Monday, April 23, 2018

Use Db2 and IBM Cloud to analyze GitHub traffic data (tutorial)

Architecture: GitHub Traffic Analytics
In a new solution tutorial, I show you how to automatically retrieve and store GitHub traffic data the serverless way with IBM Cloud Functions and Db2. The data can then be analyzed via a Web app deployed to Cloud Foundry on IBM Cloud. The app is secured with App ID using OpenID Connect. The new service Dynamic Dashboard Embedded provides visualization of the views and clones of GitHub repositories.

Tutorial overview

Many of my open source projects are hosted on GitHub. In the "Insights" section of each repository, I can see statistics on views and clones of my repositories. This is great, but GitHub only provides access to the traffic data for the last 14 days. If you want to analyze statistics over a longer period of time, you need to download and store that data yourself. In this new tutorial, you deploy a serverless action to retrieve the traffic data and store it in a SQL database. Moreover, a Cloud Foundry app is used to manage repositories and provide access to the statistics for data analytics. The app and the serverless action discussed in the tutorial implement a multi-tenant-ready solution with the initial feature set supporting single-tenant mode. The code is available on GitHub.

Automated, scheduled data retrieval

To automatically retrieve the GitHub traffic data and merge it into the Db2 database, IBM Cloud Functions provides a built-in alarms package. It allows to fire triggers on a regular basis and supports cron-like syntax. An action written in Python makes the necessary GitHub API calls on a weekly basis, thereby retrieves the data and merges it into the database. The necessary access token that authorizes the Python action as well as repository metadata is managed in the same database. The database could be used by multiple tenants, i.e., different users with their own set of GitHub repositories and access token.
Raw data as table

Web-based data analytics

A Python Flask app provides access to the traffic statistics. It also allows to add or delete repositories. The app is protected via App ID service. The tutorial uses the Cloud Directory with the users managed by App ID. However, social logins (Google, Facebook) could be easily used, too. From the app, an OpenID Connect module interacts with App ID as authentication provider. After the successful login process, users have access to their role-specific functionality only. Administrators cannot access data and a notion of tenant and tenant-viewer (read-only) is supported.
The web client uses the jQuery plugin DataTables to display and filter the raw data. For data visualization, the client embeds dashboards of the new IBM Cloud service Dynamic Dashboard Embedded. Depending on the mode, either a so-called canned dashboard with pre-defined visual elements is shown or users can assemble their own dashboard from a set of given visualizations. The newly defined dashboards can be exported and could be used in future sessions.
Dynamic dashboard to visualize Db2 data


Combining serverless and Cloud Foundry, it is possible to overcome the limited availability of GitHub traffic statistics. The data is automatically downloaded and stored in a database. A web app provides access to the data and allows analytics either by filtering on a data tables or utilizing dashboards with data visualizations. Read all the details in the tutorial and check out the code provided in this repository.
If you have feedback, suggestions, or questions about this post, please reach out to me on Twitter (@data_henrik) or LinkedIn.

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