Posts Tagged ‘Chartbeat Labs’

chartbeat notifier


Hack Weeks at Chartbeat are always a time of joy. A time of joy for trying and learning new things. It’s a great opportunity for everyone at the company to stretch their minds and tackle new challenges they wouldn’t otherwise experience. We get to pair up with people we don’t usually get a chance to work with, and we get to play around, creating things that sometimes become indispensable for our clients.

Two Hack Weeks ago I worked on a project called Chartbeat Notifier.  It was started by our former CTO Allan, and he had already completed a large chunk of it.  However it wasn’t completely finished, nor was it in a state that we could share.  So I finished the Notifier, polishing the parts of the project that needed a little more TLC.

This most recent Hack Week, I pruned off the remaining rough edges and it is with great joy and pride that we are releasing the Chartbeat Notifier project as an open source project!

Chartbeat Notifier is a native Mac application that lives in your menu bar.  For your domain it can show one of two metrics in an always visible location:

 1. the number of concurrent visitors on your domain

2. the average Engaged Time of all the users on the domain

Either number will be always visible in your menu bar, and is continuously updated as the day goes on.

chartbeat notifier


Chartbeat Notifier also serves as a handy way to quickly jump into your dashboard.  Simply click on the Chartbeat menu bar icon and the ‘Open Dashboard’ link and you’ll be taken directly to your dashboard.  Quick and easy, just the way we like to keep things.

There’s only one thing that I love more than Hack Week, and that’s when we are able to share our hacks back to the community.  Click on over to the Chartbeat Notifier project page and click the download link to get started!

PS- To see more of our great hacks in action, visit Chartbeat Labs.

Chartbeat Rising

A few weeks ago we launched the new Chartbeat Labs page and with it introduced our latest hack project that’s totally free and open to everyone on the internet, whether you’re a client or not: Chartbeat Rising. Like all of our Labs projects, Rising was conceived in one of our Hack Weeks, where our team gets a week between product development cycles to learn new dev skills and build something awesome with our data.

This one particular Hack Week (way back when), Isaac, one of our data dudes, decided to dive into aggregating topics sites using Chartbeat were writing about. But not just to see what was popular, to see what’s actually keeping people’s attention. Turns out, there’s a huge difference between what people click on and what they spend time reading.

So that data + design + front end genius + TLC from Chartteam all-stars Danny and Meagan gave us the Rising prototype you see today.

Let me give you a quick tour:

1. Bubble Topics

Those sites that allow us to aggregate and anonymize their data are all pulled into a big data pile (that’s the technical term for it), and are sorted by category – news, entertainment, or technology. Then the topics within those categories are ranked by the most popular – those with the most amount of concurrents, or most Engaged Time – those with the highest amount of time people spend actually reading articles about this topic. Click on the toggle on the top right and you’ll usually see a pretty big difference.

2. Wiggly Movements

My favorite part, so I have to cover this, are the bubble movements. As Rising is all about the topics that are rising to the top, the movement shows how the bubbles are interacting with each other – the biggest bubbles with the highest ranks are wiggling their way around the other bubbles to rise to the top.

3. Topic Context

Why the hell is “telekinesis” a top tech story? Fantastic question. Click the bubble and find out. Since all our data is anonymous, these headlines pulled into the call out box aren’t from Chartbeat sites, necessarily, but pulled from a search API to give context to what Rising is presenting as relevant. That may change in the future as we iterate.

Like all our Labs projects, Chartbeat Rising is hacky and will probably break a bit every once in awhile, but it also means there’s so much more we could build onto this guy. In only the first couple of weeks it’s been live, we’ve already had requests to see topics sorted by a single URL or by Geo (Hi, Anjanette!). So I hope you share it around and give us loads of feedback on what you’d want to see it do.


Big Board Mini Hack

July 31st, 2013 by David

You’re probably familiar with Big Boards – you use ‘em, you love ‘em, and they’re a super easy way of keeping everyone in the newsroom in the know about what stories are trending online.

The original Big Boards (nerd joke) were made so they would be easy to enhance and modify. We tried to do the same with our Big Board, so we open-sourced the code for you to tinker with to your heart’s content. We also threw in a few added functionalities that might not be so obvious… here’s one of my favorites:

Author List

If you’re using Chartbeat Publishing you can append “&group=author” to the end of your big board URL to get a leaderboard style list of all of your writers sorted in real time by how many people are reading their articles.

It looks something like this, but with your actual writers instead of the names of some Chartteam members:
(hmm… I seem to be doing quite well today)

I know a lot of you are fans of the Big Board, so stay tuned for future Big Board hacks and projects.


You know you want it. The elusive white unicorn that is historical real-time Chartbeat data. We constantly challenge our products to give you better historical context in creative ways (like replay and typical performance), but we totally get that you may just want to log snapshots of your dashboard.

Well, you’re not alone. Many of our client-partners have built their own suites of cron jobs calling the Chartbeat API’s and storing in a database at some frequency to use historical information to give more context to their real-time decisions.

But, for the average pretengineer or those of us who don’t even have enough hours in the day to make time to eat breakfast, going the extra step to get more out of your Chartbeat data isn’t something you can make time for. Adding databases and time-based job schedulers take a backseat to the rest of your life.

Enter Google Apps Scripting & Google Spreadsheets.

With a Google Apps Script & Google Spreadsheet concoction, you can easily leverage the Chartbeat API to store only the data you care about, longer than 30 days.

Google Apps Scripting is a JavaScript cloud scripting language that provides easy ways to automate tasks and most notably, write directly into Google Spreadsheets. Here’s a simple function calling the Chartbeat Historical Traffic Series API with our default response settings (active visitors today, in 5 minute intervals):


You can then write directly into a Google Spreadsheet of your choice  by converting the response into rows then inserting those rows on your favorite spreadsheet:


To take it a step further, you can schedule a frequency to run it the script behind the scenes. Maybe you want to log your daily max by traffic source every night, or store your average engaged time every-day at lunch. Adding triggers to automate your script is as easy as a couple drop-downs:


As always, if you have a question or maybe just want some code we’ve already built to copy into your Google Drive right away we’re here to help. Drop us a line, shoot us an email, or visit

Hacking Chartbeat

March 16th, 2012 by Daniel

The number one reason Chartbeat is as awesome as it is? We exclusively hire awesome people. And the backbone of our awesome resides in our team of engineers.

When you hire world-class engineers, you need to give them freedom to build and create. Some people think that’s a scary challenge. We don’t. Because we’ve developed a unique and crazy successful solution.

Percent Time
It’s fairly common in the tech world to have “percent time,” or a set amount of time given to employees to explore ideas outside of the set product roadmap.

The thinking here is that when you allow engineers the ability to scratch their own itches, you end up with happier hackers, less burnout, and most importantly new ideas. Many of the products you use every day started out as a small hack project like Google’s Gmail and Facebook’s birthday calendar.

We take this itch-scratching, happy-hacker time very seriously, though also a bit differently than most companies.

Every six weeks we press pause on roadmaps, projections, and meetings. During this week, affectionately known as Hack Week, everyone is given free reign to build, create, or design whatever piques their interest. The only rule is that you have to demo something once Friday rolls around.

Hacks range from data visualizations to monitoring tools to Arduino-powered empty-water-cooler sensors.

Chartbeat Labs
Hack Week projects are often way too amazing to keep to ourselves, so we blow them out and polish them up and share them through Chartbeat Labs, a public directory of awesome visualizations and tools built around Chartbeat data.

We’re still working on getting everything up there, but there’s a wealth of interesting stuff just waiting for you:

  • Around the World: A real-time map of who’s visiting your site and where they are in the world.
  • Big Board: For real time to be a success, you need to live in it, in a full environment of data. The Chartbeat Big Board is perfect for having an ambient view of activity on your site.
  • Universe: Your site is a galaxy of pages. Watch them pop in and out of orbit.
  • Traffic Control: You know there are people on your site, and you know what pages they’re on. Using Traffic Control, you can watch them move from page to page and understand where your most popular and most important paths are.
  • Big Board Mosaic (just for Newsbeat clients): Easily understand your traffic at a glance. Big colorful blocks that tell you how much traffic a page has, and where on the web they came from.

Most importantly, we try to open source anything and everything we can. We love seeing what you guys can accomplish using our API and your own data to create something truly unique.

Want to get in the hack game? Share what you’ve done with us on Twitter. Or if you’re the shy type, kick it over to us at