This article by Christopher Ilacqua, Henric Cronström, and James Richardson, the authors of the book, Learning Qlik Sense®: The Official Guide - Second Edition, highlights key features and benefits of Qlik Sense. There are thousands of features in the initial release of the software, and this article will serve as a guide to the major components, features, and benefits of Qlik Sense as you start exploring it.
In this article, we'll cover the following topics:
- Overview of the hub
- Starting application authoring
- Components of a Qlik Sense application
- Sharing an application
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Overview of an application's life cycle
As we begin our overview of a Qlik Sense application life cycle, it is best to start at the center of a Qlik Sense community collaboration, which is called the hub. The hub is made up of a number of streams that contain applications that are published by authors as well as users who can extend these applications by adding personal sheets and data stories. The Qlik Sense Management Console (QMC) governs this publishing through streams that have security rules. This approach provides the highly governed system that IT needs, while granting users the ability to explore information and share and collaborate on their findings.
Let's dig a bit deeper in each of these areas:
Overview of the Qlik Sense hub
Starting application authoring
The need for a Qlik Sense application often starts with simple questions, such as these: Why are sales down in my region? What products are not selling well? Are there opportunities to sell additional products to existing customers? When a customer purchases a product, do they also purchase a companion product? These types of questions lead to the identification of the place to find this data. Qlik Sense provides two starting points that can be from either the Personal (Desktop) or Enterprise Edition. This article will focus primarily on the Qlik Sense Enterprise Edition and mention the differences in the Desktop Edition.
The hub is made up of two main parts. The first is My Workspace, which enables users to create new Qlik Sense applications. The second part comprises defined Streams, which contain published applications to be used and extended by users. Streams are defined in the QMC, which provides a broad range of security rules to meet organizational requirements. Once an application is completed, it can be published to an authorized stream by the author. When published, the application cannot be altered without republishing by the author. The Desktop Edition contains only a hub for the creation of Qlik Sense applications and the application author must send all artifacts of the application, which must include at least the Qlik Sense document (QVF) and extensions used in the development of the application. Once received by the administrator, these artifacts are imported through the QMC and then published.
What makes up a Qlik Sense® application?
Now, let's turn our attention to what components make up a Qlik Sense application. They are shown in the following diagram:
A Qlik Sense application component
Qlik Sense applications are made up of a number of components. Starting from the data source, these components include the following:
- Global Defined Data Sources are defined outside of Qlik Sense and managed by QMC.
- Based on these governed data sources, a Load Script is generated through or written, which transforms this data into Qlik's in-memory data model.
- Once the Qlik Sense data model is defined, the author can determine which fields will have the most value for users in the creation of private sheets for personal analysis. These fields will be used to create dimensions and real-time calculation expressions for measures.
- Additionally, fully defined charts for the most common views of information can be stored in the Library.
- Once the Library is defined, sheets (collections of objects), data stories, and bookmarks can be created.
All these components combine to create a dynamic baseline application to be explored by users.
Sharing an application
Let's turn our attention to how an application is shared with the Qlik Sense community. There are two methods:
- Qlik Sense Enterprise application publication
- Qlik Cloud
Once a Qlik Sense application is complete, the author can share it by publishing it to a stream in the Qlik Sense hub. The publishing process can be accomplished by an administrator who is responsible for a stream and has publishing rights in the QMC. A Qlik Sense author notifies a stream administrator that a Qlik Sense application is ready for publishing. The stream administrator logs into the QMC, identifies the Qlik Sense application by name and author, and publishes the application in a stream.
Qlik Sense Enterprise application publication
This method moves the application from the personal workspace, so a copy of the application should be made prior to publishing.
Once an application is published to a stream, it is ready to be explored by users:
Qlik Sense Enterprise application consumption
Qlik Sense Cloud
Qlik provides a free and easy way for up to five people to create and share Qlik Sense visualizations in the cloud. There are two ways to take advantage of Qlik Cloud:
- Download Qlik Sense Desktop and create an application. Once created, register via the Qlik Sense client and upload your application.
- With the release of Qlik Sense Cloud, anyone can start their data exploration immediately by registering at http://www.qlik.com/us/explore/products/qliksensecloud and create your application and share it directly on the cloud.
Continuing the application's life cycle
One of the key features of a Qlik Sense application is its dynamic nature, which helps meet the broad requirements of data discovery. Users can explore the published sheets and data stories as well as create and share private sheets and stories based on the application library. The library allows for the creation of personal sheets and data stories in a controlled manner. As mentioned earlier, the library is a collection of dimensions, measures, and charts that are defined by the application author and cannot be modified once they are published to a stream but can be republished from the author's workspace. It allows a user to extend an application and share findings through personal sheets and data stories, while keeping consistent definitions across an organization.
Taking a step back, let's look at this new application model. A published Qlik Sense application is just at the beginning of its life cycle. Once published, the application can be expanded by the contributor within the stream using additional published sheets and stories based on the original application.
Qlik Sense application life cycle
Enterprise Qlik Sense applications are built based on governed data sources defined in the QMC. These data sources are transformed into a QIX Engine. Once the model is defined, key dimensions and measures are created within the library. This library will be used to create sheets. Next, the application is published to a stream within the hub for consumption. The application is then explored by users, and key findings can then be shared through bookmarks, private sheets, and data stories. These artifacts enrich the application and can be published back in the stream for collaboration between other members of the stream.
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