Fixing a bug, implementing a new feature, or just improving the quality of the code, we always appreciate contributions! We understand that getting accustomed to a new project takes some time and effort, but we’re trying to make this process as smooth and intuitive as possible.

Whereas until now, we’ve discussed FMD from the point of view of the user, this page shows FMD from the point of view of the developer. We explain the architecture of the project, take a look at the main components, and then present some useful tools that we use during development.

Getting started

In order to get started with the environment of the FMD, run the following script

. ./config/

Note the ‘. ‘ before the script. This will activate your virtual environment. This script is responsible for setting up the project, and installing the following pre-commit hooks:

  • Black: for automatic formatting the code. Note that we use a width-length of 100 characters.
  • Flake8: for checking style error.
  • Auto increase the Python version. This can either be a major, minor, or patch version increase. For more info, see the Versions-section below.


From an architectural perspective, the Flask Monitoring Dashboard uses the Layers pattern. There are 3 layers: data layer, logic layer, presentation layer. Each of these is discussed in detail in this section.

The diagram below shows how FMD interacts with the monitored application. We assumed that the application uses a database and a web interface, but these components are not mandatory. Also, the FMD DB can be the same as the Application DB.


Data layer

This layer is responsible for the data collected by FMD about the monitored application. The database schema is shown below.


The Data layer is technology-agnostic: you can use any RDBMS system you like, as long as it is supported by SQLAlchemy, the Object Relational Mapper used by FMD! We mostly use SQLite for development purposes, but regularly test FMD with MySQL and PostgreSQL.

Logic layer

This layer is responsible for implementing all the features of FMD, storing and retrieving the collected data to and from the Data layer, and providing a REST API to be used by the Presentation layer. The Logic layer is written in Python and contains the following 4 directories: controllers, core, database, views.

  • database: contains all the functions that access the Data layer. No function from outside this directory should make queries to the database directly.
  • views: contains the REST API. The Presentation layer uses the REST API to get the data that it has to show in the web interface.
  • controllers: contains the business logic that transforms the objects from the database into objects that can be used by the Presentation layer. It represents the link between database and views.
  • core: this is where the magic of FMD happens. Measuring the performance of monitored endpoints, profiling requests, and detecting outliers are all implemented in this directory.

Presentation layer

This layer is responsible for showing the data collected by FMD in a user-friendly web interface. It is written using AngularJS 1.7.5 framework and Jinja2 templating language, and contains 2 directories: static and templates.

  • templates: only contains 2 Jinja2 templates. They represent the entry point for the web interface and request all the Javascript files required.
  • static: contains the JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files. The code follows the Model-View-Controller pattern. The main components of this directory are described below:
    • app.js: defines the app and implements the routing mechanism. For each route, a JS controller and HTML template are specified.
    • controllers: JS files that make calls to the REST API of FMD and implement the logic of how the data is visualized.
    • services: JS files that contain cross-controller logic.
    • directives.js: file that declares custom HTML tags.
    • filters.js: contains functions used for nicely formatting the data.
    • pages: HTML files for building the web interface.


The following tools are used for helping the development of the Dashboard:

  • Branches: The Dashboard uses the following branches:

    • Master: This is the branch that will ensure a working version of the Dashboard. It is shown as the default branch on Github. The Master branch will approximately be updated every week. Every push to the master will be combined with a new version that is released in PyPi. This branch is also used to compute the Code coverage and build the documentation. In case of a PR from development into master, take care of the following two things:
      1. The version must be updated in flask_monitoringdashboard/constants.json
      2. The changelog should be updated in docs/changelog.rst
    • Development: This branch contains the current working version of the Dashboard. This branch contains the most recent version of the Dashboard, but there might be a few bugs in this version.
    • Feature branch: This branch is specific per feature, and will be removed after the corresponding feature has been merged into the development branch. It is recommended to often merge development into this branch, to keep the feature branch up to date.
  • Heroku deployment: The following branches are automatically deployed to Heroku. This is useful for quickly testing, without running any code locally.

  • Unit testing: The code is tested before a Pull Request is accepted. If you want to run the unit tests locally, you can use the following command from the root of Flask-MonitoringDashboard directory:

    python test

    All the tests are in the test directory and follow the naming convetion test_*.py.

  • Travis: Travis CI is a hosted, distributed continuous integration service used to build and test software projects hosted at GitHub. The Dashboard uses Travis to ensure that all tests are passed before a change in the code reaches the Master branch.

  • Documentation: The documentation is generated using Sphinx and hosted on ReadTheDocs. If you want to build the documentation locally, you can use the following commands:

    Use the commands while being in the docs folder (Flask-MonitoringDashboard/docs).

    pip install -r requirements.txt
    make html

    The generated html files can be found in the following folder: Flask-MonitoringDashboard/docs/build.

    Using the make command, you can build more, than only HTML-files. For a list of all possible options, use the following command:

    make help
  • Versions: The Dashboard uses Semantic-versioning. Therefore, it is specified in a Major . Minor . Patch -format:

    • Major: Increased when the Dashboard contains incompatible API changes with the previous version.
    • Minor: Increased when the Dashboard has new functionality in a backwards-compatible manner.
    • Patch: Increased when a bug-fix is made.