Altair® Panopticon


Adding an External Input

Sources data directly from a Kafka topic.


1.    In the Application page, click  and select External_input in the Add Operator pane.

The External Input node  icon displays in the Graph panel, as well as the properties to be defined in the Operator Settings panel, and the preview of the data in the Schema panel.


This operator serves as the initial source of the data in the application. The right (outbound) edge allows you to connect to other operators.

2.    In the Operator Settings panel, define or select the following properties:



Node ID

The ID of the external input operator.

Input Type

Select the input type: STREAM, TABLE, or GLOBAL_TABLE.


Select the priority of the node’s startup:

·         APPLICATION – running and successful completion of the node is critical in the application startup.

·         HIGHEST – highest priority but not critical.

·         HIGH (Default) – high priority but not critical.

·         STANDARD – standard priority.

·         LOW – low priority.


The stream of records or input you will be subscribed to.

From Beginning

Check to retrieve full history (from beginning to the latest) of the topic. If un-checked, only the latest messages after the application has started will be retrieved.

Partition Count

Enter the number of partitions for the Kafka topics that will be created for the External Input operator.

Partitions allow you to parallelize a topic by splitting the data in a particular topic across multiple brokers wherein, each partition can be placed on a separate machine to allow for multiple consumers to read from a topic in parallel.

NOTE: The External Input topic pulls the default partition count from the provided topic meta with generate schema call.



Node ID, Input Type, and Topic properties are required.



3.    In the Key section, click to add a key column from the data source schema. Repeat to add more.

You can also delete a key column in the list by checking its box and clicking .

4.    Select the Parser Plugin:

·         Avro


·         XML


·         JSON


·         Text

If Text has been selected, confirm the Column Delimiter and Text Qualifier, and if the first row of the message includes column headings.


5.    Enter or select the following properties:




The column name of the source schema.


The column name of the target schema.

XPath/Json Path/Index

The column name of the target schema.


The data type of the column. Can be: BOOLEAN, DATE, DATETIME, DOUBLE, FLOAT, INT, LONG, STRING, TIME.

Date Format

Date/Time format when the data type is DATE, DATETIME, or TIME.


6.    You can also click the following icons:



Add a new field entry.

Check a box of a field entry and click  to delete.

Fetch the schema of the output topic. This populates the list of columns, with the data type found from inspecting the first ‘n’ rows of the file.


7.    Save the changes.