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Configuring Jetstream

About configurations

There are two ways to customize the results that appear in Experimenter and partybal for an experiment.

You can either reference an outcome while creating the experiment in the console, or file a jira ticket to collaborate with a data scientist commit a custom configuration for Jetstream to the metric-hub repository.

Outcome definitions are also created in metric-hub and use the same configuration language.

Custom experiment configurations are associated with an experiment by their filename, which should match the experiment slug, like my-experiment-slug.toml. This works for both Normandy and Nimbus slugs.

For help adding custom metrics or creating a re-usable outcome for an experiment, include the experiment brief and the request in a data org Jira ticket.

Landing configurations

To add or update a custom configuration, a data scientist will open a pull request against metric-hub.

if you need help doing this - file a DO Jira ticket. CI checks will validate the columns, data sources, and SQL syntax. Note that if the experiment has not yet launched, the CI checks will not pass. Once CI completes and the pull request gets automatically approved, you may merge the pull request, which will trigger Jetstream to re-run your analysis. No additional review is necessary to land configurations as long as no changes are made to metric definitions that are considered source of truth. These changes will require a review by a data scientist. Results should be available in several hours, depending upon the complexity of the configuration.

Note that rerunning experiments may be costly! Don't let this stop you from doing your job, but try to avoid too much iteration on large and long-running experiments.

Has your configuration landed but generated unexpected analyses? Troubleshooting information can be found here which includes instructions on accessing the Jetstream error logs.

Configuration file syntax

Custom configs for experiments and outcome snippets analyzed in jetstream use the same configuration language.

Custom configuration files are written in TOML.

Custom experiment configurations

Configuration files have four main sections: [experiment], [metrics], [data_sources], and [segments].

Examples of every value you can specify in each section are given below. You do not need to, and should not, specify everything! Jetstream will take values from Experimenter and combine them with a reasonable set of defaults.

Lines starting with a # are comments and have no effect.

Experiment section

This part of the configuration file lets you

  • specify the segments you wish to analyze,
  • override some values from Experimenter, and
  • define an exposure signal for your experiment.

Segments are subsets of your enrolled population, and depend on some factor that could be observed about the client before they enrolled in the experiment.

Some segments are described in DTMO, and there are lists of predefined segments in the mozanalysis documentation.

You can also override some values from Experimenter in the experiment section.

# The segments that you wish to compute metrics for.
# You can define your own later in the configuration,
# or (more commonly) use a value from mozanalysis.
# The segment of all users is always computed.
segments = ["is_regular_user_v3", "new_or_resurrected_v3"]

# Nominal length of the enrollment period in days.
# Mozanalysis will consider enrollment_period + 1 "dates" of enrollments.
enrollment_period = 7

# The name of the control branch.
# To compare all branches to each other pairwise, use the value `nan`.
reference_branch = "control"

# Override the "enrollment query" mozanalysis will use.
# See for more details about
# what the query needs to contain.
# It must yield columns named client_id, branch, enrollment_date, and num_enrollment_events.
# Jetstream interprets this as a Jinja2 template; an `experiment` object is provided
# that lets you access other details from Experimenter, like a slug.
enrollment_query = """
FROM mozdata.some_table.name_here
DATE(submission_timestamp) BETWEEN "{{experiment.start_date_str}}" AND "{{experiment.last_enrollment_date_str}}"
AND, "{{experiment.slug}}") IS NOT NULL

# You can override either or both of the start_date and end_date.
# In conjunction with a custom enrollment query, this can be useful for holdbacks,
# since you don't really care about the period of time before your client upgrades
# to the new version.
start_date = "2020-01-01"
end_date = "2020-12-31"

# If you need Jetstream to decline to run analysis for an experiment,
# you can set this to true.
skip = false

# You can override the exposure signal for the experiment if one is useful.
# We'll default to the Nimbus exposure event if one is not specified here.
name = "nimbus"
friendly_name = "Nimbus exposure signal"
description = "Nimbus desktop feature exposure signal"
data_source = "normandy_events"
select_expression = "event_method = 'expose' AND event_string_value = 'my_slug'"
window_start = "enrollment_start"
window_end = "analysis_period_end"

You should not define a start_date and end_date in your Jetstream configuration unless it is important for your analysis that the deployment period is not the same as the analysis period.

Metrics section

The metrics section allows you to specify and define the metrics that you're collecting, the statistical summaries that you'd like applied to them, and any filters that you need. See the Jetstream docmentation at DTMO for more details on the analysis window concept.

You can use the names of pre-defined metrics defined in the jetstream/definitions/ directory of metric-hub without redefining them. See what pre-defined metrics are available for your platform.

# Metrics to compute for each daily analysis window.
# Defined as a list of strings. The string should be the "slug" of the metric,
# which is the name of the metric defined in `definitions/`, or the name
# of the metric definition section in this config file (see below).
daily = []

# Metrics to compute for each weekly analysis window.
weekly = ["uri_count", "retained"]

# Metrics to compute for each 28 days long analysis window
28_day = ["uri_count"]

# Metrics to compute only for the overall analysis window.
overall = ["uri_count", "search_count"]

Defining metrics

You can define a new metric by adding a new section with a name like


For example, you could define a new metric based on a scalar named browser.engagement.cows_clicked this way:

# A clause of a SELECT expression. The expression must contain an aggregation function.
# The expression is evaluated with `GROUP BY client_id, branch` over an analysis window.
# Interpreted as a Jinja2 template. Various helper functions are available,
# so you could equivalently write the expression below like:
# select_expression = "{{agg_sum("payload.processes.parent.scalars.browser_engagment_cows_clicked")}} > 0"
# See for details.
select_expression = "SUM(COALESCE(payload.processes.parent.scalars.browser_engagement_cows_clicked)) > 0"

# The data source to use. You can use the slug of a data source defined in `definitions/`,
# or else define a new data source below.
data_source = "main"

# Whether larger values of this metric are subjectively "better" or not.
# This defaults to true so you don't need to specify it for engagement-type metrics
# where we're trying to encourage more of something. But for performance metrics,
# bigger is often worse, so you should set this to false.
bigger_is_better = true

# A friendly metric name displayed in dashboards.
friendly_name = "Cows clicked"

# A description that will be displayed by dashboards.
description = "Number of cows clicked"

# Whether to compute the metric on an exposures basis, an enrollments basis, or both.
# An enrollments basis includes all users that enrolled. This is currently the default.
# An exposures basis includes all users that would have experienced a difference in their
# user experience as a result of the experiment; it is a subset of enrollments.
# We may default to an exposures basis in the future.
exposure_basis = ["exposures", "enrollments"]

# Metrics can depend on other metrics that need to be referenced.
# When a metric depends on upstream metrics, select_expression and
# data_source are optional. Usually, upstream metrics get used when computing statistics.
# At the moment `select_expression` takes precedence over `depends_on` in cases
# where both are defined.
depends_on = ["moos", "clicks"]

You should also add some sections to describe how your new metrics should be summarized for reporting. You can do this by adding a statistics section to the metric for the statistic you want.

See Statistics for a list of supported statistics and details about implementing your own.

This looks like:

# Sometimes it's useful to specify a "pre-treatment" to drop extreme values
# or perform a transformation. There is a list of these in the Jetstream wiki.
# They're specified like this:
# pre_treatments = [
# {name = "drop_nulls"}, # ⚠️ Use this pretreatment judiciously!
# # It can cause misleading results in
# # the presence of churn. Engagement metrics
# # should be coalesced to zero instead,
# # or you should handle zeros explicitly.
# {name = "log", base = 2},
# ]
# They don't make much sense for a binomial statistic, though.

# You can also change the default width of the confidence interval.
ci_width = 0.95

# certain statistics use results from metrics that are specified as dependencies in depends_on
numerator = "moos"
denominator = "clicks"

To put it all together, the metrics section (without any comments) for this probe could look like:

weekly = ["ever_clicked_cows"]

select_expression = "SUM(COALESCE(payload.processes.parent.scalars.browser_engagement_cows_clicked)) > 0"
data_source = "main"


Defining data sources

Most of the regular data sources are already defined in mozanalysis. See what pre-defined data sources are available for your platform. You can also define a new one in a similar way to how new metrics are defined.

Add a section that looks like:

# FROM expression - often just a fully-qualified table name. Sometimes a subquery.
from_expression = "(SELECT client_id, experiments, submission_date FROM my_cool_table)"

# See for details.
experiments_column_type = "native"

Then, your new metric can refer to it like data_source = "my_cool_data_source".

Defining segments

You can define new segments, just like you can define new metrics.
Segments allow you to look at the experiment results by the defined segments (or groups of users). An example would be new users versus existing users - or segmenting results by country.

This looks like:

# Note the aggregation function; these expressions are grouped over client_id
select_expression = '{{agg_any("is_default_browser")}}'
data_source = "my_data_source"

from_expression = '(SELECT submission_date, client_id, is_default_browser FROM my_cool_table)'

Learn more about defining a segment data source in the mozanalysis documentation.

The clients_last_seen table is particularly useful for segmentation because each client should be present on the submission_date when they enroll. If you are not using clients_last_seen, you probably want to set the window_start argument for the segment data source to a value more negative than zero, which controls how far back before enrollment mozanalysis will look to compute the segment expression.

For example, to aggregate over rows from the week prior to enrollment, the segment data source should be defined with window_start = -7.

To segment on fields in the telemetry environment, you can use the event ping table (not the derived events table) with no lookback period, since the event ping that contains the enrollment event will necessarily be received on the date of enrollment.

Outcome snippets

Outcome snippets, which define a collection of summaries with a common theme (e.g. "performace", "Picture in Picture use"), are stored in the outcomes/ directory and file names serve as unique identifiers. Outcome snippets are organized in different subdirectories that represent the application they are supporting, e.g. fenix/ or firefox_desktop/.

Configuration files have a set of [metrics] definitions and [data_sources]. A friendly_name and description are required at the top of the outcome snippet config file.

Unlike experiment configurations, the [metrics] section does not specify the analysis windows metrics are computed for. Jetstream computes metrics defined in outcome snippets for weekly and overall analysis windows.

select_expression in Outcomes supports parameterization. This enables Outcomes to be reused as values specified in an external jetstream config to be injected into the select_expression. Outcome snippets look, for example, like:

friendly_name = 'Example config'
description = 'Example outcome snippet'

# parameters definition (Optional)
friendly_name = "Search engine"
description = "Search engine we want to track"
default = "google" # this will be the default value if not overwritten in an external config
distinct_by_branch = false # if set to true, value provided in config needs to specify value and corresponding id.
select_expression = "SUM(CASE WHEN engine like 'amazon%' then sap else 0 end)"
data_source = "search_clients_engines_sources_daily"

select_expression = """
WHEN source = 'alias' AND engine LIKE 'amazon%' THEN sap
WHEN source = 'urlbar' AND engine LIKE 'amazon%' THEN sap
WHEN source = 'urlbar-searchmode' AND engine LIKE 'amazon%' THEN sap
else 0 end)"""
data_source = "search_clients_engines_sources_daily"

select_expression = """
COUNTIF(engine = '{{parameters.search_engine}}')
data_source = "search_clients_engines_sources_daily"

Overwriting Outcomes parameters

distinct_by_branch set to false example:

External config:

description = "Amazon Search"

value = "amazon"

select_expression for metric metrics.dummy_metric will now look like this:

COUNTIF(engine = 'amazon')

distinct_by_branch set to true example:

External config:

description = "Amazon Search"

distinct_by_branch = true
# value.[corresponding_branch_name] = [value]
value.experiment_branch_name_1 = "google"
value.experiment_branch_name_2 = "amazon"

select_expression for metric metrics.dummy_metric will now look like this:

COUNTIF(CASE e.branch_name WHEN "experiment_branch_name_1" THEN "google" WHEN "experiment_branch_name_2" THEN "amazon" END)

Defining Exposure Signals

Many Nimbus features will send a Nimbus exposure event automatically when the feature configuration is consulted; these are normandy#expose events on desktop and nimbus_events.exposure events in Glean. However, it is also possible to define custom exposure events:

name = "nimbus"
friendly_name = "Nimbus exposure signal"
description = "Nimbus desktop feature exposure signal"
data_source = "events"
select_expression = "
event_category = 'normandy'
AND event_method = 'expose'
AND event_object = 'nimbus_experiment'
AND event_string_value = 'experiment-slug'
AND normalized_channel = 'release'
window_start = 0 # optional
window_end = "analysis_window_end" # optional
  • select_expression: Defines the condition for when an exposure happens.
  • data_source: Specifies the dataset on which to apply the select_expression. Can use predefined or custom data sources.
  • window_start and window_end: Optional parameters that specify the date range when clients are checked for exposure. Defaults to window_start = 'enrollment_start' and window_end = 'enrollment_end'. Other valid values include:
    • Any positive integer: The number of days after the first enrollment date.
    • Any negative integer: The number of days before the first enrollment date.
    • enrollment_start: Equivalent to using 0
    • enrollment_end: Equivalent to using the enrollment period length in days
    • analysis_window_start: The start of the current analysis window
    • analysis_window_end: The end of the current analysis window

Metrics based on clients that have seen the exposure signal are only computed for those that specify exposures as one of their analysis_bases:

analysis_bases = ["exposures", "enrollments"]

Using window_start and window_end it is possible to consider clients as exposed/non-exposed during the observation period. For example, if clients should only be considered as exposed during an analysis window:

# ...
window_start = "analysis_window_start"
window_end = "analysis_window_end"

Or, if clients should be considered as exposed if they have received the exposure signal during the current analysis window or any time before:

# ...
window_start = "enrollment_start"
window_end = "analysis_window_end"

Results for exposure based metrics are currently not visualized in Experimenter. To access results, the BigQuery tables need to be queried directly.

Testing configurations

For more information on how to test configurations see Testing Jetstream Configs