QlikView vs Qlik Sense: Are We at the Tipping Point?

Qlik Sense vs QlikView Featured Image

Much was made about Qlik Sense when it first arrived on the scene. I found MANY posts about Qlik Sense’s arrival including a post I wrote for LivingQlik over two years ago. Now that the dust has settled, Qlik Sense has been deployed with many of our customers and the product has been through several updates, I have gained a new perspective on the tool.

It is time for another post on the topic because I have come to realize…We have reached the “Tipping Point”. Qlik Sense is now the tool of choice. How do I know this?  Well I don’t have scientific evidence, but I have tons of anecdotal evidence. I will attempt to lay out the case that not only have we turned the tide with features and usability, but also in the realm of popular opinion, barely.

We have reached the “Tipping Point”. Qlik Sense is now the tool of choice.

Qlik vs. Qlik Sense: The Technical Battle

Round 1 – Security Goes to Qlik Sense

From a server perspective, there are a few great things about Qlik Sense and a few items still lacking for me. From a security standpoint, Qlik Sense is awesome. Today, we can use any user-directory attribute to create rules for access and authorization to any specific aspect of the tool. From data connections and object creation to granular server administration roles, Qlik Sense has it covered. QlikView, on the other-hand, allows for a super-admin and a document admin, and application level access and authentication piggy-backing on NTFS. More granular abilities are either on or off at the server or application level and are not user based.

Round 2 – QlikView Data Reduction – Not Yet in Qlik Sense

QlikView’s Data Reducing and Loop and Reduce data reduction is a great feature. It allows us to create one master document and then split it up and distribute the smaller applications to specific users. Qlik Sense does NOT have that function built in. With that said, Qlik Sense does have an open API that allows developers to create this functionality*. QlikView wins this one with an asterisk. Let’s talk about it.

Round 3 – * Published API’s. Qlik Sense’s Ace in the Hole

Throughout this post, I might refer to the Qlik Sense API’s. In fact, it has become quite the cliché when a developer asks when a feature will be put into Qlik Sense, a Qlik employee will quip, “You can simply build this function out with the API”. And because I don’t have many web developer skills today, that statement rubs me the wrong way. But as painful as it is to admit I don’t have the Web Developer skill set, published API’s are a game-changer making Qlik Sense a platform, rather than just another piece of software.

  • Engine API
  • Extension API
  • Backend API
  • Capability API
  • Repository Service API

You can witness the inspired ideas sprouting in front of us on Qlik Branch which has grown tremendously over the last year. And I believe this is just the beginning. We are starting to see partner generated premium content that will expand the functionality of Qlik Sense to areas that first fill the gaps and then go beyond. I believe we are entering an exciting new stage of development on this front.

But as painful as it is to admit I don’t have the Web Developer skill set, published API’s are a game-changer making Qlik Sense a platform, rather than just another piece of software.

Round 4 – Data Connections

Connections to data sources can be centrally governed in Qlik Sense, unlike QlikView. The part I struggle with here is that we must put Qlik Sense in “Legacy Mode” to utilize Data Connections with variables. But putting Qlik Sense in this mode, in effect, disables the ability to govern the data connections globally. This round is a draw.

QlikView vs. Qlik Sense Front End Design and User Enablement

Round 5 – QlikView’s Customizable Front End Function

In a previous post, we covered all the things we wish that Qlik Sense had. Input Boxes, Dynamic Labels and Curved Trendlines are just a few of things that developers are clamoring for that have existed in QlikView for years.

QlikView simple forecast

QlikView forecast (3 points ahead)

In fact, the QlikView design experience is highly customizable and has grown over years to include many bells and whistles we need and many options we don’t need. Do we really need “Plot Area Border” adjustments? I guess somebody did once. I realize now that the love I have for QlikView’s front-end is kind of an ego-stroke. At first blush, the answer to some “can you make it do this” questions might be no, but a talented developer can probably “tease out” the functionality. It is a badge of pride. I won’t bother making a list of all the things QlikView does that Qlik Sense does not. But it is long. QlikView is a clear winner in regards to front-end design functionality. Again, with subsequent releases and the expanding extension market, this will change, but right now, the winner of this round is definitely QlikView.

Round 6 – Qlik Sense and Responsive Design

Now, this is a big deal for me as I am a design nerd. For years QlikView developers have been forced to format their applications to the “least common denominator” or create entirely separate documents to cater to different screen sizes and aspect ratios. This is a tremendous hassle and sucks up document licenses.

Responsive design in Qlik Sense has been executed with real thought.

We all know by now that Qlik Sense is responsive to device screen size and aspect ratio. And not only is it responsive, it is smart about it. What I mean by that is that the detail of charts and the navigation change as the screen grows smaller. Words turn into icons. Icons disappear. This is not just a rearranging of screen objects. Responsive design in Qlik Sense has been executed with real thought.

Larger aspect vs. smaller aspect in Qlik Sense

This round goes to Qlik Sense.

Round 7 – Qlik Sense User Enablement

QlikView enables users with an object repository. You can build objects and share them out. You can copy and paste document objects and then change them to your liking. You can export data. You can share your screen with another person. There is user-enablement in QlikView. It is in there… But also, it sucks. It is “cludgy” for sure. And the biggest issue is that users must know Qlik expression syntax to confidently create objects. Qlik Sense takes the concept of user enablement up several levels. In fact, the developer utilizes the same interface that the end-users utilize. The user enabled front end is:

  • Uniform for both developers and end-users
  • Drag and Drop
  • Intuitive
  • Governed

The best part of the user-enabled front end is the concept of the Master Library. The developer can create governed dimensions, measures and visualizations and provide this library to users. This is the true enablement of the user as they do not have to know Qlik Sense expression syntax to create great visualizations. Qlik Sense wins this battle for sure.

Qlik Sense vs. QlikView: The Popularity Contest

Round 8 – Qlik Sense is popular with our customers.

As we consult with a new customer, we are leading with Qlik Sense. Some of that is simply pressure from Qlik to sell the shiny new tool. Some of that is that Qlik Sense demos well…really well. The visualizations are great looking and the drag and drop creation of objects is impressive. And then when you show them the responsive design they are sold. The easy web integration is icing on the cake. The other fact that cannot be glossed over is that our existing QlikView customers want to run Qlik Sense in parallel. Part of that impetus is curiosity to test-drive the new interface, but much  of it is driven by the need to get data quickly. Qlik Sense is a good way to satisfy those power users that can’t wait for the QlikView reports to be developed and delivered. Not that QlikView reports take long to develop, but they do take a specific skill set that is not always available in the organization.

Round 9 – I now prefer Qlik Sense when I create an application

Until recently, I was still in the QlikView camp. But with good looking Pivot Charts, sizeable columns in straight tables and the amazing extensions flooding Qlik Branch, I am coming over to the Qlik Sense camp. Don’t get me wrong. I still find the web-based script writing to be slower. And it is difficult to write set analysis expressions without having some ready-made preview. The data model viewer in Qlik Sense is also a little frustrating. It displays at a reasonable size and then zooms out until nobody could read it. Then you must manually zoom it back until you can see the tables. But in the end, Qlik Sense applications look better. The front-end is easy to build. The server is highly customizable. And I am finding that I can say “yes” to more and more questions. It just requires a web developer if the answer is not in the box. The responsive design in Qlik Sense is a knock-out feature. After developing apps in Qlik Sense for a while, upon moving over to QlikView, I experience a little bit of shock, because I am constantly scrolling, zooming and otherwise adjusting the screen. Lastly, I see the extended possibilities. The open API’s, the ease of mashups, and the exploding market of extensions are very powerful. This is not an easy choice, but when I weigh all the factors, the scale has tipped in favor of Qlik Sense.

Round 10 – LivingQlik Readers Have Spoken

So my opinion is one thing. What about other developers out there? I compiled votes from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to get an idea of what other developers thought. I had many very balanced answers, but some people were adamantly in favor of one or the other platform. In total, 24 people voted for QlikView and 25 voted for Qlik Sense. For all intents and purposes, I call that a draw. Here are a few comments from social media that were especially interesting. Paul Verkooijen Like Bert Otter we also go with Qlik Sense for new customers, but still love QlikView because of the flexibility it brings. However Sense gets more mature with every release. Looking forward to the Training Web Development, Mashups, Extensions en Widgets by

Nick Webster next week, maybe I’ll fall in love with Sense to. Andy Patrick Agree with Bert Otter it would be naive to go in to a fresh deployment using QlikView. Sense is so much easier for end users to be productive with. BI deployments should be about the customer and their productivity, needs and ultimately ROI. It should not be about the developers preference.

Bert Otter I do think coming from a QlikView comfort zone, it will take some time to see the possibilities of Qlik Sense instead of comparing features (or tricks?) that may not work in Sense. With the current versions and releases to come, the possibilities are growing. Of course there is a gap for both users and developers / consultants, but this will grow, the longer you wait.

Final Thoughts? 

Has the Pendulum Swung?

Today, Qlik is not forcing us into one tool or the other. But some are seeing this on the horizon. Hugo Simancas For now both, each one has its flavor !, but my prediction is that in a medium time, Qlikview + QlikSense = a single Qlik, ALL IN ONE!


Sue Penick QlikView. Sense is still missing features we are using today with QV. So we can’t change until that is resolved. They just need to have one product that does it all. Why wouldn’t you do that?     he good news is that today, clients have a choice. They can choose QlikView or Qlik Sense or both. It will be interesting to see in a year or two, what choices Qlik has made in the development of the two interfaces, the choices that clients have made and the sophistication of the extended solutions around the Qlik products. Regardless of where you fall on the QlikView vs. Qlik Sense debate there is one thing for certain. It is an exciting time for the Qlik ecosystem. Where do you fall on this topic? Contribute your opinion in the comments area below.

Julian Villafuerte over at QlikFreak has also revisited this topic. I guess I am not the only one who struggles with this question. Please do visit his post because it is way funnier than mine.

Happy Qliking!

5 comments… add one
  • Reply Bill Markham April 4, 2017, 7:52 am

    Yup I agree with you – the real power of Qlik Sense is its responsive design and powerful suite of API’s making custom visualizations and mashups possible. This does need web dev skills, but I have managed to pick them up and we have hired an experienced web developer. The biggest challenge is getting over the “I am not a web developer” phase and moving into the “I am a Qlik Sense Developer which includes using things like html / css / javascript / bootstrap / angularjs / etc….”

  • Reply Cotea Lucian April 4, 2017, 4:32 pm

    Imagine where QlikView would be if they didn’t stopped developing it 6 years ago….

  • Reply Sohail Ansari April 10, 2017, 1:41 pm

    I would like to point towards pricing here. You can bring QS to the web for a small price but in order to bring QV to the web you have to pay a big price of enterprise server since SBE editions are no more.

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