pipe. Let's look at a really simple example:

from ripe.atlas.tools.renderers.base import Renderer as BaseRenderer


class Renderer(BaseRenderer):

    # This renderer is capable of handling ping results only.
    RENDERS = [BaseRenderer.TYPE_PING]

    def on_result(self, result):
        """
        on_result() only gets one argument, a result object, which is
        actually an instance of a RIPE Atlas result parsed with Sagan:
          https://ripe-atlas-sagan.readthedocs.org/
        """

        return "Packets received: {}".format(result.packets_received)

As you can see, this renderer isn't very useful, but we're providing it here to give you a rough idea of what you get to play with when defining your own renderer.

In the case of our PingPacketRenderer, we're doing the simplest of tasks: we're returning the number of packets in each result. The job of on_result() is to take a Sagan result object as input and return a string. It should not print anything to standard out, rather it should simply return a string that will get printed to standard out by the surrounding framework.

Additional Options

It's likely that you will only ever need to work with on_result(), but in the event that you'd like to get more complicated, there are options: header(), additional(), and footer(). Note however that these other methods are currently only available to the report command. Streaming only makes use of on_result().

header()

The value returned from this method is printed to standard out before any results are captured. By default it returns an empty string.

additional()

Typically used for summary logic, this is executed after the last result is rendered. A common pattern is to override __init__() to set some collector properties, update them via on_result(), and then print out said properties in a summary via this method. For an example, let's update our Renderer class:

from ripe.atlas.tools.renderers.base import Renderer as BaseRenderer


class Renderer(BaseRenderer):

    RENDERS = [BaseRenderer.TYPE_PING]

    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.packet_total = 0
        BaseRenderer.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)

    def on_result(self, result):
        self.packet_total += result.packets_received
        return "Packets received: {}\n".format(result.packets_received)

    def additional(self, results):
        return "\nTotal packets received: {}\n".format(self.packet_total)

Note that the passed-in value of results is the list of Sagan Result objects that were previously looped over for on_result(). You can do some interesting things with that.

footer()

Much the same as header(), this should return a string, but unlike header(), the output of this method is rendered after everything else.

Run It!

Now that you've written your renderer and the file is stored where it's supposed to be, it should be ready to go:

$ ripe-atlas report --help

You should see my_renderer in the list of options for --renderer just as before, but now when you actually try to execute it...

$ ripe-atlas report 1000192 --renderer my_renderer
Packets received: 3
Packets received: 3
Packets received: 3
Packets received: 3
Packets received: 3
Packets received: 3

Total packets received: 18

It's not very interesting, but it's a start!

Contributing

We love it when people write stuff that talks to our stuff. If you think your stuff is useful, it'd be awesome if you could do any of these: