June 8th: Checkout the updated pingdom and twitter widgets on the demo dashboard!
Update: Check out the updated project video, demo dashboard, and custom data widget demo!
Dashboards for Everyone!
UPDATE: The first 10 backers at the $25+ level will get the Hillbilly (regularly $50) reward - that's half off the special kickstarter price just for being an early adopter!
Update: Want to read more about how dashboards can be used by developers and everyday data geeks? Check out our update: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digistump/trailerboard-dashboards-for-developers/posts/232451
The goal of TrailerBoard is to make high quality, powerful, flexible, real-time dashboards accessible and affordable to all developers, techies, and data nerds, for both development and end users.
As a career developer, always looking to make my development practices more efficient and robust, about a year ago I came across Etsy's blog post Measure Anything, Measure Everything and after looking at StatsD and Graphite I became very enthusiastic about integrating more logging into my development both for development benefits (error logging, response times, etc) and client benefits (daily sales, real-time visitor counts, abandon rates, unanswered voicemails, etc). When hosted dashboards began to appear (Geckoboard, Lefttronic) I was underwhelmed by their features and APIs and very surprised by their high prices. It didn't seem right to spend $50+ a month for a real-time dashboard and then have to do all the heavy lifting for the custom data. This led to many in-house solutions and eventually the notion that other developers must be eager to embrace dashboard-ing and real time data logging, but not willing or able to go through a complicated local setup of StatsD and Graphite or shell out the money for one of the existing services.
So TrailerBoard was born - dashboards for all developers!
We're targeting around a $5 month price point with no data or user limits so dashboards can be used in development, startups with little cashflow, and provided to clients to help them get the most out of their data. The service will be available internationally. We have seen dashboards increase efficiency, understanding, preventive maintenance, and fun! Help us make them available to everyone!
(Note: We'll ensure that no matter what the price point, backers will always receive the best deal, in the form of a lower rate and/or extra features.)
Real-time, flexible, dashboards
There are plenty of services that provide day old aggregate statistics (like Google Analytics), dashboards are about providing a real time view of important data. We are building our service with a 10 second minimum refresh time (we believe a good balance of performance and bandwidth - true real-time updates for the most volatile metrics coming soon) and all the goodies you'd expect to see on a dashboard. Highly visible, clean graphics. Graphs. Percent change. Adjustable sampling intervals. Text and numeric widgets. Alert widgets (show only when an event occurs). We'll also be actively seeking feedback from backers of what they'd like to see.
Some things we already have on the roadmap are: Customizable themes (using JQuery themeroller), true real-time updates, Tons more 3rd party widgets, text message/sms/phone call/email alerts when an alert widget is triggered, better graphs, more options everywhere!
Security taken seriously
We are building TrailerBoard from the ground up with best practices security, we will not sacrifice security to cut costs or development time. In evaluating dashboard solutions for clients we were disturbed to find API keys and passwords sometimes in plaintext right in the source code of a shared dashboard. Needless to say, we won't do that!
We also don't believe in showing ads on a paid service. No ads ever. And if you decide to delete your account we'll remove all information you've provided about 3rd party services, logins, and cached data.
Easy to use, powerful API
Try out some basic custom data widgets with our new custom data widget demo.
We noticed that custom data reporting APIs are almost an afterthought with the existing dashboard providers. They all require you to do the heavy lifting on your end, such as averaging, storing counters, setting reporting intervals, etc.
The PHP API is on github (it will continue to change but not dramatically) and is running our demo. It is trivial to send data using a POST request with cURL or any language. Ruby, Python, and Node are in the works and getting them right is part of why we're here raising funds. All API clients will be Open Source and available on GitHub.
Custom logging is broken up into four types:
Counters: Counters can be incremented, decremented, or changed by an arbitrary amount. These are great for recording the number of visits, comparing the number of people who start a process and end a process, counting things like the number of errors, or a million other possibilities. You just log them when you need to and we'll take care of reporting them for your chosen reporting period.
Timers: Start a timer with an id (such as the session id) and stop it with that same id. We'll take care of averaging all the timers with the same tag over the chosen reporting interval.
Numbers: You can log any numeric data from CPU Usage sent from a cron script, to the value of a sale sent from your web application. Depending on the reporting interval chosen you will see an average over that time period.
Text: When text is sent it is immediately displayed on the corresponding widget(s).
With the exception of the Text type, graphs and percent change will be available for all logging types. The reporting interval for any widget can be changed at any time, no need to pre-select it when sending the data, no changes necessary on your end.
Planned reporting intervals: Immediate, 1 second avg, 1 minute, 15 min, 30 min, 1 hour, current hour (running total/avg), 1 day, current day (running total/avg).
On the roadmap: Part of our road map is introducing a daemon for local caching - this will allow users who have a large number of logging requests to cache them locally (automatically, no extra coding required) preventing the logging from slowing down their sites and programs (using UDP for local messaging, like StatsD) and reducing bandwidth usage. We're targeting August for this feature, and we believe we'd be the only ones providing anything like it.
While we believe custom data reporting is the most valuable feature of dashboarding, we know that tie-ins with 3rd party service providers is also essential. We will work with our backers to develop a priority list of 3rd party widgets but here is what we are currently working on for launch:
- Amazon AWS
- Google Analytics
- Your suggestions!
- Backers at the Park Manager level can add to this list!
On the roadmap:
- Rackspace Cloud
- Your suggestions!
All backers will have their name listed on the "Supporters" or "Thank You" page on our website. Every dollar counts and we can't do this without you! This page will be live at launch. You will be able to opt-out of this listing if you'd like.
Out of Towner: You will receive a code redeemable for one month of service. This code will be sent to you when the site launches into private beta and will expire one year later. No credit card will be required to use it and you can redeem it during the beta period for early access or later if desired.
TrailerBoard Labs (kickstarter exclusive): Any reward that includes TrailerBoard Labs will allow you to select whether you'd like to create a dashboard on our Production server or our Labs (test) server. We can't guarantee we won't break features on our test server - that's kind of what it is for - but we can guarantee you'll be able to play with all the features we are working on, before they go live. You can create dashboards on both servers, so you can play with the new features while keeping your important dashboards on the stable production server.
Hillbilly: The same as Out of Towner, only the code will be good for one year of service.
Redneck: The same as Out of Towner, only the code will be good for two years of service. You will also receive, via First Class Mail, a signed print of the TrailerBoard sketch used on the site and this kickstarter campaign - this will be a kickstarter exclusive. International shipping included, the internet is a global community afterall, though we may have to fold the print.
Park Manager: All the rewards of the Redneck level, plus TrailerBoard Labs, plus we will build a widget for a 3rd party API of your choice. The API must be well documented, RESTful, SOAP or similar, and publicly accessible. If you back at this level we will contact you to discuss the options. We are limiting the number of rewards to ensure we have the resources to build the widgets. We'll start work on the widgets after the beta launch and try to have them all live within a month.
The same as Out of Towner, only your code will be good for a free lifetime (non-transferable) account, plus the signed print and TrailerBoard Labs.
$1,000+: Don't get me wrong - I don't think I'm so cool that you'd want to have dinner with me. We wanted to offer this reward level for any one who is as excited as we are about this service and has the ability to back at a high level - we just figure if you are willing to support us at this level we should sit down and tell you about our vision. You'll also get all the Trailer King rewards.
What the money is for
We've put in months (and months) of development, refinement, optimization, simplifying, and testing - and we'll continue to dedicate every bit of our time we can - here is what funds raised on kickstarter will go towards:
- Infrastructure costs (servers, monitoring, etc)
- 3rd Party Widgets - some 3rd party APIs require us to have a paying account to develop and test widgets that connect to them.
- Contracted programming - in order to ensure we offer high quality API clients we will be contracting help for the languages we don't consider ourselves fluent in.
- General development - the more developers the sooner we launch, the more features we launch with!
- Design - we won't pretend our site couldn't use a few touches here and there and we'd love to make the dashboard truly beautiful.
- Legal paperwork and filings.
- Gauging interest, initial scale - Like most kickstarter projects, many of our rewards are based around giving you first access to the TrailerBoard service at a discounted price, in return we will have an idea of how much infrastructure our launch will require and we'll be indebted to you as an early adopter.
We are on target to have the "kickstarter backer only" private beta ready by mid July.
3rd Party APIs for the Park Manager reward should be ready by mid-August, if not sooner.
We plan to make the service publicly available one to two months after that.
If we are fortunate enough to get fully funded we will be revealing some stretch goals!
Nothing is set in stone but some ideas for stretch goals are:
- Extended subscriptions
- Free account add-ons
- Earlier access
- Kickstarter exclusive features
Thank you for your time and support! We can't do this without you!