Review: QlikView 6

Upgrade builds interactive front ends for presenting diverse information.

QlikView 6

QlikView 6 Offering users a high degree of integration in viewing data from many common sources, QlikTechs $39,900 QlikView 6 emphasizes intuitive exploration and a high degree of flexibility in making new associations or narrowing the focus to a particular area of interest. The QlikView toolbox is comprehensive and quickly learned, but theres a somewhat cluttered look and feel to QlikViews suite of user interface and presentation components.
















  • PRO: Relatively easy to install and begin deployment of useful BI tools; 15-day free trial download enables low-risk evaluation; multiple versions offer thin-client, midtier and full development capabilities.
  • CON: A typical starting configuration carries a five-figure price; script language represents an investment of scarce developer time; Java clients are second-tier solutions, with Windows clients providing greater capability.

• Cognos Inc.s Business Intelligence • Information Builders Inc.s WebFocus • SAS Institute Inc.s Business Intelligence

For an IT shop seeking a big head start on the task of building business intelligence applications, QlikTech International ABs QlikView 6 is a relatively self-contained solution that takes advantage of todays memory-rich machines to build interactive front ends for exploring and presenting information from many sources. The products in-memory associative analysis, dynamically updating presentations, and extensive collection of interactive plotting and tabulation tools will give many users the feeling that something finally understands their questions.

QlikView 6s advanced core design, extended in this May update with new options for integrating local and server operations, is somewhat offset by a Windows-centric implementation that seems a little last-century.

If theres one task that justifies the effort involved in delivering data to diverse platforms, BI would seem to be high on the list of candidates. Only the QlikView Windows client, however, provides the full range of product capability. We did not test the alternative Java client, but its list of limitations made it appear to be something of a consolation prize for non-Windows users or for shops that prefer a thin-client deployment.

QlikViews design metaphor of documents driven by scripts reminds us of some early-1990s efforts to add more custom programmability to the spreadsheet metaphor. Indeed, QlikViews interaction with other data sources, such as Microsoft Corp. Excel spreadsheets, felt a little batchlike compared with the more dynamic linkage of Informatica Corp.s PowerAnalyzer.

Memory-resident data begs for a 64-bit address space. This falls Itanium version of QlikView will break the limit of 3GB, under Windows 2000 and 2003 Advanced and Datacenter Servers, on 32-bit hardware. The 64-bit version will require an additional license, on top of the $39,900 that the company quotes for what it considers a basic 20-user capability with one year of upgrade maintenance for the 32-bit product that we tested.

QlikView is not as complex as many network-based competitors, in that it avoids the need for an IT shop to adopt and understand an extended platform such as J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition). Starting up Informaticas PowerAnalyzer, for example, feels like launching a space shuttle, while QlikView feels more like a Learjet.

On the minus side, QlikView offers fewer paths toward standards-based synergy with the next generation of J2EE tools. Mastering QlikViews distinctive approach wont take as long, but it may not take a development team as far.

Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at peter_coffee