Chartbrew v2 and beyond
10 min read

Chartbrew v2 and beyond

It took almost 2 years' worth of work to get to v2 from the initial out of Beta in November 2020. The new version is a culmination of updates added to the platform during this time and a complete UI re-design to modernize the look and feel
Chartbrew v2 banner

It took almost 2 years' worth of work to get to v2 from the initial out of Beta in November 2020. The new version is a culmination of updates added to the platform during this time and a complete UI re-design to modernize the look and feel.

In this blog post, I'm going to go through some of the major updates that Chartbrew has seen in these last 2 years, what is coming next, and how I'm planning to make this a sustainable business moving forward.

What's new in Chartbrew v2

This section will go through the updates in no particular order.

New UI with Dark Mode support

The UI is completely changed from the previous version, but the location and functionality of the features remain the same. These will be improved incrementally in v2 to not confuse the users with a drastic change.

The new UI is more fluid, modern, and comes with dark mode support out of the box. Rest your eyes while looking at those shiny charts of yours!

The new dashboard view in Dark Mode and Light Mode
The new dashboard view in Dark Mode and Light Mode

Fully customizable client reports

This update is central to making Chartbrew a good observability tool for the team that is using Chartbrew but also makes it easy to share this information with stakeholders. The result was a separate view of the main dashboard that can be customized to match the company's branding.

A view of the report editor with different menu options and editable logo
A view of the report editor with different menu options and editable logo

The report is also easy to share with multiple options such as completely public, password-protected and embedded on a 3rd party site.

Sharing settings for the reports
Sharing settings for the reports
How to create and customize client reports
When creating client reports, it’s important to apply a brand so the stakeholders know what the stats are for. This tutorial will show you how to do that.

Firebase Realtime Database integration

Something few competitors have tried is to integrate Firebase into their tools. Chartbrew now does this and users can connect to their Firebase Realtime Database to visualize their data.

Visualize your Firebase Realtime Database with Chartbrew
Connect to Firebase Realtime Database to create reports and visualize your data. This tutorial will show you how to connect and create your first chart.

Firestore integration

Users can also connect to Firestore to visualize their data. The connection for both Realtime Database and Firestore works in the same way, but the data fetching UI is slightly different. The interfaces are both no-code, so there is no need to know how to code to get the data you want to visualize.

Fetching data from Firestore for visualization
Fetching data from Firestore for visualization
How to visualize your Firestore data with Chartbrew
Connect, query, and visualize your Firestore data with Chartbrew. A step-by-step tutorial on how you can start creating your insightful dashboard.

Google Analytics integration

Highly requested, Google Analytics made an appearance in Chartbrew, and also got its template on the platform. The template generates some of the most common visualizations that you get in the GA UI as well. This integration will be updated in v2 to support GA4 properties.

Chartbrew dashboard with Google Analytics data
Chartbrew dashboard with Google Analytics data
Create your Google Analytics dashboard in Chartbrew
Learn how you can power up your Chartbrew dashboards with the Google Analytics integration. Get to know your data with Chartbrew.

Customer.io integration

The customer.io integration required a bit more work, but it is quite powerful and offers a lot of customization options. When working on this integration, I also had the pleasure to work closely with a customer of both Chartbrew and Customer.io, which helped me design an optimal experience using the integration.

The integration covers both customer and campaign stats. The integration for campaigns can go even deeper and give information about how customers interact with a single action in the campaign or even links in emails.

Fetching data from customer.io using the Chartbrew integration
Fetching data from customer.io using the Chartbrew integration
Visualize and report on Customer.io data with Chartbrew
Chartbrew can now integrate with Customer.io to get data about customers and visualize it with beautiful charts and live reports.

Dashboard templates

The dashboard templates feature is still in the early version of the implementation as I have big plans for this one. Currently, it's possible to use community templates, which are pre-made dashboards that just require connection parameters to connect to your data sources. These templates will then automatically create visualizations for you.

Community templates in Chartbrew
Community templates in Chartbrew

The other option is for each team to have a collection of templates that they can reuse within their organization. Users can create complete dashboards from these templates, or choose only some of the charts in a template to add to an already existing project.

User-generated templates in Chartbrew
User-generated templates in Chartbrew
How to create custom dashboard templates in Chartbrew
Replicating a dashboard for different clients has never been easier. This tutorial will walk you through how to use the new template feature.

Previously, it was possible to share charts by making them public, so the platform was reliant on a flag to be on or off. With the new updates, the chart sharing feature became more flexible, by keeping the chart private and offering a public link for sharing.

Sharing & Embedding options for charts in Chartbrew
Sharing & Embedding options for charts in Chartbrew

New onboarding sequence

The aim with Chartbrew is to be able to get from signup to a useful dashboard in as less time as possible. The onboarding sequence is meant to help with this. The current implementation goes from creating a project to selecting a starter dashboard template or connection.

Onboarding starting mode in Chartbrew
Onboarding starting mode

Bring your Chartbrew dashboards in Strapi

A new important update was to add Strapi dashboard templates used within a Strapi plugin. It is now possible to use the official Chartbrew plugin to access your dashboards directly in the Strapi admin view.

Chartbrew plugin view in the Strapi dashboard
Chartbrew plugin view in the Strapi dashboard

Exporting dashboards to Excel spreadsheets

A very powerful feature within Chartbrew is the ability to export chart data in Excel. This can also be useful if you want to export data from your data sources through Chartbrew. There is a more detailed explanation of how this works in this blog post:

Export dashboards to Excel sheets
This post will show you how you can connect to multiple data sources and export the data to excel sheets. Supports APIs, databases, Firestore, and more.

Formulas

The formulas are useful if you want to change the final values on the chart. Some examples are changing cents values to full dollars or adding strings at the start or end of the value.

Add formulas to manipulate the final value on the chart
Add formulas to manipulate the final value on the chart

Exposed chart filters for viewers

The filters received an important update to allow viewers to interact with the chart data. The filters have a new option that will expose them and make them appear at the top of your charts. These filters are session-based, which means that if a viewer changes the filter, it will only change the chart data for them.

Exposed chart filters on Chartbrew

Authentication methods for API connections

When creating a new API connection, you can now specify what kind of authentication is required to access the data. This authentication method will be automatically used every time a request goes to the API. Currently, Chartbrew supports Basic auth and Bearer token.

API connection configuration in Chartbrew
API connection configuration

More pagination options for API requests

Most APIs take advantage of pagination features to limit the amount of data that is fetched for each call. Chartbrew can paginate requests automatically, so if you want to get all the data from the API, Chartbrew will paginate these requests for you. There are multiple pagination templates available and this covers most of the API use-cases.

API pagination options in Chartbrew
API pagination options in Chartbrew

Granular project access within a team

The team feature released with v1 was a bit limited in the fact that each user had the same access to all the projects. This feature was enhanced and now the admins can give granular access over the projects to the team members. The invitation method was also changed from email to a sharing link to make it easier to share with teams over chat.

Granular project access within teams in Chartbrew
Granular project access within teams

Table views and Polar, Radar, and doughnut charts

Surprisingly enough, v1 did not launch with all these visualization types. The star of the show is the table view, which is used quite extensively by Chartbrew users. The Table view comes with extra options such as the ordering of columns, pagination, and grouping.

Table views in Chartbrew
Table views in Chartbrew

Chart + KPI view and growth calculation

A more recent update, allows for an easy view of the growth state of a certain dataset. This adds to the other views available in Chartbrew and now there are 3 options:

  1. Chart view
  2. KPI view
  3. Chart + KPI view
The new KPI and growth view in Chartbrew
The new KPI and growth view in Chartbrew

Official Docker images for self-hosting

With the help of others from the open source community, there is an official Docker image for Chartbrew that others can use to quickly get the project up and running on their servers. Check it out below:

Docker Hub

There are lots of other updates not mentioned here, but the blog post will become too long!

Next plans

The plan doesn't go far into the future as things change too fast and focus can change without prior notice. I like to keep things flexible and iterate along the way. That said, there are some major updates on the whiteboard that will be addressed in the near future.

Datasets

  • Reorder datasets
  • Join datasets on custom fields
  • Objectify datasets - re-use them to quickly generate new charts

Filters

  • Assign variables to each filter to use when making data requests
  • Name filters (useful for public ones)
  • Change the design of public filters to appear more like widgets on the charts

Official Airtable integration

Currently, Airtable lacks an easy way to visualize data and more and more users turn to Chartbrew for help. It will be even easier for these users to take advantage of seamless integration between Airtable and Chartbrew. The new integration will be available in Chartbrew soon.

Formulas

More formulas will be added to Chartbrew as in the current state the feature is a bit limiting.

Add support for GA4

Universal Analytics properties are already usable within Chartbrew, but the new properties are not usable. The integration will need to be updated to work with these.

Tables

  • Make tables smarter to identify data types
  • Editable format (dates, currency, numbers)

2FA

Due to the sensitivity of the data within a Chartbrew team, 2-Factor Authentication will be made available soon.

Chartbrew as a business

Chartbrew is an open-source project, but it also works as a business. While working on the next versions of the platform, the business aspect will be taken into account as well. Chartbrew is 100% bootstrapped and at the moment of writing, it's making $600 in monthly recurring revenue. This is not fully sustainable yet, but things are moving in the right direction.

The current business plan of offering managed service access as a paid version will remain the main revenue stream and nothing is planned to change in the near future.

The business stats are available here as always:

Chartbrew - Visualize your data in one place
Chartbrew allows you to connect all your databases and APIs to create beautiful live charts and visualize your data
Public Chartbrew dashboard

Onwards to v3!