The Podium - June 14th, 2019

Izzy Miller, Community Manager at Looker

Jun 14, 2019

Greetings Earthlings,

Exciting times here at Looker! If you haven’t already, check out our blog post to learn more about the big news. As for the good ol’ Looker Community, though? It’s been nothing but business as usual, and I’ve got a classic round-up of questions, answers, and cool stuff for you all today.

As always, there are some especially neat projects going on that I’d like to highlight. First, there’s a brand new category for community discussion: Data Adoption. We want to provide a space to discuss best practices for building data-driven company cultures and share your experiences driving data adoption. Check out the inaugural prompt, which includes an opportunity to win some Looker swag. Share your secrets, adoption gurus!

Second, Seema from our Customer Experience team has an opportunity to help raise money for Girls Who Code, an organization that’s working to close the gender gap in technology. Learn how you can help by simply giving Looker a 5-minute review here.

Lastly, for those of you in San Francisco and New York City, there’s another Office Hours rolling around on June 20th at 3:30-5:00pm local time. The subject is Powerful Data Drilling, so go ahead and drill into this link to learn more and register.

Izzy Miller
Community Manager, Looker

Questions and answers

Font awesome icons

I actually didn’t know that Looker shipped with font-awesome built in until @simon_onfido shared an example of its use here. You’ll find the fa-hippo icon on every dashboard + dimension I build from now on.
Looker Community Discussion — Font Awesome Icons

Running total with Pivot

@Ski_Blanchard was working with a pivoted dataset and wanted to create an overall running total for every pivot, while keeping the result set pivoted to do Quarter over Quarter analysis. I took a stab, but @DaanIF came through with the real deal solution.
Looker Community Discussion — Running total with pivot

Two measures, two filters

@Florian_Tourneur wanted to calculate the difference between two measures but filter each measure independently. A few solutions were provided, including @DaanIF with another piece of Looker Expressions magic, and @fabio shared the simplest solution — using custom fields. Give it a Look!
Looker Community Discussion — Two Measures, Two Filters

Community spotlight - Rui Zhang

Our guest this week is @Rui_Zhang. Hey Rui!

What’s your name?

Rui Zhang (RAY JAWN)

What do you do for work?

I’m a data scientist at Pike13, Inc. We are a Cloud-Based Client Management Solution. I do everything data-related, including maintaining the data warehouse, writing ETL, developing the reporting function in our product, managing Looker, and providing internal reporting.

We use Looker both internally and externally for our customers. I create reports and dashboards for each team in our company to get the data they need easily. We are currently working on embedding Looker into our product so we can provide a better experience for our customers.

You’ve used Looker for a pretty long time — since 2015. What’s your best “back in my day” reference?

Back in my day, we needed to specify if the field type was int or decimal. Now we can just use "type: number" for any type of number fields and then use value_format to format numbers.

Most useful Looker feature?

Templated Filters and Liquid Parameters! We were able to do a lot of customization with them.

What’s your favorite word to describe data?

“Not wrong”

People come to me saying the data is wrong a lot. I have to tell them, it’s not “Wrong”, it depends on how you define it, and what you are comparing it to. Definition and context are key when you are talking about data.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had and why?

The first meal Mom prepared when I hadn’t been home for a long time.

What’s the coolest fact you know?

China only has one timezone, no daylight savings time, and it NEVER CHANGES (at least it hasn’t yet). It’s really cool for building applications and running analytics. And yes, I’m originally from China.

I have a terrible headache when people change timezone or change daylight savings time. And then it’s changed in certain libraries/packages/gems/databases, but not in others.

Do you have a nerdy data/SQL joke?

I did a SQL101 in our company, and a coworker slacked me —
A SQL query walks into a bar, approaches two tables, and asks, “Can I join you?”

Another one I heard from a friend —
3 SQL databases walked into a NoSQL bar. A little while later, they walked out because they couldn’t find a table.

If you could share a piece of advice for those just starting out with Looker or data analytics in general, what would it be?

Looker has the best documentation and forum (discourse). You can start there.

Community knowledge share

Inline HTML sparkline graphs

The previous longtime resource for creating inline sparkline charts was deprecated in March. Luckily, @svickers found and shared not one but two viable replacements, both free and loaded with features. In the words of @jeffrey.martinez, “Scott, you’re a real one!”
Looker Community Discussion — Creating Custom Vis via HTML

How to trick BigQuery into running... big queries

The marvelous magical Mr. Mintz did battle with BigQuery’s automatic data scanning & resource allocation engine. In a CROSS JOIN edge case, the ‘cost’ estimate will be so off that BQ won’t allocate nearly enough resources to the job, resulting in an error. Click through to see how he beat the system to get his query to run — it’s clever.
Looker Community Discussion — Resources Exceeded During Query Workaround

Motion charts

There are some really interesting speculations and ideation going on in this thread around animated visualizations. Check out the Custom Visualization sandbox or add your own thoughts.
Looker Community Discussion — Motion Charts

Join the conversation

That’s a wrap! Head over to the Community to post your thoughts and tell Rui her SQL jokes made you laugh. Also, in the spirit of community, let me know what you’d like to see in the coming Podiums! Any fun ideas, topics you want to learn about, people you want to see featured in the spotlight — you name it and I’ll make it happen.

Over and out!

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