Self service analytics: Metabase

What is Metabase?

Metabase is an open source BI tool that is build around one core concept: asking questions. It enables the users to explore their data by asking questions and visualizes the answers in the way that makes most sense for them.

Running Metabase on Heroku

You can easily check Metabase on Heroku using the one-click deploy button that is currently supported. The official repository for the Heroku buildpack can be found here.

It is not necessary to connect to any data source in order to test the application since it comes with a demo database to play with. It takes a few seconds for our dyno to build the application but soon we are greeted with the new homepage that recently changed on v0.43.

Every user has access to ‘Our analytics’, and their own personal Collection. Collections are the main way to organize questions, dashboards, and models.We can also browse through the available database we have access to.

In our case we have access only to the default ‘Sample Database’ that ships with the application. You can also have a deep dive on each table and check the available metadata such as table/column descriptions and caveats and extra information that is configurable by the instance Admins.

Let’s make our first question!

One of the available tables is containing reviews with some Lorem ipsum text for the review body. Let’s try to answer the following question: ‘What is the distribution of the given review scores of the Gadget products?’.

We ll start with a new question using the Reviews as the base of our question. In order to include more information about the category of the Product in order to only choose the Gadgets we can do a LEFT JOIN on ‘Product on Reviews.Product_Id = Product.Id and then filter on Product.Category = ‘Gadget’. To summarize our rows we need to count the number of rows per Rating. The following question will look like this:

What about more complex Questions?

Using the Query builder is an easy and quick way to find an answer on your questions. In case we want to make more complex questions we can write our own SQL query.



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