Looker Blog : Data Matters

Empowering Developers to Create Powerful Custom Data Experiences

Lindsay Zelinski, Sr Product Manager at Looker

Nov 6, 2019

“What tools do developers and analysts need to build better data solutions for their internal teams and customers?”

The Looker platform team has answered this question over the past year by making our platform more approachable and flexible for developers who are building solutions for a wide range of operational use cases.

From data products to automated workflows, highly custom data experiences, custom visualizations, deep integrations, and more, our new developer tools and framework unlock powerful ways to extend the Looker platform.

We listened carefully to analyst and developer feedback to understand how we can improve current tools and find new ways we can empower developers to build data experiences in and out of Looker.

We’re excited to be introducing a rich set of new tools that will enable you to build better, more tailored data experiences.

Customize embedded experiences more easily

Our customers embed customized Looker content in many ways, from embedding in external websites to adding a dashboard to internal Salesforce accounts.

To enable you to continue pushing the envelope, you can now take advantage of our new dashboard customization features, which allow you to:

  • choose from a whole new selection of filters to fit your data use case
  • customize tiles by adjusting the spacing, alignment, and shadow
  • theme your embedded dashboard with more fine-grain control

In addition, you’ll soon be able to add pre-built, custom tiles to your dashboard. Want a real-time view of what people are saying about your company on social media? Or maybe a live stock ticker to track your company’s share price? Developers can use pre-built components to ensure these custom experiences fit in Looker naturally. And, after you build out your dashboard, you can easily embed to enrich your website with Looker insights.

Build with more approachable APIs and software development tools

Looker developers have built some amazing things with our APIs, but we know that getting started can be a challenge that requires a lot of developer sophistication.

To help break down these barriers, we’ve made our core APIs more approachable to developers in the languages they know best, including Javascript/Typescript, Python, Kotlin, and Swift SDK’s. We’re also packaging up common Looker components (filters, visualizations, navigation, layout, etc.) so developers can build custom data experiences much more quickly.

Create Looker hosted applications using our extension framework

We don’t want people building outside of Looker to have all the fun, so we’re making it possible for developers to build these experiences right inside Looker.

With the extension framework, developers can build Looker hosted applications and plug-ins using our new SDKs and components, all within a secure sandbox environment. Content created on this framework can be built as a full-screen experience, embedded into an external website, or embedded inside Looker (as a custom tile you plug into your dashboard, for example). We hope these new capabilities inspire your creativity and imagination.

Discover, install, and distribute in our marketplace

In addition to a framework for building these experiences, we are providing developers a place to share their creations with their peers and other users: the Looker marketplace.

In the Looker marketplace, developers can deploy what they’ve built, share it with other users, and discover and install applications, plugins, and integrations with ease and speed.

For instance, users can now install a block or visualization in seconds, and an entire robust application in only a few minutes.

At launch, the marketplace will contain ten plug-ins and visualizations, 15 models, and 50 connections — with more additions to come. Stay tuned to see this content expand throughout 2020.

Better products, better experiences

Whether you’re building a better data product for your customers, or a better Looker experience for your internal stakeholders and business users, the solutions built by the brilliant minds in the Looker Platform Ecosystem of developers can get where you want to go, faster.

Share what you’re excited about with the Community. We can’t wait to see where your creativity takes you.

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