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Giraffe - a graphite dashboard with a long neck
CSS CoffeeScript JavaScript

README.md

Giraffe : A Graphite Dashboard with a long neck giraffe logo

Don't know Graphite?

... then Giraffe is probably not for you. But before you walk away - you should definitely check out graphite! see why.

Need a quick way to install and play with graphite? try graphite-fabric.

Stack

Giraffe is based on a number of amazing open-source projects and libraries, to name a few:

Inspiration

Giraffe is heavily inspired by several existing graphite dashboards. Primarily:

  • GDash - it uses Bootstrap and allows multiple dashboards to be configured. However, it requires running a sinatra server, and the graphs are pulled directly from graphite rather than rendered via a js charting library.
  • Tasseo - also allows multiple dashboards, but still relies on a server component. Tasseo also uses Rickshaw, but charts only a single data series. Giraffe started as a tasseo fork, but eventually got refactored (almost) beyond recognition.
  • Graphene - a d3-based relatime dashboard with different widgets. Supports a single dashboard, and its charting functionality is not as extensive as with Rickshaw.

Why another dashboard?

Because we wanted to create a dashboard that has all the benefits and none of the downsides of the other dashboards. And because it was interesting to try something new. Giraffe is not necessarily better than any of those solutions. It's a different animal. It has an interesting pattern and a funny face.

Benefits

  • No server required - Giraffe can be installed on any server, or even run from a folder. Just copy the files and you're done.
  • Beautiful, real-time visualization - using Rickshaw to create visually appealing, interactive charts.
  • Flexible - supports many dashboards, different metrics, annotations / events, colour schemes, time intervals, summary options, CSS and more.
  • Easy to use - configuration is done from one (javascript) file with a reasonbly clear and documented options. You don't even need to know javascript to configure it. Be aware that it's not very tolerant to typos or missing commas.

Issues

  • There's no such thing as a free lunch
  • Consequently, when adding many metrics to a single dashboard, and particularly when metrics have many data points and series, the experience might get sluggish. With great power comes great responsibility. Design your dashboards with care.

Configuration

Quick overview

Almost all configuration is placed in one file : dashboards.js. Here's a small snippet with some key configuration options:

var graphite_url = "demo";  // enter your graphite url, e.g. http://your.graphite.com

var dashboards = 
[
  { "name": "Users",  // give your dashboard a name (required!)
    "refresh": 5000,  // each dashboard has its own refresh interval (in ms)
    // add an (optional) dashboard description. description can be written in markdown / html.
    "description": "#User engagement
                +"\n"
                +"\nThis dashboard tracks user engagement (signups, registrations etc)"
                ,
    "metrics":  // metrics is an array of charts on the dashboard
    [
      {
        "alias": "signups",  // display name for this metric
        "target": "sumSeries(enter.your.graphite.metrics.here)",  // enter your graphite barebone target expression here
        "description": "New signups to the website",  // enter your metric description here
        "summary": "sum",  // available options: [sum|min|max|avg|last|<function>]
        "summary_formatter": d3.format(",f"), // customize your summary format function. see d3 formatting docs for more options
      },
      {
        "alias": "signup breakdown",
        "target": "sumSeries(stats.*.event)",  // target can use any graphite-supported wildcards
        "description": "signup breakdown based on site location",
        "renderer": "area",  // use any rickshaw-supported renderer
        "unstack": true  // other parameters like unstack, interpolation, stroke, offset are also available (see rickshaw documentation for more info)
        "colspan": 3  // the graph can span across 1,2 or 3 columns
      },
      {
        "alias": "Registration breakdown",
        // target can use a javascript function. This allows using dynamic parameters (e.g. period). See a few functions
        // at the bottom of the dashboards.js file.
        "target": function() { return 'summarize(events.registration.success,"' + entire_period() + 'min)' },
        "renderer": "bar",
        "description": "Registrations based on channel",
        "hover_formatter": d3.format("03.6g"),  // customize your hover format
      },
      {
        "alias": "Logins",
        "targets": ['alias(events.login.success,"success login")',  // targets array is also supported
                    'alias(events.login.fail,"login failure")'],   // as well as specifying colors
                                                                   // see below and in dashboards.js for more advanced options 
        "renderer": "bar",
        "description": "Logins to the website",
        "null_as": 0  // null values are normally ignored, but you can convert null to a specific value (usually zero)
      },
    ]
  },
  ...

target(s)

One of the key parameters for each metric is its target, corresponding to the graphite target.

a metric target(s) can have one of the following:

  • a string - describing a graphite target
  • a function - returning a string with a graphite target
  • an array of targets in one of the following formats:

    • string
    • function
    • dictionary in the form

         {
          target: 'target',          // usually a target will include the [alias](http://graphite.readthedocs.org/en/0.9.10/functions.html#graphite.render.functions.alias) function
          alias:  'graphite_alias',  // only if an alias is specified in the target, add an alias field corresponding to the graphite alias
          color:  '#f00'             // an RGB color value can be specified for this target
         }

annotations and events

Giraffe supports annotations from two potential data sources:

  • standard graphite targets - use annotator to specify your target to collect events from. Each value different from None or zero will be annotated. You can optionally specify a description for all annotations. The default value is deployment
  • graphite events - use events to specify the tags you want to include as annotations, or * for all tags. tags are space separated. Using events has the benefit of including the event what and data for each annotation (as opposed to one value for all annotations)
Notes:
  • even though you can use an annotator with a target of events('*') it will be very slow on bigger time frames. "events": "*" will be far more efficient.
  • do not mix annotator and events within the same metric.
  • The graphite events handler does not currently support jsonp. Until it does, you can do one of the following:
    • +1 it on the graphite issue tracker so it gets included :)
    • install giraffe on the same server as your graphite to avoid cross-domain issues.
    • configure CORS on your graphite web server.
    • install the kenhub graphite branch pip install git+git://github.com/kenhub/graphite-web.git@0.9.xwhich adds jsonp support. At least until graphite supports it.

thanks to @mattpascoe for his suggestion and help testing this.

More configuration options

  • see dashboards.js
  • check out the demo to see some of the configuration options in-action
  • Clone the repository or download and take your giraffe for a spin. You can run it from your desktop.

Development

Feedback, suggestions and bug reports are most welcome. But of course code speaks louder than words. Feel free to make contributions via pull requests on github.

The core code lives in js/src/giraffe.coffee. Since the dashboards.js configuration needs easy access to everything inside giraffe.js, please compile the coffeescript using the --bare option.

  • To submit a pull request, please make sure your changes are going into the original giraffe.coffee. Patches to the compiled js file cannot be merged on their own.

Who is behind Giraffe?

Giraffe was developed at kenHub. We are not much of techie startup, but we hope to build the best tools for learning anatomy and medicine online. To do that, we wanted to be able to measure our application, user-engagement and many other aspects. We could have used a 3rd party service, but it was more fun to build our own. It's also a chance to contribute to the open source community, which we love so much.

If you use Giraffe and like it, we would really appreciate if you could star this project, link to this github page, and tell others. We hope to build a growing community around this project.

We are a very tiny startup with no money, great ideas and good intentions. It would help us a lot if you link to www.kenhub.com and tell people who are interested in learning anatomy about us.

License

Giraffe is distributed under the MIT license. All 3rd party libraries and components are distributed under their respective license terms.

The Giraffe icon and image were produced using Rickshaw :)

Copyright (C) 2012 kenHub GmbH

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated
documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the
rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit
persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the
Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR
COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR
OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

More?

Check out the different demo dashboards for more information about making your own giraffe awesome.

Links, Plugins and 3rd party tools

  • giraffe-collectd - A simple Giraffe configuration generator for collectd metrics in Graphite (created by @bflad)
  • giraffe-web - a node.js server wrapper and cli - also allows proxying your graphite server (created by @jedi4ever)
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