Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Top Two Feature Requests

There are a couple of missing features in QV that cause me to often bump my head against the ceiling. I have a great idea but then ouch -- can't make QV do that. Below are my top two feature requests. With all the cool, advanced, sophisticated ideas floating around out there, you may be surprised that my requests appear so basic.

#1. An escaping or alternate syntax for string literals that contain single quotes. I frequently use script subroutines and variables with parameters to bring discipline to my QV projects. Parameters are passed as strings and variables are sometimes themselves function calls that contain quoted parameters. Nested routines make the problem even more complex.

There is also a problem using SET and LET in script to define reusable expressions. The defined values often contain quotes.

Quoted strings cannot contain quotes, so I resort to all kinds of workarounds -- & chr(39),  proxy characters for quotes and using fields when I would really prefer variables. All of these are complex workarounds that make my code resemble the Twister game.

#2 Grouped Objects. So many great screen objects available. Wouldn't it be wonderful have a couple of charts, a listbox and an explanatory text box minimize & restore as a group? I've blogged about this in the past if you want to read more on the topic. So much could be done in the UI with the addition of object groups.

I've dropped both of these feature requests in various Qliktech "suggestion boxes" over the years. I have no idea if they will ever  be implemented or not. I frequently hear other users asking for #2, and I occasionally meet someone who shares my desire for #1.

What are your top two feature wishes?

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Metadata in QV10

Qliktech is rolling out some exciting new metadata in Version 10 SR2.I've started poking around at the new data along with a new metadata scanner application that should be available to the Community next week.

The most intriguing new feature is that certain information, such as source tables used in load statements, will now be available as XML data within each QVW. Object definitions, expressions and dimensions will also be available through the same XML mechanism.

Qliktech will be providing a scanner application that will read the new XML data. In addition, the scanner will load information on existing QVDs, Server and Publisher logs and server tasks. The loaded tables form a single metadata model that can be used to feed reporting and analysis such as Ops Monitor.

I'm excited about these changes on two fronts:

1. The "missing" metadata -- data lineage -- is now starting to appear in the product. Up to this point, customers and consultants have created various schemes to track data lineage.

2. I see the formal Qliktech metadata model, begun in V9, maturing to the point where it will become accepted as the standard.

I'm looking forward to creating applications with the new data and will blog again as I learn more.