Here we hope to clarify the architecture of ActivityWatch for you. Please file an issue or pull request if you think something is missing.

Dependency graph

The illustration below is a graph of the fundamental dependencies between projects, these do not reflect the folder structure.

digraph {
    //activitywatch [shape=box, label="activitywatch"];
    //"aw-server" [shape=box, style=filled, fillcolor="0.4+0.5+1"]
    //"aw-client" [shape=box, style=filled, fillcolor="0.2+1+1"]

    activitywatch -> "aw-server" -> {"aw-webui" "aw-core"};
    activitywatch -> "aw-qt";
    activitywatch -> "aw-watcher-afk" -> {"aw-client" "aw-core"};
    activitywatch -> "aw-watcher-window" -> {"aw-client" "aw-core"};

    "aw-client" -> "aw-core";

    "aw-server" -> "aw-analysis";
    "aw-analysis" -> "aw-core";

    subgraph {
        rank = same; "aw-watcher-afk"; "aw-watcher-window";

    //subgraph {
    //    rank = same; "aw-core"; "aw-client";

     * Legend, causes sigsegv...
    { rank = sink;
      Legend [shape=none, margin=0, label=<
        <TD COLSPAN="2"><B>Legend</B></TD>
        <TD><FONT COLOR="red">Foo</FONT></TD>
        <TD BGCOLOR="RED"></TD>
        <TD BGCOLOR="BLUE"></TD>
        <TD CELLPADDING="4">
           <TD BGCOLOR="Yellow"></TD>


Known as aw-server, it handles storage and retrieval of all activities/entries in buckets. Usually there exists one bucket per watcher.

The server also hosts the Web UI (aw-webui) which does all communication with the server using the REST API.

Clients (watchers, importers, and observers)

Since aw-server doesn’t do any data collection on it’s own, we need watchers that observe the world and sent the data off to aw-server for storage.

These utilize the aw-client library for making requests to the aw-server.

For a list of watchers, see Watchers. For a list of importers see Importers.

User interfaces

ActivityWatch currently has two user interfaces, aw-qt and aw-webui.

  • aw-qt - Manages the server and watchers to make ActivityWatch easy to use for end-users.

  • aw-webui - Offers visualization and an overview of the database. Hosted by aw-server in the bundle.


Some of the logic of ActivityWatch is shared across the server and clients, for these cases we moved some logic into separate libraries.


The aw-core library contains many of the essential parts of ActivityWatch, notably:

  • The Data model

  • The datastore layer

  • Event transformation and queries

  • Utilities (configuration, logging, decorators)


Writing these clients is something we’ve tried to make as easy as possible by creating client libraries with a clear API. A client could both be a watcher which sends data as well as a visualizer which fetches and presents data from the aw-server.

Currently the primary client library is written in Python (known simply as aw-client) but a client library written in JavaScript is on the way and is expected to have the same level of support in the future.


There are also plans to create a library called aw-analysis to aid in different types of analysis and transformation one might want to make using ActivityWatch data.