Web Coding Pioneer Unveils 'Sequel to SQL' BI Tool

Looker Data Sciences Inc. last week announced a business intelligence (BI) platform powered by a new data modeling language designed to simplify complex analytical SQL queries.

The company said it launched with $2 million in funding and more than 20 enterprise customers for the Looker BI Platform, dubbed "sequel to SQL."

The Looker BI tool was designed and coded by company CEO Lloyd Tabb, who created the first application server for the World Wide Web and went on to become a principal engineer of Netscape Navigator Gold (the original WYSIWYG HTML editor, later called Composer) and Netscape Communicator before helping found He also was an early driving force behind crowdsourcing.

Tabb told Application Development Trends that Looker helps makes data developers' jobs easier by letting them use his new LookML modeling language to build models to be used by others who want to perform complex database queries. "Once a model is built, anyone in the org can create and run queries," Tabb said. "They [developers] will no longer get requests to 'pull-data.'"

Besides developers who build models, Tabb said, Looker was designed for people who "just need reports and [a] dashboard" and "people with questions."

"Looker contains a webserver, so getting reports and dashboards is easy," he continued. "People with questions can use a Web UI to quickly ask questions, essentially writing very complex queries using Looker's UI. This is done by pointing and clicking in a Web page. The model is built with an IDE built into Looker."

To use LookML to create models, Tabb said, developers need only "have a basic understanding of SQL (the basic SELECT statement)."

The company said two model management tools help developers ensure efficient and accurate coding using any SQL-based database. The Generator tool "accesses physical data schema, looks at the relational model of the database, and--making some guesses about all the different tables that can be joined together--transforms it into the start of LookML model files."

The other tool, called SQL Runner, is an analytics engine using LookML, "a mix of custom language features and standard SQL." This tool "increases efficiency by querying any connected database to quickly give you the elements you need to reference, such as table names, column headings, and types," the company said.

The Looker platform includes: a "developer mode" to help with model experimentation and embellishment; tracking of versions and changes; and a "robust API" and application SDKs to integrate query functionality with existing apps or workflows.

Available as a free trial, the Looker BI Platform is offered in four versions ranging from $750 per month with a $2,000 setup fee to $6,000 per month with a $7,500 setup fee.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.