Scheduling Data Deliveries

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Looker allows you to schedule a Look’s visualization or data to be sent to you periodically. This can take the form of an email, webhook, or Amazon S3 bucket. Each user has their own schedule for a saved Look. If a user edits or deletes their schedule only their recipients will be impacted; other users might have other schedules related to that Look.

In the Admin section of Looker, administrators can use the Scheduler Plans and Scheduler History pages to look up and resolve any schedule issues. Administrators should be careful about deleting or disabling a user who may be the owner of important, scheduled emails. When you do so, the schedule is also deleted or disabled.

Scheduling Data Deliveries

New in release 4.2 is the ability to schedule deliveries to Amazon S3 buckets.

There are two ways to schedule a Look. The first is to find the Look in Spaces, then choose the Schedule option from the Look’s gear menu:

The second option is to schedule the Look while you’re viewing it. Choose Schedule from the gear menu in the upper right:

This will bring up a window with all of your scheduling choices:

The scheduling options that you see will change depending upon what you choose in the Run and Send dropdown, which specifies how frequently the delivery will be sent.

The Summary row allows you to confirm that the schedule you’ve selected is the schedule you want.

Additional Options

In addition to the frequency options, you can set other details about your data delivery:

  • Delivery Timezone: Determines the timezone that is used to interpret the schedule you’ve selected.
  • Destination: Allows you to choose what type of data delivery occurs …
    • Email: The data or visualization is delivered to a list of email addresses you set.
    • Webhook: Webhooks are a modern, increasingly common way to trigger exchanges between internet based services. They generally require some technical or developer knowledge to use, but with a product like Zapier, they can allow Looker data to be delivered to a wide range of places. Check out this Discourse post for more usage details.
    • Amazon S3: Amazon S3 buckets are a common way to store large amounts of data. You or your company will need to have created an S3 bucket with Amazon before Looker can use it.
  • Format: Allows you to choose the format of the data in your delivery …
    • HTML attachment: the data table of your Look as an HTML file attachment
    • TXT (tab-separated values) attachment: the data table of your Look as a tab-delimited text file attachment
    • Inline Visualization: (for emails only, must be enabled in Labs as explained below) the visualization of your Look in the body of the email
    • Inline Tables: (for emails only) the data table of your Look in the body of the email
    • CSV attachment: the data table of your Look as a comma-separated text file attachment
    • JSON attachment: the data table of your Look as a JSON file attachment
    • Inline JSON: (for webhooks only) the data table of your Look submitted directly in the webhook request
    • Excel Spreadsheet attachment: the data table of your Look as an Excel file attachment
  • Values: If you choose “Unformatted”, Looker does not apply any special formatting of your query results, such as rounding long numbers or adding special characters your Looker developers may have put in place. This is often preferred when data is being fed into another tool for processing. If you choose “Formatted” the data will appear more similar to the Explore experience in Looker, although some features (such as linking) aren’t supported by all file types.
  • Limits: (for Amazon S3 only) If you choose “Results in Table” whatever row limitations you’ve setup in the saved Look will be obeyed. If you choose “All Results” all the rows of the query will return, regardless of the saved Look settings, and regardless of Looker’s typical 5,000 row limit. This can be desirable for retrieving very large datasets, but you should use caution to ensure the query is not too large for your database.
  • Bucket Name: (for Amazon S3 only) The name of your Amazon S3 bucket.
  • Path (optional): (for Amazon S3 only) The folder that you want to save your data too, if any.
  • Access Key ID: (for Amazon S3 only) The Access Key ID to your S3 bucket, provided by Amazon.
  • Secret Access Key: (for Amazon S3 only) The Secret Acess Key to your S3 bucket, provided by Amazon.
  • Region: (for Amazon S3 only) The Amazon services region where your S3 bucket is hosted.
  • To: (for emails and webhooks only) If you’re sending an email, you’ll add a list of email recipients, although the domain of those emails must be allowed by your Looker administrators. If the recipient is another Looker user, they will have the option to link back to the saved Look from the email. If you’re using webhooks, you’ll set the URL to which the webhook should send a request.
  • If: You can choose to send a Look only if there are results, there are no results, or in either case. This option allows you to only receive emails when the filters of your Look are met or not met.
  • and results changed since last email: This option help cuts down on unnecessary emails. You can tell Looker to send an email only if the query results have changed since the last email was sent.

Click the Schedule button to save your schedule, or the Send Test button to send a one time test. The test will be sent to you if you’re using email, or the web service if you’re using webhooks.

Scheduling Visualization Emails

As noted above, Looker allows you to email charts, as well as data tables and files. However, this feature must be enabled in the Labs Section of the Admin panel. If you do not have access to the admin panel, please contact your Looker Administrator to do this for you.

For Scheduled Visualizations to work, your Looker instance must have PhantomJS installed. If your instance is hosted by Looker, this will already be installed. Otherwise, installation instructions are here. Make sure you install PhantomJS into an executable path on the same machine as the Looker is hosted.

Email Challenges

When you schedule an email, there are a few common challenges that can arise:

  1. If you’re using Looker’s default email configuration, things should work ok. However, if your company has set up its own email settings in the Admin section of Looker, your admins will need to make sure they are correct, and that your email provider is functioning properly.
  2. Looker’s maximum row limit for emails is 5000. The maximum size limit is 20 MB. Emails with more rows or data than these limits will not send correctly.
  3. If an email does not send at the scheduled time - but does eventually arrive - it is likely because you’re competing with other Looker tasks. These tasks can include other scheduled emails, many people exploring data at the same time, or persistent derived tables being built. If this occurs check with your Looker admins about competing tasks.
  4. If a specific email keeps disappearing from your distribution list, it’s likely because a user is unsubscribing from that scheduled email. This can be a particular challenge if you use a group email alias to send to multiple people, because any individual recipient can unsubscribe that entire email alias. If you need to understand un-subscriptions check out this Discourse article.
Still have questions?
Go to Discourse - or - Email Support
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