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Getting Started with FnordMetric

Getting Started in 5 minutes

We have three 5 minute getting started guides for impatient people who don't like reading documentation (like the author). For more in-depth information you are kindly referred to the remaining pages.

If you want to learn how to draw charts from SQL query results using ChartSQL and the FnordMetric command line interface, read:

If you want to see how you can collect timeseries data with FnordMetric Server and query it using a web interface and ChartSQL, read:

What is FnordMetric?

FnordMetric is a framework for visualizing and collecting (timeseries) data using SQL. It extends standard SQL with ChartSQL, allowing you to write queries that return charts rather than tables. The query results are rendered as SVG vector graphics or images. Check out some examples

The charts can easily be embedded into any website and customized using CSS. This enables you to build beautiful dashboards within minutes using nothing else than SQL.

FnordMetric Binaries

FnordMetric ships two binaries, each with it's own usecase:

FnordMetric CLI

fnordmetric-cli is probably best described as gnuplot meets SQL. It allows you to run ChartSQL queries from the command line against external data sources, like MySQL databases or CSV files.

Use fnordmetric-cli if you have already collected the source data and just want to visualize it using ChartSQL.

» Getting started with fnordmetric-cli

FnordMetric Server

fnordmetric-server is a standalone HTTP server application. It exposes a web UI and a HTTP API to run ChartSQL queries. The query results are returned as JSON, SVG or PNG.

Like fnordmetric-cli, the server allows you to execute queries against a number of external data sources like MySQL databases or CSV files. Additionally, the server includes a facility to collect timeseries data and store them either on local disk or in external storage (HBase).

You can use fnordmetric-server as a one-stop solution for metric collection and charting. Since fnordmetric-server aims to be a StatsD+graphite competitor, it implements a wire compatible StatsD API.

» Getting started with fnordmetric-server

FnordMetric Clients

Additionally, there are a number of client libraries for FnordMetric:

FnordMetric for HTML5

Plug fnordmetric charts into any website and build beautiful dashboards within minutes using only SQL and HTML/CSS. Includes generic dashboard control elements.

Getting started with the HTML5 API


If you're like the author you are probably thinking something along the lines of "Does the world really need yet another data visualization tool?" right now. Surely, there already is gnuplot and about a bazillion javascript libraries that let you draw pretty charts.

However, most of the existing open source tools require you to provide the input data in some specific, custom format. I reckon this is not ideal. It means you have to write a heap of repetitive glue code (or sed incantations if that's your thing) to mangle your input data into that format. If you run a lot of ad-hoc queries you have to waste a significant amount of time on this boring legwork that could much better be spent on interesting tasks.

FnordMetric aims to fix that by extending standard SQL; it allows you to express the data query and the chart specification in a coherent fashion (SQL).