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Sheet thumbnail

Henri_Rufin
Luminary
Luminary

Sheet thumbnail

Before publishing an app, I always make sure each sheet has a thumbnail that looks like the corresponding sheet. It would be great if we had a feature that would help us capture right away the screen into the thumbnail without having to use external tools to do so.

26 Comments
AndrewMcIlwrick
Luminary Alumni
Luminary Alumni

Idea pasted from duplicate chat @Patric_Nordstrom 

https://community.qlik.com/t5/Ideas/Sheet-thumbnails/idc-p/1783051#M5101

There were 8 likes  there 😉

Sheet thumbnails

Manually taking snapshot images of sheets to provide professional looking app overview sheet content has a number of problems :

  • It takes time
  • Not all users have the skills to produce consistent image files
  • If the sheet contains conditional content e.g. section access based, then the manual snapshot image might reveal sensitive data
  • The media library needs managed
  • Every time a user edits a base sheet the image is out of date
  • Version control of the images is needed in an enterprise environment
  • When a user duplicates a sheet and works on the private copy the new copy also needs manual work

Qlik Sense produces a grey version of the sheet layout in the thumbnail by default. Can this be made cleaner and can the sheet image be captured automatically in its glorious user-facing state - 100% dynamic too ?

gramqlik
Contributor III
Contributor III

To manually apply screenshots as thumbnails for the app and every sheet within it, is an absolute rigmarole.

Here's what I have to do at present:

* Disable 'Show Taskbar on All Displays'.

* Change  2nd monitor resolution to 1280 x 960 resolution. This is the closest we can get to a scaled ratio of the desired end result.

* Open the dashboard to the first sheet and display it on 2nd monitor.

* Use Snipping Tool take a screenshot of the sheet, being careful to exclude the Qlik settings toolbar / Qlik window / Browser window.

* Paste into MS Paint.

* Resize to 400 pixels horizontal (Maintain Aspect ratio on). This gives us an image with approx. 243 vertical pixels. This obviously substantially reduces the quality of  the image.

* Either resize (Maintain Aspect Ratio off) or just add a little blank area at the bottom of every thumbnail to get it to the correct thumbnail dimensions 400 x 250 pixels.

* Save the image.

* Repeat for every sheet in the dashboard.

* Once all images are collected, revert 2nd monitor back to normal resolution and re-enable Show taskbar on all displays.

* Go to dashboard's App Overview. Upload media, dragging in all new screenshot images.

* Edit each sheet and Insert the relevant screenshot as the thumbnail.

* Apply the 1st sheet image as the thumbnail for the app itself.

 

This is slow, clunky and imperfect, but I don't know of an alternative method without using a 3rd party tool.

A Qlik feature that generated and applied screenshots as thumbnails for every sheet (without the toolbars etc. included) would be fantastic.

If it could be optional, we be able to choose to omit certain sheets / dashboards.

If it could be dynamic, it would always up to date after data / design changes.

It would save a substantial amount of time (especially in environments where there are many dashboards or dashboards with many sheets) and it would undoubtedly produce better results.

Wasn't something similar present in Qlikview by default ??

Digvijay_Singh

+1, Its really a nightmare updating thumbnail when the sheets/apps are created and changed. We need an option to apply  the sheet content as a thumbnail so that we don't need to take screenshot in the beginning as well as when sheets are updated.

Thanks for creating this idea!!!

mountaindude
Luminary Alumni
Luminary Alumni

Indeed, this need has been around for ages. 

 
I'd like to bounce an idea off you to get some feedback.
For other reasons I've been doing some automation stuff with Qlik Sense, but it could reasonably easily be reused also for creating thumbnails.
Would something like the following be useful?
 
  1. Run a command line tool (would/should run on Windows, MacOS, Linux) that takes as input
    1. A server IP/hostname (i.e. on what server the app is available)
    2. An app ID for which sheet thumbnails should be generated
  2. The tool would create a png/jpg with correct proportions for each sheet, save these to disk.
  3. Optionally the tool could also use these newly created images and attach them to each sheet as thumbnails/sheet icons. 
The process would thus be manual and have to be repeated every time you change the layout of a sheet.
If you on the other hand store things in Git and use a CI/CD tool you could automate the re-creation of sheet thumbnails.
 
Would this be useful?
Might put it somewhere on my todo list if so... 🙂
 
 
 
On a related note, a few years ago I did some related work around sheet icons.
The scenario then was to make commonly used icon libraries (such as Font Awesome) available as sheet icons.
The Butler Icon Uploader (open source, on GitHub) tool does this:
  • Convert for example Font Awesome icons to individual image files
  • Apply scaling of the image files/icons to ensure they look good when used as sheet icons
  • Apply any color to the image files/icons
  • Automatically upload the created image files to a Qlik Sense content library, from where they can be used as sheet icons.
This tool obviously won't give you miniature versions of the sheets, but you DO get a consistent, professional looking icons for all your sheets (and app icons). Which is better/preferred depends on your specific use case/company/end user expectations/...

A little disclaimer too: I haven't worked on that project for a while, so there's always a risk some dependency has broken... It's rare, but it does happen. 
Please file an issue or bring it up in the project discussion forums if so.
The reason for not working on it is simply that I've got a few thousand icons created in various color schemes, and I just haven't had the need to create new ones.
 
BR,
Göran Sander


Sense Sensei
Ptarmigan Labs
http://www.linkedin.com/in/gorsan


AndrewMcIlwrick
Luminary Alumni
Luminary Alumni

Would be great to see your idea !

mountaindude
Luminary Alumni
Luminary Alumni

Ok, so there is some progress. I have an early version of a standalone/command line tool that first does an inventory of what sheets there are and then creates PNG images on disk (with correct aspect ratio) for each sheet. The tool basically steps through all sheets and takes screenshots of them. 

 
The created images can be manually uploaded to a content library, and finally used as sheet thumbnails.
The app below has three sheets, each with a sheet thumbnail created using the tool.

mountaindude_0-1624483389472.png

 

Next step is to add options for specifying what content library the images should go into, maybe a separate option to control whether sheets should automatically get new thumbnails or not.
Maybe a png/jpg option too.. and maybe an overwrite-existing-thumbnails flag too.

This is all QSEoW btw. Nothing stopping us from doing the same on Qlik Cloud though. The authentication would need to be adapted to how Sense cloud works, but other than that it should be doable I think..

 
 
simonaubert
Partner
Partner

@mountaindudeHello. Interesting. But how will it work when you have section access on a field?

Example : I have I have a total ok 100 k€ divided into two divisions : A (55k) and B(45k)

I don't want the users to see the 100k€ but only the data relevant to their divisions (so that users of division A have 55k and users of division B have 45k)

It will be a mess if the thumbnail displays 100k.

Best regards,

Simon

mountaindude
Luminary Alumni
Luminary Alumni

@simonaubert Welll... now you're being picky. 😁

I get your point and you are of course right, but I also question whether it's something that can be handled in a good, generic way. 

My take on the challenge was to create thumbnail icons that showed the general layout of each sheet. The goal (my goal, rather) was not to include valid, actual data in the thumbnail image. 
If nothing else because data change over time: the metrics/charts available in the app when the thumbnails were created have probably changed the next day/week/month. 
Same thing with section access.

There could of course be a risk that the thumbnails leak sensitive information that's hidden to some users via for example section access. 
If that's the case.. you may want to manually edit out the sensitive info - or use a different user* for taking the screen shots.

 

* The tool lets you specify which user to connect as when taking the screen shots of each sheet. That could probably be used to at least lower the risk of information leakage via the thumbnail images.

 

simonaubert
Partner
Partner

@mountaindude  Yep, that was some food for thought 😄

On Tableau, when you have the equivalent of Section Access, the sheet thumbnail is automatically grey with a message like "user specific view". Not so bad solution. Here, we may stay with the usual default grey thumbnail.

gramqlik
Contributor III
Contributor III

@mountaindude In your solution, might it be possible to hide / crop the top (app overview) toolbar and selections toolbar when the screenshots are taken?

They occupy a little vertical space, so omtting them would (fractionally) improve the clarity of the thumbnails.