Set up Apache Superset with CrateDB

:spiral_notepad: Introduction

This walkthrough will guide you through the process to quickly set up a Python environment with Apache Superset, load data into CrateDB, and integrate both with each other.

It has been derived from a corresponding recipe we use on our CI systems to verify connectivity between Apache Superset and CrateDB.

:battery: Prerequisites

You will need Bash, Docker, and Python to be installed on your workstation. All other prerequisites will be installed into your working tree.

:hammer_and_wrench: Install

Set up a Python environment, and install and configure Apache Superset. You can locate the installation within an arbitrary folder on your workstation, for example ~/dev/cratedb-superset.

# Create and activate Python virtualenv.
python3 -m venv .venv
source .venv/bin/activate

# Install Apache Superset, CrateDB driver, and HTTPie http client.
pip install apache-superset sqlalchemy-cratedb httpie

You need to create a file, to configure an individual SECRET_KEY for your application.

echo "SECRET_KEY = '$(docker run --rm alpine/openssl rand -base64 42)'" >

This sequence of commands initializes the metadata database at ~/.superset/superset.db, and provisions a superuser account.

# Configure and initialize Apache Superset.
export FLASK_APP=superset
superset db upgrade
superset fab create-admin --username=admin --password=admin --firstname=admin --lastname=admin
superset init

:rocket: Start Services

Start CrateDB using Docker.

docker run --interactive --rm --pull=always \
  --publish=4200:4200 --publish=5432:5432 \
  --name=cratedb \
  --env CRATE_HEAP_SIZE=2g \
  crate:latest -Cdiscovery.type=single-node

Run Superset server.

superset run --port=9000 --with-threads

:open_file_folder: Load Data

Import six million records worth of data from the venerable NYC Yellowcab taxi ride dataset. Depending on the speed of the internet connection between the location of your database instance, and AWS S3, where data is loaded from, it may take about one minute of time.

This is a one-shot command using the crash database shell running in a Docker container, which includes a relevant SQL DDL statement to create the database table schema, and a COPY FROM statement to import data from a compressed JSON file located on AWS S3.

time docker run --interactive --rm --network=host crate:latest crash <<EOF
CREATE TABLE yellowcab (
  "pickup" geo_point,
  "dropoff" geo_point,
  "congestion_surcharge" REAL,
  "dolocationid" INTEGER,
  "extra" REAL,
  "fare_amount" REAL,
  "improvement_surcharge" REAL,
  "mta_tax" REAL,
  "passenger_count" INTEGER,
  "payment_type" INTEGER,
  "pickup_datetime" TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE,
  "pulocationid" INTEGER,
  "ratecodeid" INTEGER,
  "store_and_fwd_flag" TEXT,
  "tip_amount" REAL,
  "tolls_amount" REAL,
  "total_amount" REAL,
  "trip_distance" REAL,
  "vendorid" INTEGER,
  "month" AS date_format('%Y-%c', pickup_datetime)

COPY yellowcab 
  FROM '' 
  WITH ("compression"='gzip', "format"='json')

REFRESH TABLE yellowcab;
SELECT COUNT(*) FROM yellowcab;


:arrow_forward: Usage

You can operate CrateDB and Superset interactively, using the integrated web-based user interfaces. Alternatively, you can use their HTTP APIs.

Web User Interface

You should be ready to go. Now, you can explore the loaded data through user interfaces of CrateDB and Apache Superset.

In order to work with data in Apache Superset, before being able to create dashboards, you will need to establish connectivity between Apache Superset and CrateDB. To do that, you will connect a database instance and register a database table as a dataset.


Using Apache Supersetโ€™s HTTP API, you can automate the provisioning process. The commands outlined below are using HTTPie for that purpose, saving a few clicks and keystrokes.

Connect a database instance

# Authenticate and acquire a JWT token.
AUTH_TOKEN=$(http --session=superset http://localhost:9000/api/v1/security/login username=admin password=admin provider=db | jq -r .access_token)

# Acquire a CSRF token.
CSRF_TOKEN=$(http --session=superset http://localhost:9000/api/v1/security/csrf_token/ Authorization:"Bearer ${AUTH_TOKEN}" | jq -r .result)

# Create a data source item / database connection.
http --session=superset http://localhost:9000/api/v1/database/ \
  database_name="CrateDB Testdrive" engine=crate \
  sqlalchemy_uri=crate://crate@localhost:4200 \
  Authorization:"Bearer ${AUTH_TOKEN}" \

Register a database table

# Register database table as dataset.
http --session=superset http://localhost:9000/api/v1/dataset/ \
  Authorization:"Bearer ${AUTH_TOKEN}" \
  X-CSRFToken:"${CSRF_TOKEN}" \
  database=1 schema=doc table_name=yellowcab

Now, you can navigate to the Superset Web UI for exploring your newly created dataset, in order to create a dashboard.

:broom: Clean up

  1. The development web server of Apache Superset can be terminated by hitting CTRL+C.
  2. The CrateDB database instance running in a container can be terminated by either hitting CTRL+C, or by invoking docker rm cratedb --force.
  3. The metadata database of Apache Superset, where user accounts and database connections are stored, can be deleted by invoking rm ~/.superset/superset.db.