Introducing Looker 4

  • 28 March 2022
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This content, written by Lloyd Tabb & Daniel Mintz, was initially posted in Looker Blog on Oct 18, 2016. The content is subject to limited support.

We are so excited to introduce Looker 4, fulfilling our vision of Looker being a complete data platform. It’s a major step forward.

With Looker 4, you not only have an amazing data exploration tool, but also powerful mechanisms to deliver data anywhere it needs to go. What’s more, Looker 4 introduces the most advanced suite of tools to help get you started yet.

Thanks to LookML, Looker’s centralized modeling layer, building data applications and services has never been easier. In Looker 4, LookML is coming into its own as a true language—one that allows you to completely describe your data in business terms so humans and machines can ask and answer complex questions simply.

We think Looker 4 is a quantum leap forward for data analysts, explorers, and consumers. And we think that by radically simplifying the data platform, Looker gives application developers and data scientists the tools they need to stop accessing raw data, and access curated data through Looker.

For data analysts

At its core, Looker gives you a language to describe your data in a complete and flexible way. In Looker 4, we’ve made that process even easier.

Our new Integrated Development Environment knows LookML and is there to help you every step of the way. The IDE suggests syntax as you type. It provides context-sensitive help and documentation, it catches errors in real time, and it even completes the names of dimensions and measures you’ve already defined elsewhere.

In short, we think it’s a first-class IDE. And because Looker works off an abstraction of SQL, we think Looker 4 marks an important step forward in the world of data transformation—it’s the first IDE designed specifically for data analysis.

For data explorers

Facility with data is the core value of Looker. With Looker’s Explore page, we’ve made it even easier to get at your data in intuitive ways. Looker 4 adds the ability to fill in missing values in a known set—think missing dates or integers—solving a common SQL complaint and making forecasting dead simple. And this all happens right in the tool. It also allows you to drill into visualizations, picking the best possible visualization for you right in a drill overlay.

A big part of dealing with data is getting it to the right place. Looker 4 delivers unlimited data sets directly to Amazon’s S3, SFTP, or any web server through HTTP. Combined with IFTTT or Zapier, Looker allows you to deliver data just about anywhere.

And Looker 4 adds to Looker’s already impressive scheduler. You can now filter what gets delivered to whom, so each piece of data delivered is customized to the recipient. That lets you send the right dashboard to the right account rep, or the right report to the right store manager.

And of course we made great improvements in our visualizations. We’ve simplified the way you edit visualizations, but given you even more control. We’ve added trendlines. We built in map layers for zipcodes, counties, and states. We’ve added auto computation of trendlines, the ability to unpin the y-axis from zero and the ability to reverse the x-axis. Visualizations tell your story. These pictures should be worth a 1000 words.

Data for everyone

Once your organization starts exploring data, the number of views into your data—our Looks and Dashboards—starts to grow exponentially. And pretty quickly, it’s easy to lose track of which view of data is the official one. We recently introduced the ability to group users and give them different permissions to help address that problem.

But Looker 4 goes beyond that. With Content Discovery, Looker 4 adds search, favorites, and even recommendations to help you find the insights that your co-workers are finding most interesting. As Looker takes your organization from information scarcity to insight abundance, we think these features will prove critical.

Data everywhere

On top of all that goodness in the Looker BI tool, Looker 4 also introduces a full, RESTful API. This gives application developers all the tools they need to leverage the work their data team has done to curate data in Looker. No more need to maintain parallel data systems. And no more need to hack things--Looker’s API lets you do everything you can do from inside the BI tool, and more, all programmatically.

In addition to making it easier to get data out of Looker, we’re also making it easy to act on data right from within in Looker with Looker Actions. Looker Actions let you edit Salesforce records, or send emails with Sendgrid, all from Looker’s UI. You can connect from Looker’s UI and push data into just about anything.

Sorry, that’s a lot. We know. But that’s only because there’s so much packed into Looker 4. We can’t wait for you to see it. Shipping starts next week.

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