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Powering SQL Draw with Rockset, Retool and dbt


When you have been one of many 15,000 individuals who attended Coalesce 2021, you’ll seemingly bear in mind SQL Draw, the Slack-based recreation combining SQL with cartesian geometry, artwork, creativity and teamwork. When you missed it, you’ll be able to learn extra about SQL Draw on the Omnata web site.

Under are a couple of of the artworks that acquired probably the most votes:

Behind the scenes, SQL Draw is made up of two elements:

The core recreation is constructed as a Slack app with a completely serverless backend structure. That is the half the place customers work together with a bot to attract on a canvas:


bot to draw on a canvas

The leaderboard and paintings browser are constructed with Retool because the frontend and Rockset because the backend.

That is in order that customers can see a real-time, ranked listing of artworks with out having to scroll again by way of the Slack channel:


real-time ranked list

Within the core recreation APIs, AWS Lambda dealt with all of the Slack occasions with paintings metadata, question historical past, reactions and all different structured knowledge being saved in DynamoDB (sure, regardless of the sport utilizing a Postgres engine, there wasn’t truly a central occasion!)

For these unfamiliar, DynamoDB makes database scalability a breeze, however with some main caveats. As a key-value NoSQL database, storing and retrieving particular person data are its bread and butter. However querying within the conventional RDBMS sense (like making use of filters to completely different fields, sorting, grouping, becoming a member of) will not be potential.

We had chosen Retool to construct the UI, as we wished one thing quick and easy as an alternative of deploying our personal internet stack.

For the backend, we selected Rockset. Omnata are early believers in Rockset, and companions since early 2021.

Getting began with Rockset was easy. Rockset is a real-time analytics database designed for sub-second queries and real-time ingest. It additionally matches properly into our structure with built-in integrations to DynamoDB and Retool.

The Rockset deployment course of was easy:

  • Create a DynamoDB integration
  • Create a assortment (which is sort of a desk) for every of our DynamoDB tables
  • Utilizing their dbt adapter, create views that are up to date in real-time as new knowledge arrives. For instance, uncooked reactions in Slack wanted to be transformed right into a votes leaderboard
  • Deploy question lambdas for Retool to make use of. Question Lambdas make it straightforward to create knowledge APIs. Question Lambdas are named parameterized SQL queries saved in Rockset that may be executed from a devoted REST endpoint, in our case by Retool
  • Add a Rockset useful resource in Retool to supply the connection to Rockset

The preliminary integration took lower than half-hour, after which every time we would have liked a dbt mannequin uncovered to Retool, we merely re-ran the dbt mission.

With Retool, you’ll be able to construct a totally purposeful UI with tables, filter controls, and so forth. inside a few hours.

So, by leaning on Rockset and Retool, in a matter of hours we’d deployed a fully-fledged, publicly out there, real-time internet app which supported all kinds of search capabilities. I might sort a SQL Draw question in Slack, and see the paintings change within the Retool app in lower than a second.

Right here’s the ultimate structure:


SQL Draw architecture

I’ve been doing a little flavour of programs integration for the previous 15 years, and normally I end a mission and suppose “it shouldn’t have taken that a lot effort”. So it’s actually unimaginable to lastly see this degree of simplicity emerge out there.

Word: This put up was initially posted on the Omnata weblog.

James is the CEO and Founding father of Omnata, a tech startup constructing knowledge integration for the trendy knowledge stack.



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