Activity tracking for Elixir apps

activity-feed, ecto, elixir, phoenix-framework



Hex.pm CircleCI

Loosely based on https://github.com/chaps-io/public_activity, a very simple utility for quickly setting up an activity stream in your Elixir/Ecto app.

More detailed examples of configuration and usage are in the tests.


Basic steps are

  1. Add Spur to your application deps

  2. Generate and run a migration that adds an activities table to your repo (see priv/test/migrations)

  3. Add the following config:

    config :spur, ecto_repos: [MyApp.Repo],
                  repo: MyApp.Repo

That's enough to start tracking arbitrary activities.

%Spur.Activity{actor: "caesar", action: "came", object: "your-county", meta: %{also: ["saw", "conquered"]}}

Fields are based on https://www.w3.org/TR/activitystreams-core/#example-1

Getting fancy


If you want to make use of automatic tracking of inserts, updates and deletes, make sure your objects implement the required fields as functions.

defmodule Battle do
  defimpl Spur.Trackable, for: Diddit do
    def actor(war), do: "Accounts.User:#{war.general_id}"
    def object(war), do: "war:#{war.id}"
    def target(_chore), do: nil

Now instead of using Repo to perform your operation, use Spur instead.

%MyApp.Battle{general_id: 5}
|> MyApp.Battle.changeset
|> Spur.insert

A record for both your Battle and an Activity with action set to insert will be stored in the DB. Of course, the Battle fails validations, neither will be inserted and the changeset will be returned with errors, just as Repo would. (Note: As of 0.3.0, Spur supports the expose_transactions config, which when sets to true returns the raw Ecto transaction. Us this if you need to access the created Activity struct.)


To automatically associate the Activity with an audience requires a bit of extra configuration:

  1. Add audience_module to your app's Spur config: audience_module: MyApp.Accounts.User
  2. Add a many_to_many association between your audience module's Ecto schema.By default Spur expects this to be named :activities
  3. If you want to name it something else, add another line to the config: audience_assoc_name: :silly_users
  4. Finally, make sure that your trackable objects implement audience. It should return either an Ecto query or a plain list of the audience objects configured with the above association.

Now when you use one of the callback's above to track an object, the resulting Activity will automatically be associated with the audience records returned for that object.

  # SpurTest.TrackableStruct
  def audience(trackable_struct), do: Ecto.assoc(trackable_struct, :watchers)

  [watcher] = trackable_struct.watchers

  |> Spur.update
  [%Spur.Activity{action: update}] = watcher.activities

<<Someone who finds a trace [Spur] certainly also knows that something has existed before and is now left behind. But one does not just take note of this. One begins to search and to ask oneself where it leads.>>

Hans Georg-Gadamer, "Hermeneutik auf dem Spur"