A few years ago I created the Instant Sense Application, a template application with twelve sheets of analysis, which allows me to load in any data source and roll it out at a client. To enable any Sense user to be able to do the same I made the application free to download from our website. The application evolves as new features are required and when Qlik brings in new features to Sense itself. This posts rolls up some of the changes in the past year or so.

Instant Sense Application Live Demos

Screenshots of AskQV Instant Sense DemoIt is sometimes to hard to describe what the Instant Sense Application is or how it functions. The simplest way to get your head around it is to see it working, with data that means something. In order to achieve that I set up auto-authentication on a SaaS tenant to allow anonymous usage of some ISA demos.

My thanks go to Daniel Pilla at Qlik who helped me get this working. The instructions to set this up can be found on Qlik Dev here: https://qlik.dev/embed/embed-quick-starts/embedding-with-anonymous-access-and-qlik-cloud. Whilst there is no equivalent to Tableau Public from Qlik, setting this up on a SaaS Tenant with a Capacity licence is the best way to go.

This has allowed me to post live demos to my socials, and to the Instant Sense App landing page. There is also now a live view of Qlik Blog Posts over on the AskQV site.

Download Without Signing Up for Updates

When the Instant Sense Application was first released it was a requirement that users signed up with a valid email address and confirmed that address. I noticed that a lot of people were hitting the ISA page and then not giving their details. Fair enough, I might well do the same. For that reason, we removed the requirement to sign up to download the app. If you would like to hear from Quick Intelligence you can still sign up for our newsletter, but if you would prefer just to download the app you can do so by clicking here.

To me this application is more important as a way to aid Qlik Sense adoption and to make it much quicker and easier to get data, and insights, to users than it is as a promotional tool for Quick Intelligence.

Please take the application and do something great with it! If you do find it saves you days of effort building applications it would be great if you could like, share, comment and all those good things on our social posts. I would love to hear what you are doing with the app.

New Example Scripts and MetaData

The Instant Sense Application ships with a number of example scripts and metadata files, so applications over these data can be quickly spun up and used in your own environment. Pretty much all of these have been tweaked to make use of the new features (more on those below), some also have new expressions and dimensions. As well as this new examples are being added to the download.

Pretty much from the first release, there have been session monitors for both Sense Client Managed and for Sense SaaS, sadly the SaaS one was limited by the API that was being called and didn’t show session duration.

Since that original SaaS example script was created, Qlik have exposed a new API endpoint which shows licence consumption, allowing a much more detailed view of who is consuming which licences. By using this script Sense SaaS administrators can get a good view on who should be holding a named licence and who should be consuming capacity, based on their recent activity. The currently held licence type is denoted by the colour. The client-managed Session monitor has been expanded to better facilitate this also:

Charts from the Instant Sense Application SaaS Sessions Script

Another new script file that was added this year is for profiling libraries of QVD files, by reading the meta-data from the QVD header. It gives a count of QVDs and stats around the size and ages of those QVD files. This app can help you identify redundant files in your environment and warn when the size of files is increasing. Any one who has a QVD layer in their environment (and that should be everyone) can make use of this script.

I’m looking at adding more example scripts to the download in time, both Qlik related ones and other non-related data sources. Watch this space.

New Application Features

There have been a number of tweaks made to the application over the year, some of the more interesting and useful ones are listed here.

The first I am going to mention you have already seen above. All of the charts (except the KPI text, annoyingly) now have a colour expression on them which takes parameters that define the chart type, dimension number and measure number.

Bar chart with colours from an expression

By modifying the expression in that variable dynamic colours can be applied throughout applications. These colours can be based on the dimension, expression, chart type or even be derived from values in the data, as shown here. Documentation is provided in the download showing various options for applying colours.

To further facilitate colours, and to allow the adding of bespoke functionality to your apps, there is now a Variables sheet in the metadata file. This can be used to inject variables into the app at load time. You could create all of your measures as variables, should you want.

The button functionality within Sense has improved, so there are a number of buttons to help with UI in the Instant Sense Application now. The Scatter chart has a button to toggle which expression is shown on the X and Y axis and the Top 20 trend has buttons so that the number of lines shown can be increased or decreased.

Buttons to add or remove lines from chart.

Similar buttons appear on some of the new sheets straight out of the gate. There is also a button (which is a bit work-in-progress) to link to Google Maps from the Map sheet.

The ability to use Google Spreadsheets for the meta-data has been added, so that your online application can read its settings from an online data source, taking away the step of having to upload the configuration to Cloud after every change. Using Office 365 for this also is on the to-do list.

The map sheet now hides itself if you don’t have any geographical dimensions defined in your meta data. I’ve also tweaked some of the settings on the map, so that when you have only one point selected it doesn’t zoom to a point that you can’t see any context. You might want to adjust these settings for your own purposes, but I believe the defaults are better now.

Whilst it is best practice to use Master Dimensions for everything, I have decided to strip the Master Dimension out of the Sense Profiler sheet of the application. The reason for this is that this sheet is a useful addition for any Sense application, and now it can be copied and pasted into other apps without any faff. The sheet gives you a list of all tables and fields in a data model and then shows a chart of the number of occurrences of each value in the selected field.

New Sheets And Chart Types

The most recent addition to the Instant Sense Application is the Dual Map sheet. This will appear if you have two or more location type dimensions in your dataset. The first selected dimension shows on the left and the second on the right. This can be used to show different levels of granularity within location data, as shown here, or to show to and from locations for shipping or travel analysis.

Instant Sense Dual Dimension Maps

There have been a few chart types that have been absent from the application, until now, as they only work with expressions that accumulate to a total. A new column has been added to the Expressions sheet of the meta-data that defines which expressions are part-to-whole. If you have one or more of these in your data then the new sheets appear, giving you pie charts (sorry), a tree map and a Sankey chart. All of these work the same way as the existing sheets, with the ability to pick dimensions and any part-to-whole expression.

New chart types in the Instant Sense Application

Both the Sankey and the Tree Map have the ability to toggle which is the primary and secondary dimension, which gives much flexibility in how things are shown.

Look To The Future Now, It’s Only Just Begun

Whilst extending and expanding the Instant Sense Application isn’t something I get to do as much as I would like, there are ideas I have for it. As we have deployed the application on client sites there are change requests from clients also. These often find their way back into the download file. I’m also always happy to hear suggestions from the Community on how the app could be improved.

One of the ideas I have presently is to add Dimension and Measure groups, so that these can be selected from a drop-down in one go, rather than picking them separately. For instance, with the Sense Usage apps I tend to pick a view that has Total Usage, Today’s Usage, This Weeks Usage, Rolling 30 Day Usage and Days Since Last Licence Use, all shown by User, to pick which users should be allocated or de-allocated licences. With no hide condition on Filter Panes (yet) they would leave redundant objects on the screen if not configured. Besides, bookmarks provide quite a neat way of saving groups of items – so this has remained on the back burner.

Something I have found myself doing on a number of roll-outs of the app is to add a button to each sheet. On one of the demos I have added a button to link to a web page for further information, elsewhere I have added a button to reload the app. What I am considering is adding a button on each sheet, which only appears if the destination and legend for the button is defined in the metadata spreadsheet. I think this could be a nice addition, but not one that has bubbled to the top of the list yet.

The beauty of the Instant Sense Application is that the one application can have many different data sources and meta-data files loaded into it. If I create any more, which is likely to happen, then these will be added to the download. It was also my hope that other people might contribute script and meta-data files for other data sources. If you have the Instant Sense Application pointing at a data source that might be useful for others, please get in touch to see how we might roll that out.

If you fancy creating a load script and meta-data file, perhaps over data related to a hobby or interest, then it would be great to hear from you also. That app could be made available either part of the application download or as a hosted demo.

If you are using the application, for any reason, it would be great to hear from you. You can comment on this blog post, on our social posts, or get in touch with me directly.

Thanks everyone! It has been incredible to see how many times this application has been downloaded, and I really hope it is helping you to deliver better analytics in less time.