In 2017, Qlik changed its Sense software release cycle to 5 times a year, or about every 10 weeks. The following are a few highlights of the September 2017 and November 2017 releases:
September 2017 Release
The Qlik Sense Mobile app for iOS became available on the iPad. Only the iPad Air 2 version or greater and iOS 10.3.2 and above are supported. The iPad Pro is also supported but not the iPhone. The mobile app requires Qlik Sense Enterprise and the September 2017 release or later. The mobile app is currently available only via the Apple Enterprise store (https://vpp.itunes.apple.com). To download the mobile app, a user must enroll in the Apple Developer Enterprise Program, a program which allows proprietary apps to be distributed to employees within their organization and which costs 299 USD per year. The organization must be a legal entity and must have a D.U.N.S number. The person enrolling in the Apple Developer Program must have an Apple ID and must have legal authority to bind his or her organization to a legal agreement with Apple.
As of the September 2017 release, it is possible to perform multiple, sequential transformations of data of a single field in the Data Manger. These transformations include concatenating tables, creating calculated fields, unpivoting data from a cross table, and performing data profiling card transformations. Once the developer has finished transforming the data in the Data Manager, the relevant script necessary to perform the transformations is added to a locked Auto-generated section of the Data Load Editor. The script can be further manipulated by unlocking this section, but the link between the script and the Data Manager will be lost.
Dynamic field labels are now available for master items and for measures and dimensions within visualizations. Measure and dimension labels can dynamically change based on expressions that can be edited in the data section of the Properties panel or in the Assets panel. With this new feature, both a name and a dynamic label can be assigned to measures and dimensions. When functions such as GetObjectDimension() and GetObjectMeasure() are used in a chart expression, the dynamic labels should be used instead of the names of the dimensions or measures. For example, if using a custom color by expression in a bar chart, for a field name Yr and a label Year, the bars would turn green if the following expression were used: If(GetObjectDimension()=’Year’, Green(), Red()). In contrast, the bars would be red if the following expression were used: If(GetObjectDimension()=’Yr’, Green(), Red()).
With the September release, Qlik Sense’s global search tool keeps a history of recent searches.The Smart Search does not keep a record of terms that are used in a search query unless the Smart Search finds a match in the database and the user selects one of the results in the Explore or Apply a Selection panels; otherwise, that search terms will not be saved. The search history is only stored temporarily, starting when an app is first opened. Once the app is closed, the search history will be deleted.
Also available with the September release is a history of the most recent colors that have been used in the Qlik Sense app. Qlik Sense’s color picker now conveniently displays the five most recently selected colors, allowing a developer to more easily maintain a consistent color scheme throughout an app. The color history is available when selecting colors in the Show App Information panel, the Assets panel, and visualizations’ Properties panel. Like search histories, the color history is deleted when the Qlik Sense app is closed.
The only new visualization released in the September release is the waterfall chart. The waterfall chart is a visualization that uses bars in an XY graph to explain the mathematical difference between two or more values. For example, if on October 1st, the inventory of Product X was 200 units; and on October 31st, it was 210 units; the increase of 10 units, or the mathematical difference, can be explained with a waterfall chart (see below). In this example, 150 units of Product X were sold, 170 units were restocked, and 10 units were lost due to shrinkage, i.e. damaged, stolen, or lost, resulting in a net increase of 10 units.
November 2017 Release
As of the November 2017 release, a sheet can have a Title as well as a Title Expression. If the Title Expression box, which is found in the Properties Panel, is left blank, the Title will be the label that appears in the UI. If an expression is added to the Title Expression box, which is located below the Title box, the Title will no longer appear in the UI. Instead, the expression will be evaluated and the result will appear in the UI. The new Title Expression feature makes it possible for sheet labels to change dynamically.
The following new chart features and improvements were released: Point labels, bar labels, or both can now be added to the lines and bars of a combo chart. Previously, if all the columns did not fit in a table chart, the user had to manually select the specific order and number of columns to view at one time. Any remaining columns would be hidden. With the newest release, users are now able to scroll left and right in a table to view any columns that are currently hidden. In a box plot, single colors can still be
chosen, one for the box color and another for the outlier color. In addition, the option to use an expression to set the box color is now available. Similarly, in a distribution plot, single colors can be chosen for the box color and for the point color. Now the option to use an expression to set the box color exists. In addition, jitter can now be switched on to prevent dots from overlapping in a distribution plot. Instead of all the points of the dimension being distributed on a single axis, i.e. a single line, points are spread over two perpendicular axes so that dots with the same measure are not stacked on top of each other.
Several of the visualizations allow a developer to set calculation conditions for that object. In the September 2017 version of Qlik Sense, when a calculation conditions was not met, the message that appeared in the UI would be either “The calculation condition is not fulfilled” or another static message that could be set by the developer. With the new release, the message continues to be customizable, but instead of a static message, a dynamic message based on an expression is displayed.
Another feature of the November release is the ability to manually add an in-line data table.To do so, click Add Data in the App Overview or the Data Manager. In the left hand panel, clicking on In-App Manual Entry opens the table editor. Any data that is entered into the table editor will appear in a separate table in the Data Manager. If any of the field names of the in-line table match existing field names in the data model, each field in the in-line table will be automatically qualified with the in-line table name. Once the in-line table is created, it can be further manipulated in the Data Manager like if it were any other table.
It is now possible to refresh data in the App Overview without having to navigate to the Data Manager. In Qlik Sense, after a new data source is added in the App Overview or in the Data Manager, the new data must be loaded in order to prompt Qlik Sense to update the associative model. In the previous version of Qlik Sense, once a data source was added, the data would have to be refreshed in the Data Manager before the data model would be updated. With the November 2017 release, it is no longer necessary to navigate to the Data Manager to refresh data. Data can also be refreshed in the App Overview. To do so, activate the edit mode in the App Overview and select the Fields tab in the Assets Panel. On the bottom left, there are now two new options, one to add data and another to refresh data.
Another new Qlik Sense feature is the ability to view a history of transformations and operations performed on tables and fields. Within the Data Manager, by selecting a table, clicking the ellipsis that is centrally located at the bottom of the Qlik Sense window, and clicking on Select Details, a history of the data transformations that produced the table will be displayed. For example, the history would include a list of any source tables, the order in which they were loaded, and the transformation that occurred, such as a concatenation or an unpivot. A history of data transformations becomes available for tables loaded in the Data Load Editor only after those tables are synchronized in the Data Manager. Once synchronized, the data transformation history would indicate that the table was loaded in the script and then synchronized, but it would not list transformations that occurred in the script. In addition, when editing a table within the Data Manager, it is also possible to select a field and click on View Details. The source fields and their respective source tables and a list of any transformations and operations that were applied to the field are displayed. For example, a history of Field1 would indicate that it has two source fields from two different tables, that the two fields were concatenated, and that the values of Field1 are custom ordered. The transformations and operations are displayed in the order in which they were applied.
One important change made to Qlik Sense is the way in which single quotes are interpreted in set analysis. Previously, single quotes and double quotes were interchangeable. Now, single quotes in set modifiers indicate literal values and should be used for case-sensitive strings of explicit field values. Double quotes or square brackets should be used with string values that contain searches or that include relational operators, equal signs, or wild cards. Searches are case-insensitive. Of note, set analysis used in apps created in previous versions of Qlik Sense will not need to be updated; however, Sense applications should be carefully tested to reveal if expressions were coded using single or double quotes prior to releasing upgraded Sense apps into production.