Message Browser

From the Messages page, you can view the data being produced to a topic. Browse message data, seek to a specific offset or timestamp by partition, and select messages you want to download.

Prerequisites
There must be data being produced to or already present in a topic. If you don’t already have data flowing through a topic, you can use the appropriate quick start guides to get started. You can replay old data that was already produced as long as it hasn’t been compacted or deleted yet.

View and filter messages for a topic

The Message Browser feature in Control Center is enabled by default. With this feature, you can:

Browse a live stream of messages

  1. Select a cluster from the navigation bar and click the Topics menu. The Topics Overview appears.

  2. In the Topics table, click the topic name link.

  3. Click the Messages tab. The messages page opens in table view by default.

  4. To browse the messages table:

  5. Scroll vertically to see all of the available data. The newest data is displayed at the top of the table.

    Browse messages in the default table view
  6. Click the pause icon image_pause to pause the scrolling of incoming messages so that you can analyze the data. Messages may still be produced to the topic; however, the message browser does not display newly consumed data while the view is paused. Click the play icon to resume displaying incoming messages.

Change layout and expand messages

You can switch between Card view and Table view, show and hide columns, and view full messages.

  • Click the Card view (default) or Table view image_layout to change the output layout.

You can show and hide columns in Table view. This can help focus on columns of interest without requiring horizontal scrolling.

  • Hover over the more option icon () and select Show/hide columns.

  • Select the columns you want to toggle on or off in the topic messages table. There must be populated message data for the Columns selector to appear. Note that if you jump to an offset or timestamp, the table resets to show all columns again.

    Column selector topic messages view

    Column selector topic messages view

You can browse and expand message in card view:

  1. Use the layout selector to change to card view

  2. Click the expand icon expand-icon in the card view to access the contents of a message. Note the expanding the card view for a message automatically pauses the display of incoming data.

    Expanded card view.
  3. Click the Value, Header or Key tab to display that section of the message.

    Value, header and key message options.
  4. Click the play icon to collapse the expanded cards views and resume displaying incoming data.

Filter by keyword

To filter the results, enter filter criteria in the Filter by keyword box. Note that only prefix searching is currently supported. You can search for the beginning portion of a keyword. The search keyword must be the first substring in a column item. The filter matches the search string across any of the columns.

Search topic messages by keyword

Prefix search for topic messages by keyword of value

Jump to an offset

To jump to a message offset, click the Jump to offset menu and enter the offset and partition. Messages are displayed in the message browser pane starting from the desired offset, and continue to feed in at the top of the message browser pane.

The record at the offset is highlighted and preselected for download.

Jump to an offset in Control Center topic message browser

Jump to a date and time

The Jump to time search option searches for the earliest offset where the timestamp was first recorded. Even if there are multiple data points associated with a timestamp, the search goes to the earliest offset. Messages are displayed in the message browser pane starting from the desired time, and continue to feed in at the top of the browser pane. Manually select any messages you want to download.

To jump to a specific date and time:

  1. Click the Jump to time menu.

    Jump to time menu topic message browser
  2. Click the default current date and time box to open a calendar.

    Jump to a human-readable date and time in Confluent Cloud topic message browser
  3. Select a partition. Note that you must select a partition before trying to adjust the time or apply the new date and time.

    Choose a partition for jump to specific date and time
  4. Click a calendar date. Use the arrows to go forward or back and select a month and day.

  5. Click the time box to adjust the time in hours, minutes, seconds, and AM or PM.

    Jump to custom date/time topic message browser
  6. Click Apply.

Jump to a timestamp

To jump to a message timestamp, click the Jump to timestamp menu and enter the timestamp and partition.

The timestamp is displayed in microseconds. Enter your time of interest in milliseconds into the timestamp box and selected partition.

Tip

Use a timestamp converter to convert the timestamp into a human-readable date and time.

The Jump to time search option searches for the earliest offset where the timestamp was first recorded. Even if there are multiple data points associated with a timestamp, the search goes to the earliest offset. Messages are displayed in the message browser pane starting from the desired time, and continue to feed in at the top of the browser pane. Manually select any messages you want to download.

Jump to a timestamp in Control Center topic message browser

Produce a new message to a topic

You can manually produce a new message to a topic using the Produce a new message to this topic window.

  1. To produce a message, click the + sign to expand the window.

    Produce a new message to this topic button
  2. Enter a valid JSON message in the Value box, and a Key, if desired.

  3. Click Produce. The message is generated and the message table is populated with your entry.

    Add a value and key to create a message

Download selected topic messages

Download selected rows of messages in JSON or CSV format.

  1. Select one or more contiguous rows using the shift key or non-contiguous rows using the command key. Once you have selected messages, the download button displays, and you can select the download formats: JSON or CSV.

    Note that when you jump to an offset, date/time, or timestamp, the record at the offset is highlighted and preselected for download.

    Select contiguous rows to download messages in Control Center message browser
  2. Click the Download. Downloaded files are named with the following convention:

    • messages followed by an underscore (_).
    • The topic name, followed by an underscore (_).
    • The number of downloaded topics.
    • The suffix of the selected format(s).

    For example, downloading two messages from the confluent-audit-log topic for both JSON and CSV results in messages_confluent-audit-log_2.csv and messages_confluent-audit-log_2.json file downloads.

    Example contents for a JSON file from the pageviews topic:

    [
       {
          "topic":"pageviews",
          "partition":0,
          "offset":238156,
          "timestamp":1561686540691,
          "timestampType":"CREATE_TIME",
          "headers":[
    
          ],
          "key":"2364041",
          "value":{
             "viewtime":2364041,
             "userid":"User_3",
             "pageid":"Page_25"
          }
       },
       {
          "topic":"pageviews",
          "partition":0,
          "offset":238155,
          "timestamp":1561686540662,
          "timestampType":"CREATE_TIME",
          "headers":[
    
          ],
          "key":"2364031",
          "value":{
             "viewtime":2364031,
             "userid":"User_1",
             "pageid":"Page_12"
          }
       },
       {
          "topic":"pageviews",
          "partition":0,
          "offset":238154,
          "timestamp":1561686540593,
          "timestampType":"CREATE_TIME",
          "headers":[
    
          ],
          "key":"2364021",
          "value":{
             "viewtime":2364021,
             "userid":"User_4",
             "pageid":"Page_21"
          }
       }
    ]
    

Enable and disable message browsing in Control Center

The topic inspection feature is enabled by default in Control Center. The feature can be disabled if an organization does not want any users to access the feature. After disabling the feature, the Messages tab is no longer visible in the Control Center UI.

To disable the topic inspection feature in Control Center:

  1. Set the confluent.controlcenter.topic.inspection.enable option in your control-center.properties file to false.

    ...
    confluent.controlcenter.topic.inspection.enable=false
    ...
    

    Note

    Make the change in the appropriate Control Center properties file or files configured for your environments, including control-center-dev.properties or control-center-production.properties. The properties files are located in /path-to-confluent/etc/confluent-control-center/. For more informatin, see Control Center properties files.

  2. Restart Control Center and pass in the properties file for the configuration to take effect. For more information about restarting Control Center and passing in its properties files, see Control Center properties files.

    ./bin/control-center-stop
    ./bin/control-center-start ../etc/confluent-control-center/control-center.properties
    

    Tip

    If you are using a Confluent Platform development environment with a Confluent CLI, stop and start as follows:

    confluent local services control-center stop
    confluent local services control-center start ../etc/confluent-control-center/control-center-dev.properties
    
  3. To re-enable the topic feature, set the option back to true and restart Control Center with the updated properties file.

Search audit log

When you are searching the audit log for user activity in the message browser, you must use the format User:<username>. To navigate to the audit log, click Cluster > Topics > confluent-audit-log-events > Messages tab.

Search audit log messages by user