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Ruby Client for Gnip's Historical Powertrack 2.0

Note: This sample client has been updated for version 2.0

In summary, these code changes consisted of:

  • Updated Historical PowerTrack API endpoint:

    • Updated base URL base variable in pt_search.rb class::
    • Updated URL construction pattern in /lib/pt_restful.rb.
      • Version 1.0:
        • getHistoricalURL returns @url ={ACCOUNT_NAME}/jobs.json
      • Version 2.0:
        • getHistoricalURL returns @url ={ACCOUNT_NAME}/publishers/twitter/jobs.json
  • Updated Job Description YAML files to set "stream_type" to track_v2 instead of track.

  • Refactored/re-arranged supporting classes into a /lib folder.



This is a simple, headless, single-threaded Ruby script written to help illustrate the "work flow" of the Historical PowerTrack process.

This version is a 100% RESTful implementation -- which significantly simplifies the HTTP parts...

To use Historical PowerTrack you will need to provide your account authentication details such as account name, user name, password and the 'label' assigned to your Historical PowerTrack stream. These account details are specified in a configuration file formatted in YAML ( In this example code this file is named MyPowerTrackConfig.yaml, but you can name it what you want and pass it in when creating the root PtHistoricalJob object.

By default this script writes processed activities (tweets) as individual JSON files. The script can also be configured to write activities to a local database. There is a PtDatabase class included here that encapsulates the database details, including an ActiveRecord schema description. If you are using a database, the PowerTrack configuration file must have a "database" section containing connection details.



Two files are passed in at the command-line if you are running this code as a script (and not building some wrapper around the PtHistoricalJob class):

  1. A configuration file with account/username/password details (see below, or the sample project file, for details): -c "./MyPowerTrackConfig.yaml"

  2. A job description file (see below, or the sample project file, for details): -j "./jobDescriptions/HistoricalRequest.yaml"

So, if you were running from a directory with this source file in it, with the configuration file in that folder too, and the job description file in a "jobDescription" sub-directory, the command-line would look like this:

    $ruby ./pt_historical.rb -c "./MyPowerTrackConfig.yaml" -j "./jobDescriptions/HistoricalRequest.yaml"

After a job has been quoted, this script has an additional "accept" parameter that needs to be set.

To accept a job:
    $ruby ./pt_historical.rb -c "./MyPowerTrackConfig.yaml" -j "./jobDescriptions/HistoricalRequest.yaml" -a true

To reject a job:
    $ruby ./pt_historical.rb -c "./MyPowerTrackConfig.yaml" -j "./jobDescriptions/HistoricalRequest.yaml" -a false

If the "accept" parameter is set to "true" or "false" before a job has been quoted, it will be ignored.

Note: once a job has been accepted and launched, it can not be stopped via the API.

Historical Job Work Flow


This script will walk you through the process of submitting a Historical PowerTrack 'job'.

Here are the states a Historical Job passes through:

  • New
  • Estimating
  • Quoted
  • Accept/Reject
  • Running
  • Finished

The first step is submitting a Historical job description. These job descriptions are formatted in JSON and include a title, the date range of interest, the output format, and a rules file. This script loads these details from a YAML file. For this example code the job description file is named HistoricalRequest.yaml. Again, you can name these job description files as you want and pass it in as the second argument when creating a PTHistoricalJob object.

Note: Historical Job titles must be unique.

The PowerTrack rules can be provided in either YAML or JSON formats. YAML may be most appropriate when creating rules from scratch or converting from another source. The JSON format is handy when you are pulling rules from another PowerTrack stream.

This script encodes the Job description in JSON and posts it to your Historical PowerTrack HTTP end-point as part of the job description. If the job is successfully submitted (description is correctly specified and your account credentials are valid), the job enters the estimation stage.

The estimate can take many minutes to complete. This script will loop, checking the estimation status every 5 minutes until the estimate is ready.

When the estimate is ready, a quote is provided that indicates an estimate of the number of activities that will be delivered, along with estimates for how long the job will take to extract and how big the data files will be. This information is provided as a "quote" JSON payload when hitting the job-specific end-point. There is an example of this "quote" payload in the getStatus method header.

After a job is quoted, the work flow stops until the job is accepted or rejected. Job are accepted or rejected by passing in an "accept" boolean parameter.

If a job is accepted, the Job is launched and enters the "running" stage. While a job is running, the actual data that matching the job's rules is extracted from the archives. This process can take many hours to complete. This script will loop, checking the job's progress (every 5-minutes currently) until the job is complete.

When the job is complete, the status becomes "finished." When a Job is finished the script will trigger the downloading and uncompressing of the job's data files.

More Details


For hopefully better and not worse, this script has a fair amount of comments. It seems most Ruby code has very little comments since Ruby is so readable... I included a lot of comments since I assume this example code will be reviewed by non-Ruby developers, and hopefully the extra narrative helps teach more about the Historical PowerTrack system.

Classes offered here: PtHistoricalJob, JobDescription, PtREST, PtRules. Note: This version has the PtREST and PtRules classes included here. These classes will soon become common classes, shared by multiple PowerTrack applications.

This script currently writes to standard out fairly often with various information. You may want to comment those out or redirect to a log file. Also, be warned that this script currently has no error handling.

A "status" setting (an OpenStruct 'object' with name/message/percent) gate-keeps the user through the workflow. When the script is first executed with a new job description, it will submit the job, then move on to the "is quotation ready?" stage, loop there, resting 5 minutes between checks. Once the quote is ready, the job needs to be accepted or rejected.

Here are the states a Historical Job passes through:

Possible states:

  • New
  • Estimating --> triggers a 5-minute loop, waiting for job to be quoted.
  • Quoted
  • Accepted/Rejected
  • Running --> triggers a 5-minute loop, waiting for job to finish.
  • Finished --> triggers code to download and uncompress files.

There are two files passed into the 'constructor' of the PT Historical object:

oHistPT ="./MyPowerTrackConfig.yaml", "./jobDescriptions/MyJobDescription.yaml")

Historical PowerTrack configuration file (MyPowerTrackConfig.yaml in this example) contains:

    #Account details.
        account_name: my_account_name  #Used in URL for Historical API.
        password_encoded: PaSsWoRd_EnCoDeD #At least some resemblance of security.  Generated with Ruby "base64" gem.
        #password: PlainTextPassword  #Use this is you want to use plain text, and comment out the encoded entry above.

    #Gnip Product Configurations:
    #Gnip Historical API
        storage: files #options: files, database --> Store activities in local files or in database?
        base_output_folder: ./output #Root folder for downloaded files.
        friendly_folder_names: true  #converts job title into folder name by removing whitespace
        #Current defaults
        publisher: twitter
        stream_type: track

    #Local environment settings: databases, web servers, etc.

        port: 3306
        #Note: currently all PowerTrack example clients share a common database schema.
        schema: power-track_development
        user_name: root
        #password: test
        type: mysql

Job description file (MyJobDescription.yaml in this example) contains:

    #These will change from request to request.
    title: Test_4
    from_date: 201302010000
    #to_date: 201106010500
    to_date: 201302020000
    #These are 'static' values (more or less).
    service_name: gnip
    #These are optional, since they are defaults in code.
    publisher: twitter
    stream_type: track
    data_format: activity-streams

#File with YAML-formatted rules.
rules_file: ./rules/test.rules

The Job Description file (MyJobDescription.yaml in this example) in turn references a YAML file containing the PowerTrack rules for the data retrieval.

    - value  : (bounding_box:[-86.2 38.0 -85.743 38.35] OR bounding_box:[-85.743 38.0 -85.286 38.35] OR bounding_box:[-86.2 38.35 -85.743 38.7] OR bounding_box:[-85.743 38.35 -85.286 38.7])
    tag   : geo-louisville
    - value  : (rain OR flood OR storm OR weather)
    tag   : weather
    - value  : (rain OR precipitation OR flood) (inches OR in OR inch)
    tag   : measurement
    - value  : ThisRuleWillNotMatchAndHasNoTag

The Historical "PtHistoricalJob" object manages one Job in a single-threaded manner. Code managing this class could spin up multiple objects.


A Ruby Client for Gnip's Historical PowerTrack 2.0




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