Can a QlikView developer be a Qlik Sense developer?



QlikView developers (as per the book QlikView 11 for Developers) were those of us who wrote load scripts, designed data models, formulated expressions, and manipulated QlikView objects. Qlik Help has now left that group of people nameless and deemed developers to be those who work with either QlikView or Qlik Sense APIs using some third-party code. Even so, I still consider myself a QlikView developer because creating extensions, or any other use of QlikView’s APIs, is not an integral part of the software. However, Qlik Sense APIs are at the forefront of what the software is and the title of Qlik Sense developer implies some ability to work with them.

Can QlikView developers upgrade their skills and become full-fledged Qlik Sense developers? After some reflection on my days as a QlikView developer and some cheerleading to motivate myself to make this transition, I’m going to share with you my plans to learn the answer. I alone am a horribly small sample for this experiment, so I invite anybody who is up to the challenge to perform the same feat or anyone who has already done so to share their experience.

The Glory Days

I’ve been a QlikView developer for 11 years, and during these years, I’ve successfully executed multiple BI projects without once having developed a single QlikView extension. I’ve always found a way to use native QlikView objects to meet almost every business requirement. Like me, I’m sure there are many QlikView developers that have resorted to the same tactics and avoided creating QlikView object extensions.

Just in case we QlikView developers need a little reminder of our creativity, I’m going to include some examples. One of the most common tricks is to take advantage of QlikView’s freeform UI design and overlay one object over another. This trick lets us create certain infographics or add lines and bars to an area chart. The following examples are from Julian Villafuerte‘s book Creating Stunning Dashboards for QlikView.

QlikView Developer Complacency

I have no doubt that most of my motivation to learn how to develop Qlik Sense extensions is personal. I haven’t added anything new to my technical skill set since around the same time QlikView 11 came out in 2011. Surely, over the past 6 years I could have learned R, Python, JavaScript, Hadoop, or any of a thousand other things.

Even so, who could blame me? Life as a QlikView Developer is still great and customers remain happy about how much QlikView can achieve. If I could learn to develop extensions to not only cover the visualization attributes that Qlik Sense still lacks, but also to create a few visualizations that I was never able to make in QlikView and offer my customers the out-of-the-box benefits of Qlik Sense then I might do so.

However, the benefits would have to be great and the learning curve to develop extensions not so deep for this to be a good investment and worth the effort. I believe such calculus is what makes many QlikView developers hesitate to take on the full role of a Qlik Sense developer, or at least it has more to do with that than any inability to learn how to code JavaScript. The beginning of this post demonstrates our hacking prowess and anyone who can think through both the logic and syntax of QlikView set analysis is capable of understanding JavaScript.