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Install Library

  1. Depend on the API library, which is available in Maven Central. The only transitive dependency is slf4j. For Gradle, the dependency is specified as follows:

    dependencies {
        compile ""
  2. Pick a Registry to bind, when initializing the application.

  3. If running at Netflix, see the Netflix Integration section.

Instrumenting Code

Suppose we have a server and we want to keep track of:

  • Number of requests received with dimensions for breaking down by status code, country, and the exception type if the request fails in an unexpected way.
  • Latency for handling requests.
  • Summary of the response sizes.
  • Current number of active connections on the server.

Here is some sample code that does that:

// In the application initialization setup a registry
Registry registry = new DefaultRegistry();
Server s = new Server(registry);

public class Server {
  private final Registry registry;
  private final Id requestCountId;
  private final Timer requestLatency;
  private final DistributionSummary responseSizes;

  public Server(Registry registry) {
    this.registry = registry;

    // Create a base id for the request count. The id will get refined with
    // additional dimensions when we receive a request.
    requestCountId = registry.createId("server.requestCount");

    // Create a timer for tracking the latency. The reference can be held onto
    // to avoid additional lookup cost in critical paths.
    requestLatency = registry.timer("server.requestLatency");

    // Create a distribution summary meter for tracking the response sizes.
    responseSizes = registry.distributionSummary("server.responseSizes");

    // Gauge type that can be sampled. In this case it will invoke the
    // specified method via reflection to get the value. The registry will
    // keep a weak reference to the object passed in so that registration will
    // not prevent garbage collection of the server object.
    registry.methodValue("server.numConnections", this, "getNumConnections");

  public Response handle(Request req) {
    final long s = System.nanoTime();
    requestLatency.record(() -> {
      try {
        Response res = doSomething(req);

        // Update the counter id with dimensions based on the request. The
        // counter will then be looked up in the registry which should be
        // fairly cheap, such as lookup of id object in a ConcurrentHashMap.
        // However, it is more expensive than having a local variable seti
        // to the counter.
        final Id cntId = requestCountId
          .withTag("status", res.status());


        return res;
      } catch (Exception e) {
        final Id cntId = requestCountId
          .withTag("status", "exception")
          .withTag("error", e.getClass().getSimpleName());
        throw e;

  public int getNumConnections() {
    // however we determine the current number of connections on the server

Netflix Integration

When running at Netflix, use the atlas-client library to enable transferring the instrumented data to Atlas. See the appropriate section for the type of project you are working on:


For libraries, the only dependency that should be needed is:

The bindings to integrate internally should be included with the application. In your code, just inject a Registry, e.g.:

public class Foo {
  public Foo(Registry registry) {

See the testing docs for more information about creating a binding to use with tests.

Libraries should not install SpectatorModule. The bindings to use for the Registry should be determined by the application that is using the library. Think of it as being like slf4j where logging configuration is up to the end-user, not the library owner.

When creating a Guice module for your library, you may want to avoid binding errors if the end-user has not provided a binding for the Spectator registry. This can be done by using optional injections inside of the module, for example:

// Sample library class
public class MyLib {
  Registry registry;

  public MyLib(Registry registry) {
    this.registry = registry;

// Guice module to configure the library and setup the bindings
public class MyLibModule extends AbstractModule {

  private static final Logger LOGGER = LoggerFactory.getLogger(MyLibModule.class);

  protected void configure() {

  private MyLib provideMyLib(OptionalInjections opts) {
    return new MyLib(opts.registry());

  private static class OptionalInjections {
    @Inject(optional = true)
    private Registry registry;

    Registry registry() {
      if (registry == null) {
        LOGGER.warn("no spectator registry has been bound, so using noop implementation");
        registry = new NoopRegistry();
      return registry;


Applications should include a dependency on the atlas-client plugin:


Note this is an internal-only library with configs specific to the Netflix environments. It is assumed you are using Nebula so that internal Maven repositories are available for your build. When configuring with Governator, specify the AtlasModule:

Injector injector = LifecycleInjector.builder()
    .withModules(new AtlasModule())

The Registry binding will then be available for injection as shown in the libraries section. The Insight libraries do not use any Governator or Guice specific features. It is possible to use Guice or other dependency injection frameworks directly with the following caveats:

  1. Some of the libraries use the @PostConstruct and @PreDestroy annotations for managing lifecycle. Governator adds lifecycle management and many other features on top of Guice and is the recommended way. For more minimalist support of just the lifecycle annotations on top of Guice, see iep-guice.
  2. The bindings and configuration necessary to run correctly with the internal setup are only supported as Guice modules. If you are trying to use some other dependency injection framework, then you will be responsible for either finding a way to leverage the Guice module in that framework or recreating those bindings and maintaining them as things change. It is not a paved path.

Base Server

If using base-server, then you will get the Spectator and Atlas bindings automatically.