Great things are happening at Incorta, including a major new release with dozens and dozens of new features and improvements. This article focuses on just a few of my favorites. For all the details, check out the complete release notes here.
Geo Mapping Improvements
Incorta’s Advanced Map visualization complements the simple map component by adding additional interactions and details including layers, which allow for different ways of viewing and highlighting the map data depending on the zoom level. For example, you could color the map using country-level data at one zoom level, and using city-level data at a closer level.
In this release, we’ve added the ability to overlay custom shapes onto the map via the standard KML file format. For example, here is a map showing an overlay of crime data by borough in New York City:
When lots of data points are shown on a map, the points can overlap and appear cluttered. Advanced Maps now also support data point clustering, which allows a large number of data points to be grouped together into a single data point with a total point count displayed. One map layer can be set up to show data clusters, and a more detailed map layer can show all the specifics. This creates a cleaner UI, especially on mobile devices.
Why I like this: Maps are an important analytical tool, and with the addition of custom shapes and clustering, we open the door to further customization, especially for certain vertical industries and within our own application blueprints.
New formula builder functions
The Formula Builder lets you create custom measures and dimensions as part of ad hoc queries, or within tables and views. We’ve added a number of new built-in functions for date/time calculations, conversions, and data typing:
- ago() — Aggregate an earlier day, month, quarter or year
- toDate() — Aggregate year-to-date, quarter-to-date, etc.
- dayOfYear() — The day of the year, useful in financial calculations
- isAlpha() — Contains letters only
- isNumeric() — Is a number
To help organize all of these functions, you can now also include comments in your Formula Builder code to help you document complex formulas.
Why I like this: I’m in favor of “escape hatches” — features that let advanced practitioners do custom (and sometimes amazing) things with the platform — and these new functions make custom formulas even more powerful.
You can now schedule jobs using time zones instead of GMT offsets, which will alleviate the impact of daylight savings time (DST). In addition, you can now schedule jobs to occur between a specific start time and end time, such as 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and you can select the recurrence of the load job in minutes or hours within the specified time interval.
Why I like this: The Scheduler is one of the most useful features in the platform, and is important because you can refresh data from anywhere, even a Google Spreadsheet, as often as every five minutes. The improvements provide even more potential for “hands-off” data management, and on the cloud, will allow instances (and people) to go to sleep at night!
You can now configure SSO per tenant for more flexible setups when you have dev, test, and production tenants. There is also a new enhanced process to import and synchronize domain users and groups with Incorta Cloud using the LDAP protocol. And, Azure Active Directory (AD) authentication is now available when you connect to Incorta via SQLi from third-party tools, such as DbVisualizer and Tableau.
Why I like this: Security can sometimes get in the way of the frictionless experience we want for our users, and these improvements help bridge some of the blockers to user adoption.
Schema Update Enhancements
This release introduces multi-user schema updates. In previous releases, whenever you added, modified, or deleted a physical schema object, join relationship, formula column, runtime security filter, or load filter, these were applied one at a time. Now, you can make multiple changes to the physical schema and then apply all the changes in one schema update. You can also save the changes to a draft version of the physical schema and apply them later.
Why I like this: This enhancement actually goes very deep in that schema updates must be coordinated with ongoing data loading and query activity. This allows for not just a faster workflow, but the ability to safely work in a setting with multiple developers.
Incorta 2021.4.1 release is available now for all newly created clusters. Existing clusters can be updated via the Cloud Console.
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