Managing a Business Intelligence (BI) deployment of any size is not trivial. Hardware, software, data and analytical applications, all require individual attention to ensure their stability and effectiveness. In order to ease maintenance, increase productivity and prevent an ‘out of control’ BI deployment, it is essential to implement standards and best practices as the groundwork for application governance.
The QlikView Deployment Framework (QDF) introduces a set of standards and best practices to QlikView. It’s a result of the combined experiences of our customers, partners and QlikView experts. Its main purpose is to address structure, organization and resource reusability within a QlikView environment, in turn reducing development time and increasing QlikView manageability.
So, what is a Framework anyway?
In its simplest form, a Framework can be described as an ideal structure of something. Something that can also be designed to reduce the most common and repetitive tasks. Let's take a moment and think of your home. Before it can provide shelter, entertainment or even privacy, you need a basic structure or frame (ah, ha) that will support … well, everything else. Without a frame, your home would be unprotected from the weather, there’d be no place to plug in your PlayStation, and you could not shut out your mooching neighbor. The frame enables you to develop your home into something suitable and of value. If your home’s design is found effective and provides the most common components and amenities desired by the mainstream population – it may become a model for building the perfect home. Furthermore, prefabricating some of the home’s most common components will make it even quicker and easier to assemble (think of pre-assembled trusses), in turn saving time and money. In comparison, this simple analogy describes the basic concepts behind a software framework.
Ah, I see, so, then what is a Software Framework?
The QlikView Deployment Framework builds upon the same light-weight application development model that makes creating QlikView analytics easy. Assembled with a set of standards, modules and QlikView tools, QDF introduces consistency, reuse and increased control across all QlikView applications.
The following is a list of standards and practices defined by QDF:
Resource Container Architecture – A core file system structure composed of directory folders (referred to as ‘containers’) bound to the framework. It organizes, secures and stores projects and various objects used by QlikView applications and other QlikView deployments. By using QDF, all different document types and functions have their own respective place in their own folder structure and can be moved easily without effecting the operation of the QlikView application(s).
Container Map – An internal structure which maintains links between containers in order for objects (scripts, language settings, color schemes, variables, expressions, data connections, etc.) to be shared and reused by QlikView applications. The container map is managed with the Container Map Editor.
Container Naming Convention – A set of standard and recommended unique names used to name the file system folders according to application, department, project or resource. These can be modified as needed without affecting the functionality of the application.
Centralized Variables – A repository that stores system, user expressions, and other variables as user defined names. These names are referenced in QlikView projects as variables or can be called with the QDF sub-functions. Variables can be local to a project or global to the entire deployment. They are created and maintained with the Variable Editor.
Initiation Script – A pre-defined QlikView Load Script which initiates QDF, common modules and sets variables used within all QlikView applications that are bound to the framework.
Sub-Function Library – A set of modules used by QDF that contain callable sub-functions and practical examples. These can be easily included in QlikView applications. Examples include sub-functions for advanced calendars, document and data migration, data parsing, data exporting and linking resource containers and variables.
Fig. 1 – Simple resource container logical diagram (left), physical file system structures (right)
What value will QDF bring?
There isn't always ‘one’ answer for best practices, but rather a collection of proven results from customers, partners and QlikView experts that provide enterprise scale, efficiency and governance for QlikView implementations. The QlikView Deployment Framework is the result of this collaboration. The value an organization realizes from the QlikView Deployment Framework will vary depending on the size, complexity and customizations of the deployment and its applications. Large and Enterprise QlikView deployments will greatly benefit from QDF due to ever-changing business requirements, data additions and organizational growth. It is recommended that smaller deployments investigate QDF but it may not be necessary to implement. Generally speaking, QDF will shorten development time for each new QlikView deployment, allow easier maintenance and reuse of resources and provide an overall application governance model.
How can I get started with QDF?
The QlikView Deployment Framework is available to members of the QlikCommunity under the QlikView Deployment Framework Group. Members may start a discussion, report a problem and receive the latest updates on the QDF software and documentation. After membership is granted, navigate to the Content tab to download the QDF Deploy Tool and review the QDF documentation to get started.
Please review this Technical Brief (members only) for a deeper introduction on QDF
Senior Product Technical Manager
QlikView and QlikView Expressor
Follow me on Twitter @mtarallo