Plea for Open Source Development in the QlikView World

To be honest, I’m a little bit frustrated when talking about open-source development for QlikView. For quite some time I am trying to share as much content as possible and the response/feedback is little.

For a long time I was thinking that maybe I am just developing solutions which are not used/needed by customers and partners, but the last months have shown me that the reality is different:

  • I – quite often – see my solutions (posted on this blog and on CodePlex and GitHub) in real world scenarios
  • And furthermore my prototypes are taken and improved, but I never receive any feedback. That would be OK, but I would really expect that at least some customers or partners post their improvements by applying patches or improvements to CodePlex or GitHub … Unfortunately this has only happened once – today.

Can you imagine why there is no real open-source culture in the entire QlikView community?

Sure QlikCommunity is great and a lot of code-samples are posted there, but you can rarely find ready-to-go open-source solutions out there and furthermore I really miss these projects where many developers are working on the same code, inspiring each other – I only know a few QlikView related open-source initiatives:

Are there other project out there which I do not know?
If you have a look at all the projects mentioned above there is little or no contribution by other developers beside the author (except the QlikView Components project).

Wouldn’t it be nice, if …

  • … there were a lot more open-source projects out there with a vital community of QlikView developers?
  • … some discussions on QlikCommunity result in useful code-pieces posted as Gists (or similar formats)?
  • … you were able to use the resulting solutions in your daily life as a QlikView user/developer/consultant?
  • … we were able to bring our know-how together to create astonishing solutions
  • … we do not need to re-invent the wheel in many cases?

My Contribution

I can only talk for myself and how I am planning to improve the situation in the future:

  • I am planing to move all my content from CodePlex to GitHub because GitHub seems to support participation of other developers much better.
  • I am going to upload all my prototypes on GitHub, not only projects which are ready-to-use but also alpha versions of several prototypes.
  • I will be happy to receive code-requests, patches and so on and integrate them into the main-line of my solutions.

Hmmm, really looking forward to reading your ideas and opinions regarding open-source development in the QlikView world.

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27 Comments

  1. Posted December 9, 2013 at 19:57 | Permalink

    Is it because there isn’t a critical mass of QlikView developers out there, those that actually have enough skill and experience to contribute to your efforts? Those that have the experience don’t have the time, those that have the time don’t have the experience?
    You know that I blog about QlikView but by far the biggest hit on my site is the blog post about a Windows issue that I managed to find a fix for – critical mass.

    • Posted December 10, 2013 at 19:34 | Permalink

      Hi Stephen,

      thanks for your comments.
      On the one hand I believe that you are right, but on the other side I am not just talking about sharing content and code in the sense of “deep integration” (like extensions, QMS API) but also about sharing just simple solutions, load scripts and so on …

      I think it’s all about creating the critical mass – as you are writing – if a small group of enthusiasts out there begins to share code and content some kind of momentum could be initiated. This is also the way it worked in technology areas which are not very well know for having an open-source culture, for example if you have a look at all the amazing projects in the Microsoft area.

      But let’s see, maybe we’ll see more open-source projects in 2014 😉

      Regards
      Stefan

  2. Posted December 9, 2013 at 20:01 | Permalink

    Hello Stefan,

    I totally agree with you.
    Github is a great way to build a strong open-source oriented (actually it’s forced) community around everything QlikView.
    It’s open, transparent and so simple to handle.

    If you search for “qlikview” on github, it responds for example with https://github.com/aust0000/EM4Q – an ESRI Mapping 4 QlikView extension. Haven’t tested it, but it looks promising.

    But it should be way more than those few projects on there.

    I’ll try hard to get some more stuff into github.

    Cheers,
    Thomas

    • Posted December 10, 2013 at 19:29 | Permalink

      Hi Thomas, thanks for sharing this extension, did not know it …

      Regards
      Stefan

  3. Bas van Reeuwijk
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 06:54 | Permalink

    Hi Stefan,

    Good initiative.

    I think Stephen hut the nail on the head. There’s a large QlikView community, but only a small percentage has the knowledge and the skill to go to the level of developing extensions and such.

    Having only just started on QlikView and I’m planning on getting more involved and knowledgeable on this but it’s quite hard and it takes time.

  4. Hari
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:44 | Permalink

    Nice move. I think me and my frns have to do same. I will pass on this to my circles :)

  5. Posted December 10, 2013 at 15:22 | Permalink

    I agree with Stephen’s thoughts. The QlikCommunity is used mostly to answer technical questions. There do not appear to be many users that are trying to push the limits of what can be done with the software.

    We post lots of QlikView examples on our blog but I’ve never considered using GitHub for these examples because I didn’t think QlikView developers use GitHub. However, I will try this with some past and future examples and see how things play out.

    • Posted December 10, 2013 at 19:36 | Permalink

      … just to be clear on that: GitHub is just an example, there are also other amazing platforms out there. I just mentioned GitHub because – this is at least my feeling – it seems to be the most successful one and it’s quite easy to use …

      Regards
      Stefan

      • Posted December 10, 2013 at 19:44 | Permalink

        Fine, I’ll revise :)

        I didn’t think QlikView developers use any kind of code sharing platform. All of the questions I see on the community are for technical questions to solve very specific problems. The community more closely resembles stackoverflow.

        It could be a Field of Dreams situation (if you build it, they will come…). Maybe using a platform like GitHub will encourage more users to get involved with QlikView past their specific business problems that need solving.

        There’s also the issue of partners not wanting to share their best practices or repeatable code…

  6. Posted December 10, 2013 at 20:26 | Permalink

    Hi Stefan,

    thanks for your important post. It would be very nice to have a kind of QlikView centralized open source code repository. At the moment everything is scattered around – in the QlikCommunity – in some blog posts (yeah, we all need some content to post from time to time.. ;-)) – in some youtube examples etc..

    At least to organize my own stuff I started using Evernote and push out snippets from time to time to my GitHub/Gist account. This is good so far and can help others..

    But, wouldn’t it be much better to have a kind of one-shopping knowledge base (use case oriented), maybe a wiki site, to bring up all stuff together into one place?

    Best,
    Ralf

    • Posted December 10, 2013 at 20:29 | Permalink

      I meant one-stop-shopping. I’m not so shopping oriented, although.. 😉

    • Posted December 10, 2013 at 21:13 | Permalink

      I like the idea of a one-stop-shopping knowledge base … absolutely!

      Maybe it’s just all about the format of such a platform – interesting to read all your opinions regarding this topic!

      Regards
      Stefan

  7. Fabian
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 09:47 | Permalink

    Hi Stefan,

    I think one of the problems (especially when creating extensions for QlikView) is, that it takes a lot of skill and that the skills which are necessary to do so differ a lot from the skills it takes to create a QlikView application.
    Personally, i find the learning curve for applications is very steep, the development tools are crude ( i use notepad++ ) and there is not a lot of documentation (I know there are some templates and a few great tutorials :-) )

    I liked you approach on collecting all known Extensions for QlikView and putting them all in one place. Maybe QlikTech can do a little bit more to promote the creation of extensions/add ons, like publishing an “extension of the month” in the community, having a competition, hosting webinars and so on (they know better how to promote then i do)

    Also, maybe there could be a better way to inform developers about new code, by setting up a twitter feed to follow or something like that.

    I will try to participate as well, and i will try to upload my stuff (also the stuff in development) to github, as soon as i have time.

    Regards,
    Fabian

  8. Fabian
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 09:53 | Permalink

    Oh and i found a little mistake,
    you placed my pickadate extension under
    Web “Focused” Editors
    😉

    Cheers,
    Fabian

  9. Posted December 17, 2013 at 15:13 | Permalink

    Hi Stephan,

    I agree with some of the previous comments: Skilled QlikView consultants may simply not have the time to contribute. I work with QV for 5 years now and I love the approach of having a community and an open and extensible framework. I just started working with the QMS API last year and with extensions and QVX this year. However, developing an extension may take days – depending on requirements and solution scope. If you are paid for this, you can’t publish it as open source unless you develop it at your own cost. So it might be a matter of critical mass to have many people contributing with many many but small parts, or it requires a better development support to shorten go-to-market-cycles. A whole QlikView App is often developed and released much faster than a single extension object.

    Another aspect I thought about while reading this post was about the protection of intellectual property. I remember a discussion I had a year ago, when we just realized how powerfull but little used extensions were. And it was agreed in the discussion group, that missing protection of interlectual property might be an issue preventing developers to build extensions. If I was able protect my work in general, I would also publish some of the non critical components. And there comes critical mass. Once you can protect your IP I am sure much more people have a motivation to develop extensions, build up skill and then be able to contribute. Open source solutions often establish as an alternative for commercial solutions.

    What do you think?

    best regards
    Florian Kausler

  10. Ben Myers
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 00:35 | Permalink

    Others have already pointed out the spare time, knowledge, and monetary gain aspects. These all make sense when you’re talking about extensions which, to my understanding, are more complex. I’ve been working with QlikView for a bit over a year now and I’ve not yet ventured into that territory.

    However I think there’s two other issues at play when it comes to sharing little things like useful scripts. First is that a lot of the developers that I’ve encountered come up from the business side of things and not the IT side of things. This goes along with how QlikTech has positioned it in the market and the low barriers to entry relative to other BI tools. These people don’t generally have the same background and would really need to be shown the way to share. Second is that QlikView has limited native support GIT or change management very well. I’ve explored options like using the project folders with mixed results. A change control system that is not rock solid isn’t going to get a lot of use. Without the development platform being more well integrated this kind of sharing is kind of cumbersome.

    I do applaud your effort and wish I had more time and skill to contribute. If I gain one or the other, or both, you can be sure that I’ll be back to contribute. Is there any way to set up a group on GitHub? A search for QlikView found 69 results. I wonder how many of these developers know about each other?

  11. Angad Singh
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 09:34 | Permalink

    Hello Stefan,

    I do agree with you as well. And I fall under the category of developers who are passionate and lovers of qlikview, but are in their growing stage.

    My view to this would be, Why not make developers like us to create reusable stuff in qlikview so that others can get help from our solutions.

    I mean their are developers who can think out of the box and come up with a task or utility idea, which then can be posted at community or any blog. And then we can have developers to provide best solution.

    For Example:
    1) Loading multiple files from multiple folders.
    2) or Incremental Loading

    In this way we can have weekly challenges and it would be fun and as well our repository will be side by side maintained.

    Thanks,
    Angad Singh
    (L QV ER)

  12. Gary Strader
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 19:21 | Permalink

    Stefan,

    I applaud the idea of bringing more open source features to the QlikView world. My professional life has been greatly enhanced by the open source community and the software that it produces.

    Here are what I think are the main barriers.

    1. QlikView is a closed source product. They’ve done a good job trying to open the product up by introducing extensions. But since it’s a closed source product, it doesn’t attract the type of people that contribute to open source.

    2. QlikView developers are not application developers. They typically don’t understand the value of reusable components, source control, etc. Although there are some great solutions out there, I think the main reason that extensions haven’t really gained critical mass is that very few existing QlikView developers have the skills. If they do have the skills, it’s often easier to tell a customer that their request is too difficult or too expensive, than spend several weeks developing an extension.

    3. QlikView consultants are competitive. A large percentage of the people that do advanced work in QlikView are consultants that work for partners. They are not so inclined to share their advanced techniques with their competitors. This is another aspect of it being a closed source product. That culture extends to the partners and the community.

  13. Posted December 28, 2013 at 02:19 | Permalink

    Thank you Stefan !!!

    I am reading your publications with special interest.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and have the best on this holidays.

    Thank you again.

    Hector

  14. Posted January 2, 2014 at 17:32 | Permalink

    A call to arms – I like it (a lot!).

    Previous posters have already touched on many important aspects of this topic, so I won’t go into those.
    As for a one-stop-shop I do like that idea – but looking at how development is done in other online communities, there are rarely (IMHO) ONE place where you get everything. Usually things are kind of scattered all over the place… That said – more mature (open source) projects tend to gravitate towards one central location for discussions, code repos etc. Hopefully the same thing will happen with QV related open source projects too.

    Trying to live as I preach, I recently looked into using CoffeeScript for creating QV extensions. Turns out it works very well, with a lot more readable source as a result.
    Code available over at GitHub: https://github.com/mountaindude/template_simple_coffeescript

  15. Posted January 3, 2014 at 01:49 | Permalink

    I’ve been mulling this issue over for quite some time. I am working to develop tools for my organization, and I know we can all benefit by collectively improving the Qlikview community’s user base.

    To that end, I created WiqiLeaks, a community-driven wiki by designers and developers, for designers and developers.

    It’s empty at the moment, but I will start working on it over the coming week. I expect it to be fairly robust by the end of January 2014.

    I invite you all to participate!

  16. KonradM
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 10:48 | Permalink

    Hi,

    >Gary Strader: 2. QlikView developers are not application developers.
    This is a big issue.
    QV Developers are not fit in use of GIT / … So even if they make an change they don’t know how to fork, howto patch, howto send a patch back to you.

    @Stefan: I think you also have to link to every blog entry a page (with some screenshots) howto contribute back with github.

    @Florian Kausler: I always give my customers two options if we develop something for them:
    1. option: we develop something, but in the future nobody fix ist for new versions or they have to pay for every change that qv does.
    2. option: after develop we make it opensource, so the community can find and fix errors or make fixes for new versions, and then the customer get the investition back.

    bye
    Konrad

  17. Kaauan Matzenbacher
    Posted February 20, 2014 at 19:16 | Permalink

    hello stefan,
    I develop QlikView over 2 years here in Brazil.
    I’m a big fan of your work, and I am grateful for your excellent contributions to QlikView.
    I think its great idea, more developers united in favor of open source QlikView, everyone would be happier.
    I have learned a lot, and when I have something to contribute, I’ll be happy to do it.

    Regards, and have nice job!

    Kaauan

  18. Kaauan Matzenbacher
    Posted February 20, 2014 at 19:24 | Permalink

    Ps.:
    Can I post some article of your blog (with appropriate links and references) in Brazil community group qlikview?

    thank you!

  19. Posted March 13, 2014 at 09:06 | Permalink

    Shameless plug: My open source project. Set of tools for QlikView development in Sublime Text 3 editor and article about using one of these tools – Expression editor
    InQlik Expression Editor in QlikView Deployment Framework environment

  20. Posted April 30, 2014 at 01:16 | Permalink

    Did you guys notice that Qlik mentioned Qlik Branch at Qonnections? I am not completely sure what the plan is with Branch, but it seems like it could become a helpful factor in boosting the open source community.

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