spotmarket – 0.4


Whew, this was a big step in the right direction. I added a lot of sanity (keep everything in UTC), usability, and cleanup to the existing design. We’ve got moongoo, the beginnings of indexes, and CREST killmail data now flowing in to the growing dataset. The backend was improved by migrating to PostgreSQL 9.5.1 and I also cleaned up the install directions to try to make it easier.

0.4 Release

[bug] Change timestamp for zkillboard and markethistory consumer to use UTC for mental sanity
[enhancement] Add 404 error page
[enhancement] Change to postgres 9.5.1 to support jsonb
[enhancement] Parameterize graph functions
[enhancement] Change date format in graphs to ISO for mental sanity
[enhancement] Standardize table formatting
[enhancement] Supervisor to make Flask web service persistent
[enhancement] Add jsonb index on data.killmails for typeID and solarSystemID
[enhancement] Add paging to zKillboard consumer
[enhancement] Add check to resume from last recorded page for zKillboard consumer
[enhancement] Add basic exception handling to zKillboard consumer
[new] Creation of ship index report



CREST Verified Moon Minerals

It is no secret that I have an affinity for finding accurate moon data. In a previous post, I’ve gone so far as to chart the regional density of each moon mineral, showing that there were built in skews as to where each type was placed for each class (R8, R16, etc).

In the Rubicon expansion, CCP introduced siphon units, which can be anchored near a POS to slowly leech items from within the shields. When an extractor is destroyed the killmail will show what moon mineral was in it. This, combined with the x,y,z location data that started to be exposed after the Parallax expansion, can be used to locate the nearest celestial object to give us a verified report of what moon mineral is contained in the object.

I gathered some examples for anyalisis, and over a long flight, I started to put some code together to use killmail x,y,z coordinates to parse CREST killmails. After implementation and testing, it has proven to be accurate so I’ve included the feature in this release. There is a manual step to get the moon mineral data into a table where it is used in the web frontend; I wanted to keep them separate to isolate the two datasets.

PostgreSQL Upgrade to 9.5.1

Rather than writing a parser for CREST killmails, I decided to store the JSON itself for simplicity. Developing on 9.3 with the json datatype proved to be a path that I did not want to go down. 9.3 is not the prefered version and lacked support for a fancy datatype inherit to 9.4+ and above. The following blog post also convinced me to migrate.

The proof is in the numbers so here’s a side-by-side comparison of the same query on the same dataset with only the datatype being different. The two virtual machines also had access to the same amount of CPU and RAM to control the results.


This query was proof enough that I made the right choice. Later that night while checking my logging table, I also noticed an improvement in insert speed.

9.3 (json) [kills] insert 2982 @ 93.81 rec/sec
9.5.1 (jsonb) [kills] insert 2850 @ 124.44 rec/sec

Not bad for about 45 minutes of testing and correcting install instructions.

0.5 Release

What’s up for the next release? Check out the for a full list of items slated for each release. The main focus is going to be putting more control in the web front end, letting you enable/disable import items, add item to the market/zKillboard watch list, etc.

spotmarket – 0.3-dev

Rapid Affirmative Coding

The last four weeks have been a rather busy development cycle for me. I finished up learning the basics of Python, have a working backend database, and have become more conformable with the frontend side of my platform. I’ve restructured a lot of items and have a vision down for the final architecture.


The end goal is to have everything in a Docker container so that anyone, anywhere can deploy; I want to aim for a ‘push-button-receive-data’ style of deployment. Let’s keep the IT wrangling to a minimum.

Currently the frontend that I have is build on Flask+Jinja2. As I have been developing the proof of concept out, I’ve found some limitations. James, who wrote the original trading program with me, has been pushing me towards AngularJS as the presentation framework.

Luckily I’ve kept to the original design principal of keeping every process that needs to communicate as an isolated component. With this design, any component can be replaced or moved and it is transparent to any other layer or neighboring service. Service ‘A’ could can be replaced with no impact to the front or backend, or the backend could be replaced with no impact to the services, and so on.

2015-12-15 stack design.png

Laundry List of Improvements and Highlights

1. We’ve Got Data


2. Improved Database Inserts

I rewrote the insert statements to use primary key constraints to perform error checking rather than selecting if the row exists and then inserting. PostgreSQL does have an UPSERT statement that I would like to utilize to gain even further insert speed, but that will have to come when I update my PostgreSQL version to 9.5+.

Before: [kills] insert 3128 @ 49.85 rec/sec
After: [kills] insert 2948 @ 94.84 rec/sec

3. RESTful API

Any presentation item that needs data receives it over an JSON API.



4. Multithreading Flask'', port=80, debug=True, threaded=True)


5. Using pgAdmin for Faster Query Generation 


6. Current State

There is a lot of polishing needed, but a lot of the ‘bricks’ as I call them have been put in place. Learning the basics of D3.js, how to return JSON from Pandas manipulated PostgreSQL data, and bootstrap-table for modern table UI all have been on a punch list to learn to get to this state.










What’s Next?

  • Bring on a partner that can help guide the frontend.
  • Deciding if Flask+Jinja2 is really the right frontend platform for this project (and me).
  • Migrating graphing to use height+length percentages rather than finite pixel amounts as the Bootstrap style supports many different formats. Currently the charts look horrible on any tablet or mobile device.
  • Parameterize charts and graphs.
  • Write consumer for CREST market prices.
  • Write consumer for zKillboard/CREST killmails.
  • Develop a proof of concept report for a Region that takes only the regionID as an input so that I learn how to build reporting for any region or Solar System.
  • Leveraging the power of Pandas by spending more time on the thinking problems: developing Indexes, finding trends, and learning about covariance.
  • Reach a good polish so I can publish a 0.3 release.
  • Learning how to create a Docker image.

Latest updates can be found on the 0.3-dev branch.