SignalFx Developers Guide

Working with Dashboards

Dashboards are groups of charts that appear together and use the same filtering options. Each dashboard appears on a 12x100 logical grid with charts assigned to specific grid locations. Charts may be any size from 1x1 to 12x3; if you assign overlapping dashboard locations, SignalFx attempts to resize or reorganize the layout to ensure all the charts fit on the grid.

Every dashboard belongs to one and only one dashboard group, but a dashboard group can contain multiple dashboards.

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

Cloning dashboards

You can also save a "deep" copy of an existing dashboard into other dashboard groups. This is also known as cloning a dashboard. The copy has its own dashboard ID, and after you create it you can change its settings without affecting the original dashboard. Notice that SignalFx doesn’t let you save the copy into the same group as the original.

You can clone any dashboard including built-in dashboards, custom dashboards, and user dashboards. Use the operation POST https://api.{REALM}{DASHBOARD_GROUP_ID}/dashboard to clone a dashboard into an existing dashboard group. The request body contains the ID of the dashboard you want to clone.

Using cloned dashboards

Cloned dashboards have several uses:

  • If you test or develop new dashboards in your user-specific dashboard group, you can promote them to production when you’re ready by cloning them to a organization-wide dashboard

  • If you want to modify a built-in dashboard to better suit your needs, clone it first and then edit the cloned version however you wish.

Viewing dashboards

To view dashboards in the web UI that you create using the API, use their DASHBOARD_ID as follows:{DASHBOARD_ID}

The dashboard ID is always visible in the web UI for the dashboard.

These dashboards also appear in the catalog and in their associated dashboard group.

Deleting dashboards

When you delete a dashboard, the charts it contains become orphans. They’re unchanged, and you can add them to a new dashboard if you want.

When you delete a dashboard group, all of its dashboards are deleted, and all of the charts belonging to those dashboards are also deleted.

Types of dashboards

SignalFx supports three types of dashboards:

Built-in dashboards

SignalFx adds built-in dashboards during the user account creation process. Built-in dashboards aren’t editable, but you can retrieve their properties using these operations:

  • Get dashboards using search criteria: GET https://api.{REALM}{QUERY}

  • Get a single dashboard using its dashboard identifier DASHBOARD_ID: GET https://api.{REALM}{DASHBOARD_ID}

All built-in dashboards have their "Creator" property set to the system user ID AAAAAAAAAAA.

In addition, built-in dashboards have names and descriptions indicating that they’re built-in.

The charts associated with built-in dashboards are all v1 charts, so you can’t access them with the SignalFx API. To interact with these charts, you must use the web UI.

During the organization creation process, SignalFx adds dashboards related to the organization as well as dashboards containing sample data. As you add integrations to your organization, you get additional built-in dashboards associated with the integration.

User default dashboards

When SignalFx creates new account for users, it provides them with new dashboards and dashboard groups. These user default dashboards and groups offer a place where users can learn about, develop, and modify dashboards before moving them into production.

SignalFx creates user default dashboards when the user accepts an invitation to join the organization and can be updated after creation. They are returned in the Get Dashboard and Get Dashboards APIs and can be identified as follows:

  • The name of the dashboard is the email address of the associated user

  • The description of the dashboard is "Default dashboard."

  • The creator property of the dashboard is set to the associated user’s ID (instead of the system user ID used for most actions taken directly by the system)

  • The chartDensity property is set to "DEFAULT"

  • All other user-settable properties are null by default

Custom dashboards

All dashboards created via the SignalFx API are custom dashboards. These are the production dashboards used by an organization to monitor their systems. There are two types of custom dashboards:

Standard dashboards

Standard dashboards are created using the Create Dashboard] API call and provide full control of the number of included charts and their layout to their creator. They also support filters and event overlays for finer control over the chart data displayed within the dashboard. Standard dashboards are typically references just as dashboards with no additional qualifier.

Simple dashboards

Simple dashboards are dashboards created using the Create Simple Dashboard API call. This submits new chart object definitions without any additional information. These chart definitions are turned into new chart objects and added to a new dashboard in a new dashboard group using a default layout. The resulting simple dashboard contains no filters or event overlays.

Once created, a simple dashboard is indistinguishable from a standard dashboard that doesn’t define filters or event overlays and that uses the default simple dashboard layout rules; both types of dashboards are stored in the dashboard object type. If desired, layout adjustments can be made and filters and event overlays can be added to simple dashboards using Update Dashboard calls. However, the expectation is that dashboards requiring significant deviation from the simple dashboard defaults will be created as standard dashboards.

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