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Understanding Other Project Files

A Looker project consists of files. A Looker project has one or more model files, one or more view files, and possibly the following types of files as well:

An in-depth explanation of model and view files is given on the Understanding Model and View Files documentation page. The rest of the file types are described in the sections below.

For information on accessing a project’s files, see this documentation page.

Dashboard Files

Looker supports two types of dashboards:

If your project contains LookML dashboards, they will be defined in dedicated dashboard files in the IDE.

For more information on LookML dashboards, see the Creating LookML Dashboards documentation page.

If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, your Looker developers organize your project files to suit your project. If your project is not enabled for folders, Looker displays LookML dashboard files in the Dashboards section of the LookML IDE’s file list.

Document Files

Looker document files let you write documentation or other notes about your Looker data model using GitHub-flavored markdown. This can be helpful for your users to become acquainted with how your organization uses Looker.

If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, your Looker developers organize your project files to suit your project. If your project is not enabled for folders, Looker displays markdown files in the Documents section of the LookML IDE’s file list.

Creating Document Files

To add a document file:

  1. Click + at the top of the project file list in the Looker IDE.
  2. Click Create Document.
  3. Name the document file and press return.

You can also add a markdown file to your project by dragging the file from your computer into the Looker IDE.

After you create a file you can edit it by clicking Edit Source in the upper right. Then you can preview your changes by clicking Preview, or save them by clicking Save.

Viewing the Document outside the IDE

To see a document outside the IDE, which you will need to do to take advantage of the navigation features described below, choose the View Document option from the drop-down menu in the upper left:

You can distribute the URL of the resulting page to other users so that they don’t need to navigate through Looker’s developer section to reach it.

Adding a Navigation Structure to Your Document

You can add a sidebar to your document files so that users can easily see the structure of the information and navigate between documents:

To add sidebar navigation for a document, create a navigation section starting on the first line of the document. Mark the start and end of your navigation section with three dashes (---).

You can use the following parameters in the navigation section:

navigation

At the minimum, you can use navigation: true on a document to add the navigation sidebar to that document. Here’s how it looks in a markdown file:

This adds to the document a navigation sidebar with links to all of the project’s documentation pages. If you include only navigation: true in a document, the sidebar of that document lists all the project’s documentation pages in alphabetical order by file name.

Also, you might find that organizing by alphabetical file name is not ideal, or you may have some documents you don’t want to show in a page’s navigation:

If you want to change the order of files in a document’s navigation sidebar, or if you want to show only a subset of your documents in the sidebar, you can use this format:

---
navigation:
  - document_one
  - document_two
  - document_three
---

So now the page will show only the files you want, and in an order that makes more sense:

title

By default, the sidebar displays the document’s heading (if the document begins with a heading), or the document’s file name if there is no heading in the file. You can add a title parameter at the top of a document to change how the document is displayed in navigation sidebars:

---
title: New Title for Users
---

This title will be used as the link text in the navigation sidebars of all documents, unless you specify a different label in the navigation section of document.

label

If you want to change the way a page is listed in a document’s navigation sidebar, you can use the document and label parameters like this:

---
navigation:
  - document_one
  - document: document_two
    label: Customized Label for Document Two
  - section: My Section Name
  - document_three
---

To use the label parameter, you must add the document: before the document file name as shown in this example above. If you are not using a label for a document, do not include document: before the file name.

The label value defines how a document is shown in the document’s sidebar navigation, even if the document to which it refers has its own title parameter.

The above example looks like this in the document’s sidebar:

section

If you want to break the navigation sidebar into sections, you can use the section parameter like this:

---
navigation:
  - document_one
  - document_two
  - section: My Section Name
  - document_three
---

The section parameter adds a section break and a text heading to the sidebar:

The text heading is not a link itself; it does not refer to any of your documentation files.

Data Files

Data files are JSON files with file extension .json, .topojson, or .geojson.

The map_layer parameter enables you to use a JSON file as a custom map that can then be used to plot your data in Looker:

You then use the map_layer_name parameter with a dimension so that you can associate a data value (like “Paris”) with a geographic region on your custom map.

If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, your Looker developers organize your project files to suit your project. If your project is not enabled for folders, Looker displays JSON files in the Data section of the LookML IDE’s file list.

You can edit a JSON file in the LookML IDE and then click Save. For debugging, you can choose View Raw to view the file in raw format. If you have the proper extension to view JSON in your browser, you will also have the option to view the file in a Parsed format:

Adding Data Files

To add a JSON file to your project, use the drag-and-drop function:

  1. Navigate to your project files.
  2. Drag the JSON file from your computer into the Looker IDE.
  3. Refresh your browser to see where the file is in your project’s file structure.
  4. If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, the JSON file will be displayed at the root of your directory structure. You can then move it to another folder. If your project is not enabled for folders, Looker displays the JSON file in the Data section of the LookML IDE’s file list.

Project Manifest Files

Your project may contain a project manifest file, which is used for the following:

Model localization is not currently compatible with project import.

Each project can only have one manifest file, and it must be named manifest.lkml and located at the root level of your Git repo. If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, be sure that the manifest.lkml file is kept at the root level of your project’s directory structure.

Creating a Manifest File

To create a project manifest file:

  1. Verify that Development Mode is on.
  2. Click the + icon at the top of the project file list in the Looker IDE.
  3. Select Create Project Manifest.

If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, this will create a manifest.lkml file at the root level of your project’s directory structure. Do not move the manifest file; it needs to be stored at the root level of your directory structure.

If your project is not enabled for folders, the Looker IDE will add a Project section to the sidebar with a new file called manifest.lkml:

Locale Strings Files

If you are localizing your data model you will need to create locale strings files for each locale you wish to localize to, including your default locale (for example, often English in the USA).

If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, your Looker developers organize your project files to suit your project. If your project is not enabled for folders, Looker displays locale strings files in the Locale Translation Strings section of the LookML IDE’s file list.

Locale strings files list key-value pairs for each label and description that you are localizing in your model. The strings file for each locale should provide that locale’s translation for each label or description. More information about creating locale strings files appears on the Localizing Your LookML Model documentation page.

If you are creating locale strings files to localize your model and would also like to take advantage of Looker’s native UI localization, you must name your .strings files using specific locale codes that can be found on this documentation page.

Explore Files

Your project may have Explore files used for a native derived table or used to extend an Explore across models. Explore files have the file extension .explore.lkml.

Creating Explore Files

To add an Explore file:

  1. Navigate to your project files.
  2. Click the + at the top of the project file list in the Looker IDE and select Create View.
  3. Use the Explore’s name as the file name, and add the extension .explore.lkml to the end of the file name. For example, if your Explore’s name is order_items, you will name the new Explore file order_items.explore.lkml.

If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, the new Explore will be displayed in the folder where you created it. You can then move it to another folder.

If your project is not enabled for folders, Looker displays the new Explore file in the Other section of the LookML IDE’s file list.

Data Test Files

Your project may have data test files used for verifying the logic of your LookML model. Data tests can be contained in model files or in view files, but if your developers want to use the same data tests across several different models, it may be helpful to keep the data tests in their own, dedicated file.

Data test files have the file extension .lkml. If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, data test files are displayed in the folder where they are created or moved.

If your project is not enabled for folders, Looker displays the data test files in the Other section of the LookML IDE’s file list.

Creating Data Test Files

To add a data test file:

  1. Navigate to your project files.
  2. Click the + at the top of the project file list in the Looker IDE and select Create View.
  3. Enter a name for the data test file, and add the extension .lkml to the end of the file name. For example, flights_data_tests.lkml.
  4. Use the include parameter to apply the data tests to views and to models in your project.

If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, the new file will be displayed in the folder where you created it. You can then move it to another folder.

If your project is not enabled for folders, Looker displays the new file in the Other section of the LookML IDE’s file list.

You can also add a data test file to your project by creating a .lkml file on your computer, then dragging the file from your computer into the Looker IDE. See the Adding Data Files section for an example.

Other Files

Looker projects can also contain files whose type is not recognized by Looker’s IDE as belonging to one of the categories above.

If your project is enabled for folders in the IDE, your Looker developers organize your project files to suit your project. If your project is not enabled for folders in the IDE, the Looker IDE uses the Other section for Explore files and for any type of file that doesn’t fall into the categories described in the sections above.

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