The Podium - April 1st, 2019

Izzy Miller, Community Manager at Looker

Apr 1, 2019

Hello Looker Community!

Sad news today — The data has spoken and since it looks like nobody’s reading these, this will be the last ever edition of The Podium :(

dimension: what_day_is_it? {
    type: string
    sql: CASE WHEN ${TABLE}.date = '2019-04-01' THEN 'APRIL FOOLS DAY'

Kidding! The data has spoken and it looks like it’s APRIL FOOLS DAY! Happy April, Good Lookers.

Let’s jump right into this issue of The Podium, our biweekly blog highlighting the best of the Looker Community. Needless to say, it’s here to stay!

Izzy Miller
Community Manager, Looker

Questions and answers

Two WITHs in a PDT

menashe had a question about using PDTs with CTEs (all the acronyms) that reference other non-persisted derived tables. Conrad, our resident PDT genius, hopped in to confirm the correct answer.
Looker Community Discussion — Two WITHs

Write back data to Looker from R

dsml had an interesting question regarding piping data from R back into Looker. Click through for two answers from the community.
Looker Community Discussion — Write back data to Looker from R

Community spotlight — Rich Eden

Our guest this week is @rich1000. Welcome, Rich!

What do you do and where do you do it?

I'm Head of Data at Zava, an online doctor based in London but operating throughout Europe — by many measures we're the biggest :)

What’s the last table calc you wrote? What does it do?

Oh, let me think, probably my favourite 'running total divided by column total' combination. Really useful to identify the site pages responsible for 80% of traffic and share with other people in the company. But the thing we really love in the data team is actually custom dimensions — they are a game-changer. Now you can quickly group things together and pivot a whole table by your new grouping to create amazing charts, and all without creating a LookML mess for things that might only be used a handful of times. Very cool stuff — you should move it out of beta as soon as possible!

Which body part would you least mind losing? Why?

My hair, oh too late, it's already gone :(

What’s the most fun dataset you’ve ever played with?

I used to be responsible for some of the government's migration statistics a long time ago. Perhaps not the exciting cutting edge of data science but it's amazing — and quite scary — to see people arguing about your analysis in national newspapers!

What Looker feature are you a total expert on? Could you share a secret tip/trick?

I'm not sure I'm pushing the boundaries with any particular feature, but I do like to keep the Looker model nice and simple, unsentimentally deleting anything that looks like clutter. My rule here is if you find the LookML confusing then it's probably a bad idea.

Do you have a nerdy data/SQL joke?

As I frequently tell the team the three hardest things in data analysis are naming things and off by one errors. (I really do tell them this, sometimes they are polite enough to laugh.)

What’s a question that you’d like to pose to other community members?

I've had all my questions answered already on Discourse but I'd love a way to actually review the Looker models built by other companies for inspiration. We're all sitting in isolated teams solving the same problems and, I suspect, coming up with radically different solutions. I'm sure there are some great ideas out there that I don't even think to ask about. Unknown unknowns if you will.

Community knowledge share

Filtering & ordering only the visualization

This is technically a question and answer, but there was so much knowledge shared from so many members that I thought it was deserving to put in this category. It was a party with Dawid, Ian, Jonathan, Andy, and me (but I was wrong!) — all working towards the solution.
Looker Community Discussion — Filtering or Ordering Only the Visualization

Join the conversation

That’s it for this edition! Head over to the Community to post your thoughts or to say hey to Rich and tell him about your Looker model! Also, be sure to share your comments about any specific discussions and tips that have helped you out lately. And of course, send in your questions for the next Spotlight feature.

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