Doc > Hue SDK Documentation


Hue is generic and let's you integrate with other analytics systems so that for example your users can explore data with other databases. In addition, whole new apps can also be created in order to provide end user solutions.

Editor / Notebook

The goal of the Editor is to open-up data to more users by making self service querying easy and productive.

It is available in Editor or Notebook mode and will be integrated with the Dashboard soon. The Editor focuses on Apache Hive and Apache Impala but is also compatible with:

Other modes like MapReduce, Java, Shell, Sqoop are also available. Here is a list of the

Connectors are pluggable and can new engines can be supported. Feel free to comment on the!forum/hue-user of about it.


The SQL Editor page also describes the configuration steps.

Close to 100% of Hive and Impala grammar is supported which makes the autocomplete extremly powerful. Other languages defaults to a generic SQL grammar.

HiveServer2 API

Hive, Impala, SparkSQL

Python Connectors

MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, Phoenix, Presto, Kylin, Redshift, BigQuery, Drill


Use the query editor with any JDBC or Django-compatible database. JDBC connector

SQL Alchemy

SQL Alchemy supports comes with HUE-7621

Solr SQL

Solr connector




MapReduce, Pig, Java, Shell, Sqoop, DistCp Oozie connector

Spark / Livy


Dashboards are generic and support Solr and any SQL:

The API was influenced by Solr but is now generic:

Dashboard API





Solr Dashboard API

A similar backend to Solr would need to be developed: HUE-7828



Here is an example on how the Job Browser can list:


Here is an example on how the File Browser can list HDFS, S3 files and now ADLS.

Hue shell


The metadata API.

Data Catalog

Read more about Search and Tagging here.


Read more about the Query Assistant with Navigator Optimizer Integration .

New application

Building a brand new application is more work but is ideal for creating a custom solution.

Introduction and Overview

Hue leverages the browser to provide users with an environment for exploring and analyzing data.

Build on top of the Hue SDK to enable your application to interact efficiently with Hadoop and the other Hue services.

By building on top of Hue SDK, you get, out of the box:

This document will orient you with the general structure of Hue and will walk you through adding a new application using the SDK.

From 30,000 feet

From up on high

Hue, as a "container" web application, sits in between your Hadoop installation and the browser. It hosts all the Hue Apps, including the built-in ones, and ones that you may write yourself.

The Hue Server

Web Back-end

Hue is a web application built on the Django python web framework. Django, running on the WSGI container/web server (typically CherryPy), manages the url dispatch, executes application logic code, and puts together the views from their templates. Django uses a database (typically sqlite) to manage session data, and Hue applications can use it as well for their "models". (For example, the JobDesigner application stores job designs in the database.)

In addition to the web server, some Hue applications run daemon processes "on the side". For example, Spark runs a daemon ("livy_server") that keeps track of the Spark shells of the user. Running a separate process for applications is the preferred way to manage long-running tasks that you may wish to co-exist with web page rendering. The web "views" typically communicate with these side daemons by using Thrift (e.g., for Hive query execution) or by exchanging state through the database.

Interacting with Hadoop

Interacting with Hadoop

Hue provides some APIs for interacting with Hadoop. Most noticeably, there are python file-object-like APIs for interacting with HDFS. These APIs work by making REST API or Thrift calls the Hadoop daemons. The Hadoop administrator must enable these interfaces from Hadoop.

On the Front-End

Hue provides a front-end framework based on Bootstrap and Knockout js.

An Architectural View


A Hue application may span three tiers: (1) the UI and user interaction in the client's browser, (2) the core application logic in the Hue web server, and (3) external services with which applications may interact.

The absolute minimum that you must implement (besides boilerplate), is a "Django view" function that processes the request and the associated template to render the response into HTML.

Many apps will evolve to have a bit of custom JavaScript and CSS styles. Apps that need to talk to an external service will pull in the code necessary to talk to that service.

File Layout

The Hue "framework" is in desktop/core/ and contains the Web components. desktop/libs/ is the API for talking to various Hadoop services. The installable apps live in apps/. Please place third-party dependencies in the app's ext-py/ directory.

The typical directory structure for inside an application includes: ``` src/ for Python/Django code

conf/ for configuration (.ini) files to be installed

static/ for static HTML/js resources and help doc

templates/ for data to be put through a template engine

locales/ for localizations in multiple languages ```

For the URLs within your application, you should make your own which will be automatically rooted at /yourappname/ in the global namespace. See apps/about/src/about/ for an example.



Developing for the Hue SDK has similar requirements to running Hue itself. We require python (2.6 to 2.7), Django (1.6 included with our distribution), Hadoop (Apache Hadoop 2+), Java (Sun Java 1.8), and Browser (latest Chrome, Firefox or IE9+).

The following are core technologies used inside of Hue.

Fast-Guide to Creating a New Hue Application

Now that we have a high-level overview of what's going on, let's go ahead and create a new installation.

Download, Unpack, Build Distro

The Hue SDK is available from Github. Releases can be found on the download page. Releases are missing a few dependencies that could not be included because of licencing issues. So if you prefer to have an environment ready from scratch, it is preferable to checkout a particular release tag instead.

cd hue
## Build
make apps
## Run
build/env/bin/hue runserver
## Alternative run
build/env/bin/hue supervisor
## Visit http://localhost:8000/ with your web browser.

Run "create_desktop_app" to Set up a New Source Tree

./build/env/bin/hue create_desktop_app calculator
find calculator -type f
calculator/                                 # distutils setup file
calculator/src/calculator/               # main src module
calculator/src/calculator/               # app metadata setting
calculator/src/calculator/                   # url mapping
calculator/src/calculator/                  # app business logic

# Static resources
calculator/src/static/calculator/art/calculator.png # logo

To download an app or browse dditional plugin apps available in the Hue app store: ## Visit

Some apps are blacklisted on certain versions of CDH (such as the 'Spark' app) due to certain incompatibilities, which prevent them loading from in Hue. Check the hue.ini 'app_blacklist' parameter for details.

Install SDK Application

As you'll discover if you look at calculator's, Hue uses a distutils entrypoint to register applications. By installing the calculator package into Hue's python virtual environment, you'll install a new app. The "" tool manages the applications that are installed. Note that in the following example, the value after the "--install" option is the path to the root directory of the application you want to install. In this example, it is a relative path to "/Users/philip/src/hue/calculator".

    ./build/env/bin/python tools/app_reg/ --install calculator --relative-paths
    === Installing app at calculator
    Updating registry with calculator (version 0.1)
    --- Making egg-info for calculator
If you'd like to customize the build process, you can modify (or even complete rewrite) your own `Makefile`, as long as it supports the set of required targets. Please see `Makefile.sdk` for the required targets and their semantics.

Congrats, you've added a new app!

What was that all about? virtualenv is a way to isolate python environments in your system, and isolate incompatible versions of dependencies. Hue uses the system python, and that's about all. It installs its own versions of dependencies. Entry Points are a way for packages to optionally hook up with other packages.

You can now browse the new application.

# If you haven't killed the old process, do so now.
build/env/bin/hue runserver

And then visit http://localhost:8000/ to check it out! You should see the app in the left menu.

Customizing Views and Templates

Now that your app has been installed, you'll want to customize it. As you may have guessed, we're going to build a small calculator application. Edit calculator/src/calculator/templates/index.mako to include a simple form:

<%!from desktop.views import commonheader, commonfooter %>
<%namespace name="shared" file="shared_components.mako" />

${commonheader("Calculator", "calculator", user, "100px") | n,unicode}

## Main body

<div class="container-fluid">
  % if op:
  <span>${a} ${op} ${b} = ${result}</span>
  % endif
  <form action=${url("calculator.views.index")} method=POST>
    ${ csrf_token(request) | n,unicode }
    <input name="a">
    <input type="radio" name="op" value="add" />+
    <input type="radio" name="op" value="subtract"/>-
    <input type="radio" name="op" value="multiply"/>*
    <input type="radio" name="op" value="divide"/>/
    <input name="b">
    <input type="submit" value="Calculate">
${commonfooter(messages) | n,unicode}

The template language here is Mako, which is flexible and powerful. If you use the ".html" extension, Hue will render your page using Django templates instead.

Note that we used the url() function to generate the URL to the calculator view. This trick protects you a bit from changing URLs.

Let's edit calculator/src/calculator/ to process that form:

#!/usr/bin/env python

from desktop.lib.django_util import render
import operator

OPS=dict(add=operator.add, subtract=operator.sub, multiply=operator.mul, divide=operator.truediv)
OP_STRING=dict(add="+", subtract="-", multiply="*", divide="/")

def index(request):
  if "op" not in request.REQUEST:
    return render('index.mako', request, dict())
  a = float(request.REQUEST["a"])
  b = float(request.REQUEST["b"])
  op = request.POST["op"]
  result = OPS[op](a, b)
  return render('index.mako', request,
    dict(a=a, b=b, op=OP_STRING[op], result=result))

You can now go and try the calculator. If you set everything up right, you should see something like:

A Look at some Existing Apps

Job Browser

ADLS Browser

Backend Development

This section goes into greater detail on useful features within the Hue environment.

User Management

Except for static content, request.user is always populated. It is a standard Django models.User object. If you were to set a breakpoint at the index() function in our calculator app, you will find:

>>> request.user
<User: test>
"Under the covers:" Django uses a notion called middleware that's called in between the request coming in and the view being executed. That's how request.user gets populated. There's also a middleware for Hue that makes sure that no pages are displayed unless the user is authenticated.


Configuration File

Hue uses a typed configuration system that reads configuration files (in an ini-style format). By default, Hue loads all *.ini files in the build/desktop/conf directory. The configuration files have the following format:

# This is a comment
[ app_name ]          # Same as your app's name
app_property = "Pink Floyd"

[[ section_a ]]         # The double brackets start a section under [ app_name ]
a_weight = 80         # that is useful for grouping
a_height = 180

[[ filesystems ]]       # Sections are also useful for making a list
[[[ cluster_1 ]]]       # All list members are sub-sections of the same type
namenode_host = localhost
# User may define more:
# [[[ cluster_2 ]]]
# namenode_host =

Configuration Variables

Your application's is special. It provides access to the configuration file (and even default configurations not specified in the file). Using the above example, your should define the following:

Your Hue application can automatically detect configuration problems and alert the admin. To take advantage of this feature, create a config_validator function in your

  def config_validator(user):
    config_validator(user) -> [(config_variable, error_msg)] or None
    Called by core check_config() view.
    res = [ ]
    if not REQUIRED_PROPERTY.get():
      res.append((REQUIRED_PROPERTY, "This variable must be set"))
    if MY_INT_PROPERTY.get() < 0:
      res.append((MY_INT_PROPERTY, "This must be a non-negative number"))
    return res
You should specify the help="..." argument to all configuration related objects in your The examples omit some for the sake of space. But you and your application's users can view all the configuration variables by doing:
    $ build/env/bin/hue config_help

Running "Helper Processes"

Some Hue applications need to run separate daemon processes on the side. For example, BeeswaxServer is responsible for managing Hive query states. The Hue "views" communicate with it through Thrift and shared states in the Django database.

Suppose your application needs a helper You need to register it by:

The next time Hue restarts, your my_daemon will start automatically. If your daemon program dies (exits with a non-zero exit code), Hue will restart it.

"Under the covers:" Threading. Hue, by default, runs CherryPy web server. If Hue is configured (and it may be, in the future) to use mod_wsgi under Apache httpd, then there would be multiple python processes serving the backend. This means that your Django application code should avoid depending on shared process state. Instead, place the stored state in a database or run a separate server.

Walk-through of a Django View

Django Flow

Django is an MVC framework, except that the controller is called a "view" and the "view" is called a "template". For an application developer, the essential flow to understand is how the "" file provides a mapping between URLs (expressed as a regular expression, optionally with captured parameters) and view functions. These view functions typically use their arguments (for example, the captured parameters) and their request object (which has, for example, the POST and GET parameters) to prepare dynamic content to be rendered using a template.

Templates: Django and Mako

In Hue, the typical pattern for rendering data through a template is:

from desktop.lib.django_util import render

def view_function(request):
  return render('view_function.mako', request, dict(greeting="hello"))

The render() function chooses a template engine (either Django or Mako) based on the extension of the template file (".html" or ".mako"). Mako templates are more powerful, in that they allow you to run arbitrary code blocks quite easily, and are more strict (some would say finicky); Django templates are simpler, but are less expressive.

Django Models

Django Models are Django's Object-Relational Mapping framework. If your application needs to store data (history, for example), models are a good way to do it.

From an abstraction perspective, it's common to imagine external services as "models". For example, the Job Browser treats the Hadoop JobTracker as a "model", even though there's no database involved.

Accessing Hadoop

It is common for applications to need to access the underlying HDFS. The request.fs object is a "file system" object that exposes operations that manipulate HDFS. It is pre-configured to access HDFS as the user that's currently logged in. Operations available on request.fs are similar to the file operations typically available in python. See for details; the list of functions available is as follows: chmod, chown, exists, isdir, isfile, listdir (and listdir_stats), mkdir, open (which exposes a file-like object with read(), write(), seek(), and tell() methods), remove, rmdir, rmtree, and stats.

Making Your Views Thread-safe

Hue works in any WSGI-compliant container web server. The current recommended deployment server is the built-in CherryPy server. The CherryPy server, which is multi-threaded, is invoked by runcpserver and is configured to start when Hue's supervisor script is used. Meanwhile, runserver start a single-threaded testing server.

Because multiple threads may be accessing your views concurrently, your views should not use shared state. An exception is that it is acceptable to initialize some state when the module is first imported. If you must use shared state, use Python's threading.Lock.

Note that any module initialization may happen multiple times. Some WSGI containers (namely, Apache), will start multiple Unix processes, each with multiple threads. So, while you have to use locks to protect state within the process, there still may be multiple copies of this state.

For persistent global state, it is common to place the state in the database or on the Browser local storage.

Authentication Backends

Hue exposes a configuration flag ("auth") to configure a custom authentication backend. See See for writing such a backend.

In addition to that, backends may support a manages_passwords_externally() method, returning True or False, to tell the user manager application whether or not changing passwords within Hue is possible.


Applications may define permission sets for different actions. Administrators can assign permissions to user groups in the UserAdmin application. To define custom permission sets, modify your app's to create a list of (identifier, description) tuples:

  ("delete", "Delete really important data"),
  ("email", "Send email to the entire company"),
  ("identifier", "Description of the permission")

Then you can use this decorator on your view functions to enforce permission:

@desktop.decorators.hue_permission_required("delete", "my_app_name")
def delete_financial_report(request):

Using and Installing Thrift

Right now, we check in the generated thrift code. To generate the code, you'll need the thrift binary version 0.9.0. Please download from

The modules using Thrift have some helper scripts like for regenerating the code from the interfaces.

Profiling Hue Apps

Hue has a profiling system built in, which can be used to analyze server-side performance of applications. To enable profiling::

build/env/bin/hue runprofileserver

Then, access the page that you want to profile. This will create files like /tmp/ The format for the file names is /tmp/

Hue uses the hotshot profiling library for instrumentation. The documentation for this library is located at:

You can use kcachegrind to view the profiled data graphically::

$ hotshot2calltree /tmp/ > /tmp/xyz.trace
$ kcachegrind /tmp/xyz.trace

More generally, you can programmatically inspect a trace::

import hotshot.stats
import sys

stats = hotshot.stats.load(sys.argv[1])
stats.sort_stats('cumulative', 'calls')

This script takes in a .prof file, and orders function calls by the cumulative time spent in that function, followed by the number of times the function was called, and then prints out the top 100 time-wasters. For information on the other stats available, take a look at this website:

Django Models

Each app used to have its own model to store its data (e.g. a SQL query, a workflow). In Hue 3 a unification of all the models happened and any app now uses a single Document2 model: desktop/core/src/desktop/ This enables to avoid simply re-use document creation, sharing, saving etc...


Hue is Ajax based and has a REST API used by the browser to communicate (e.g. submit a query or workflow, list some S3 files, export a document...). Currently this API is private and subject to change but can be easily reused. You would need to GET /accounts/login to get the CSRF token and POST it back along username and password and reuse the sessionid cookie in next communication calls.

With Python Request

Hue is based on the Django Web Framework. Django comes with user authentication system. Django uses sessions and middleware to hook the authentication system into request object. HUE uses stock auth form which uses “username” and “password” and “csrftoken” form variables to authenticate.

In this code snippet, we will use well-known python “requests” library. we will first acquire “csrftoken” by GET “login_url”. We will create python dictionary of form data which contains “username”, “password” and “csrftoken” and the “next_url” and another python dictionary for header which contains the “Referer” url and empty python dictionary for the cookies. After POST request to “login_url” we will get status. Check the r.status_code. If r.status_code!=200 then you have problem in username and/or password.

Once the request is successful then capture headers and cookies for subsequent requests. Subsequent request.session calls can be made by providing cookies=session.cookies and headers=session.headers.

import requests

def login_djangosite():
 next_url = "/"
 login_url = "http://localhost:8888/accounts/login?next=/"

session = requests.Session()
 r = session.get(login_url)
 form_data = dict(username="[your hue username]",password="[your hue password]",
 r =, data=form_data, cookies=dict(), headers=dict(Referer=login_url))

# check if request executed successfully?
 print r.status_code

cookies = session.cookies
 headers = session.headers

 cookies=session.cookies, headers=session.headers)
 print r.status_code

# check metadata output
 print r.text

Read more about it here. is tracking a more official public API.

Upgrade path

After upgrading the version of Hue, running these two commands will make sure the database has the correct tables and fields.

./build/env/bin/hue syncdb
./build/env/bin/hue migrate

Front-end Development

Developing applications for Hue requires a minimal amount of CSS (and potentially JavaScript) to use existing functionality. As covered above, creating an application for the Hue is a matter of creating a standard HTML application.

In a nutshell, front-end development in Hue is using Bootstrap and Knockout js to layout your app and script the custom interactions.

CSS Styles

Hue uses Bootstrap version 2.0 CSS styles and layouts. They are highly reusable and flexible. Your app doesn't have to use these styles, but if you do, it'll save you some time and make your app look at home in Hue.

On top of the standard Bootstrap styles, Hue defines a small set of custom styles in desktop/core/static/css/jhue.css.

Defining Styles for Your Application

When you create your application it will provision a CSS file for you in the static/css directory. For organization purposes, your styles should go here (and any images you have should go in static/art). Your app's name will be a class that is assigned to the root of your app in the DOM. So if you created an app called "calculator" then every window you create for your app will have the class "calculator". Every style you define should be prefixed with this to prevent you from accidentally colliding with the framework style. Examples:

/* the right way: */
.calculator p {
  /* all my paragraphs should have a margin of 8px */
  margin: 8px;
  /* and a background from my art directory */
  background: url(../art/paragraph.gif);
/* the wrong way: */
p {
  /* woops; we're styling all the paragraphs on the page, affecting
     the common header! */
  margin: 8px;
  background: url(../art/paragraph.gif);


You should create an icon for your application that is a transparent png sized 24px by 24px. Your file should point to your icon via the ICON variable. The create_desktop_app command creates a default icon for you.

If you do not define an application icon, your application will not show up in the navigation bar.

Hue ships with Twitter Bootstrap and Font Awesome 3 ( so you have plenty of scalable icons to choose from. You can style your elements to use them like this (in your mako template):

<!-- show a trash icon in a link -->
<a href="#something"><i class="icon-trash"></i> Trash</a>

Static files

For better performances, Hue uses the Django staticfiles app. If in production mode, if you edit some static files, you would need to run this command or make apps. No actions are needed in development mode. ./build/env/bin/hue collectstatic

Adding Interactive Elements to Your UI

Hue by default loads these JavaScript components:

These are used by some Hue applications, but not loaded by default:

These standard components have their own online documentation, which we will not repeat here. They let you write interactive behaviors with little or no JavaScript.

Debugging Tips and Tricks



Building with make docs


After changing the CSS in a .less file, rebuilding with: make css


How to update all the messages and compile them::

make locales

How to update and compile the messages of one app::

cd apps/beeswax
make compile-locale

How to create a new locale for an app::

cd $APP_ROOT/src/$APP_NAME/locale
$HUE_ROOT/build/env/bin/pybabel init -D django -i en_US.pot -d . -l fr



Getting a namespace

     $.post("/metadata/api/navigator/namespace/", {
        namespace: 'huecatalog'
      }, function(data) {

Creating a namespace

     $.post("/metadata/api/navigator/namespace/create/", {
        "namespace": "huecatalog",
        "description": "my desc"
      }, function(data) {

Creating a namespace property

     $.post("/metadata/api/navigator/namespace/property/create/", {
        "namespace": "huecatalog",
        "properties": ko.mapping.toJSON({
          "name" : "relatedEntities2",
          "displayName" : "Related objects",
          "description" : "My desc",
          "multiValued" : true,
          "maxLength" : 50,
          "pattern" : ".*",
          "enumValues" : null,
          "type" : "TEXT"
      }, function(data) {

Map a namespace property to a class entity

     $.post("/metadata/api/navigator/namespace/property/map/", {
        "class": "hv_view",
        "properties": ko.mapping.toJSON([{
           namespace: "huecatalog",
           name: "relatedQueries"
      }, function(data) {


The short story

Install the mini cluster (only once): ./tools/jenkins/ slow

Run all the tests: build/env/bin/hue test all

Or just some parts of the tests, e.g.: build/env/bin/hue test specific impala build/env/bin/hue test specific impala.tests:TestMockedImpala build/env/bin/hue test specific impala.tests:TestMockedImpala.test_basic_flow

Jasmine tests (from your browser):


Longer story

The test management command prepares the arguments (test app names) and passes them to nose (django_nose.nose_runner). Nose will then magically find all the tests to run.

Tests themselves should be named * These will be found as long as they're in packages covered by django. You can use the unittest frameworks, or you can just name your method with the word "test" at a word boundary, and nose will find it. See apps/hello/src/hello/ for an example.

Helpful command-line tricks

To run tests that do not depend on Hadoop, use: build/env/bin/hue test fast

To run all tests, use: build/env/bin/hue test all

To run only tests of a particular app, use: build/env/bin/hue test specific E.g. build/env/bin/hue test specific filebrowser

To run a specific test, use: build/env/bin/hue test specific E.g. build/env/bin/hue test specific useradmin.tests:test_user_admin

Start up pdb on test failures: build/env/bin/hue test --pdb --pdb-failure -s

Point to an Impalad and trigger the Impala tests: build/env/bin/hue test impala

Run the Jasmine tests

Special environment variables


When specified, the console logger is set to the given log level. A console logger is created if one is not defined.

DESKTOP_DEBUG A shorthand for DESKTOP_LOG_LEVEL=DEBUG. Also turns on output HTML validation.

DESKTOP_PROFILE Turn on Python profiling. The profile data is saved in a file. See the console output for the location of the file.

DESKTOP_LOG_DIR=$dir Specify the HUE log directory. Defaults to ./log.

DESKTOP_DB_CONFIG=$db engine:db name:test db name:username:password:host:port Specify alternate DB connection parameters for HUE to use. Useful for testing your changes against, for example, MySQL instead of sqlite. String is a colon-delimited list. Point to an Impalad and trigger the Impala tests.

Writing tests that depend on Hadoop

Use! You should tag such tests with "requires_hadoop", as follows:

from nose.plugins.attrib import attr

def your_test():

Jenkins Configuration

Because building Hadoop (for the tests that require it) is slow, we've separated the Jenkins builds into "fast" and "slow". Both are run via scripts/, which should be kept updated with the latest and greatest in build technologies.