Websy – Qlik Sense Web Development Course [Review]

You need to upgrade your Qlik skillset. The folks at Websy will help get you there.

For a while now, the winds of change have been blowing on the Qlik consulting front. As Qlik Sense, the product, grows from toddler to teenager its true potential is becoming apparent. The data-side massaging is becoming easier and less intensive as the opportunities to extend Qlik outside the hub gain importance.

Although I have not seen any waning in traditional Qlik developments yet, I thought it was time for me to invest in some continuing education. If this is where the opportunities will be in the coming years, I want to be involved, right?

Enter Websy!

The team at Websy are thankfully here to lead us traditional Qlik developers to the promised land of Qlik Web Development.

I just finished the level one and level two “Web Development for Qlik Developers”. The courses focus on developing mashups using Qlik visualizations and/or the QIX engine only. The team offer both virtual and in-person classes. I opted for the remote class so I could relax in my cushy office.

The typical Qlik developer, me included, has maybe passing experience with web technologies. The Websy approach assumes that you are not an expert in html, css or javascript. This was great for me since my background is more on the data side of the equation.

With that focus in mind, the level one course starts by introducing some basic techniques in html css and javascript. Then we quickly get into leveraging Qlik visualizations in web pages using the capabilities API.

The second level course deep dives into utilizing the engine API like we would in a QAP situation where the Qlik suite of visualizations is not available. Websy shows you some of the more complex loops and nested structures that will help you efficiently query and transform data from the QIX engine and combine it with third party visualization libraries.

How Did it Go?

How much you get out of these courses will depend a lot on your existing skill set. With my limited exposure to javascript, specifically, I was “running hard” the whole time.

So if you haven’t played with these technologies before, it would be good to go through the W3 schools free material for html, css and javascript. That will put you in a place where you can absorb the material.

The pace was quick and I definitely felt saturated by the end of the four days.

With that said, Peter and Nick are great trainers. They take care to make sure everybody is understanding the material and completing the exercises. Peter even spent breaks and lunch hours catching people up.

The materials and exercises are top-notch, thorough, accurate and appropriate.

Final Thoughts

The best thing about the Websy courses is that they are catered towards you and I, traditional Qlik developers. This focus was obvious and helped me ease into the deep-end pretty quickly.

So much of the emphasis from Qlik has been “Let’s get web developers interested in the Qlik platform”. What about me?

I am not a one-trick pony. All of us are capable of picking up these skills.

I was reading Rob Wunderlich’s review of the Websy courses which was part of the impetus for me to sign up. Another inspiration to start on this path was Karl Pover over at Harvesting Wisdom. He is documenting his progress as he also proceeds down this new path.

Are you honing your skillset? Are there any resources that have helped you in this endeavor? Please share them in the comments below. I am still a “work-in-progress” on this front and appreciate your input.

Happy Qliking.

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3 New Must-Have Qlik Sense Visualizations

Qlik Sense June 2017 is Finally Here!

The new version of Qlik Sense has been presented to the unwashed masses. There are 3 new visualizations we will focus on today, but there are several other great additions to the platform that are worthy of exploration:

  • 3 New Visualizations
  • Improved Data Preparation
  • Script-side dimension color assignment
  • On-Demand Apps
  • The new Analytic Connector – Will connect third-party engines like R to the front-end Qlik Sense experience

Today we will take a look at the new promised built-in visualizations. They are:

  • Distribution Plot
  • Boxplot
  • Histogram

As with all Qlik Sense visualizations, the key to using these new visuals is really in understanding the use-cases for the specific data visualization, rather than having any particular knowledge about using Qlik Sense itself. All 3 of these visualizations have very specific use-cases related to the distribution of the dimensional values.

I have used a previously featured app that analyzes world-wide malaria data.

Distribution Plot

The distribution plot is great for displaying dimensional data points distributed along a horizontal line by the expression. So, for example, several low values will be bunched at the left while the high-value outliers will be spread out along the right side of the chart. Rather than seeing only a total, the distribution plot charts individual values spread across a plane, like mayo spread across a slice of bread. You can add a secondary dimension to create multiple horizontal planes.

There are a few tweaks that you should be aware of:

I like the idea of having the largest secondary dimension sorted to the top of the chart. To do this, I simply took the expression for the chart and aggregated it by the secondary dimension.

Also, I added a reference line to give us the average for all the regions. This was done in the Add-ons > Reference lines area.

Rather than seeing only a total, the distribution plot charts individual values spread across a plane, like mayo spread across a slice of bread.

The solid color tells us the range of the primary dimension values while the bubbles tell us the individual values of each value. I have not yet experimented with a large number of dimensional values, but this might cause performance and/or usability issues. My initial thought is that the distribution plot is useful when an individual line is limited to 100 or less individual values.

Boxplot

The boxplot becomes interesting for statistical applications. Over a dimension, it calculates the expression and finds the distribution of the values, focusing them generally into quartiles where 25% of the values, for example, fall into an area of the chart. The boxplot comes with automatic options for Standard (Tukey), Percentage, or Standard Deviation plots. The whisker length can also be configured with the default being 1.5 quartiles from either side of the box.

You can definitely use a secondary dimension to create multiple boxplots in the same object. It did not really make the greatest visual with my dataset, but as with the distribution plot, the primary dimension builds the plots, while the secondary dimension splits them into separate sections.

You may choose to remove the whiskers and you may also choose to orient the chart vertically.

Histogram

The histogram is a way to group the frequency of a numeric dimension into a range. For example, how many values were between 1 and 5, and how many were between 6 and 10. It is a great way to visualize numbers that fall into a normal distribution. My data did not fall into a normal distribution.

The requirement for this chart is simply a single dimension.  It must be numeric which means that when you go to add a dimension, you will only find fields in the list that are numeric. In this case, I went ahead and created a field in the script that did the row-level math to determine the cases per 100,000 before using it in my chart. It will count up the rows into bars according to the range that you assign it in Histogram Settings. Because my range went from 0 to 45 thousand, I manually configured the Number of bars to 9.

Final Thoughts

It seems that these visualizations fall into the theme if “Distribution Charts”. They are worthy additions to the Qlik Sense platform and as a bonus, will be fully supported by Qlik.

I was getting worried since every answer to “Will we get <insert visualization name here>?” seemed to be “Build the extension yourself”. But this is definitely a welcome set of additions to the platform.

What are your thoughts on these visualizations? Were there options you needed that were not included? Were you hoping for a different object?

Happy Qliking!

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Qonnections 2017 in Review

Another Qonnections is in the books.  Like all Qonnections (this is my 5th), it has passed like a whirlwind of activity and fun. I will try to sort through the experience to find some of the random notables coming out of Qonnections 2017.

Product News

The Fisheye was one of the clip-on camera lens provided in our “swag bag” this year. Very cool.

The most exciting information came out of the day 1 general session. Anthony Deighton revealed the 2020 Vision and Roadmap. The overall vision is that unlike the “scary version” of AI where the machines take over the world, Qlik is embracing AI as “Augmented Intelligence” where the human is still the central point in the decision-making process and the machine intelligence supports the human in an intelligent way. As a result, Qlik declared they are “investing heavily” in AI related technology.

With this overall vision, there were some major areas of focus and new features looking to become part of Qlik Sense (in no particular order)

  • Improvement of the Data Manager (self-service loading and transforming of data)
  • New Visualizations – Boxplot, Histograms, Distribution Chart
  • Integration with R and Python (and other tools to be announced)
  • Dimensional Color Intelligence
  • Context based Search and learning
  • Qlik Sense App for fully featured Offline Use
  • Improved On-Demand App Generation
  • Certification process for externally created extensions
  • Focus on a hybrid cloud environment where clients have a seamless mix of on premises and cloud based solutions.
  • Big Data Associative Indexing

The most interesting news for me is the idea of Big Data Associative Indexing. Although I am foggy on the details, it seems that we will soon be able to spread the associative engine load for an app across more than one node. Unlike the “Direct Discovery” feature that was touted as the answer for Big Data (it was not), Big Data Associative Indexing represents a breakthrough in the core technology and a REAL SOLUTION for big data. This will absolutely bring the power Qlik to much larger data sets. I cannot wait to learn more about this.

Where was QlikView?

This is admittedly a horrible picture. Maybe you can make out the one mention of QlikView on this slide.

Which of these features will make it into QlikView? We have absolutely no idea.

Although of course we expect Qlik Sense to remain center stage, there was nary a mention of QlikView in any content that I saw the entire conference. I did see that QlikView is part of the roadmap, with 1 release in November.

I understand the more sustainable path for the future more directly involves Qlik Sense. With that said, the large bulk of Qlik’s customers are still using QlikView. And anecdotally, some of the customers I spoke with at Qonnections voiced disappointment about the lack of attention for the product they use and love.

Although Qlik has made the claim that they are “officially supporting and improving both products well into the future”, it is clear to me that what Qlik really wants is for all customers to move to Qlik Sense as soon as possible.

General Notes

The Luminary Cocktail Event

The Luminary event was great fun. I was a little overwhelmed meeting so many legendary people at one time. So, I apologize if I said anything weird out of my obvious nervousness. Special Shout-outs to Brian Booden, Karl Pover, Julian Villafuerte, Angelika Klidas, Jason Michaelides, Richard Pearce and Gysbert Wassenaar.

The Keynote Speaker Jason Silva

Well, I don’t want to hate on Jason Silva too much. He seems like a really nice person. But it felt like he read some Carl Sagan and then used a word cloud of the top trending words about the “future” to cobble together his speech about “moments of awe”.  It seems his passion is genuine, but the feeling of awe he was obviously experiencing was not transferring to me.

Maybe I feel this way because he followed Scott Kelly, the keynote speaker from last year. Commander Scott Kelly is an American astronaut who had just completed a 1-year mission in space. In contrast to Mr. Silva’s emotive style, Commander Kelly was calm and matter-of-fact in his presentation. Yet last year I found myself at the edge of my seat clinging to his every word. That was an example of a truly awe-inspiring moment for me.

Breakout Sessions

I am only speaking for myself, a developer who goes down the technical track of the breakout sessions. It seems to me that there were fewer opportunities for real learning and knowledge transfer this year than in past years. One notable exception was the hands-on workshop provided for GeoAnalytics. That is the kind of learning that helps me in my business.

Final Thoughts

I firmly believe that Qlik Sense and QlikView are amazing products. Qlik is undoubtedly the leader of the Business Discovery space.

With that said, I think there is a slight disconnect developing between Qlik and their partners and customers. My hope is that the Qlik team does not take partners and customers for granted. Listen to the partners (all the partners). Listen to the customers (including QlikView customers). They will happily tell you the pains they are having with the programs and the products.

All-in-all, Qonnections 2017 was a successful event. Personally, I always get so much out of Qonnections. The highlight for me this year was meeting so many great new people.

Happy Qliking!

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Show Off Your Favorite Qlik Dashboard

Many Qlik Developers I meet have really awesome Qlik dashboards they have created. The dashboards I have created are like my little offspring. Some are ugly, yet functional. Some are super-colorful POC demos that never see real use. And some are that happy balance of intriguing visualization combined with useful insight.

This is an opportunity for you to be a part of LivingQlik. To participate, just find your favorite QlikView or Qlik Sense dashboard sheet that YOU have designed. Then upload it using the form below. It can be a fun application, or extremely useful or incredibly unique or visually beautiful or all of the above.

In 2 weeks, we will have a follow-up post featuring some of the more interesting examples. We will credit you (if you wish) and offer some comments on what makes each one special.

How can you participate?

  • Use the form below to upload your file. The screenshot needs to be either a png or jpg and must be less than 10mb.
  • Feel free to enter your name or you can simply type “Anonymous” if you do not want to be credited.
  • You can type or paste in some commentary that directs our readers to the interesting or unique part of the dashboard. If you don’t enter anything here, I will add my own “editorial” which might not match your intention.
  • Please only upload public data or data you have permission to upload.
  • By uploading an image, you are giving LivingQlik the right to publish the image and the accompanying name and text you entered.
  • Your image might be cropped and or resized to meet aesthetic guidelines.
  • Space is limited and inclusion or exclusion from the post is no indication of the quality of your work. 🙂

 

Send LivingQlik Your Screenshot Now






 

Here are a few examples I created. I am sure that your example will blow me out of the water.

 

This is one of the sheets from the Internet of Things app featured in a prior post. The use of red is aesthetically pleasing even if the distances between the individual colors are too small to be effective. I rarely use radar charts, but this one sure does look cool.

 

This is a QlikView example that I have used to monitor my exercise. The colors are persistent so that Running is always blue, for example. I got the idea to put an icon inside the donut chart from another dashboard I came across. Although I am no longer this serious about analyzing my workouts, this was fun for a while and highly functional. This app was featured in this article that described how to assign the colors at multiple levels.

 

This was just a fun app that utilized a dataset regarding UFO sightings. It uses the Simple Table extension and the CapVentis Zoomable Circle Packing extension. Both can be found on Qlik Branch.

 

Final Thoughts

Be sure to come back in a few weeks to check out the results.

Thank you in advance for contributing your beautiful work to LivingQlik. You are what make this community great.

Happy Qliking!

 

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