Creating dashboards for big LCD displays and tablets with Rubbi and Dashing

Recently we came across the Dashing dashboard library from Shopify. It allows you to create colorful mash-up of charts, gauges and other data visualizations that will look great on big LCD display in a reception room.

We decided to check how hard would it be to connect it to our Rubbi reporting tool. First we created a Mondrian OLAP cube for fish market data from one of our clients (check out our previous post about our best practices for creating OLAP cubes and creating date dimensions). Next, we connected it to Rubbi and played a little bit to create some useful reports.

Data in Rubbi

When done, were able to plug saved reports into Dashing library thanks to Rubbi’s JSON API. To use data from external services in Dashing you need to create a scheduled job that will populate your widgets. Dashing’s backend code is written in Ruby so we had no problem getting it to work. Here’s the result:

Dashboard of Rubbi data using Dashing

Dashing’s programming model makes it good fit for displaying real time data. The default set of widgets is relatively small, but you can easily extend it based on examples. There is also no interaction between default widgets, as library was meant to be displayed on big external displays (again you can code it yourself). We were also amazed to see that our dashboard looked great on an iPad tablet.

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