Looker 4.0 Release Notes

  • 17 October 2016
  • 7 replies

Userlevel 5

Release Rollout Begins: October 23, 2016

Release Final & Download Available: November 3, 2016

Preparing for Release

Please take notice of items marked with a as they indicate changes to existing functionality and may require your attention.

Notable Features

Refreshed LookML Syntax and Development Environment

LookML and the Looker IDE get a makeover! A refreshed LookML syntax leans on its YAML roots, but sports a number of improvements to make the language easier to learn, write, and understand. The development environment has been similarly done up to provide dynamic documentation, syntax error checking, and autosuggestion. To ease your transition to the refreshed LookML syntax, there is a LookML converter. While conversion is not complicated, the LookML Validator is more robust, so previously hidden errors may be surfaced. Please set aside some time for conversion to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

API comes out of beta

The API grows up. The API you may have known it as “API 3” or “the beta API” is now a stable, public API. Unlike the previous API that ran queries, the new API additionally calls Looks, Dashboards, and can perform Admin tasks. There is a supported Ruby SDK as well as a way to generate SDKs of your preference using Swagger Codegen.

Legacy Feature Updates

The following feature have been deprecated and will only be available by enabling the associated legacy feature:

  • Allow creating legacy API-only users

Upon updating to Looker 4.0 the following legacy features will be disabled by default. To reenable these features, check the associated box in the Legacy Features section of the admin panel.

Details on how to migrate off legacy features can be found here.

Features by Section

LookML & Development Environment

  • LookML. Introduced a newer LookML syntax that borrows from the existing “YAML-style” LookML syntax, but brings three key improvements to the table. Learn more.

  • Indentation no longer defines hierarchy. Tab as you please (or don’t) without fear of parse errors or applying a parameter to the wrong object.

  • It is more consistent. No more debating the “proper” way to define a list or when to quote something.

  • LookML has meaning. YAML provides syntax, but has no concept of relationships or rules. LookML now knows that a dimension can’t be of type: sum.

  • Development environment. The improvements to the LookML syntax allow for a revamped IDE development environment. Learn more. The new IDE includes:

  • Autosuggest and autocompletion. Only valid parameters and values are proposed, helping you compose new LookML quickly and accurately.

  • On-the-fly error checking. Just like your spell checker, the IDE will let you know that you’ve declared a dimesnion rather than a dimension without having to run the full LookML Validator.

  • A context-sensitive help pane. Dynamically updates to show you documentation relevant to what you’re working on.

  • Automatic formatting to keep things looking good.

  • Folding to help you focus on what you’re working on rather than getting lost in the entire file.

  • A LookML converter to help you transition from YAML-style LookML to the new refreshed syntax. Learn more.

Note that because of LookML’s more defined meaning, the LookML Validator may expose errors that were not previously surfaced. Even error-free YAML-style LookML model conversion requires developer coordination and should be viewed as a short project rather than a flip of a switch. Additionally, upon conversion all persistent derived tables will rebuild, so please set aside some time for conversion to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. Learn more.

Looker Platform

  • API

  • Public API documentation. The API now has public documentation. Learn more.

  • Stable endpoints.

  • Data actions. Introducing the ability to create custom tasks directly inside of Looker using query results. Learn more.


  • Dimension fill. The results table now populates with missing date, yesno, and many other dimensional values. Associated measures are given values of null. Learn more.

  • Added “Save & Schedule” option. Users will be prompted to save their query as a Look and then be taken directly to the Schedule modal.

Looker Design

  • Updated Colors to use white backgrounds and new button styles and colors.

  • Added “Explore From Here” link in Spaces. This shortcut takes users directly to a Look’s Explore page equivalent for faster exploration.


  • Series tab for pie charts, donut multiples, and table visualizations. Implemented the Series tab, previously only available on Cartesian charts, for pie charts, donut multiples, and table visualizations, which replaces the Style tab’s key-value pair method for changing colors and column labels.

  • Visual Drilling. Added a visualization option to the drill overlay, selectable when drilling from a visualization. Learn more.

  • Pivots no longer require a a second dimension.

  • Introduced labels for Trend Lines.

Scheduling & Downloading

Looker 4.0 requires PhantomJS 2.1.1.

  • Image Rendering. Added the ability to download an image of the visualization from a Look, Explore, or a Dashboard.

  • Added a progress page for downloading tasks.

  • Access filters on Scheduled Dashboards. Added an Admin option to run scheduled tasks as the recipient, applying access filters to the Dashboard’s queries. Learn more.

  • Multiple schedules. Added the ability to create multiple, differently filtered schedules via the API.

  • Larger scheduled result sets. Added the ability to schedule queries with no limit to S3 via the API.


  • Spark.

  • Added support for Spark 2.0 including symmetric aggregates and PDTs.

  • Spark 1.6. Added support for symmetric aggregates.

  • Removed support for Spark 1.4.

  • Hive. Added full support for datatype: date.

General Tweaks & Bug Fixes

  • Added Admin panel option to disable backups.

  • Admins can now make any Space their default Space.

  • Fixed an issue where the instant dashboards could not pull correctly from cache.

  • Fixed an issue where Liquid templating constants did not work properly.

  • Fixed an issue where not all values pasted into a filter would appear.

  • Fixed an issue where visualizations containing Trend Lines did not properly render with data containing zeros.

  • Fixed an issue where Admins were unable to view users who do not use email authentication.

  • Fixed an issue where users would be removed from their personal Space after switching to a Closed System.

7 replies

Userlevel 3

Biggest release I’ve seen from the Looker team. Congrats on the release and for all the hard work.

Userlevel 3

I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say Thanks Brayden!! We can’t do it without all our awesome customers like you 🙂

quite a few nice features there 😉

This one puzzles me the most:

: ## Legacy Feature Updates
Allow creating legacy API-only users

Does it mean that SSO users (somehow limited now) will become privileged accounts, same as non-API users ?

Userlevel 3

Hey @mbulwan, good question. To clarify, this just means that our old API is being replaced by our RESTful API, and we’re deprecating the ability to create credentials that can only be used for the old API, since it is being phased out by API 3.0.

Hope this answers your question, let me know if you want to know more!

Love the YAML syntax and “dynamic documentation, syntax error checking, and autosuggestion”.👍 This is huge!

I’m usually afraid of new releases and version upgrades from some companies. But I’m always so excited about Looker updates! Thank you!👏

When will the new lookml be available for lookml dashboards?

Userlevel 5

@Phil_Jones the idea here was to separate the modeling language (LookML) from the text representations of content. So dashboard content is still represented by the YAML-style language while the fresh new version of LookML will be used for modeling specifically.