The Beater Interfaceedit

Each Beat needs to implement the Beater interface defined in libbeat.

// Beater is the interface that must be implemented by every Beat. A Beater
// provides the main Run-loop and a Stop method to break the Run-loop.
// Instantiation and Configuration is normally provided by a Beat-`Creator`.
// Once the beat is fully configured, the Run() method is invoked. The
// Run()-method implements the beat its run-loop. Once the Run()-method returns,
// the beat shuts down.
// The Stop() method is invoked the first time (and only the first time) a
// shutdown signal is received. The Stop()-method normally will stop the Run()-loop,
// such that the beat can gracefully shutdown.
type Beater interface {
        // The main event loop. This method should block until signalled to stop by an
        // invocation of the Stop() method.
        Run(b *Beat) error

        // Stop is invoked to signal that the Run method should finish its execution.
        // It will be invoked at most once.

To implement the Beater interface, you need to define a Beat object that implements two methods: Run() and Stop().

type Countbeat struct {
        done   chan struct{} 
        config config.Config 
        client publisher.Client 


func (bt *Countbeat) Run(b *beat.Beat) error {

func (bt *Countbeat) Stop() {

By default, the Beat object contains the following:

done: Channel used by the Run() method to stop when the Stop() method is called.

config: Configuration options for the Beat

client: Publisher that takes care of sending the events to the defined output.

The Beat parameter received by the Run method contains data about the Beat, such as the name, version, and common configuration options.

Each Beat also needs to implement the New() function to create the Beat object. This means your Beat should implement the following functions:


Creates the Beat object


Contains the main application loop that captures data and sends it to the defined output using the publisher


Contains logic that is called when the Beat is signaled to stop

When you run the Beat generator, it adds implementations for all these functions to the source code (see beater/countbeat.go). You can modify these implementations, as required, for your Beat.

We strongly recommend that you create a main package that contains only the main method (see main.go). All your Beat-specific code should go in a separate folder and package. This will allow other Beats to use the other parts of your Beat as a library, if needed.


To be consistent with other Beats, you should append beat to your Beat name.

Let’s go through each of the methods in the Beater interface and look at a sample implementation.

New functionedit

The New() function receives the configuration options defined for the Beat and creates a Beat object based on them. Here’s the New() function that’s generated in beater/countbeat.go when you run the Beat generator:

func New(b *beat.Beat, cfg *common.Config) (beat.Beater, error) {
        config := config.DefaultConfig
        if err := cfg.Unpack(&config); err != nil {
                return nil, fmt.Errorf("Error reading config file: %v", err)

        bt := &Countbeat{
                done:   make(chan struct{}),
                config: config,
        return bt, nil

Pointers are used to distinguish between when the setting is completely missing from the configuration file and when it has a value that matches the type’s default value.

The recommended way of handling the configuration (as shown in the code example) is to create a Config structure with the configuration options and a DefaultConfig with the default configuration options.

When you use the Beat generator, the Go structures for a basic config are added to config/config.go:

package config

import "time"

type Config struct {
        Period time.Duration `config:"period"`

var DefaultConfig = Config{
        Period: 1 * time.Second,

This mirrors the config options that are defined in the config file, countbeat.yml.

  # Defines how often an event is sent to the output
  period: 10s
  • period: Defines how often to send out events

The config file is generated when you run make setup to set up the beat. The file contains basic configuration information. To add configuration options to your Beat, you need to update the Go structures in config/config.go and add the corresponding config options to etc/beat.yml.

For example, if you add a config option called path to the Go structures:

type Config struct {
    Period time.Duration `config:"period"`
    Path   string        `config:"path"`

var DefaultConfig = Config{
    Period: 1 * time.Second,
    Path:   ".",

You also need to add path to etc/beat.yml:

  period: 10s
  path: "."

After modifying beat.yml, run the following command to apply your updates:

make update

Run Methodedit

The Run method contains your main application loop.

func (bt *Countbeat) Run(b *beat.Beat) error {
        logp.Info("countbeat is running! Hit CTRL-C to stop it.")

        bt.client = b.Publisher.Connect()
        ticker := time.NewTicker(bt.config.Period)
        counter := 1
        for {
                select {
                case <-bt.done:
                        return nil
                case <-ticker.C:

                event := common.MapStr{ 
                        "@timestamp": common.Time(time.Now()), 
                        "type":       b.Name,
                        "counter":    counter,
                logp.Info("Event sent")

Create the event object.

Specify a @timestamp field of time common.Time.

Use the publisher to send the event out to the defined output

Inside the loop, the Beat sleeps for a configurable period of time and then captures the required data and sends it to the publisher. The publisher client is available as part of the Beat object through the client variable.

The event := common.MapStr{} stores the event in a json format, and bt.client.PublishEvent(event) publishes data to Elasticsearch. In the generated Beat, there are three fields in the event: @timestamp, type, and counter.

When you add fields to the event object, you also need to add them to the etc/fields.yml file:

- key: countbeat
  title: countbeat
    - name: counter
      type: long
      required: true
      description: >

Remember to run make update to apply your updates.

For more detail about naming the fields in an event, see Naming Conventions.

Stop Methodedit

The Stop method is called when the Beat is signaled to stop, for example through the SIGTERM signal on Unix systems or the service control interface on Windows. This method simply closes the channel which breaks the main loop.

func (bt *Countbeat) Stop() {

The main Functionedit

If you follow the Countbeat model and put your Beat-specific code in its own type that implements the Beater interface, the code from your main package is very simple:

package main

import (



func main() {
        err := beat.Run("countbeat", "", beater.New)
        if err != nil {