SignalFx Developers Guide

Charts and Dashboards

Working with charts

Charts display the metrics you’re sending to SignalFx. They can contain a single plot of metrics over time, or multiple related plots. The different chart types that SignalFx provides help you get the best visualization for different types of data and different scenarios.

To learn about the Charts API in detail, see Working with Charts.

The Charts topic in the product documentation describes how SignalFx displays charts in the web UI.

Choosing a chart type for your data

SignalFx provides these types of charts:

Single value charts

Show a single value for a datapoint value as it changes over time. In most cases, you use this type of chart to display important metrics as a single number.

List charts

Display multiple datapoints at each point in time. They show recent trends in the data, but they don’t let you see large amounts of history.

Line charts

Display data in a plot with datapoints connected by a series of straight lines

Area charts

Display in a plot similar to a line chart, except that the area below the line is filled.

Column charts

Also known as bar charts. Each datapoint is displayed as a vertical bar going from the x-axis origin to the measured value of the datapoint. The bars aren’t connected.

Histogram charts

Display as horizontal rectangles on a two-dimensional plot. The starting and ending x-position of a rectangle represents the time duration over which datapoints for that rectangle were collected. The y-position of a rectangle represents the number of datapoints collected in that time duration.

Heatmap charts

Present a series of squares each representing a single data point of the selected metric. The color of each square represents the value range of the metric allowing quick identification of values that are higher or lower than desired.

Text charts

Text charts let you create a "chart" containing descriptive information. You can then add this chart to a dashboard to provide an introduction or instructions for other charts in the dashboard.

The product documentation for the web UI shows you how to choose a chart type for your data. See Choosing a chart type in the SignalFx product documentation.

Organizing charts with dashboards and dashboard groups

Dashboards are groups of charts that appear together and use the same filtering options. You can optionally organize dashboards into dashboard groups, which are collections of dashboards with common characteristics that make it desirable to view them together or in sequence.

In the web UI, you always create a chart within an existing dashboard. In the API, you have to create the chart first and then assign it to a dashboard. If you don’t, the chart won’t appear in the web UI; it becomes an "orphan".

If you don’t specify an existing dashboard group when you create a dashboard using the API, SignalFx also creates a dashboardgroup object for the new dashboard object. The API returns the name of this object in the response body.

To learn more about the dashboard API, see Working with Dashboards.

To learn more about the dashboard groups API, see Working with Dashboard Groups.

The Dashboard Basics topic in the product documentation shows you how dashboards and dashboard groups work in the web UI.

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