Using Switchboard: Creating Custom Data Feeds

Switchboard is a permission-less Oracle network allowing anyone to spin up their own data feeds and publish on-chain. To accomplish this, data feeds can be configured from a collection of tasks in order to fetch data, parse a response, then determine a final result. You can find a list of available tasks in our documentation. Today’s article will walk you through spinning up your own data feed to fetch the current weather in Miami, FL using Switchboard’s publisher site. This could be used by an on-chain program to calculate and settle insurance contracts relating to weather events.

Build Job Definition

Data Sources

A data feed should have multiple sources but for this example we’ll keep it simple. We’ll be using the api.weather.gov/gridpoints endpoint to resolve our data feed. After doing some digging we’ve determined that the weather forecast office should be MFL and the latitude and longitude should be 111 and 50 respectively. So our full API endpoint should be https://api.weather.gov/gridpoints/MFL/111,50/forecast. We’ll pass this URL as the argument to the httpTask.

Parse Response

Now we need to extract the value from the API response. Here is what the response will look like:

We can use the JsonParseTask to extract this value. This relies on using JsonPath syntax to grab a value. https://jsonpath.com is a great resource to test your queries. After some trial and error we’ve determined that the JSON path query should be “$.properties.periods.0.temperature”. This will access the first array element in the properties.periods object and return that period’s temperature. So now we’ve figured out how to fetch the weather data and extract the latest temperature value.

Build Task Definitions

Now we can put it all together. The httpTask will be used to fetch external data, then pass it to the jsonParseTask to extract the latest temperature value. The final definition will look like this:

Build Data Feed

When building a Switchboard data feed, you will need to create the following accounts:

  • Aggregator — to manage the data feed configuration and store the result
  • Job(s) — to store each job definition (only one needed for our example)
  • Lease — to pre-fund oracles for any update request
  • Permission — permits an aggregator to use a set of oracles

Luckily the Switchboard Publisher site streamlines the on-chain workflow and handles this for us. We’ll be creating a new data feed for Switchboard’s permission-less queue. Optionally, you can request permissions to Switchboard’s permissioned queue once you are satisfied with the feed’s configuration.

Configure Data Feed

Connect your wallet, then locate and select the Custom Feed button. The following popup lets you configure the name of your feed, as well as the job definitions. Our example uses a single job.

Give your feed a name such as MIA Temperature, then select Add Job+. Give the job a name, such as Weather.gov MIA, then paste in the job definition from above. You can hit Test to simulate the result to ensure you are using the correct job definition.

Select Add Job to be taken back to the Build a Feed modal. Then select Add Feed to add the feed to your basket.

Create Data Feed

You should have the weather feed in your basket and ready for checkout.

Select Checkout to begin publishing your feed on-chain. You should see the following modal to fund your lease contract:

This step will deposit the specified SOL amount into a lease contract. If the Enable automatic updates checkbox is selected, your feed will be added to the crank and updated at a regular interval of your choosing. Note the exact update times are dependent on the Solana network and an added jitter. Each time your feed successfully updates, a portion of the lease contract will be dispersed to the oracles fulfilling the update request. When you are happy with the settings, select Go to Checkout.

The Checkout Exchange modal will display a summary of the account creation cost. Select Create Feed to start the on-chain account creation.

Once complete, you should see your new data feed on the Your Feeds page already updating!

Conclusion

Switchboard allows developers to build and configure their own on-chain data feeds. If you’re building with Switchboard and need a new task type or additional functionality please reach out to us on Discord, Telegram, or Twitter.

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