What is dbt (data build tool)?

Data build tool, also known as dbt, is an open-source command line tool that enables data analysts and engineers to transform data in their warehouse more effectively. With dbt, analysts are empowered to:

  • Write maintainable, modular, reusable SQL code that can be shared with colleagues
  • Run tests on their models to detect regressions
  • Generate a rich, interactive data documentation site for their warehouse

dbt was built for the small minority of analysts who write SQL every day. It doesn't matter whether you're at a large company or a startup — if you're writing SQL and are tired of spaghetti code or copy-paste-and-modify programming, dbt is an essential tool for you.

dbt enables data analysts and engineers to transform their raw data into a clean, performant, and documented set of analytics.

What are the components of dbt?

dbt consists of three main components: 

1. a library of models, which are SQL queries that are parameterized, versioned, tested, and documented; 

2. an execution engine, which allows you to execute models with different parameters; and 

3. a CLI, which allows you to orchestrate the execution of your models.

Who is dbt built for?

dbt was built for the following people:

Data analysts who want their work to be more reproducible and collaborative.

Data engineers who need to manage the complexity of large-scale analytics pipelines.

How does dbt help data engineers?

dbt helps data engineers:

  • Write maintainable, modular SQL code
  • Schedule transformations to run at regular intervals
  • Test your models using automated assertions
  • Profile data to understand its characteristics
  • Collaborate with other analysts and engineers in your team