SwiftStack Client: Metadata Search Plugin Demo
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SwiftStack Client: Metadata Search Plugin Example

What Is This?

It's a quick example of a SwiftStack Client custom metadata search plugin, written using angular.js.

SwiftStack Client provides a native "Metadata Search" tool, which allows you to search for objects in Swift when you've enabled Metadata Search.

That said, Elasticsearch is powerful and complicated, and you may well want to write your own search applications to find data, whilst still allowing SwiftStack Client to carry out data operations against your object store. That's where this comes in.

How do I use it?

You'll need to ensure node.js is installed on your machine - details can be found here.

Clone this repo:


...then, install the required node.js modules:

$ npm install 

Last, spin up the webpage on port 3000 locally:

$ node app.js

You'll probably want to test that you can reach the app at http://localhost:3000 in your browser at this point.

Assuming all is well, tell SwiftStack client to allow it as a custom search plugin:

  1. Fire up SwiftStack Client.
  2. Hit the settings icon (cog wheel, top right).
  3. Go to "Advanced".
  4. Set the 'metadataSearchPluginURI' property to the URI this app is running at (http://localhost:3000 if you run both on the same machine).

To use it from the client, you will need to have a Swift container accessible with metadata search enabled.

  1. Tell SwiftStack client this container is metadata-search enabled by setting the header x-container-meta-com-swiftstack-mdsync-elasticsearch-uri to the elasticsearch index endpoint used to index the container (you can do this in the client via the Container Properties screen).
  2. Open the container in SwiftStack client.
  3. The standard Metadata Search button will be replaced with a dropdown. Click it, and select Custom Metadata Search to bring up a dialog with this app in place of the usual search tool.

Finally, add a JSON elasticsearch query to the textbox, and when ready click Run Search either in the iframe or on the client. Your query will be validated as you run it.

If you need a sample query to get started, you could try something like:


How does it work?

When the metadataSearchPluginURI property is set in SwiftStack client, and when you click the Custom Metadata Search button, the client will show this web app in an iframe instead of the native search tool.

From that point onwards, everything is handled by a postMessage() based interface. See below for details.

How do I write a search plugin?

Your plugin can be any webpage that can generate JSON. The JSON you create on the page will be sent to SwiftStack client via postMessage().

On page load, Client will send an swiftstackclient-init-data message with information about the elasticsearch endpoint and any previous search you ran (which you can choose to discard if you want).

Then you can, optionally:

  • Validate the message by sending a swiftstackclient-validation-request message (and listening for a response);
  • Tell the client to run your search with a swiftstackclient-search-request message (optionally, you can also listen for a response).

Examples of doing this are in ui.js, and the interface is below.

Quite possibly the easiest way to write a plugin is to start with this one as a base, and develop it further to meet your needs.


We use postMessage() to communicate from the parent window (SwiftStack Client) to your webapp (a child iframe).

For examples of this, see ui.js.

Recieving Messages

To receive messages:

  • Your page should listen for window message events from the Client.
  • Each incoming event will have a data.type property telling you what kind of message this is.

So, for example, this code near the start of your page should do the job:

window.addEventListener('message', function(e) {
  var data = JSON.parse(e.data);
  if (data.type === 'swiftstackclient-init-data') { 
    // Do Something
  } else if (data.type === 'swiftstackclient-validation-response') { 
    // Do something else.
  } else if (data.type === 'swiftstackclient-search-response') { 
    // Do a final thing.

Sending Messages

To send messages, use postMessage() and target the parent of your window. To send a swiftstackclient-validation-request message, for example:

var data = {
  'query': JSON.parse(myElasticSearchQuery),
  'type': 'swiftstackclient-validation-request'

Events you can listen for or send are described below:

postMessage() interface


You will always recieve a swiftstackclient-init-data message on page load, from SwiftStack Client. The postMessage event will have a data property with these attributes:

  • type: "swiftstackclient-init-data"
  • elasticURI : The URI to the elastic endpoint SwiftStack client is currently using
  • query : The previous elasticsearch query you ran, if any, as an object.


You can send a validation request at any time. The postMessage data must be an object with these properties:

  • type: "swiftstackclient-validation-request"
  • query: Your elasticsearch query as an object.

You should then listen for a swiftstackclient-validation-response reply from the client:


When validation completes, the client will send this message. The postMessage event will have a data property with these attributes:

  • type: "swiftstackclient-validation-response"
  • validated: true if the query validated OK; false otherwise.
  • error: The error message as a string from elasticsearch, if any.


You can send a search request at any time, even if you know your query to be invalid. The postMessage data must be an object with these properties:

  • type: "swiftstackclient-search-request"
  • query: Your elasticsearch query as an object.

You can optionally then listen for a swiftstackclient-search-response reply from the client:


When a search is dispatched to elasticsearch (not completed, necessarily), the client will send this message. The postMessage event will have a data property with these attributes:

  • type: "swiftstackclient-search-response"


Questions? straill@swiftstack.com