A Qlik visit to the dentist

by | May 12, 2016

One of life’s necessary, but expected to be unpleasant experiences, is a visit to the dentist. For an SQL developer, pivoting or unpivoting data can be a similar experience. In my case, I needed to unpivot and then include the requirement for a dynamic number of values stored in a column and I’m thinking tooth extraction! I don’t say it often but Qlik, I’m impressed.
I was given a table of disk performance data to graph. There would be multiple servers with multiple drives. This would be time series data where all the measurements for a server reading would be represented by a single row of data. The numbers I wanted were stored in a couple columns in array format [C;,D:,….] and [50,3,….] So this is what I had:


Source: OptimalBI

This is what I needed to do anything useful with the data:

Source: OptimalBI

My first thought was maybe I needed to do some transformation of the database table before I loaded it into Qlik. Thankfully, I decided I should have a look at what Qlik could do for me. My searching led me to these articles:

  • This post to clean up array [ ] in the text using the PurgeChar function
  • This post to unpivot the data using SubField function

Combining these guides, my problem was solved with a few lines of code.

  subfield(purgechar( Disk_Name,'[]'),',', IterNo()) as Disk_Name,
  subfield(purgechar( Read_Pct,'[]'),',', IterNo()) as Read_Pct
 WHILE iterno() <= SubStringCount(purgechar( Disk_Name,'[]'),',')+1 ;
FROM Vault.dbo.Performance;

Databases may be catching up in regards to doing this sort of thing but Qlik has had it for years.
All the code, all the fun – Ben
Ben writes blogs about the technical side of BI the code, all the code and not much other than the code.
You can read all of Ben’s blog here.
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