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README.md

Blazer

Explore your data with SQL. Easily create charts and dashboards, and share them with your team.

Try it out

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🍊 Battle-tested at Instacart

Features

  • Multiple data sources - PostgreSQL, MySQL, Redshift, and many more
  • Variables - run the same queries with different values
  • Checks & alerts - get emailed when bad data appears
  • Audits - all queries are tracked
  • Security - works with your authentication system

Docs

Installation

Add this line to your application’s Gemfile:

gem 'blazer'

Run:

rails g blazer:install
rake db:migrate

And mount the dashboard in your config/routes.rb:

mount Blazer::Engine, at: "blazer"

For production, specify your database:

ENV["BLAZER_DATABASE_URL"] = "postgres://user:password@hostname:5432/database"

Blazer tries to protect against queries which modify data (by running each query in a transaction and rolling it back), but a safer approach is to use a read only user. See how to create one.

Checks (optional)

Be sure to set a host in config/environments/production.rb for emails to work.

config.action_mailer.default_url_options = {host: "blazerme.herokuapp.com"}

Schedule checks to run (with cron, Heroku Scheduler, etc). The default options are every 5 minutes, 1 hour, or 1 day, which you can customize. For each of these options, set up a task to run.

rake blazer:run_checks SCHEDULE="5 minutes"
rake blazer:run_checks SCHEDULE="1 hour"
rake blazer:run_checks SCHEDULE="1 day"

You can also set up failing checks to be sent once a day (or whatever you prefer).

rake blazer:send_failing_checks

Here’s what it looks like with cron.

*/5 * * * * rake blazer:run_checks SCHEDULE="5 minutes"
0   * * * * rake blazer:run_checks SCHEDULE="1 hour"
30  7 * * * rake blazer:run_checks SCHEDULE="1 day"
0   8 * * * rake blazer:send_failing_checks

Permissions

PostgreSQL

Create a user with read only permissions:

BEGIN;
CREATE ROLE blazer LOGIN PASSWORD 'secret123';
GRANT CONNECT ON DATABASE database_name TO blazer;
GRANT USAGE ON SCHEMA public TO blazer;
GRANT SELECT ON ALL TABLES IN SCHEMA public TO blazer;
ALTER DEFAULT PRIVILEGES IN SCHEMA public GRANT SELECT ON TABLES TO blazer;
COMMIT;

MySQL

Create a user with read only permissions:

GRANT SELECT, SHOW VIEW ON database_name.* TO blazer@’127.0.0.1′ IDENTIFIED BY ‘secret123‘;
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

MongoDB

Create a user with read only permissions:

db.createUser({user: "blazer", pwd: "password", roles: ["read"]})

Also, make sure authorization is enabled when you start the server.

Sensitive Data

To protect sensitive info like password hashes and access tokens, use views. Documentation coming soon.

Authentication

Don’t forget to protect the dashboard in production.

Basic Authentication

Set the following variables in your environment or an initializer.

ENV["BLAZER_USERNAME"] = "andrew"
ENV["BLAZER_PASSWORD"] = "secret"

Devise

authenticate :user, -> (user) { user.admin? } do
  mount Blazer::Engine, at: "blazer"
end

Other

Specify a before_action method to run in blazer.yml.

before_action: require_admin

Queries

Variables

Create queries with variables.

SELECT * FROM users WHERE gender = {gender}

Use {start_time} and {end_time} for time ranges. Example

SELECT * FROM ratings WHERE rated_at >= {start_time} AND rated_at <= {end_time}

Smart Variables

Example

Suppose you have the query:

SELECT * FROM users WHERE occupation_id = {occupation_id}

Instead of remembering each occupation’s id, users can select occupations by name.

Add a smart variable with:

smart_variables:
  occupation_id: "SELECT id, name FROM occupations ORDER BY name ASC"

The first column is the value of the variable, and the second column is the label.

You can also use an array or hash for static data and enums.

smart_variables:
  period: ["day", "week", "month"]
  status: {0: "Active", 1: "Archived"}

Linked Columns

Example - title column

Link results to other pages in your apps or around the web. Specify a column name and where it should link to. You can use the value of the result with {value}.

linked_columns:
  user_id: "/admin/users/{value}"
  ip_address: "http://www.infosniper.net/index.php?ip_address={value}"

Smart Columns

Example - occupation_id column

Suppose you have the query:

SELECT name, city_id FROM users

See which city the user belongs to without a join.

smart_columns:
  city_id: "SELECT id, name FROM cities WHERE id IN {value}"

You can also use a hash for static data and enums.

smart_columns:
  status: {0: "Active", 1: "Archived"}

Caching

Blazer can automatically cache results to improve speed. It can cache slow queries:

cache:
  mode: slow
  expires_in: 60 # min
  slow_threshold: 15 # sec

Or it can cache all queries:

cache:
  mode: all
  expires_in: 60 # min

Of course, you can force a refresh at any time.

Charts

Blazer will automatically generate charts based on the types of the columns returned in your query.

Note: The order of columns matters.

Line Chart

There are two ways to generate line charts.

2+ columns - timestamp, numeric(s) - Example

SELECT date_trunc('week', created_at), COUNT(*) FROM users GROUP BY 1

3 columns - timestamp, string, numeric - Example

SELECT date_trunc('week', created_at), gender, COUNT(*) FROM users GROUP BY 1, 2

Column Chart

There are also two ways to generate column charts.

2+ columns - string, numeric(s) - Example

SELECT gender, COUNT(*) FROM users GROUP BY 1

3 columns - string, string, numeric - Example

SELECT gender, zip_code, COUNT(*) FROM users GROUP BY 1, 2

Scatter Chart

2 columns - both numeric

SELECT x, y FROM table

Maps

Columns named latitude and longitude or lat and lon or lat and lng - Example

SELECT name, latitude, longitude FROM cities

To enable, get an access token from Mapbox and set ENV["MAPBOX_ACCESS_TOKEN"].

Targets

Use the column name target to draw a line for goals. Example

SELECT date_trunc('week', created_at), COUNT(*) AS new_users, 100000 AS target FROM users GROUP BY 1

Dashboards

Create a dashboard with multiple queries. Example

If the query has a chart, the chart is shown. Otherwise, you’ll see a table.

If any queries have variables, they will show up on the dashboard.

Checks

Checks give you a centralized place to see the health of your data. Example

Create a query to identify bad rows.

SELECT * FROM ratings WHERE user_id IS NULL /* all ratings should have a user */

Then create check with optional emails if you want to be notified. Emails are sent when a check starts failing, and when it starts passing again.

Anomaly Detection

Anomaly detection is supported thanks to Twitter’s AnomalyDetection library.

First, install R. Then, run:

install.packages("devtools")
devtools::install_github("twitter/AnomalyDetection")

And add to config/blazer.yml:

anomaly_checks: true

If upgrading from version 1.4 or below, also follow the upgrade instructions.

If you’re on Heroku, follow these additional instructions.

Data Sources

Blazer supports multiple data sources 🎉

Add additional data sources in config/blazer.yml:

data_sources:
  main:
    url: <%= ENV["BLAZER_DATABASE_URL"] %>
    # timeout, smart_variables, linked_columns, smart_columns
  catalog:
    url: <%= ENV["CATALOG_DATABASE_URL"] %>
    # ...
  redshift:
    url: <%= ENV["REDSHIFT_DATABASE_URL"] %>
    # ...

Full List

You can also create an adapter for any other data store.

Note: In the examples below, we recommend using environment variables for urls.

data_sources:
  my_source:
    url: <%= ENV["BLAZER_MY_SOURCE_URL"] %>

PostgreSQL

Add pg to your Gemfile (if it’s not there) and set:

data_sources:
  my_source:
    url: postgres://user:password@hostname:5432/database

MySQL

Add mysql2 to your Gemfile (if it’s not there) and set:

data_sources:
  my_source:
    url: mysql2://user:password@hostname:3306/database

SQL Server

Use activerecord-sqlserver-adapter.

Oracle

Use activerecord-oracle_enhanced-adapter.

IBM DB2 and Informix

Use ibm_db.

SQLite

Add sqlite3 to your Gemfile and set:

data_sources:
  my_source:
    url: sqlite3:path/to/database.sqlite3

Redshift

Add activerecord4-redshift-adapter to your Gemfile and set:

data_sources:
  my_source:
    url: redshift://user:password@hostname:5439/database

Presto

Add presto-client to your Gemfile and set:

data_sources:
  my_source:
    url: presto://user@hostname:8080/catalog

MongoDB

Add mongo to your Gemfile and set:

data_sources:
  my_source:
    url: mongodb://user:password@hostname:27017/database

Elasticsearch

Add elasticsearch to your Gemfile and set:

data_sources:
  my_source:
    adapter: elasticsearch
    url: http://user:password@hostname:9200/

Query Permissions

Blazer supports a basic permissions model.

  1. Queries without a name are unlisted
  2. Queries whose name starts with # are only listed to the creator
  3. Queries whose name starts with * can only be edited by the creator

Learn SQL

Have team members who want to learn SQL? Here are a few great, free resources.

Useful Tools

For an easy way to group by day, week, month, and more with correct time zones, check out Groupdate.

Anomaly Detection on Heroku

Add the R buildpack to your app.

heroku buildpacks:add --index 1 https://github.com/virtualstaticvoid/heroku-buildpack-r.git\#cedar-14

And create an init.r with:

if (!"AnomalyDetection" %in% installed.packages()) {
  install.packages("devtools")
  devtools::install_github("twitter/AnomalyDetection")
}

Commit and deploy away. The first deploy may take a few minutes.

Upgrading

1.5

To take advantage of the anomaly detection, create a migration

rails g migration upgrade_blazer_to_1_5

with:

add_column(:blazer_checks, :check_type, :string)
add_column(:blazer_checks, :message, :text)
commit_db_transaction

Blazer::Check.reset_column_information

Blazer::Check.where(invert: true).update_all(check_type: "missing_data")
Blazer::Check.where(check_type: nil).update_all(check_type: "bad_data")

1.3

To take advantage of the latest features, create a migration

rails g migration upgrade_blazer_to_1_3

with:

add_column :blazer_dashboards, :creator_id, :integer
add_column :blazer_checks, :creator_id, :integer
add_column :blazer_checks, :invert, :boolean
add_column :blazer_checks, :schedule, :string
add_column :blazer_checks, :last_run_at, :timestamp
commit_db_transaction

Blazer::Check.update_all schedule: "1 hour"

1.0

Blazer 1.0 brings a number of new features:

  • multiple data sources, including Redshift
  • dashboards
  • checks

To upgrade, run:

bundle update blazer

Create a migration

rails g migration upgrade_blazer_to_1_0

with:

add_column :blazer_queries, :data_source, :string
add_column :blazer_audits, :data_source, :string

create_table :blazer_dashboards do |t|
  t.text :name
  t.timestamps
end

create_table :blazer_dashboard_queries do |t|
  t.references :dashboard
  t.references :query
  t.integer :position
  t.timestamps
end

create_table :blazer_checks do |t|
  t.references :query
  t.string :state
  t.text :emails
  t.timestamps
end

And run:

rake db:migrate

Update config/blazer.yml with:

# see https://github.com/ankane/blazer for more info

data_sources:
  main:
    url: <%= ENV["BLAZER_DATABASE_URL"] %>

    # statement timeout, in seconds
    # applies to PostgreSQL only
    # none by default
    # timeout: 15

    # time to cache results, in minutes
    # can greatly improve speed
    # none by default
    # cache: 60

    # wrap queries in a transaction for safety
    # not necessary if you use a read-only user
    # true by default
    # use_transaction: false

    smart_variables:
      # zone_id: "SELECT id, name FROM zones ORDER BY name ASC"

    linked_columns:
      # user_id: "/admin/users/{value}"

    smart_columns:
      # user_id: "SELECT id, name FROM users WHERE id IN {value}"

# create audits
audit: true

# change the time zone
# time_zone: "Pacific Time (US & Canada)"

# class name of the user model
# user_class: User

# method name for the current user
# user_method: current_user

# method name for the display name
# user_name: name

# email to send checks from
# from_email: blazer@example.org

TODO

  • advanced permissions
  • standalone version
  • better navigation

History

View the changelog

Thanks

Blazer uses a number of awesome open source projects, including Rails, Vue.js, jQuery, Bootstrap, Selectize, StickyTableHeaders, Stupid jQuery Table Sort, and Date Range Picker.

Demo data from MovieLens.

Want to Make Blazer Better?

That’s awesome! Here are a few ways you can help:

Check out the dev app to get started.