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Transmit Logic. Make sure ops alerts reach a human. Nagging as a service.
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Transmit Logic

Always reach a human. Nagging as a service.

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Define alert process



Think of Transmit Logic as a bit like AppleScript or Automator for ops alerts. Here's the full alert syntax.

Basic example

Call someone, wait 5 minutes, email someone else.

process_definition do
  participant 'call bob', :recipient => '4155554242', :timeout => '5m'
  participant 'email Alex', :recipient => ''

Advanced example

Concurrently contact Sally and Phong using self-contained alert definitions. If neither respond, call Sally again but only at night.

process_definition do
  define 'notify Sally' do
    participant 'IM Sally' :recipient => '', :using => 'jabber', :timeout => '2m'
    participant 'SMS Sally', :recipient => '8145557438'

  define 'Gripe to Phong' do
    participant 'call phong', :recipient => '7165554288'
    participant 'sms Phong', :recipient => '7165554288'

  concurrence do
    subprocess 'notify Sally'
    subprocess 'Gripe to Phong'
    participant 'Call Sally', :recipient => '2065558484', :if => '${nighttime}'

Here's the full alert syntax.



The app itself is stable and in production use.

It was very recently open-sourced after months of internal use. The setup process needs work, as does the documentation of it. It probably hard-codes configuration options which don't apply in all situations. There's lots of room for refactoring.

Known Problems

  • Jabber IM support is incomplete. It worked at one point but the service provider removed Jabber support and the standalone XMPP handler isn't done.


Transmit Logic provides:

  • a Web interface where ops staff can define who, how and when to contact engineers. Uses an alert-specific DSL built with ruote. See Examples or alert syntax.
  • a runtime environment for running those process definitions and sending alerts.
  • the ability to invoke alerts via HTTP POST, a third-party SMTP-to-HTTP gateway, or the Web interface. External monitoring services can invoke TxL alert processes by sending standard email alerts.
  • two-way alert handling for SMS, phone calls, emails, and SIP calls (so recipients can respond to the alert via that delivery method).
  • for two-way alerts, each recipient may accept it (halting it), actively decline (so it continues to the next participant immediately), or halt it (like for a false positive).
  • one-way alert delivery to many other services, like Campfire. Uses a HTTP call to txlogic-services with a link back to TxL to respond.


  • SMTP server: outbound emails
  • Mailgun: inbound email-to-HTTP gateway for accepting alerts via email (and replies to email alerts)
  • Tropo: phone calls (to PSTN and SIP numbers), SMS
  • Standalone txlogic-services instance (optional): other HTTP-accessible notification destinations (such as Campfire)

Adding additional providers should be relatively easy.


Transmit Logic has 3 components. Here's how to setup:

Web app

Clone the repo and make your modifications to it. For example, if you've just created a new git repo on a service like GitHub (more) and have a git:// URL:

git clone git://
cd txlogic
git add origin git://YOUR-NEW-GIT-URL
git push

Follow the configuration instructions below and then deploy it. The TxL Web app can run in a standard Rails environment or on a Rails app hosting service like Heroku. To use Heroku instead, run heroku apps:create -s cedar and git push it to your new app (more).

Secret token

Edit config/initializers/secret_token.rb to define a random token that is unique to your app.


Edit database.yml (or database.yml.mysql and rename it), then:

bundle install
rake db:migrate


Web app email settings

Define standard Rails mailer settings in config/application.rb or config/environments/<environment>.rb. See config/environments/production.rb for an example using ActionMailer::Base.smtp_settings.

The ActionMailer settings are used for emails generated by the Web app (like new user invitations). SMTP settings for sending alerts are defined separately below, though they may be the same.

Alert delivery settings

See below for step-by-step instructions to activate alert delivery services (and thereby, to obtain these settings).

Edit config/settings.yml and provide alert service settings. Optionally define as environment-specific options in config/settings/<environment>.yml per rails_config.

Optional: Enforce SSL, hostname

For production environments with SSL and a single hostname, change default_url_options in config/settings/production.rb. application_controller.rb will also let you enforce access on only that hostname and/or only via SSL.

Alert delivery services


Sign up for Tropo (free), then:

  1. Choose Create New Application. Choose Tropo Scripting.
  2. Give it a name, then click Hosted file and Create a new hosted file for this application
  3. Name it txlogic.rb and paste the contents of doc/tropo.rb into the form.
  4. Click Save. The application will be saved and assigned a phone number (shown on Tropo's Applications tab, under Show Settings). Copy it.
  5. Go to Your Hosted Files in Tropo and edit the script you just created. Replace all instances of 2065551111 and YOUR-TXLOGIC-URL.COM with that Tropo number and the URL to your TxL Web app.
  6. In your core TxL Web app installation, edit config/settings.yml (or an environment-specific settings file in config/settings/). Define your Tropo outbound voice token (shown on Tropo's Applications tab, under Show Settings).


Sign up for Mailgun (free or pricing, then:

  1. Click the Routes tab, then Create Route.
  2. Define a route for responses to alerts. Define a route with these settings, replacing YOUR-TXLOGIC-URL.COM with the URL to your TxL Web app: priority 1, filter match_recipient(r"update-.*"), action forward(r"https://YOUR-TXLOGIC-URL.COM/replies/mailgun"), description Replies to alerts (used as "Reply-to")
  3. Create a second route for bounces. Click Create Route again and define a route with: priority 1, filter match_recipient(r"alert-.*"), action forward(r"https://YOUR-TXLOGIC-URL.COM/alerts"), description Bounces (used as "From")
  4. In your core TxL Web app installation, edit config/settings.yml (or an environment-specific settings file in config/settings/). Edit the definition to be the hostname of your Mailgun account, such as (shown on Mailgun's My Accounts tab).


This is a separate app from the core TxL Web app. It can run in a standard Ruby environment or on a service like Heroku. Here is an example on Heroku. Create a new Heroku app and clone the public repo:

heroku apps:create -s cedar
git clone git://

Deploy the cloned repo to your new Heroku app. Replace YOUR-NEW-APP-NAME with the app name provided by heroku apps:create:

cd txlogic-services
git remote add heroku
git push heroku

Last, in your core TxL Web app installation, edit config/settings.yml (or an environment-specific settings file in config/settings/). Edit the definition to be the root URL to your new app above. For example:





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