Qlik Sense sheet icons made easy

If you develop Qlik Sense applications you’ve been there: Manually creating screen shots and then manually uploading them to a content library, and finally manually assigning them as sheet icons.

Fun? Not really. But it makes the lives of our end users easier, so we do it.

I’ve had this idea for years, but only got around to work on it recently.
Better late then never, the Butler family of open source tools for Qlik Sense has a new member:

Butler Sheet Icons

https://github.com/ptarmiganlabs/butler-sheet-icons

It’s an open source tool that will take screen shots of all sheets in a Qlik Sense Enterprise on Windows app, upload the images to a content library and finally set the sheet icons of each sheet. Automatically.

The tool is cross platform (Windows, MacOS, Linux, Docker).
A single command will update all sheets in an app. Add a few lines of PowerShell script and you can automatically update all sheets in all apps…
Or run it as a Docker container as part of your CI/CD workflow.
Or manually when you have made UI changes to your Sense app.

Feel free to try it out, feedback, report bugs or contribute with new features!

Butler 5.0 is out – Extra mega super deluxe reload alerts for Qlik Sense

…and yes – Butler is still open source.

The step from 4.x to 5.0 indicates this is a major release.

Very much so in fact.
The main focus of the new version is on reload alerts. Rich email alerts were introduced in Butler 4.2, but that was really just the testing ground for what’s now available in 5.0.

Here’s the short version of what’s new:

  • Alerts for failed or aborted reloads can be sent to Slack, MS Teams, outgoing webhooks, MQTT or as email.
  • Alerts sent as email, Slack and MS Teams can all make use of all the rich formatting and layout options available on those platforms.
  • Alert emails can be sent to the owner of the Sense app that failed reloading.
  • A new API for doing partial (and full) app reloads was added. This means it’s now possible and even easy to do partial app reloads in Qlik Sense. One of the epic QlikView features finally become usable in Qlik Sense!

Interested in more details?
butler.ptarmiganlabs.com

Curious what the alerts look like in reality? Check out this video for a hands-on demo:

Post messages to Microsoft Teams from Qlik Sense

The Corona pandemic made lots of people start working from home and the importance of instant messaging apps has increased quite dramatically since.

As a result more people are logged into Slack, Microsoft Teams and similar tools. This is good as it opens up for using these tools as a communication channel also from Qlik Sense apps to end users.

In this post we’ll take a look at how messages can be sent from Sense load scripts to Microsoft Teams. The same concept can be applied also to Slack and other IM tools that support webhooks from external tools to the IM tool – usually called “incoming webhooks”.

Continue reading “Post messages to Microsoft Teams from Qlik Sense”

Superpowers to Qlik Sense Enterprise, part 2: Free https certificates from Let’s Encrypt

Photo by Silas Köhler on Unsplash

Security is important – period.

Usability of web based systems is off course important, but so is security. In the previous (first) article in this series we looked at how the Traefik reverse proxy can be used set up end user friendly URLs for Qlik Sense Enterprise (QSE) environments, while at the same time adding a layer of security by hiding the internal structure of the QSE cluster.

Today we’ll look at how you can get free SSL/TLS certificates from Let’s Encrypt and how these are used to provide https for QSE.

Article 1: Superpowers to Qlik Sense Enterprise: The Traefik reverse proxy, part 1

All code, scripts etc used in this article is available in the Part 2 folder in this GitHub repository.

Let’s go!

Continue reading “Superpowers to Qlik Sense Enterprise, part 2: Free https certificates from Let’s Encrypt”

Superpowers to Qlik Sense Enterprise: The Traefik reverse proxy, part 1

Edit: A GitHub repository has been created with the files mentioned in this article:
https://github.com/mountaindude/qlik-sense-and-traefik

What’s Traefik and how does it relate to Qlik Sense?

Traefik is one of today’s most hyped reverse proxies. It’s available in both a commercial and a (very capable!) open source version. According to the company behind Traefik it’s been downloaded more than 2 billion times – that’s a lot…

In this blog post we’ll take a look at how Traefik can run natively on Windows server, providing services to a Qlik Sense Enterprise on Windows cluster.
We will see how this can make Qlik Sense easier to use for end users as well as easier to run and operate for sysadmins.

Specifically, we’ll use Traefik to set up TLS secured access (a.k.a. https) to Qlik Sense, while at the same time establishing a solid platform to which we can add more features in coming blog posts.

Starting with the basics makes sense though – let’s get to it!

Continue reading “Superpowers to Qlik Sense Enterprise: The Traefik reverse proxy, part 1”

Black box monitoring of Butler tools – monitoring the monitor

This is part 3 in a series about how healthchecks.io can be used to solve various kinds of monitoring scenarios for Qlik Sense Enterprise on Windows (QSEoW) environments.

Previous articles:

Part 1: Oh data where art thou?
Part 2: Black box monitoring of Windows servers

Tl;dr

Most of the Butler family of DevOps tools for Qlik Sense can now be monitored using healthchecks.io or similar tool.

If one of the supported Butler tools go down, an alarm is raised and one or more alerts are sent via email, Slack, Teams, PagerDuty or other supported channels.

This means that both infrastructure (servers etc), applications/services and data sources can be monitored using the same tool and on the same dashboards.

Health dashboard at Ptarmigan Labs, covering both servers, applications and data.
Continue reading “Black box monitoring of Butler tools – monitoring the monitor”

Butler DevOps tools for Qlik Sense running on Raspberry Pi based Kubernetes cluster

Lots of buzzwords in that title, but yes – things have now come together and the main members of the Butler family of tools for Qlik Sense now run as Docker containers on Arm64 and even Arm7.

In practice this means it is possible to run Butler SOS, Butler Cache Warming etc as Docker containers on for example a Raspberry Pi 4. If you are worried about that poor little Raspi failing you can add a bunch of them into a Kubernetes cluster, and then run the Butler tools there.

This actually works pretty well, here is a Raspberry Pi based Kubernetes (a.k.a “k8s”) cluster built using the excellent k3s distribution from Rancher, running the Butler tools:

Butler tools running Raspberry Pi based k3s cluster.
Butler tools running as Docker containers in Raspberry Pi based Kubernetes cluster.

And here is the Raspi cluster itself, with 4 of the 7 nodes installed:

Kubernetes cluster built on Raspberry Pis
Kubernetes cluster built on Raspberry Pis

Ok, ok – I hear you – is it really a good idea to run close to mission critical software on Raspberry Pi’s?
No of course not, but the cloud providers are starting to offer Arm based virtual machines (Amazon does this already with their EC2 A1 instances), with roughly twice the performance per dollar compared to Intel based VMs.

So running Butler on Arm VMs might be a way to save some money, if the cloud provider you use happens to offer Arm VMs.

Or just surrender to your inner geek and build your own Raspi k8s cluster… Lots of fun and a great way to learn about k8s!

Docker images available on Docker Hub, as always.