So I would like to start out be creating two variables. The server variable so I can duplicate the graphs for a new server and only have to change the server name in one location, and the $_interval variable so I can just leave it as a variable but set it in on place to 10s.
What data source are you using? Have you read the templating documentation?
I have seen the templating documentation but it was not clear what I needed to do.
For example I would like to make the hostname, and $_interval a variable so all I have to do is copy a dashboard and change the hostname in one location?
Also I see that it is possible to view the json, is it possible to then import the json after I made some changes to it?
Please have a look at the following dashboard: http://play.grafana.org/dashboard/db/influxdb-templated-queries?orgId=1
Checkout cog wheel -> Templating and have a look at how the different template variables have been defined. You have an example of hostname there.
Then edit the panel and see how the template variables are used in the query.
Please let me know if this helps