Datums: A PostgreSQL Pipeline for Reporter

Reporter is an iPhone application that will ping you randomly throughout the day with a survey of questions designed by you. Among others, Reporter is used by @georgialupi and @stefpos in their project Dear Data.

I started using Reporter because I’m anxious. At first, I just had Reporter ask me how anxious I was on a scale of 1 to 10. That was it. The trend was interesting (there was a time when it looked like a perfect sine wave), but the numbers by themselves, as you probably could’ve guessed, are little better than meaningless. So I started adding questions: Where are you? Who are you with? What are you working on? What tools are you using? Did you have sex today? (My full survey is below.)

After about a year, I had amassed enough reports that I was ready to go Feltron on myself.1 I have Reporter set up to automatically export your data as JSON to a folder in Dropbox, and I needed an easy way to get the data into PostgreSQL because KEEP CALM AND JUST ALWAYS USE POSTGRES.

So I built Datums. Datums is a pipeline for Reporter that will take the JSON files exported by Reporter and load them into a PostgreSQL database. The datums data model is defined using the SQLAlchemy ORM, and the datums library handles adding, updating, and deleting reports. The datums command line tool makes it super easy to insert records in batches. I have a cron job that runs every morning that inserts the reports from the day before with

yesterday=$(date -v -1d +"%Y-%m-%d")
datums --add $REPORTER_PATH/$yesterday-reporter-export.json

You can download and install datums from github.


  • How anxious are you? (Number)
  • How anxious are you? (Number)
  • How happy are you? (Number)
  • How tired are you? (Number)
  • Where are you? (Location)
  • Who are you with? (People)
  • What are you doing? (Tokens)
  • What are you working on, making, or building? (Tokens)
  • What tools are you using? (Tokens)
  • What are you reading? (Tokens)
  • What are you writing? (Tokens)
  • What are you listening to? (Tokens)
  • What are you watching? (Tokens)
  • What are you cooking? (Tokens)
  • What are you eating? (Tokens)
  • What are you drinking? (Tokens)
  • Are you on your period? (Yes/No)
  • Did you do this today? (Multiple choice)
    • Exercise
    • Meditate
    • Have sex
    • Drink
    • See art
    • Take iron2
  1. Nicholas Felton helped build Reporter. 

  2. I’m pretty anemic, and whether or not I take iron seems to have a big impact on how tired I am. Things you learn when you use Reporter.