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7 December, 2017

Drive telematics diagnostics beyond ordinary with flespi toolbox

flespi toolbox offers comprehensive channel, device, stream, and modem logs, messages history, and more to refine operation of your flespi-based infrastructure.

flespi ecosystem is growing — we are creating a collection of complementing services under the flespi umbrella. The youngest member of the family is the flespi toolbox — an all-round diagnostic environment for fine-grain debugging and analysis of any activity within the flespi platform. This guide intends to provide practical knowledge that you can start applying to the telematics side of your business straight away.

flespi toolbox login screen

Just log in by (i) clicking the Toolbox menu item in the panel, or (ii) clicking the toolbox icon on the specific item in the panel

flespi toolbox login options

or (iii) pasting the token from the flespi panel and you get access to a wealth of information about every item in your infrastructure — channels, devices, streams, and modems; the tabs in the top right corner allow easy navigation between the types.

flespi toolbox main window

The screen above shows the channels tab; however, it will look the same for devices and modems — all of which have logs on top and messages at the bottom. The Streams only has the logs part since they only forward messages but do not store them.

The channel (or another item) selector is right under the logo. To the right of it sits the button switching between historical and real-time logs. Note, that real-time mode also shows a few recent historical messages above the red line.

Now let’s see when flespi toolbox comes in handy, what specific functionality stands behind it, and how your journey through thousands of records can still be effective.

Logs tell stories

Pretty much every action with the item (channel, device, etc.) is logged. This means that you can view at which step the problem occurred, type of problem, when it took place, and more.

For example, you can check the specific error codes within a certain period. Or, if someone made unauthorized changes to your channel settings, you can see when it happened and which specific parameters were affected.

If you want more details, add a custom column to the table — just specify the parameter name to see it on the screen:

flespi toolbox customize columns

Most actions result from REST API calls that may be imperfect. A tiny information icon to the left of the event code leads to the page in the REST API documentation related to the log record and can help understand the source of the problem.

flespi toolbox info icon rest api

Messages carry value

Messages are the core of telematics communication — they are the raw material for any decisions and insights. You don’t need to make a REST API request to view messages, toolbox presents detailed message information in a chronological order and allows easy flicking (just click an arrow button ->). Message viewer is particularly helpful for debugging, but you can come up with countless uses depending on your tasks and issues.

For instance, you set up a tracker to send messages every 20 seconds, but suspect that fewer are coming. You can filter messages by ident of the target tracker and look through the timestamps to see if messages arrive as frequently as expected.

If you want to see specific settings within a message, just click anywhere on the message line. You can also add custom columns to the messages table as with logs (see above).

flespi toolbox messages settings

The copy button in the action column allows copying the entire message content in JSON format and pasting it either to a text editor, or email to a hardware manufacturer or wherever else you may need.

Filters simplify search

Both logs and messages panels feature an identical filter control for quicker navigation through the records. Hover over the column title to see the parameter name to use in the filter.

Here are the supported filtering expressions:

  • logical comparisons (>,>=,<,<=,=) with numeric values — e.g. “duration>20”:
    flespi toolbox filter numeric condition
  • finds a given substring in a string parameter value — e.g. “ident=*est*”:
    flespi toolbox filter string condition
    Wildcard (*) at the beginning of the substring instructs to look for inclusion anywhere in the parameter value (not only from the first position). The "*" at the end tells filter to perform text value serach (not numeric one).
  • several comma-separated conditions — commas are interpreted as an AND statement (all conditions should be met), e.g. “ident=*pass*,duration>40”:
    flespi toolbox filter complex condition

Colors focus attention

The color scheme used for the log records intends to drag your attention to events in order of importance: red ones require immediate attention (errors, failures); yellow ones usually refer to updates, changes, sending messages; green ones report successes, and grey ones signify correct termination or closing.

flespi toolbox logs color scheme

Settings customize experience

The ways you will use toolbox are plenty and diverse that is why we tried to make it flexible.

Gear button on the top right opens global settings which currently include the refresh frequency for the real-time mode and the number of lines shown in each of the two tables on the main screen (1000 by default; reduce on slow browsers).

The Ratio button underneath the Setting button allows changing the proportion of screen the logs and the messages panels occupy.

flespi toolbox settings and ratio

More is coming soon

What we offer now is only the beginning! We want to transform the routine log crawling job into a productive pastime. Our developers are currently working on or contemplating the following advancements to the flespi toolbox:

  • showing logs for containers and abques
  • seeing device location and drawing route tracks
  • giving partial access to logs to the hardware manufacturers

Tell us what features can improve your experience, and we’ll gladly consider them.

And surely try the joint power of the flespi panel and the flespi toolbox.

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21 June, 2018 | flespi features | Anton Kulichenko

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