A tutorial showing how to make a live graph of user activity
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Moksha Tutorial: Live Graph of User Activity


You can find the source for this tutorial on github.

Today I'll be showing you how to add a websocket-powered d3 graph of user activity to a pyramid app using moksha.



Bootstrapping here is almost exactly the same as in the Hello World tutorial. So if you've gone through that, this should be simple.

The exception is the new addition of a tw2.d3 dependency.

Set up a virtualenv and install Moksha and Pyramid (install virtualenvwrapper if you haven't already).

$ mkvirtualenv tutorial
$ pip install pyramid
$ pip install moksha.wsgi moksha.hub

$ # tw2.d3 for our frontend component.
$ pip install tw2.d3

$ # Also, install weberror for kicks.
$ pip install weberror

Use pcreate to setup a Pyramid scaffold, install dependencies, and verify that its working. I like the alchemy scaffold, so we'll use that one. Its kind of silly, though: we won't be using a database or sqlalchemy at all for this tutorial.

$ pcreate -t alchemy tutorial
$ cd tutorial/
$ rm production.ini  # moksha-hub gets confused when this is present.
$ python setup.py develop
$ initialize_tutorial_db development.ini
$ pserve --reload development.ini

Visit http://localhost:6543 to check it out. Success.

Enable ToscaWidgets2 and Moksha Middlewares


Enabling the middleware here is also identical to the Hello World tutorial.

Moksha is framework-agnostic, meaning that you can use it with TurboGears2, Pyramid, or Flask. It integrates with apps written against those frameworks by way of a layer of WSGI middleware you need to install. Moksha is pretty highly-dependent on ToscaWidgets2 which has its own middleware layer. You'll need to enable both, and in a particular order!

Go and edit development.ini. There should be a section at the top named [app:main]. Change that to [app:tutorial]. Then, just above the [server:main] section add the following three blocks:

pipeline =

use = egg:tw2.core#middleware

use = egg:moksha.wsgi#middleware

You now have three new pieces of WSGI middleware floating under your pyramid app. Neat! Restart pserve and check http://localhost:6543 to make sure its not crashing.

Provide some configuration for Moksha


This is where things begin to diverge from the Hello World tutorial.

We're going to configure moksha to communicate with zeromq and WebSocket. As an aside, one of Moksha's goals is to provide an abstraction over different messaging transports. It can speak zeromq, AMQP, and STOMP on the backend, and WebSocket or COMET emulated-AMQP and/or STOMP on the frontend.

We need to configure a number of things:

  • Your app needs to know how to talk to the moksha-hub with zeromq.
  • Your clients need to know where to find their websocket server (its housed inside the moksha-hub).

Edit development.ini and add the following lines in the [app:tutorial] section. Do it just under the sqlalchemy.url line:

##moksha.domain = live.example.com
moksha.domain = localhost

moksha.notifications = True
moksha.socket.notify = True

moksha.livesocket = True
moksha.livesocket.backend = websocket
#moksha.livesocket.reconnect_interval = 5000
moksha.livesocket.websocket.port = 9998

zmq_enabled = True
#zmq_strict = True
zmq_publish_endpoints = tcp://*:3001
zmq_subscribe_endpoints = tcp://,tcp://

Also, add a new hub-config.ini file with the following (nearly identical) content. Notice that the only real different is the value of zmq_publish_endpoints:

##moksha.domain = live.example.com
moksha.domain = localhost

moksha.livesocket = True
moksha.livesocket.backend = websocket
moksha.livesocket.websocket.port = 9998

zmq_enabled = True
#zmq_strict = True
zmq_publish_endpoints = tcp://*:3000
zmq_subscribe_endpoints = tcp://,tcp://

Emitting events when users make requests

This is the one tiny little nugget of "business logic" we're going to add. When a user anywhere makes a Request on our app, we want to emit a message that can then be viewed in graphs by other users. Pretty simple: we'll just emit a message on a topic we hardcode that has an empty dict for its body.

Add a new file, tutorial/events.py with the following content:

from pyramid.events import NewRequest
from pyramid.events import subscriber

from moksha.hub.hub import MokshaHub

hub = None

def hub_factory(config):
    global hub
    if not hub:
        hub = MokshaHub(config)
    return hub

def emit_message(event):
    """ For every request made of our app, emit a message to the moksha-hub.
    Given the config from the tutorial, this will go out on port 3001.

    hub = hub_factory(event.request.registry.settings)
    hub.send_message(topic="tutorial.newrequest", message={})

Combining components to make a live widget

With those messages now being emitted to the "tutorial.newrequest" topic, we can construct a frontend widget with ToscaWidgets2 that listens to that topic (using a Moksha LiveWidget mixin). When a message is received on the client the javascript contained in onmessage will be executed (and passed a json object of the message body). We'll ignore that since its empty, and just increment a counter provided by tw2.d3.

Add a new file tutorial/widgets.py with the following content:

from tw2.d3 import TimeSeriesChart
from moksha.wsgi.widgets.api.live import LiveWidget

class UsersChart(TimeSeriesChart, LiveWidget):
    id = 'users-chart'
    topic = "tutorial.newrequest"
    onmessage = """

    width = 800
    height = 150

    # Keep this many data points
    n = 200
    # Initialize to n zeros
    data = [0] * n

def get_time_series_widget(config):
    return UsersChart(
        backend=config.get('moksha.livesocket.backend', 'websocket')

Rendering Moksha Frontend Components

With our widget defined, we'll need to expose it to our chameleon template and render it. Instead of doing this per-view like you might normally, we're going to flex Pyramid's events system some more and inject it (and the requisite moksha_socket widget) on every page.

Go back to tutorial/events.py and add the following new handler:

from pyramid.events import BeforeRender
from pyramid.threadlocal import get_current_request

from moksha.wsgi.widgets.api import get_moksha_socket

from tutorial.widgets import get_time_series_widget

def inject_globals(event):
    """ Before templates are rendered, make moksha front-end resources
    available in the template context.
    request = get_current_request()

    # Expose these as global attrs for our templates
    event['users_widget'] = get_time_series_widget(request.registry.settings)
    event['moksha_socket'] = get_moksha_socket(request.registry.settings)

And lastly, go edit tutorial/templates/mytemplate.pt so that it displays users_widget and moksha_socket on the page:

<div id="bottom">
  <div class="bottom">
    <div tal:content="structure users_widget.display()"></div>
    <div tal:content="structure moksha_socket.display()"></div>

Running the Hub alongside pserve

When the moksha-hub process starts up, it will begin handling your messages. It also houses a small websocket server that the moksha_socket will try to connect back to.

Open up two terminals and activate your virtualenv in both with workon tutorial. In one of them, run:

$ moksha-hub -v hub-config.ini

And in the other run:

$ pserve --reload development.ini

Now open up two browsers, (say.. one chrome, the other firefox) and visit http://localhost:6543/ in both. In one of them, reload the page over and over again.. you should see the graph in the other one "spike" showing a count of all the requests issued.