Monday, April 17, 2017

Aspiring Hari Seldon - Part 3 - Releasing REST Forecasts

Check out part 2

After playing with Prophet, I wanted a way to distribute the data more publicly.  I could have just incorporated it into our R templates and made it part of the show, but I felt like that was unfair to the general public.

(Though it required a ground-up rework) I used the Flask Restful app we were providing for EVE Mogul.  Though this turned out to be a complete rewrite, I learned a lot about Flask and testing to make things go.

What They Don't Tell You

One of the biggest pains of self-teaching is it's very easy to learn enough to be useful, but not enough to be good.  And the Flask documentation is particularly bad about giving up the barebones of what does what, but totally forgets to sell a viable project shape, leading to a lot of pain later.

Since the original OHLC feed was based loosely off a work project (as a way to test out corners on my own time), it repeated a design flaw.  Turns out there's a very particular Flask shape, and deviating from it causes a lot of problems.  

Some examples to avoid pitfalls:
By using the prescribed Flask structure, all the pieces from launcher to test make a lot more sense.  Particularly, testing was one of the more difficult pieces of the picture.

About The Endpoint

Because of the CPU-intensive operation of running predictions, I wanted to incorporate two features:
  • API keying
  • Caching
Though I'm happy to share the source, and open up to the community, I'm not ready for full-hog release.  TL;DR: There are a couple of Flask eccentricities, and gdoc integration could cause some serious issues.  Also, uncached performance can run north of 15s, which could cause issues for some platforms.

To help get around "walled garden" accusations, I've done a few things:
  1. I've left copious notes and automation on how to deploy the service on your own webhost
  2. I've provided API keys to some other market devs such as EVE Mogul and Adam4EVE
  3. I am happy to distribute keys on-request to other devs
The goal is to get the content out to the widest audience possible, even if the raw data is a little unwieldy.  And due to my limitations as a developer, this is my compromise.  

Predictions In The Wild


Though my API service is designed to give you soup-to-nuts everything you need to plot in the REST payload, Ethan02 over at Adam4EVE added his own DB to keep us honest.  I totally love this!  As of right now, it's still in their DEV branch, but expect to see more from them soon!


Extending the existing OHLC candlestick plot, EVE Mogul will let you keep close tabs on what you're currently trading, and this is an excellent chance to gut-check your investments.


Check out the source: ProsperAPI

I didn't get to share all the other super-nerdy #devfleet stuff (like travis-ci integration, or PyPI release).  I will probably try to release more notes on python stuff directly on Medium going forward.

This was an eye opening project in a lot of ways.  This opens the door for more micro-service REST stuff in the future.  Also, I do plan to have the PLEX split covered before CCP releases it on May 9th.


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