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Looker 21 release highlights

Looker 21.18

play_circle_filled
Expected
rollout
start
Tuesday
October 19th
2021
check_circle
Expected
final deployment and
download available
Thursday
October 28th
2021

Potentially breaking changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes! Depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.
  • Admin pages whose URLs are prefixed with /admin/next will show a different layout than other admin pages. Menus that were previously in the top navigation bar can now be accessed through the left navigation panel.
  • Within a Looker instance, private embeds can now use the Google OAuth and OpenID Connect authentication flows to authenticate a user.
  • Deleted Date has been changed to Moved to Trash Date in the Look and Dashboard views to differentiate between soft deletion (trash) and hard (absolute) deletion.
  • Microsoft SQL dialects, requiring a comma instead of a colon to separate the host and port in the JDBC connection string, can now be configured with useCommaHostPortSeparator=true in the additional params field of the dialect connection settings.

URL links

Introducing a new Labs feature: URL Links in Boards.
  • The new URL Links in Boards Labs feature allows editors of boards to add links to any URL on a board alongside their existing Looks and dashboards.
  • Links to the current Looker instance open in the current tab while links to outside the instance open in a new tab.

Revert to Legacy Dashboards flag

The Revert to Legacy Dashboards legacy feature has been extended to Looker 22.0.
  • Introducing an additional new flag, Use old dashboard routes, that will change all URLs to reflect new dashboards — /dashboards — when OFF and legacy dashboards — /dashboards-legacy — when ON.
  • This flag will default to ON in this release, and no changes will be visible to customers.

Default developer permission set for new customers includes see_PDTs

For new installations, Looker’s default developer permission set will now also include the see_PDTs permission.
`
  • The see_PDTs permission governs access to PDT-related monitoring resources such as the PDT admin page and Development Mode PDT visibility in the IDE.
  • This change does not impact existing customers and will only be effective for net new Looker deployments.

Looker 21.16

play_circle_filled
Expected
rollout
start
Tuesday
September 14th
2021
check_circle
Expected
final deployment and
download available
Thursday
September 23rd
2021

Potentially breaking changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes! Depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.
  • The Enhanced Navigation Labs feature is on by default for all customer instances.
  • The Clear cache and refresh permission Labs feature is on by default for all customer instances.
  • JSON numeric values must be enclosed in quotes when formatting is enabled for query downloads.
  • The Legacy Field Picker toggle is now removed for all instances.
  • Improved search is generally available for all Looker-hosted instances on Kubernetes infrastructure.

Dashboard improvements

Experience more performant Looker dashboards.

Explore improvements

Introducing improvements to the Explore user experience.
  • Quick calculations now work with pivoted data.
  • The Custom Fields Labs feature has moved from experimental to beta.
  • The toggle for the legacy Explore field picker is now removed for all instances.

LookML Dashboard Organization Labs feature

A new Labs feature lets users better organize their LookML dashboards.
`
  • Toggling on the LookML Dashboard Organization Labs feature allows LookML dashboards to be moved outside of the default LookML dashboards folder.
  • Once a LookML dashboard has been moved to another folder, it inherits that folder’s access levels.
  • LookML dashboards may not be copied, upgraded, renamed, scheduled for delivery, or moved to the trash from a folder.
  • LookML dashboards may not be moved while Development Mode is on.
  • Toggling this Labs feature off returns LookML dashboards to the LookML dashboards folder.
  • Changing the value of a LookML dashboard’s dashboard parameter also returns it to the LookML dashboards folder.

Improved search

See how Looker has improved our overall search performance.
  • Improved search is on by default for all Looker-hosted instances on Kubernetes infrastructure.
  • This feature offers better ranking for short search terms and incomplete word matches.
  • LookML files are no longer included in content search; however, these files are still searchable through the IDE.

Looker 21.14

play_circle_filled
Expected
rollout
start
Monday
August 16th
2021
check_circle
Expected
final deployment and
download available
Thursday
August 26th
2021

Potentially breaking changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes; depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.

GitHub auth change

GitHub will require token authentication for all Git operations.

API Explorer

Introducing Looker’s next generation interactive API reference documentation.
  • The new API Explorer provides a RunIt functionality to test API calls against a live server.

  • Code examples are also provided in the new API Explorer in SDK-supported languages.

Forecasting

Looker users can predict future values with just a couple of clicks.
`
  • Admin users can enable the Forecasting beta Labs feature.
  • Forecasting is available for Cartesian charts and data tables in Explores in the new Forecast tab.
  • Forecasting allows users to include and adjust seasonality in results.
  • Forecasted results can also be downloaded.

Enhanced Alerts Labs feature

The Enhanced Alerts Labs feature enables alerts to stay in sync with updates to dashboard content.

Looker 21.12

play_circle_filled
Expected
rollout
start
Monday
July 19th
2021
check_circle
Expected
final deployment and
download available
Wednesday
August 4th
2021

Potentially breaking changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes; depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.
  • A new Enhanced Navigation Labs feature offers a new UI that simplifies user workflows with unified left-hand navigation and more performant routing between common pages and content.
  • The Looker extension framework is out of Labs and now generally available under Admin > Platform.
  • The Add Looks to dashboards feature is now behind a legacy flag. It is off by default and must be manually switched on.
  • The Upgraded Explore Field Picker includes Quick Start analyses, popular fields, and other enhancements and is generally available. The legacy field picker is available as a legacy feature until 21.16, at which point it will be permanently unavailable.
  • The Upgraded Explore Field Picker includes Quick Starts, popular fields, and other enhancements and is generally available. The old field picker is available as a legacy feature until 21.16, at which point it will be permanently unavailable.
  • Fields of type YesNo will have user-written SQL wrapped in parentheses when the fields are used in a SQL filter.
  • The Render Long Tables Labs feature is now on by default for all instances.
  • The Make public… keyboard shortcuts Command-Shift-P (Mac) and Ctrl+Shift+P (Windows) have been removed from Explores and Looks.

Enhanced navigation

The Enhanced Navigation Labs feature simplifies and streamlines the left panel navigation and condenses the top navigation drop-down menus.
  • The Development Mode toggle is now located on the bottom left of the new left enhanced navigation panel, and its Labs toggle is off by default.
  • The admin panel is accessible through the gear icon in the top right menu.

Grouping and quick calculations

Introducing easier ways to make a custom dimension that groups dimension values under specified labels and to quickly perform commonly used table calculations.
  • Use filter expressions to define the criteria for inclusion in each group.
  • Create a group from the More menu in the field picker or the gear icon in the data table.
  • Use as an alternative to Lexp with nested if() statements or case statements.
  • Create some of the most commonly used table calculations with a few quick gestures.
  • Available for anyone with the Custom Fields Labs feature enabled.

Marketplace Auto Install

Enables Looker-built applications in the Marketplace to be installed automatically.
  • When Marketplace Auto Install is toggled on, Looker will automatically install and update these Marketplace applications.
  • Currently, API Explorer is the only extension classified as auto-installable, but more Looker-built applications will be added in the future.

PDT Development Mode visibility

Easily see whether PDTs are completely built before deploying to production.
  • Modelers can now see the state of their trigger-based PDTs while in Development Mode both in the IDE and on the PDT Admin page.
  • Users need see_pdts permission to be able to leverage this feature.

NDT Development Mode filter

Introducing a new dev_filters LookML parameter.
  • The dev_filters LookML parameter works in a similar way to the if dev, if prod SQL filters.
  • Modelers who are working in Development Mode can restrict the size of a dataset in LookML for an NDT to make it faster and easier to iterate on the NDT definition when working with a large dataset.

Looker 21.10

play_circle_filled
Expected
rollout
start
Sunday
June 13th
2021
check_circle
Expected
final deployment and
download available
Thursday
June 24th
2021

Potentially breaking changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes; depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.
  • Looker will no longer send blank emails when a schedule runs with include_links disabled and the Looker instance has the Send Link Only policy enabled. Looker will now warn users who attempt to turn on the Send Link Only policy that the setting may cause some schedules to not work.
  • When you’re creating a schedule to send once, the schedule’s filter options will default to dashboard filters rather than to the saved schedule plan filter options.
  • Looker components 2.0.0 is now available. To reduce the package size of @looker/components, all the date picker and date functions are now in a new package, @looker/components-date.
  • The incremental PDTs feature is now out of Labs and is generally available.

Support for materialized views

Materialized views can now be used to create persistent derived tables.
  • Leverage your database’s materialized view functionality to persist your derived tables.
  • Specify materialized_view: yes for a native derived table or a SQL-based derived table.
  • Materialized views are currently supported for BigQuery and Redshift dialects.

Looker components 2.0.0 is now available

All date picker and date functions in one package.

New supported dialect

Looker now fully supports the Firebolt database dialect.

create-looker-extension

A new CLI feature for extension development is now available.
  • create-looker-extension makes it easier to create new extensions from scratch.
  • create-looker-extension allows Looker extension developers to have zero install dependencies (besides yarn) and drastically streamlines initial configuration to just one command.

Looker 21.8

play_circle_filled
Expected
Rollout
Start
Sunday
May 16th
2021
check_circle
Expected
Final Deployment and
Download Available
Thursday
June 3rd
2021

Potentially breaking changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes; depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.
  • The Looker EULA for trial instances has been updated.
  • The LookML Model Explore API endpoint now returns an original_view attribute for the fields in the Explore. The value is the original view name where the field was defined.
  • The LookML Validator now validates custom fields for LookML dashboards.
  • The color contrast in data tables has been increased, which improves the accessibility of data tables in Explores.
  • The Clear Cache & Refresh option for embedded dashboards and tiles has been removed.
  • New query streamers are enabled by default for all non-cached streamable queries. Admin users may opt to use the old streamers by enabling the Legacy Query Streaming legacy feature.
  • The LookML Diagram is now generally available.
  • On the System Activity Performance dashboard, the history source for data_download_api has changed from api to system, and the history source for authenticated_download has changed from system to action_hub.
  • Looker dialects that use the MariaDB JDBC driver will default to using enabledSslProtocolSuites=TLSv1,TLSv1.1,TLSv1.2.
    The affected dialects are MySQL, MariaDB, Google Cloud MySQL, Amazon Aurora MySQL, Clustrix, MemSQL, and MongoDB Connector for BI. For these dialects, if your database does not support TLS 1.2, your database connection will break unless you explicitly set the following in the Additional Params field of your connection settings:
    enabledSslProtocolSuites=TLSv1,TLSv1.1.
    To check if your database’s SSL library supports TLS 1.2, you can run SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'tls_version';

Mobile app improvements

New functionalities are available in the Looker mobile app.

System Activity: Content Usage Explore enhancements

Enhancements enable users to get quicker analysis of Looker content usage.
  • Eight new Quick Start queries are available to use as starting points for analysis.
  • A required filter for including or excluding deleted Looks and dashboards has been added.
  • Fields have undergone a general cleanup: More group labels have been added, unused and/or discontinued fields have been hidden, and context has been added to descriptions.

API Explorer

Introducing a new and integrated experience for exploring the various API methods and types of the Looker platform.
  • The new beta API Explorer is now available through the Looker Marketplace.
  • Users can now quickly navigate to related API methods and types.
  • Users can also compare different Looker API versions that use various SDK languages.

Looker error catalog

Check out this new resource for understanding and addressing common errors that appear in Looker.
  • Refer to the new error catalog to learn how to troubleshoot common errors that surface in Looker.
  • Each error shows where in the Looker platform the error can occur: Dashboards, Explores, SQL Runner.

Looker 21.6

play_circle_filled
Expected
Rollout
Start
Sunday
April 18th
2021
check_circle
Expected
Final Deployment and
Download Available
Thursday
May 6th
2021

Potentially breaking changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes; depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.
  • All Looker custom visualizations now use a sandboxed iframe to promote security. Unsandboxed custom visualizations will no longer be supported in the product.
  • The Looker extension framework can be used to create iframes if use_iframes entitlement is added to the extension. Extensions that have the use_embeds entitlement are automatically granted the use_iframes entitlement.
  • The render_tasks API endpoint will no longer support the combination of result_format and dashboard_style and will return a 422 error, unprocessable entity.
  • When the Segment Group action is used, Looker’s payload will no longer include a segment_anonymous_id and will only send the segment_group_id when the segment_group_id LookML tag is present.
  • Looker no longer supports the IBM DB2 Warehouse on Cloud dialect. Instead, for DB2 databases, you can use IBM DB2 on AS400 or IBM DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows (LUW).
  • Trend lines are no longer supported on charts with a series positioning of Stacked or Stacked Percentage, with a grid layout of By Row, or with an x-axis scale type of Ordinal. In any of these scenarios, an error will be rendered.
  • Introducing the new legacy feature, Syntax Tolerant Liquid, which introduces new checks for valid Liquid syntax and ensures that all errors are categorized as informational. You may see new validation messages for existing Liquid syntax after you update to 21.6.
  • A syntax warning will now be rendered if the keyword bigquery_datetime_as_timestamp is included in a model.

End of life: Unsandboxed custom visualizations

All Looker custom visualizations now use a sandboxed iframe to promote security.
  • Unsandboxed custom visualizations will no longer be supported in the product.
  • A Looker admin will need to migrate all existing unsandboxed custom visualizations using the Migrate Existing Visualizations option before the Looker instance is updated to Looker 21.6.

New Users Page (Beta) Labs feature

A redesigned user list page is user-friendly and more performant.
  • Supports pagination and has an improved and easier-to-use interface.
  • Provides better performance for customers with large numbers of users, groups, and roles.

Metadata Sidebar is GA

The metadata panel in the Looker IDE is now out of Labs and is generally available.
  • Gives modelers insight into how objects (fields, views, and models) are used throughout projects.
  • The sidebar is set to quick help by default; users can toggle between quick help and metadata at any time.

Introducing support for Databricks

Looker now supports the Databricks dialect.

Looker 21.4

play_circle_filled
Expected
Rollout
Start
Sunday
March 14th
2021
check_circle
Expected
Final Deployment and
Download Available
Thursday
April 8th
2021

Potentially breaking changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes; depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.
  • Referencing a measure — such as COUNT, SUM, or AVG — from another view that does not have a primary key declared in a one_to_many join now renders this LookML model error: Field '(?)' depends on '(?)' which cannot be calculated because of a one_to_many or many_to_many join. Consider adding a primary key to '(?)'
  • The List component is now enriched with additional features. Additionally, there are two new components for lists: OrderedList and UnorderedList.
  • The LookML IDE renders the following new warning if the dashboard file declaration is invalid: Invalid dashboard declaration. Dashboard must be declared as: <dashboard_name>.
  • The --scheduler-threads=<i> startup flag can no longer be used to determine alert runs or to disable alerts. For these tasks, use the --alerts-scheduler-threads=<i> flag.
  • The create_query API endpoint now only accepts filter values of type: string.
  • The bigquery_datetime_as_timestamp legacy feature has been removed. Any field with datatype: datetime declared on a model using a BigQuery standard SQL connection will now be treated as a BigQuery datetime type field.
  • Looker Dialect Vertica 6 has been deprecated. Vertica remains a fully supported Looker dialect.
  • Due to several Slack API endpoint deprecations, users must upgrade to Lookerbot version 0.0.16 or later for Lookerbot to function properly.

Looker mobile app is now GA

The Looker mobile app for Android is now available for download on the Google Play Store, and the Looker mobile app for iOS is coming soon.
  • The Looker mobile app includes the new and improved dashboard experience and gives users the ability to report bugs and feedback in-app.
  • The mobile app Labs feature, Mobile App Integration, will be removed as of Looker 21.4.
  • All instances on Looker 21.4 or later will have Looker mobile app access enabled by default.

Incremental PDTs

Introducing a new beta Labs feature, Incremental Persistent Derived Tables.
  • Incremental PDTs enable Looker to append fresh data to a PDT instead of rebuilding the entire table.
  • The PDT Activity Dashboard page has been added to the System Activity model and is now accessible from the Persistent Derived Tables page.
  • Supported PDT types include native (LookML), SQL-based, and aggregate tables.
  • Supported dialects include BigQuery standard SQL, MySQL, Postgres, Redshift, Snowflake, Vertica, and Azure Synapse…with more dialects coming soon!

Render Long Tables Labs feature

An experimental Labs feature that changes the rendering behavior of tables on PDFs downloaded from dashboards.

New custom visualization and application on the Looker Marketplace

The Force-Directed Graph visualization and LookML Diagram application let you see the relationships among entities in your data.
  • Force-Directed Graph is a custom visualization. The nodes within the graph are mathematically clustered together based on their relationships with other nodes. The weight of each link (line between nodes) is based on the magnitude of the relationship.
  • With the LookML Diagram application, Looker users with permissions to view or develop LookML can select a model and an Explore to visualize their code in an interactive diagram.

Looker 21.0

play_circle_filled
Expected
Rollout
Start
Wednesday
January 20th
2021
check_circle
Expected
Final Deployment and
Download Available
Wednesday
February 3rd
2021

Potentially Breaking Changes

Check out these potentially breaking changes introduced in Looker 21.0. Depending on which features or configurations you have implemented, all, some, or none of these changes may apply to your instance.
  • Looker’s managed database service feature is disabled for all Looker versions on 21.0 and higher. To have the feature enabled, contact your Looker representative. The service will be deprecated entirely in Looker 21.12 (July 2021).
  • The Year to Date control option on the timeframes filter has been temporarily removed.
  • The ability to join to the sessions table has been removed from drill queries on tiles in the User Activity dashboard under the System Activity section of the Admin panel.
  • The Overflow option in the Location drop-down has been removed from the Edit Filter modal. Filters can be moved into overflow by dragging and dropping.
  • The Cross-filtering feature is now generally available and needs to be enabled on each dashboard.
  • When fields are cleared from an Explore query, custom fields will be deselected instead of removed.
  • The Explore field picker will default to the All Fields tab instead of the In Use tab when an existing query is open.
  • If the New Query Streaming experimental Labs feature is enabled and the query is streamable, the scheduler will use the new query streaming feature.
  • The Revert to Legacy Dashboards legacy feature is disabled by default in 21.0.
  • The api_server_url has been added to the /versions endpoints for the Looker API server. The https://my.looker.com/versions endpoint no longer requires authentication.
  • Support for JDK 11 has been temporarily suspended.

Looker Components Updates

Developers can now preview themes, search for components, and see the prop tables for components.
  • Developers can preview their theme across all component examples on the Looker Components site. The theme picker interface allows developers to set key, background, and text color, as well as intents and font values.
  • Developers can now search the Looker Components documentation. The search index also parses page content and page titles.
  • Properties for certain components are available in prop tables. Prop tables are auto-generated from the components interface and are always up to date with the latest release.

Cross-Filtering General Availability

Cross-filtering is out of Labs and generally available.
  • Cross-filtering is no longer available as a beta Labs feature.
  • Cross-filtering can be enabled on a per-dashboard basis.
  • More visualization types are now supportedTrellis Chart, Funnel Chart, Timeline Chart and Waterfall Chart, as well as custom visualizations.

New Visualizations and Blocks

New visualizations and Looker Blocks are available in the Looker Marketplace.
  • The Google Chronicle Security Block is now available to enable you to gain more insights from your Chronicle data.
  • Users can now add comments to individual fields in the Looker Data Dictionary.
  • A new Histogram Visualization is now available.
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