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Riak Explorer

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Riak Explorer provides browsing and admin capabilities for Riak KV and Riak TS, a distributed NoSQL data store that offers high availability, fault tolerance, operational simplicity, and scalability.

Riak Explorer is useful while in a development or production environment. It includes convenient methods to browse Bucket Types, Buckets, Keys, view and edit Riak Objects, and more. To prevent heavy I/O requests from key listings, be sure to edit the config file to reflect the environment as explained in Using Riak Explorer.


Installing from pre-built Package

The easiest way to install Riak Explorer (for non-developers) is to use one of the pre-compiled packages below. These include both the Erlang backend API code (this repository), and the front-end Ember.js GUI code (from riak-explorer-gui).

Standalone Version

  1. Download and extract a .tar.gz release from the releases page:

    • Note: If you'd like to support further OSes, please open an Issue
  2. Verify the default settings in riak_explorer/etc/riak_explorer.conf will work for your configuration (primarily that port 9000 is available on your host). Pay special attention to development mode settings, this should be off for use with a production environment to prevent accidental keylistings.

  3. Run ./riak_explorer/bin/riak_explorer start to start the riak_explorer application

  4. Navigate to http://localhost:9000/

Riak Patch Version

  1. Download and extract a patch release from the releases page:

  2. Locate your Riak installation and cp -R root/riak/lib/basho-patches/* /path/to/riak/lib/basho-patches/, cp -R /root/riak/priv /path/to/riak/priv.

  3. Run riak/bin/riak start

  4. Navigate to http://localhost:8098/admin

Installing the Dev Environment

For developer install instructions (and contribution guidelines), see the Development / Contributing section, below.

System Architecture

Front-end GUI: Ember.js. See riak-explorer-gui repository for the front-end code and setup instructions.

Back-end: Erlang is the primary development language and WebMachine is used to serve a RESTful API (and, optionally, to serve the Ember.js GUI app).

Using Riak Explorer

Development Mode

The concept of "Development Mode" is crucial to Riak Explorer.

Because Explorer allows users to perform operations that are disastrous in production (such as List Keys or List Buckets operations), the app is careful to enable those operations only in Development Mode. This setting is toggled in the Explorer config file, on a per-cluster basis.

If you take a look in rel/riak_explorer/etc/riak_explorer.conf, you will see a line like:

clusters.default.development_mode = on

This means that the default cluster has Dev Mode enabled, and WILL allow prohibitive operations such as Streaming List Keys. Operators are strongly encouraged to either:

a. Not point Explorer at production clusters, or

b. If used with production clusters, be sure to set development_mode = off for that cluster.

Table Row, Key, and Bucket List Caches (in Dev Mode only)

Even in Dev Mode, Explorer tries not to run listing operations more than necessary. To that end, the API runs the List command once requested by the user and then caches the result in a text file, on disk. The GUI app user, when browsing a list, only interacts with those caches.

Explorer API endpoints

The three types of API endpoints available are:

  1. The Riak proxy endpoints, /riak/nodes/ and /riak/clusters/. The app uses these endpoints to make calls to the plain Riak HTTP API. The proxy endpoints are used for several reasons, primarily due to CORS issues (on the Riak API side).

    So, for example, curl localhost:9000/riak/nodes/riak@ proxies the request to that specific node's ping HTTP API.

    Similarly, using curl localhost:9000/riak/clusters/default/ping proxies the request to the cluster (which also ends up going to that same node, since this cluster just has one node in it).

    In general, it is preferable to use the clusters/ proxy endpoint (unless you specifically want to access an individual node's REST API).

  2. Explore endpoints, at /explore/. Think of it as an enhancement to Riak's own HTTP API, to fill in missing functionality. For example, the plain Riak API doesn't have a 'list bucket types' functionality -- that can only be done via riak-admin CLI. The Explorer endpoints enable this, at /explore/clusters/$cluster/bucket_types.

  3. Control endpoints at /control/. These provide a REST API to cluster operations that are normally available only through the Riak Admin CLI (for example, riak-admin cluster join).

API Documentation

For in-depth documentation of the available API endpoints, complete with sample responses, see Riak Explorer API.

You can also generate this API documentation locally, using aglio:

# install the Aglio renderer for the API Blueprint markdown format
npm install -g aglio

# generate the documentation
aglio -i --theme-full-width -o docs/api.html

# open them in your browser
open docs/api.html

The source code for these docs is in [API Blueprint Format]( Blueprint (see also the sample API markup example), and is located in the file on the gh-pages branch.

To add to the API documentation:

  1. Check out the gh-pages branch:

    git checkout gh-pages
  2. Make changed to the source markup.

  3. Generate the HTML using aglio (see above).

  4. Commit both the source markup and the generated HTML.

  5. git push origin gh-pages

Full API Endpoint Listing

Riak Explorer exposes a REST API (by default located at http://localhost:9000/explore).

Following are the available routes (these can also be obtained from /explore/routes):

/explore/nodes/$node/bucket_types/$bucket_type/buckets/$bucket/$resource (Resources: [jobs])
/explore/clusters/$cluster/bucket_types/$bucket_type/buckets/$bucket/$resource (Resources: [jobs])
/explore/nodes/$node/bucket_types/$bucket_type/$resource (Resources: [jobs])
/explore/clusters/$cluster/bucket_types/$bucket_type/$resource (Resources: [jobs])
/explore/nodes/$node/$resource (Resources: [config]
/explore/clusters/$cluster/nodes/$node/$resource (Resources: [config])
/explore/$resource (Resources: [routes,props,jobs,ping])
/riak/nodes/$node/$* (Riak Direct HTTP Proxy)
/riak/clusters/$cluster/$* (Riak Direct HTTP Proxy)
/$* (Static Endpoint)


  • $cluster: Specifying default will use the cluster that this riak_explorer is connected to.
  • $node: Example: riak@
  • $bucket_type: Example: default
  • $bucket: Example: mybucket
  • $key: Example: mykey
  • $schema: Example: _yz_default
  • $index: Example: myindex
  • $*: Wildcard with deep paths. Example: assets/ember-riak-explorer.js for the static route, or ping for the riak_proxy route
  • $resource: A list of valid resources for a given module can be found in explore.resources

Development / Contributing

For developer installation instructions and environment setup, visit

  • Whether your contribution is for a bug fix or a feature request, create an Issue and let us know what you are thinking.
  • For bugs, if you have already found a fix, feel free to submit a Pull Request referencing the Issue you created.
  • For feature requests, we want to improve upon the library incrementally which means small changes at a time. In order ensure your PR can be reviewed in a timely manner, please keep PRs small, e.g. <10 files and <500 lines changed. If you think this is unrealistic, then mention that within the Issue and we can discuss it.

Once you're ready to contribute code back to this repo, start with these steps:

  • Fork the appropriate sub-projects that are affected by your change
  • Create a topic branch for your change and checkout that branch git checkout -b some-topic-branch
  • Make your changes and run the test suite if one is provided (see below)
  • Commit your changes and push them to your fork
  • Open a pull request for the appropriate project
  • Contributors will review your pull request, suggest changes, and merge it when it’s ready and/or offer feedback
  • To report a bug or issue, please open a new issue against this repository

You can read the full guidelines for bug reporting and code contributions on the Riak Docs.

And thank you! Your contribution is incredibly important to us. It'd be great for you to add it to a current or past community release note here.

Seeding Data (For developers and testers)

Some suggestions on how to create some sample data, to try out the Explorer GUI.

  1. Set up a couple of clusters in riak_explorer.conf. Have one or more with development_mode = on, and one or more with it set to off (meaning, in production mode).

  2. Enable Search in Riak's config file (riak.conf). Set up a Search Index. For example, to create a search index named test-users-idx that uses the default schema, do a PUT from the command-line (assuming your Riak node is available on localhost, using the default HTTP port 8098):

    curl -XPUT http://localhost:8098/search/index/test-users-idx
  3. Set up a users Bucket Type, and associate it with the users-idx Search index created above:

    riak-admin bucket-type create test-users '{"props":{"search_index":"test-users-idx"}}'
    riak-admin bucket-type activate test-users
  4. Create and activate a Bucket Type for each main Riak Data Type:

    riak-admin bucket-type create maps '{"props":{"datatype":"map"}}'
    riak-admin bucket-type activate maps
    riak-admin bucket-type create sets '{"props":{"datatype":"set"}}'
    riak-admin bucket-type activate sets
    riak-admin bucket-type create counters '{"props":{"datatype":"counter"}}'
    riak-admin bucket-type activate counters
  5. Create and activate a test-carts Bucket Type, with Siblings enabled:

    riak-admin bucket-type create test-carts '{"props":{"allow_mult":true}}'
  6. Insert some sample Counter type objects, say to the test-page-loads bucket:

curl localhost:8098/types/counters/buckets/test-page-loads/datatypes/page123 -XPOST \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{"increment": 5}'

curl localhost:8098/types/counters/buckets/test-page-loads/datatypes/page456 -XPOST \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{"increment": 1}'
  1. Insert some sample Set type objects, say to the test-cities-visited bucket:
curl localhost:8098/types/sets/buckets/test-cities-visited/datatypes/user123 -XPOST \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{"add_all":["Toronto", "Montreal", "Quebec", "New York City"]}'

curl localhost:8098/types/sets/buckets/test-cities-visited/datatypes/user456 -XPOST \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{"add_all":["Washington D.C.", "Los Angeles", "Las Vegas"]}'
  1. Insert some sample Map type objects, say to the test-tweets bucket:
curl localhost:8098/types/maps/buckets/test-tweets/datatypes/user123 -XPOST \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{"update":{ "favorited_flag": "disable", "id_str_register": "240859602684612608", "favourites_count_counter": 24, "entities_map":{ "update": { "urls_set":{ "add_all": ["url1", "url2", "url3"]}} }  }}'

curl localhost:8098/types/maps/buckets/test-tweets/datatypes/user456 -XPOST \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{"update":{ "favorited_flag": "enable", "id_str_register": "240859602699912715", "favourites_count_counter": 1, "entities_map":{ "update": { "urls_set":{ "add_all": ["url4", "url5", "url6"]}} }  }}'
  1. Insert some objects with sample Custom headers, and Secondary Index headers:
curl localhost:8098/types/default/buckets/user-accounts/keys/user123 -XPUT \
  -H 'X-Riak-Meta-date-created: 2015-01-01' \
  -H 'X-Riak-Meta-last-accessed: 2015-09-01' \
  -H 'X-Riak-Index-email_bin:' \
  -H 'X-Riak-Index-country_bin: usa' \
  -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
  -d '{"name":"User One", "id":"user123"}'

Related Projects

  • riak-explorer-gui - the front-end Ember.js GUI code to go along with the Explorer API.
  • riak_control - legacy official Riak GUI
  • riak_cs_control - legacy official Riak S2 (Riak CS) GUI
  • rekon (old bucket / object explorer gui) - legacy unofficial Javascript Riak GUI.