Project Owners

Matthew Cornell


zoltr for Project Owners

Welcome to the zoltr vignette for project owners and forecasters. You should read this if you are interested in creating and managing your own projects using this package to access them via the Zoltar API. Building on the Getting Started vignette, this one covers creating projects and models, and uploading forecasts.

Before starting you should have an account on, and an .Renviron file set up as described in Getting Started.

Connect to the host and authenticate

zoltar_connection <- new_connection()
zoltar_authenticate(zoltar_connection, Sys.getenv("Z_USERNAME"), Sys.getenv("Z_PASSWORD"))

Create a sandbox project to play with

Let’s use the create_project() function to make a temporary project to work with. (Note that if you’re repeating this step and need to delete a previously-created project, you can either use the web UI’s delete button on the project detail page or call the zoltr delete_project() function to do it programmatically.) create_project() takes a project_config parameter that is a list specifying everything Zoltar needs to create a project, including meta information like name, whether it’s public, etc. In addition it lists the units, targets, and timezeros to create. The new project’s URL is returned, which you can pass to other functions. Here we use docs-project.json, which is the one that creates the example documentation project.

project_config <- jsonlite::read_json("docs-project.json")  # "name": "My project"
project_url <- create_project(zoltar_connection, project_config)
the_project_info <- project_info(zoltar_connection, project_url)

Add a model to the project and then upload a forecast into it

We can use the create_model() function to create a model in a particular project. Like create_project(), it takes a list that is the configuration to use when creating the model. There is an example at example-model-config.json, but here we will construct the list ourselves.

model_config <- list("name" = "a model_name",
                     "abbreviation" = "an abbreviation",
                     "team_name" = "a team_name",
                     "description" = "a description",
                     "home_url" = "",
                     "aux_data_url" = "")
model_url <- create_model(zoltar_connection, project_url, model_config)

Now let’s upload a forecast to the model using upload_forecast() and then see how to list all of a model’s forecasts (in this case just the one). Keep in mind that Zoltar enqueues long operations like forecast uploading, which keeps the site responsive but makes the Zoltar API a little more complicated. Rather than having the upload_forecast() function block until the upload is done, you instead get a quick response in the form of an UploadFileJob URL that you can pass to the upload_info() function to check its status and find out when the upload is pending, done, or failed). (This is called polling the host to ask the status.) Here we poll every second using a helper function:

busy_poll_upload_file_job <- function(zoltar_connection, upload_file_job_url) {
  cat(paste0("polling for status change. upload_file_job: ", upload_file_job_url, "\n"))
  while (TRUE) {
    status <- upload_info(zoltar_connection, upload_file_job_url)$status
    cat(paste0(status, "\n"))
    if (status == "FAILED") {
      cat(paste0("x failed\n"))
    if (status == "SUCCESS") {

upload_forecast() takes the model_url to upload to, the timezero_date in the project to associate the forecast with, and the forecast_data itself. The latter is a nested list of predictions as documented in, but you can learn about it by looking at the example docs-predictions.json. Briefly, you can see that there is a predictions list of prediction elements (the meta section is ignored), each of which encodes data for a particular unit and target combination. Each prediction element has a class that’s one of four possibilities: bin, named, point, and sample. The structure of the prediction element's contents (the prediction section) is determined by the particular class. For example, a point just has a value, but a bin has a table of cat and prob values.

Here we will upload the docs-predictions.json file. Note that the passed timezero_date matches one of the timezeros in docs-project.json, the file that was used to create the project. It is an error otherwise.

forecast_data <- jsonlite::read_json("docs-predictions.json")
upload_file_job_url <- upload_forecast(zoltar_connection, model_url, "2011-10-02", forecast_data)
busy_poll_upload_file_job(zoltar_connection, upload_file_job_url)
#> polling for status change. upload_file_job:

Hopefully you’ll see some number of “QUEUED” entries followed by a “SUCCESS” one. (How long it takes will depend on how much other work Zoltar is handling.)

Get the new forecast’s URL from the UploadFileJob object and then call the forecasts() function to get a data.frame of that model’s forecasts (just the one in our case).

the_upload_info <- upload_info(zoltar_connection, upload_file_job_url)
forecast_url <- upload_info_forecast_url(zoltar_connection, the_upload_info)
the_forecast_info <- forecast_info(zoltar_connection, forecast_url)
the_forecasts <- forecasts(zoltar_connection, the_forecast_info$forecast_model_url)
#> 'data.frame':    1 obs. of  8 variables:
#>  $ id                : int 207
#>  $ url               : chr ""
#>  $ forecast_model_url: chr ""
#>  $ source            : chr "forecast5bd62b07433a.json"
#>  $ timezero_url      : chr ""
#>  $ created_at        : Date, format: "2020-04-14"
#>  $ notes             : chr ""
#>  $ forecast_data_url : chr ""

Clean up by deleting the sandbox project

NB: This will delete all of the data associated with the project without warning, including models and forecasts.

delete_project(zoltar_connection, project_url)