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When QlikView meets Pokémon

Some people build QlikView dashboards to review the financial outcomes of their companies. Others use it to monitor their everyday operations in plants and warehouses. There are individuals who even create applications to analyze fun stuff like the Olympic Games or TV Series. In my opinion, QlikView should be exclusively used to answer humanity’s greatest inquiries and analyze relevant topics that affect our lives and our future; important things such as Pokémon😛

When I was a kid, I used to play Pokémon games all the time. Blue, Yellow, Silver, Sapphire, Stadium, Snap, Pinball, Trading Card Game, you name it. And well, since everyone’s going a little crazy about Pokémon Go these days, I decided to create a QlikView document based on the original 151 Pokémon in the first generation (speaking about mixing good stuff).

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Today’s post isn’t exactly a tutorial. I’ll just share the QVW I created and highlight some interesting features I think you can use to improve your own applications. Even if you’re not exactly the biggest Pokémon fan, be sure to check it out. I’m sure you’ll find something that strikes your attention!  Continue reading

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About Slopegraphs and Bumps Charts

Hey everyone! Today’s post answers a request from one of our readers and features two not-so-common visualizations that you can use to make time comparisons: slopegraphs and bumps charts. Although these objects have a very simple nature, they’re also quite elegant and intuitive, so there’s a good chance that they will help you get some unexpected insights in your analyses.

We’ll also discuss one or two tips that can help you improve their readability and make them more meaningful by adding extra context to the data. As requested, the football dataset that we’ve been using lately will give life to our examples!😉

Slopegraph

Slopegraphs are a great way to compare two points in time. However, instead of describing the ups and downs along the way like traditional line charts, they focus on how the journey started and how it ended. This visualization is the perfect candidate for “then and now” analyses (much like that TV show that presents celebrities and how they looked 30 years ago). * Note to self: stop making that kind of references, people will laugh at you. You should recommend Cole’s blog instead. *

When working with these charts, our brain can easily spot patterns and recognize the distinctive slopes of certain elements in terms of direction or magnitude. It is also an intuitive way of showing how the rankings changed from a point in time to another, as the lines will intersect each other and end up in a different order.

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In this example, we can visualize the performance of all the teams in the Premier League over the last two seasons. Each squad is portrayed by a line and its position and slope depend on the rank achieved in both the 2015 and 2016 tournaments. In order to improve the chart’s readability, you can highlight the selected team by adding some color and changing its line’s width.

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* Fun Fact: This chart is so cool that it made it to the cover of one of my favorite books about data visualization, The Functional Art by Alberto Cairo. Continue reading

Tile Grid Maps

Have you ever had one of those “of course I can do that in QlikView” moments? As a Qlik developer it’s not uncommon to find yourself struggling to create a chart or pull off a complex script that nobody asked for, but for some strange reason, you decided to tas a personal challenge. Well, I just had one of those moments.

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I couple of days ago I was wandering around my usual blogs when I found a post by Alberto Cairo  where he talked about an interactive visualization created by the FiveThirtyEight team regarding the political preferences in the United States. [By the way, if you don’t follow those blogs you are missing a lot of great stuff!]

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Besides being a stunning way to present What-If scenarios, I liked the usage of the Tile Grid Maps, which have become a pretty popular visualization lately. What is a Tile Grid Map, you ask? Well, think of it as a mix between a choropleth map and a table heat map. If you want to see more examples, you can visit Bloomberg, The Washington Post or The New York Times.25_30

It is true that most of the times we strive for more accurate charts but ironically, this technique’s boon is that it disregards the actual size of the regions and translates them to equal-sized shapes (in this case, squares) so it becomes easier to see even the smallest areas. Therefore, this solution is excellent when the geographic size is not the most important thing, but maintaining a loose spatial distribution is.

So anyways… In today’s tutorial we’ll build something like this:

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Qlik Dev Group & Masters Summit for Qlik

In the last few years, I have attended several Qlik-organized meetings like Qonnections and –believe me– those guys really know how to host an event! Usually, there are great presentations, delicious food and interesting announcements. However, I’ve always felt that they are more focused on the customers, partners and sales people.

In contrast, independent events like the Qlik Dev Group and the Masters Summit have something special: they’re created specifically for the developers which, in my opinion, are the real heroes behind all the Qlik implementations.

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Let me start with the Big Four: Rob Wunderlich, Barry Harmsen, Oleg Troyansky and Bill Lay. The Masters Summit for Qlik is an event launched in 2013 that can definitely take your Qlik skills to the next level. With dynamic presentations and lots of ready-to-use resources, this forum will surprise even the most experienced developers with tricks that will change the way you approach your applications. I had the chance to travel to Copenhagen for last year’s summit and it was absolutely worth it!

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I won’t lie to you, I was a little disappointed when I saw that Rob doesn’t wear his hat all the time and that Oleg got rid of his Qlik tattoo… but after the shock, I really enjoyed their presentations. Their next events will take place in Johannesburg and Texas in September / October, so you’re right on time to book your flights.

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This dynamic group of Qlik developers is rapidly taking over the world by showing everyone that “Eat. Sleep. Qlik. Repeat.” is the best way to live. Since its inaugural event in London (2014), it has displayed an amazing growth. Today, it holds events all around the world in cities like San Francisco, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Hamburg, Santiago, Paris and Mexico (it’s pretty much like any Pitbull’s song). Continue reading

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QlikFreak Football

What happens when you mix QlikView with the best football leagues in the globe? In today’s post, I’ll share a little app I created to analyze data about my favorite soccer tournaments like the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga or the Serie A from Italy. So let’s take a break of business oriented dashboards and spend some time reviewing the wins, losses and goals of the last few years.

If you’re a football fan, you’ll stay for the discoveries. If you’re a QlikView enthusiast, you’ll stay for the tips regarding scripting and visualization. If you’re not neither of those, you’ll visit our Random page in order to see funny videos like a pug playing ‘Enter Sandman’ from Metallica in the drums.

As usual, you can download all the related files here. Ready? Let’s get started!

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The first challenge in this endeavor was to find a good data source. However, a static XLS file wouldn’t do the trick. Since we’re in the middle of the season and there are matches every week, we need a way to update our file constantly. Even though it’s not the most common way to extract tables, don’t forget that QlikView can retrieve records from external websites (Data from Files > Web Files).

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After browsing for a while, I found a great sports portal called SkySports where we could get all the information we needed. In order to load it to our model (and since I didn’t want to copy and paste the same code dozens of times), I relied on one of our oldest friends: the FOR… NEXT loop. The structure is not very complex, so I’ll let the code speak for itself: Continue reading

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More things I hate about QlikView

Let me start this post with a question: What is wrong with you people? I was building a little app for analyzing which are your favorite topics in this blog when I came across a sad realization. Even though QlikFreak is full of useful tips about visualization and data modeling, it looks like the most popular post is… well… the one where I complain about everything😛

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In a way, writing this kind of posts is like talking about my problems with someone who really understands, and since I cannot afford a decent therapist, why don’t we put the constructive spirit aside and discuss the details we hate about the platform we love? Here we go: More things I hate about QlikView!

The extra space in listboxes when you use the AJAX client: I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had mixed feelings about the AJAX client. On one hand, it has great features such as notes, session collaboration and the fact that you don’t have to install anything special in order to use QlikView in desktops, laptops or even mobile devices. On the other hand, it slightly changes the size and alignment of the objects, modifies the amount of visible rows in straight / pivot tables and sometimes adds scrollbars to the charts. And well… I really hate unaligned objects in my apps!!! However, the thing that annoys me the most is, without a doubt, that blank space that appears at the end of certain listboxes:22_02

For God’s sake! Why. Are. You. There?!?! Aaaaarrrrghhhhh!!!

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Bulk Actions: At some point in our lives, we’ve all wished that QlikView had some sort of bulk actions (you know, a magical “Apply to all” button). For example, let’s say you just finished creating a 10-column straight table and you want to center all the labels.  You go to the Presentation tab and try to select all the expressions but you can’t, so you end up either clicking each column and centering its title or changing the object type to a Pivot Table and doing it all at once (I’m not really sure why this only works for Pivot Tables). Continue reading

QlikView Consultant Starter Pack

Unfortunately, a couple of days ago, one of my colleagues invited me to one of those “Why am I even here?” meetings with a new customer. I’m sure you are all familiar with them: long reunions with no objective whatsoever where all the participants strive to look busy and productive, but in reality, they’re not accomplishing anything at all.

In the middle of this rampage (and questioning my very existence out of the boredom), I remembered some “Started Pack” memes I saw earlier that day:

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But then, I started thinking, I’ve never seen a QlikView Consultant Starter Pack. Of course there are several training kits and video collections for beginners, but let’s say you meet someone who has just finished his basic QlikView training. How would you help him equip himself with all the tools and resources that he’ll need for his journey as a new consultant? Well, after some thought I came up with this list (and yes, I managed to do something relevant during that meeting too):

Decent computer

OK, don’t give me that look… Yes, I can see you rolling your eyes already! Wait a minute, this is just a little reminder for the newbies.

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Don’t forget that QlikView models are loaded into RAM. So, if you’re going to work with several millions of records, you’d better get a good laptop (and yes, you’re going to need Windows). Though you can now develop in any browser or mobile device using Sense, let’s be honest: it is much more comfortable to work in your own machine, with all your apps, images and other resources available.

Continue reading