5 Essential Tools for Every Qlik Developer

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The following 5 applications will improve your productivity, security and general awesomeness in your day to day Qlik and Visual Analytics work.

As a Visual Analytics and Qlik consultant, I am constantly finding myself giving live demonstrations in the form of screen casts and presentations.  Whereas I like to think that my audience are interested in what I am showing them from a visual analytics perspective, I find myself getting a lot of questions about the software I invariably dip in to during a session.  So, here’s a list, in priority order, of the tools I use most in my day to day work and get the most comments about.  The good news is that all the applications I list here can be used either entirely for free or have a decent free trial period. So, in descending order:

5. Royal TS

In fifth place, is Royal TS.  If like me, you’re constantly flicking between a dev server, publisher, web server, live server etc, then you need Royal TS.  This tool allows you to securely save all your connections in one place and flick between servers like tabs on a web browser.  It will automatically connect to a VPN and you can even kick off remote processes like restarting services without actually having to RDP on to the server.  It’s a great time saver and takes no time to learn.

Screenshot of Royal TS

  • License: Free for under 10 connections
  • Website: www.royalapplications.com/ts/
  • Platform: Windows / Mac

4. Balsamiq

At number 4 is a tool that may actually change your life.  Balsamiq is one of the most useful applications on my computer and has revolutionised the way I present dashboard concepts to clients.  Mockups and wireframes are created with drag and drop simplicity and you can build these in real time while sitting with a client.  Try it once and you’ll be hooked.

Blasamiq Wireframe showing client dashboard concept

Balsamiq wireframe showing a reporting application concept.

  • License: Free for 30 days, then option to save disabled
  • Websitehttps://balsamiq.com/
  • Platform: Windows / Mac

3. KeePassX

So, how do you remember all your login credentials? Chances are you’ll have several to remember and I’m not just talking about your banking or facebook logins.  As businesses become more and more security savvy, the complexity of your password needs to increase, along with the regularity of changes you are forced to make.  On top of that, if you are working for multiple clients/customers, then you will have login details or keys for a multitude of servers.

Their are plenty of commercial options for you, such as Last Pass or RoboForm, but speak to any system admin and they will tell you that the only one you can be really sure of is the one you can inspect the source code of.  That way you can be sure there are no GCHQ or CIA back doors!  KeePass has been around in one form or another since 2003 and is solid, tried and tested.  It will generate strong passwords for you (if you desire) and has extensions/apps to allow integration into your web browser or mobile phone.  I use KeePassX which is a cross platform port of the original and again, source code is  available for your inspection.

2. Git

If you’re working with code, version control shouldn’t be a choice, it should be a necessity.  There are plenty of version control systems available but Git is easily the most popular, and the easiest to get up and running with.  When I mention Version Control in Qlik circles, I hear plenty excuses for not doing it but honestly, the benefits far outweigh the effort of learning a few commands and establishing a version control process in your team.  I plan to write a series of tutorials and posts about Version Control and Qlik but first, let me give you a few key benefits to whet your appetite (in no particular order).

  1. Effortless deployment: Deployment of your Qlik applications from dev to live can be fully automated.
  2. Rollback: As easy as deployment.  If there’s something wrong with the current version in live, all you need to do is select a previous version and deploy.
  3. Branching: Need to fix a bug in the live app but not interfere with a new feature you’re also working on?  Create a branch off your master and once tested, merge into live.
  4. Meaningful version numbers: When you’ve finished your development and you’re satisfied with testing, tag that version (eg 3.1.12).  You can write script to read the current tag from Git and users always know what version of the application they are using.  Important if you are doing regular deployments and the odd rollback.
  5. Collaboration: Gone are the days of overwriting each other’s work.  You can safely have two people working on the same QVW and merge changes in later.
  6. Disaster recovery: If you lose a server or work, you can rebuild your entire Qlik estate from your git repository.
  7. Traceability: I’m not one to point fingers, but if you want to know who added what line of code, or be sure that the version that the Test team signed off is the actual one in live (ie, it hasn’t been tampered with, perfect for things like SOX compliance) then Git is your tool.
  8. I could go on, but I think you get the picture; if you’re interested in setting this up in your organisation and would like some help, please get in touch.

Screenshot from github showing commit detail Screenshot from Github showing project overview.

  • License: Free; General Public License
  • Websitehttps://git-scm.com/
  • Platform: Windows / Mac / *ix

1. Sublime Text

And in first place…  Sublime Text.  Sublime Text is a lightweight and almost infinitely configurable code editor.  It’s not just for Qlik, it supports a massive list of additional languages, and certainly every one you will come across in your QlikView/Sense career.  Sublime Text is made even better by Vadim Tsushko‘s amazing Sublime Text Qlik extension that even lets you view and edit QVD’s.  I’m not going to harp on about it too much, but let me give you a few bullet points, a couple of screenshots then let you go off and try it out for yourself.

  1. Code completion:  Ok, so you’re used to this with the QlikView Script editor, but Sublime takes this to the next level completing variable and table names for you too.
  2. Does not lock out QlikView when reloading: Ever made a shameful mistake in QlikView, hit reload then been locked out for the next 60 seconds while you wait to fix your typo?  Well, if you’re using an external script editor, editing your script while QlikView is busy is possible.
  3. QVD editing:  Sometimes you just need a quick look in a QVD to check the name of a column or the structure of some data.  With Sublime and Vadim’s plugin, you can do that.
  4. Easier on the eye:  This is subjective, but I think coding on a dark background is much easier on the eye than coding on a white background.  In any case, it’s all customisable in Sublime.
  5. All your files in one place:  If you make use of Sublime’s project functionality, you can group various folder locations making you more productive.
  6. Search Everything: Sublime searches across your entire project, so if you need to jump to a Subroutine, include file, or say a variable you have stored in an external file, you can do that with a single shortcut.


4 Replies to “5 Essential Tools for Every Qlik Developer”

    1. Thanks Pawel,
      Nice little tool, and even nicer, it’s free! I think it sits half way between Sublime’s ability to get basic schema info on a QVD and Q-Eye’s functionality allowing full editing of a QVD. Something to add to my toolkit 🙂

  1. Hi George ! Hope you are doing well.
    Great article, Thanks for sharing ! 🙂

    It would be great to know your view on GeoAnalytics and QlikView on the blog sometime…

    Cheers
    Priyanka

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