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Looker Hackathon 2023 results: Best hacks and more

February 14, 2024
Jeremy Chang

Developer Relations Engineer

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In December, the Looker team invited our developer and data community to collaborate, learn, and inspire each other at our annual Looker Hackathon. More than 400 participants from 93 countries joined together, hacked away for 48 hours and created 52 applications, tools, and data experiences. The hacks use Looker and Looker Studio’s developer features, data modeling, visualizations and other Google Cloud services like BigQuery and Cloud Functions.

For the first time in Looker Hackathon history, we had two hacks tie for the award of the Best Hack. See the winners below and learn about the other finalists from the event. In every possible case, we have included links to code repositories or examples to enable you to reproduce these hacks.

Best Hack winners

DashNotes: Persistent dashboard annotations

By Ryan J, Bartosz G, Tristan F

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Have you ever wanted to take note of a juicy data point you found after cycling through multiple filterings of your data? You could write your notes in an external notes application, but then you might lose the dashboard and filter context important to your discovery. This Best Hack allows you to take notes right from within your Looker dashboard. Using the Looker Custom Visualization API, it creates a dashboard tile for you to create and edit text notes. Each note records the context around its creation, including the original dashboard and filter context. The hack stores the notes in BigQuery to persist the notes across sessions. Check out the GitHub repository for more details.

Document repository sync automation

By Mehul S, Moksh Akash M, Rutuja G, Akash

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Does your organization struggle to maintain documentation on an increasing number of ever-changing dashboards? This Best Hack helps your organization automatically generate current detailed documentation on all your dashboards, for simplified administration. The automation uses the Looker SDK, the Looker API, and serverless Cloud Functions to parse your LookML for useful metadata, and stores it in BigQuery. Then the hack uses LookML to model and display the metadata inside a Looker dashboard. Checkout the GitHub repository for the backend service and the GitHub repository for the LookML for more details.

Nearly Best Hack winner

Querying Python services from a Looker dashboard

By Jacob B, Illya M

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If your Looker dashboard had the power to query any external service, what would you build? This Nearly Best Hack explores how your Looker Dashboard can communicate with external Python services. It sets up a Python service to mimic a SQL server and serves it as a Looker database connection for your Looker dashboard to query. Then, clever LookML hacks enable your dashboard buttons to send data to the external Python service, creating a more interactive dashboard. This sets up a wide array of possibilities to enhance your Looker data experience. For example, with this hack, you can deploy a trained ML model from Google Cloud’s Vertex AI in your external service to deliver keen insights about your data. Check out the GitHub repository for more details.

Finalists

What do I watch?

By Hamsa N, Shilpa D

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We’ve all had an evening when we didn’t know what movie to watch. You can now tap into a Looker dashboard that recommends ten movies you might like based on your most liked movie from IMDB's top 1000 movies. The hack analyzes a combination of genre, director, stars, and movie descriptions, using natural language processing techniques. The resulting processed data resides in BigQuery, with LookML modeling the data. Check out the GitHub repository for more details.

Template analytics

By Ehsan S

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If you need to determine which customer segment will be most effective to market to, check out this hack, which performs Recency, Frequency, Monetary (RFM) analysis on data from a Google Sheet to help you segment customers based on their last transaction recency, how often they've purchased, and how much they’ve spent over time. You provide the custom Looker Studio Community Connector, along with a Google Sheet, and the connector performs RFM analysis on your Google Sheet’s data. The hack’s Looker Studio report visualizes the results to give an overview of your customer segments and behavior. Check out the Google Apps Script code for more details.

LOV filter app

By Markus B

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This hack implements a List of Values (LOV) filter that enables you to have the values of one dimension filter a second dimension. For example, take two related dimensions: “id” and “name”. The “name” dimension may change, while the “id” dimension always stays constant.

This hack uses Looker’s Extension Framework and Looker Components to show "name" values in the LOV filter that translate to "id" values in an embedded dashboard’s filter. This helps your stakeholders filter on values they’re familiar with and keeps your data model flexible and robust. Check out the GitLab repository for more details.

Looker accelerator

By Dmitri S, Joy S, Oleksandr K

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This collection of open-source LookML dashboard templates provides insight into Looker project performance and usage. The dashboards use Looker’s System Activity data and are a great example of using LookML to create reusable dashboards. In addition, you can conveniently install the Looker Block of seven dashboards through the Looker Marketplace (pending approval) to help your Looker developer or admin to optimize your Looker usage. Check out the GitHub repository for more details.

The SuperViz Earth Explorer

By Ralph S

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With this hack, you can visually explore the population and locations of cities across the world on an interactive 3D globe, and can filter the size of the cities in real time as the globe spins. This custom visualization uses the Looker Studio Community Visualization framework with the clever combination of three.js, a 3D Javascript library, and clever graphics hacks to create a visual experience. Check out the GitHub repository for more details.

dbt exposure generator

By Dana H.

Are you using dbt models with Looker? This hack automatically generates dbt exposures to help you debug and identify how your dbt models are used by Looker dashboards. This hack serves as a great example of how our Looker SDK and Looker API can help solve a common pain point for developers. Check out the GitHub repository for more details.

Hacking Looker for fun and community

At Looker Hackathon 2023, our developer community once again gave us a look into how talented, creative, and collaborative they are. We saw how our developer features like Looker Studio Community Visualizations, LookML, and Looker API, in combination with Google Cloud services like Cloud Functions and BigQuery, enable our developer community to build powerful, useful — and sometimes entertaining — tools and data experiences.

We hope these hackathon projects inspire you to build something fun, innovative, or useful for you. Tap into our linked documentation and code in this post to get started, and we will see you at the next hackathon!

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