Build the Modern Data Stack with Snowflake, dbt, and ThoughtSpot

1. Overview

Duration: 2:00

Today's businesses rely on the most up-to-data information to take advantage of market changes, understand trends, and grow. The modern data stack is critical to unlocking this data by using modern technologies to store, transform, and visualize this data. During this tutorial, you will learn how to use some of the major components of the modern data stack to derive business insights using modern software development practices.

The key technologies in the modern data stack you will use are:

Snowflake is the Data Cloud for storing and managing data. It simplifies data pipelines, so you can focus on data and analytics instead of infrastructure management.

dbt is a transformation workflow that lets teams quickly and collaboratively deploy analytics code following software engineering best practices like modularity, portability, CI/CD, and documentation. Now anyone who knows SQL can build production-grade data pipelines. It transforms data in the warehouse, leveraging cloud data platforms like Snowflake.

ThoughtSpot is the UX layer for your data. It provides powerful, natural language search and rich visualization tools for self-service analytics. In addition, developers can share and embed data anywhere using APIs and SDKs in leading programming languages.

Let's get started.

What You'll Use During the Lab

- A trial Snowflake account with ACCOUNTADMIN access

- A dbt Cloud account

- A ThoughtSpot account

What You'll Learn

- How to build scalable data transformation pipelines using dbt & Snowflake

- How to use ThoughtSpot to search and visualize data, and embed into web apps

- How to connect Snowflake,dbt, and ThoughtSpot to deliver immediate value from the modern data stack

2. Let's Get Started With Snowflake

Duration: 10:00

  • To create a Snowflake trial account, follow this link and fill out the form before clicking Continue. You’ll be asked to choose a cloud provider and for the purposes of this workshop any of them will do. After checking the box to agree to the terms, click Get Started. Once your account is created you’ll receive an email confirmation. Within that email, click the Click to Activate button and then create your login credentials. You should now be able to see your account!
  • For a detailed Snowflake UI walkthrough, please refer here. From here on out we’ll be using the new Snowflake UI (Snowsight) and any Snowflake specific directions you see will be for Snowsight. Feel free to use the Snowflake Classic UI as it won’t affect your dbt experience, but it may change the location of certain features within Snowflake.
  • Next, we will create a schema and some basic tables. To do this, select the Worksheets tab , then click the blue Worksheet button in the upper right hand corner of the page to create a new worksheet.

4. Create the database and schema

create database thoughtspot;
create schema thoughtspot.dbtqs;

5. Now create three tables:

Customers

create table thoughtspot.dbtqs.customers 
( id integer,
  first_name varchar,
  last_name varchar
);

copy into thoughtspot.dbtqs.customers (id, first_name, last_name)
from 's3://dbt-tutorial-public/jaffle_shop_customers.csv'
file_format = (
  type = 'CSV'
  field_delimiter = ','
  skip_header = 1
);

Orders

create table thoughtspot.dbtqs.orders
( id integer,
  user_id integer,
  order_date date,
  status varchar,
  _etl_loaded_at timestamp default current_timestamp
);

copy into thoughtspot.dbtqs.orders (id, user_id, order_date, status)
from 's3://dbt-tutorial-public/jaffle_shop_orders.csv'
file_format = (
  type = 'CSV'
  field_delimiter = ','
  skip_header = 1
);

Payments

create table thoughtspot.dbtqs.payment 
( id integer,
  orderid integer,
  paymentmethod varchar,
  status varchar,
  amount integer,
  created date,
  _batched_at timestamp default current_timestamp
);

copy into thoughtspot.dbtqs.payment (id, orderid, paymentmethod,
status, amount, created)
from 's3://dbt-tutorial-public/stripe_payments.csv'
file_format = (
  type = 'CSV'
  field_delimiter = ','
  skip_header = 1
);

Once complete, execute the following statement to confirm everything is set up correctly:

select * from thoughtspot.dbtqs.customers;
select * from thoughtspot.dbtqs.orders;
select * from thoughtspot.dbtqs.payment;

Great! Now it’s time to set up dbt Cloud.

3. Launching dbt Cloud via Partner Connect

Duration: 5:00

  • We are going to use Snowflake Partner Connect to set up your dbt Cloud account and project. Using Partner Connect will allow you to create a complete dbt account with your Snowflake connection, managed repository, environments, and credentials with just a few clicks.
  • In the Snowflake UI, click on the home icon in the top left hand corner of the screen. To access Partner Connect, click on your user and then click Partner Connect.

Check to make sure your role is set as the ACCOUNTADMIN role. If you do not see Partner Connect in the dropdown, select Admin from the left hand navigation and choose Partner connect there If you're using the classic console, the Partner Connect button will be in the top bar just right of center.

  • Find the dbt tile by typing dbt into the Search Partner Connect search bar. Click on the dbt tile.
  • You should now see a popup that says Connect to dbt that contains all of the associated objects created by Partner Connect. Click on the Optional Grant dropdown menu and add Thoughtspot in the text box. This will grant your new dbt user role access to the database. Once that’s entered, click Connect. This will create a dedicated dbt user, database, warehouse, and role for your dbt Cloud trial.

4. Setup project

  • When you see the popup that says “Your partner account has been created”, click on Activate.
  • You should be redirected to a dbt Cloud registration page. Fill out the form and make sure to save the password somewhere for login in the future.
  • Click on Complete Registration. You should now be redirected to your dbt Cloud account, complete with a connection to your Snowflake account, a deployment and a development environment, as well as a sample job.
  • To help you version control your dbt project we have connected it to a managed repository, which means that dbt Labs will be hosting your repository for you. This will give you access to a git workflow without you having to create and host the repository yourself. You will not need to know git for this workshop; dbt Cloud will help guide you through the workflow. In the future, when you're developing your own project, feel free to use your own repository.

Duration: 7:00

  • Now that our dbt Cloud account is set up, let's make a few changes to the automated Snowflake connection to use the THOUGHTSPOT database. Once you are logged in, click the cog in the right hand corner, select Account Settings, then Linked Accounts from the left hand navigation. Finally, select Partner Connect Trial

  • Edit the configuration details and change the schema to THOUGHTSPOT
  • Let's open up the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and familiarize ourselves with some of the key product features. Click on the hamburger menu in the upper left hand corner of the screen and then click Develop.
  • When the IDE is done loading, click on the green initialize your project button in the upper left hand corner of the screen. The initialization process creates a dbt project in the file tree on the left hand side of the screen with all of the core dbt files and folders needed.
  • After the initialization is finished, you should see a new folder structure in the left hand sidebar. As we move through the workshop we’ll be sure to touch on a few key files and folders that we’ll work with to build out our project.
  • Next click commit in the upper left hand corner to commit the new files and folders from the initialize step. We always want our commit messages to be relevant to the work we’re committing, so be sure to provide a message, “initialize project” and click Commit in the pop-up window.
  • Committing your work here will save it to the managed git repository that was created during the Partner Connect signup. This initial commit is the only commit that will be made directly to our main branch and from here on out we’ll be doing all of our work on a development branch. This allows us to keep our development work separate from our production code.
  • Once committed, go ahead and tap create a new branch, giving the name thoughtspot-tutorial. Once it is created, we can go ahead and delete a few example models that were created when we initialized the project. Expand the models folder and click the ... to the right of example, then choose delete

Create Sources

To add sources to your project:

  • Create a new YAML file in the models directory, named models/sources.yml
  • Add the following contents to the file:

version: 2

Sources:
  - name: dbtqs_raw
    database: thoughtspot
    schema: dbtqs
    Tables:
      - name: customers
      - name: orders

5. Build your first model

Duration: 12:00

Now that we have our project set up, let's make some new models via dbt. Click the models folder and tap ..., then select New file. Name it models/customers.sql. Paste the following query and save.

with customers as (

    Select
        id as customer_id,
        First_name,
        Last_name

    from {{ source('dbtqs_raw', 'customers') }}
),

orders as (
    Select
        id as order_id,
        user_id as customer_id,
        Order_date,
        Status
    from {{ source('dbtqs_raw', 'orders') }}
),

customer_orders as (
    Select
        Customer_id,
        min(order_date) as first_order_date,
        max(order_date) as most_recent_order_date,
        count(order_id) as number_of_orders    from orders
    group by 1
),

final as (
    Select
        Customers.customer_id,
        Customers.first_name,
        Customers.last_name,
        Customer_orders.first_order_date,
        Customer_orders.most_recent_order_date,
        coalesce(customer_orders.number_of_orders, 0) as number_of_orders
    from customers

    left join customer_orders using (customer_id)
)

select * from final

Save your changes, and enter dbt run in the command line prompt at the bottom of the dbt browser window and tap enter.

If everything is successful, you should see a pass message.

6. Building models to separate logic

Duration: 12:00

  • As a best practice in SQL, you should separate logic that cleans up your data from logic that transforms. We already have a good start with our table structure. dbt makes it extremely easy to extend this to further separate out any logic into separate models. We will create the following structure

  • Create a new SQL file, models/stg_customers.sql, with the SQL from customers in our original query.

Select
    id as customer_id,
    First_name,
    Last_name

from {{ source('dbtqs_raw', 'customers') }}

Create a second new SQL file, models/stg_orders.sql, with the SQL from orders in our original query.

Select
    id as order_id,
    user_id as customer_id,
    Order_date,
    Status

from {{ source('dbtqs_raw', 'orders') }}

Then, edit models/customers.sql to include these models.

with customers as (
    select * from {{ ref('stg_customers') }}
),orders as (
    select * from {{ ref('stg_orders') }}
),

customer_orders as (
    Select
        Customer_id,
        min(order_date) as first_order_date,
        max(order_date) as most_recent_order_date,
        count(order_id) as number_of_orders
    from orders
    group by 1
),

final as (
    Select
        Customers.customer_id,
        Customers.first_name,
        Customers.last_name,
        Customer_orders.first_order_date,
        Customer_orders.most_recent_order_date,
        coalesce(customer_orders.number_of_orders, 0) as number_of_orders
    from customers

    left join customer_orders using (customer_id)
)

select * from final

If everything looks right, your Lineage view after saving models/customers.sql should look like this. All that is left to do is build your models using dbt run. This time, when you performed a dbt run, separate views/tables were created for stg_customers, stg_orders and customers. dbt inferred the order to run these models. Because customers depend on stg_customers and stg_orders, dbt builds customers last. You do not need to explicitly define these dependencies.

7. Test and document models

Duration: 10:00

dbt provides integrated testing and documentation tools to make it very easy to ensure your models perform as expected. The ThoughtSpot dbt wizard also uses the generated documents to introspect the schema.

Create Tests

To add tests to your project:

  • Create a new YAML file in the models directory, named models/schema.yml
  • Add the following contents to the file:

version: 2models:  - name: customers    columns:      - name: customer_id        tests:          - unique          - not_null  - name: stg_customers    columns:      - name: customer_id        tests:          - unique          - not_null  - name: stg_orders    columns:      - name: order_id        tests:          - unique          - not_null      - name: status        tests:          - accepted_values:              values: ['placed', 'shipped', 'completed', 'return_pending', 'returned']      - name: customer_id        tests:          - not_null          - relationships:              to: ref('stg_customers')              field: customer_id

Create Tests & Documentation

  • Run dbt test, and confirm that all your tests passed.

Adding documentation to your project allows you to describe your models in rich detail, and share that information with your team. Here, we're going to add some basic documentation to our project.

Update your models/schema.yml file to include some descriptions, such as those below.

version: 2models:  - name: customers    description: One record per customer    columns:      - name: customer_id        description: Primary key        tests:          - unique          - not_null      - name: first_order_date        description: NULL when a customer has not yet placed an order.  - name: stg_customers    description: This model cleans up customer data    columns:      - name: customer_id        description: Primary key        tests:          - unique          - not_null  - name: stg_orders    description: This model cleans up order data    columns:      - name: order_id        description: Primary key        tests:          - unique          - not_null      - name: status        tests:          - accepted_values:              values: ['placed', 'shipped', 'completed', 'return_pending', 'returned']      - name: customer_id        tests:          - not_null          - relationships:              to: ref('stg_customers')              field: customer_id

Run dbt docs generate to generate the documentation for your project. dbt introspects your project and your warehouse a series of json files with metadata about your project, including lineage. Once generated, tap the Documentation tab to see your generated docs alongside those of the dbt platform.

8. Schedule a job

  • Now that your project is complete, make sure that everything is saved and commit it to your repo by tapping the commit button, providing a commit message, then choosing merge to main once the commit is successful.

Duration: 5:00

All that is left is to deploy your job/project.

  • Tap on Deploy and select Environments
  • Select Deployment, and tap Settings, then Edit
  • Scroll down to the very bottom until you see Schema. Change the value to all upper case. Eg: the generated schema credentials for my environment was dbt_QWall. It needs to be DBT_QWALL. Save you changes
  • NOTE: This is to resolve an issue with the current build of the ThoughtSpot+dbt Wizard which will be fixed in the next release.
  • Once you changes are save, tap Deployment in the breadcrumb menu and select Partner Connect Trial Job
  • Tap settings to confirm generate docs on run is checked.
  • Tap Partner Connect Trial Job from the breadcrumb menu to return to the job run history page.
  • Tap Run now. In about a minute you should see that your job has run successfully. Our dbt project is ready to go!

9. Get started with ThoughtSpot

Duration: 10:00

Now that you've created your models, the next step is helping business users derive insights from the data. This is where ThoughtSpot works as the user experience layer for the modern data stack. ThoughtSpot provides self-service analytics to allow users to find the answers they need and uncover additional insights they need to make better, more informed decisions.

The first step is to sign up for a free trial account. In a few minutes you will receive a verification email. Complete the steps to access your ThoughtSpot environment. Initially, you will be presented with a product tour, feel free to follow through the tour or tap the ThoughtSpot logo to skip.

Connect to Snowflake

The first thing that we need to do is create a connection to Snowflake. Tap the data tab from the top menu , then connections from the left hand navigation, and finally the Snowflake tile. Make sure you have your snowflake account open in another browser window. You will need some configuration information to complete the wizard

Follow the connection wizard using the information below, giving your connection the name ts+dbt_tutorial.

Field name

Value

Account name or snowflake URL

This is the 8 digit snowflake instance number. You can access via the snowflake URL line.

User

The username you signed up with in Snowflake

Password

Your snowflake password

Role

PC_DBT_ROLE

Data Warehouse

PC_DBT_WH

Database

PC_DBT_DB

Once you have entered your configuration details and tapped continue, ThoughtSpot will retrieve a list of schemas your account has access to. You should see a schema with a unique name based on your id. For example, in the image below, my schema is DBT_QWALL If you do not, double check your configuration details above.

Go ahead and tap Create Connection. For now, all we need is the snowflake connection to be established correctly.

10. Create Worksheets

Duration: 10:00

Now that we have our connection to Snowflake established, we can take advantage of the models created in dbt to dynamically create worksheets and liveboards within ThoughtSpot.You can think of a worksheet as a normalized view of the data designed for the business, and liveboards as dynamic dashboards with the ability to continuously drill into the information to uncover insights.

ThoughtSpot understands dbt yaml definitions to help us dynamically create everything. Tap on data in the top menu, then this time, choose utilities. The utilities section contains a number of tools to help you with data on the platform. We are going to take advantage of the dbt integration wizard. Go ahead and tap on the open dbt integration wizard button.

Within the wizard, select ts+dbt_tutorial as the data warehouse. This will automatically set the database to PC_DBT_DB. Next, connect to your dbt project via dbt cloud with the information below.

Field name

Value

API Key

Within dbt Cloud, tap the cog in the top right, select Account Settings > API Access. Scroll down and copy the API key.

Account Id

Within dbt Cloud, make sure you are in the project you created earlier in this tutorial, then get account ID from the URL as shown below

Project Id

You can grab the project id from same URL as account id

Once you have entered all the fields, tap next. You will be presented with a list of folders to import. Your project has just one folder, creatively named models which contains your 3 models. Select that folder and tap Next.

Review the dbt tables you want. In our tutorial, we want them all, so you can tap Finish.

The wizard will now create tables and worksheets (logical views of data) within ThoughtSpot based on your models. If everything is successful, you will see two worksheets that are ready to search on. The great thing is that all your modeling work to create the Customers table is applied to your worksheet. Tap Exit to finish the wizard.

Add Synonyms

We can take advantage of some additional features in ThoughtSpot to make it easier for data to be searched. Many businesses use different terms across business units or in different countries. For example, some parts of the company might use "Last Name" whereas others use "Surname". ThoughtSpot allows you to assign synonyms to columns for easier searching. We will add two to the customers table.

Tap Data, and select Customers_Worksheet from the list, being careful not to select the Customers table by accident. There is no problem doing so, but worksheets are the logical view that we want to work with here.

Then, scroll to the right until you see the Synonyms column. In the Last_Name row, add “Surname”. Then in the Most_Recent_Order row add “Last Order” as a synonym. Finally, tap Save Changes.

11. Create Answers & Liveboards

Duration: 10:00

Let's go ahead and start searching our data. Tap Search Data from the top menu then, tap choose sources. Select CUSTOMERS_WORKSHEET and tap Done.

You will now be in the ThoughtSpot search interface. Go ahead and enter the following search term in the search box: Surname, NUMBER_OF_ORDERS monthly and tap Go. This will create a line chart which isn't exactly what we want. Tap the chart icon and select Stacked Column.

You will now see a chart showing March was a big month in sales. Hover over the colored blocks to see how many orders a customer made in that month. (Customer surnames are a single letter in the sample data we loaded into Snowflake). You might have noticed that we used the Surname synonym too. Nice job!

Rename the search to "Monthly orders", then tap the ... and select Save, and finally Save answer.

Next, we want to pin it to a Liveboard. You can think of a Liveboard as a collection of related Answers to help you run your business. We want a liveboard to know more about our orders and customers. Tap the Pin button, Select Create Liveboard and call it “Customer Insights”. Then tap the blue tick and Pin to pin it to your new board.

Let's create one more answer. Tap Search data to start a new search. Your customers_worksheet should still be selected. This time, we want to keep track of repeat customers. Add the following search: count CUSTOMER_ID NUMBER_OF_ORDERS >= 2 and Tap Go. ThoughtSpot knows this is a single result and will display the data accordingly. Rename the answer to "Gold Customers" and tap Pin to add it to your Liveboard.

Finally, tap on Liveboards from the Top Navigation and select Customer Insights.

Congratulations. You've created your first visualizations using ThoughtSpot and dbt. We only scratched the surface of ThoughtSpot analytics, but it demonstrates how easily you can leverage dbt models to quickly uncover insights in your data.

12. Developer Playground

Duration: 10:00

Now that we have our answers and liveboards created, the next step is to embed these same components into a web app. This is a very common scenario for internal portals, adding analytics to existing apps, and sharing with customers for B2B scenarios. Think about how often you use embedded analytics in your daily lives: on your smartwatch to track fitness activity, within your banking app to keep track of credit scores and budgets, and of course, rideshare and shopping apps. Almost every app we use is driven by data.

ThoughtSpot makes it incredibly easy to embed these insights. To get started, whenever you embed components from ThoughtSpot into your webapp,you need to know their unique identifier and what interactive attributes you can set. The easiest way to do this, and have ThoughtSpot generate much of the code for you, is to use the Developer Playground.

Search Answers

Tap on Develop from the top navigation bar and select Playground from the right hand menu. Then, make sure the Select feature to embed is Search. Tap Select saved search, and choose “Monthly Orders”. As soon as you select this, the code window will update highlighting the unique identifier, answerId. Copy and paste this id to your clipboard. We will use this in our web app shortly.

You can also experiment with checking any of the user experience customizations and instantly see the code change. With the Developer Playground, you can save time searching through docs for the parameters you need. Just point and click to get the code you need. The Developer Playground is a great resource for experimenting with what you can do with the platform. When you are ready, tap Run to see the results rendered in the Playground.

Liveboards

Next, choose Liveboard from the Select feature to embed dropdown, then select Customer Insights and tap run. Copy and paste the liveboardId to your clipboard.

13. Embed analytics into web app

Duration: 15:00

Now that you have your answerId and liveboardId, it’s time to start embedding them into your web app. We are going to use the Visual Embed SDK to add our Answers and Liveboards to a React-based web app. To make things easy, we will use CodeSandbox, a web based IDE and runtime environment for building web apps.

Using CodeSandbox means we don’t need to spend time configuring our local environment for React development. The good news is that ThoughtSpot Everywhere uses the languages and developer processes you already know and love. If you already have your local environment setup for React development, feel free to use that.

Set up your project

In your browser, go to codesandbox.io and tap the Create a Sandbox button on the top right of the page, then select the React template. This will create a very simple web app, with code on the left, and rendered page on the right.

Next, add the ThoughtSpot Visual Embed SDK as a dependency to your project. Type @thoughtspot into the dependency pane, then select the Visual Embed SDK from the autocomplete dropdown.

Replace the contents of App.js with the following code, and save your changes. Your ThoughtSpot trial URL may begin with my1.thoughtspot.cloud or my2.thoughtspot.cloud, so match it accordingly. Save your changes.

import "./styles.css";import { init, AuthType } from "@thoughtspot/visual-embed-sdk";init({  thoughtSpotHost: "https://my1.thoughtspot.cloud",  authType: AuthType.None});export default function App() {  return (    <div className="App">      <h1>Hello ThoughtSpot Everywhere </h1>      <p>This is a simple demo embedding ThoughSpot in a React App.</p>         </div>  );}

You will notice that the code includes some logic to authenticate with ThoughtSpot. In this tutorial, we are using AuthType.None. This will prompt the user to log in when the page loads. This is fine for the tutorial, but not recommended for a production app. For a detailed overview of security options supported by the Visual Embed SDK, please check out the online documentation.

Embed the Search Component

Let’s embed the “Monthly orders” Search Answer. Right click on the src folder in your project, and select New File. Call it SearchComponent.js. Then, add the following code, replace YOUR-ANSWER-HERE with the searchId you pasted into your clipboard, and save your changes. The Visual Embed SDK comes with React components to make embedding analytics incredibly easy. In addition to React, you can use Typescript, Vanilla JavaScript, or other frameworks just as easily.

import "./styles.css";import { init, AuthType } from "@thoughtspot/visual-embed-sdk";import { SearchEmbed } from "@thoughtspot/visual-embed-sdk/react";export const SearchComp = () => {  return (    <SearchEmbed      frameParams={{ height: "80vw" }}      answerId={"YOUR-ANSWERID-HERE"}    />  );};

Next, update App.js to import the SearchComponent and render the results by adding the component within your App() function:

import { SearchComp } from "./SearchComponent";init({  thoughtSpotHost: "https://try.thoughtspot.cloud",  authType: AuthType.None});export default function App() {  return (    <div className="App">      <h1>Hello ThoughtSpot Everywhere </h1>      <p>This is a simple demo embedding ThoughSpot in a React App.</p>      <SearchComp />    </div>  );}

As soon as you save your changes, the right hand frame will reload prompting you to log into ThoughtSpot. Once authenticated your Search Answer will render. You can click and interact with the results drilling down to further uncover insights.

Embed the Liveboard Component

Embedding a Liveboard component is very similar to embedding a Search component. Go ahead and create a new page in the src directory of your CodeSandbox project. Call it LiveboardComponent.js, and add the following code, replacing YOUR-LIVEBOARD-HERE with the liveboardId from your clipboard. If you no longer have the liveboardId, you can always get it from the Developer Playground.

import { LiveboardEmbed } from "@thoughtspot/visual-embed-sdk/react";export const LiveboardComp = () => {  return (    <LiveboardEmbed      frameParams={{ height: "80vw" }}      liveboardId={"YOUR-LIVEBOARDID-HERE"}    />  );};

Then, modify App.js to import the LiveboardComponent and render that component instead of the SearchComponent. Your completed App.js should look similar to this:

import "./styles.css";import { init, AuthType } from "@thoughtspot/visual-embed-sdk";import { SearchComp } from "./SearchComponent";import { LiveboardComp } from "./LiveboardComponent";init({  thoughtSpotHost: "https://try.thoughtspot.cloud",  authType: AuthType.None});export default function App() {  return (    <div className="App">      <h1>Hello ThoughtSpot Everywhere </h1>      <p>This is a simple demo embedding ThoughSpot in a React App.</p>      <LiveboardComp />    </div>  );}

Save your changes, and the Liveboard will now render within your app. Great job!

14. Summary

Duration: 5:00

Throughout this tutorial you've created, connected, and implemented the major aspects of the modern data stack: you started with a Snowflake database and loading data into a schema, then leveraged dbt to model your data using modern development practices, and finally connected that dbt model to ThoughtSpot to derive analytics from the data to deliver business insights. Finally, you took the ThoughtSpot analytics and embedded them into a React-based web app to make it easier for all users to benefit. Sit back and congratulate yourself. It's time to have a well earned coffee.