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This document describes how to connect Looker to a Denodo Virtual DataPort (VDP) database and build a simple dashboard over the data gathered from the database.


Looker is a web-based platform that provides data exploration and discovery business intelligence features. Looker 3.50 or later versions are needed to be able to connect to Denodo VDP using the JDBC connector.

In order to support Looker’s Symmetric Aggregates, a custom function (BASE64_TO_BASE10) has to be added to the Denodo VDP Server. This function can be found within the ‘Denodo Xtrafuncs for VDP’ library in the Denodo Support Site, Denodo Connects section. The library must then be imported using the Jar management option in the File menu of the Denodo VDP Administration Tool.

Creating a database connection to a VDP database

  1. Go to the Looker instance URL from any web browser.
  2. Enter the corresponding credentials to log in.
  3. Click on the “Admin” link located in the left deployed menu.
  4. Go to “Database” > “Connections”.
  5. Click on “Public IP Addresses” to see the IP addresses that you need to add to your IP allow list to permit secure network traffic from Looker.
  6. Click on “Add Connection”.
  7. Enter the parameters for the new database connection.
  1. Name.
  2. Set Dialect to “Denodo 7” or “Denodo 8” depending on the version you are using.
  3. Set the Host and Port corresponding to the VDP server to create the connection.
  4. Set Database to the name of the database to connect to.
  5. Set the Username and Password in order to connect to the corresponding VDP database. (Note that the user has to have SELECT permissions on all views that are going to be queried from Looker).
  6. It is also possible to specify the value for several parameters such as MaxConnections, Connection Pool Timeout and additional JDBC parameters.
  1. Test the connection by clicking on “Test”.
  2. Once the connection is successfully tested, click on “Add Connection” to save it.

Creating a LookML project

Once the database connection is configured from Looker to the VDP database, it is possible to create a LookML project following these steps:

  1. Return to the home menu by clicking on the Looker logo
  2. Click on “Develop” > “Projects”.
  3. If not in Development mode, click on the “Develop” > “Development Mode” to toggle it on.
  4. Click on “New LookML Project”.
  5. Enter the parameters for the LookML project.
  1. Set the Project Name.
  2. Set Connection to the connection created in the previous section.
  3. We are going to build a project with a single view. Select the “Single table” option and enter an existing VDP view name as the Table Name.
  1. Selecting the “Single table” option, the project will start adding only the table set up in the Table Name attribute.
  2. Selecting the “All tables” option, the project will start adding all the views in the database.
  1. Click on “Create Project”.

After clicking on “Create Project”, Looker will generate the corresponding LookML project. Once this is done, the LookML development environment will show up.

Components of a LookML Project

  • Project: A directory containing LookML files that corresponds to a single database connection.
  • Explore: An isolated query-building environment that appears on the Explore drop-down list in Looker. An explorer consists of a base view and optionally several joined views.
  • Model: A collection of explorers, manifested as a single model file. Many models can live in the same project, and can share view files. Permissions can be set at a model level.
  • View: A table of data. A view file points to a material or derived table of data and contains definitions of all the columns within, manifested as dimensions. A view file also contains definitions of measures (aggregates) built off of those dimensions.
  • Dimension: An attribute (column) by which you can group/slice the data. A dimension can be material or derived.
  • Measure: An aggregation over the data, which can be grouped by a dimension or set of dimensions. Examples are SUMs, COUNTs, MINs, AVGs, etc.

Adding Explorers

As it can be seen in the last image showing the LookML of the previously created project, there is only one explorer, “customer_dim”. We have obtained just this one explorer due to the selection of the “Single table” option and setting “customer_dim” as table name during the creation of this sample project.

To add more explorers to the project it is possible to add a view to Looker and then select it manually modifying the LookML model content of the project in the same way it is shown in the lines of the LookML code.

To create a new view for the project we must click on the plus symbol at the “File Browser” and select “Create View From Table”, then we only have to select the Denodo view that we want to add to Looker and click on “Create View” at the bottom of the page.

Now, we can add to the model our explorer in different ways with the following code

  • Adding a simple explorer for a single view:

explore: <view_name> {}

  • Adding an explorer joining views:

explore: <view_name_1> {

  join: <view_name_2> {

    # Desired join parameters

    type: <join_type>

    wql_on: <join_condition>

    relationship: <relationship_between_views>



After editing the LookML click on the “Save” button to make the changes take effect.

To know more about how to define explorers take a look at the following article: Explore Parameters.

Once all the needed explorers are added, to access them, deploy the left menu, click on the “Explore” button and select the corresponding explorer in a project.

Create a View/Look from a particular Explorer

To create a view click on an explorer created in the previous section.

After clicking on the explorer, the explorer’s workspace will be shown. The workspace can be used to build any view/look over the explorer. On the left side a panel all the dimensions/fields that belong to the explorer are shown together with different measures that could be applied over the underlying view.

There are two actions that can be performed on a dimension/measure: “Add” and “Filter”. In addition, just for dimensions the “Pivot” feature is available.


  • Add dimension/measure to the Data section.

Adding a dimension/measure to the Data section means that it will be added to the select clause when querying the underlying view. This can be done by clicking on a dimension/measure.

  • Add dimension/measure to the Filters section.

Adding a dimension/measure to the Filters section means that it will be added to the where clause as a condition when querying the underlying view. Before querying, the condition over this dimension/measure has to be set up in the Filters section.

This can be done by clicking on the “Filter” feature of the corresponding dimension/measure.

There are 3 sections on the right side of the explorer’s workspace:

  • Data

In this section the different dimensions and measures will be added as columns. The results gathered after executing the corresponding query on the underlying view will be displayed here after clicking on the “Run” button.

  • Visualization

In this section different options are available (table, columns, bar, scatterplot, line…) to select how the results obtained will be displayed.

These visualization settings as a View/Look will be the same used when the View/Look is added to a Dashboard.

  • Filters

In this section different dimensions and measures can be added as “Where” conditions. After clicking on the “Run” button a query will be executed over the underlying view including the filters configured here so the results gathered will meet these conditions.

For instance, let’s create a View/Look from the customer_dim explorer in order to get how many customers had been born in each year before de 1946:

  • Click on the “Birth Year” dimension and the “Count” measure to add them to the “Data” section.
  • Click on the “Filter” feature of the “Birth Year” dimension to add it to the “Filter” section.
  • Go to the “Filter” section, select the “is <” operation and enter “1946” as the condition value.
  • Go to the “Visualization” section and select the “Column” option.
  • Click on the “Run” button in order to execute the corresponding query and see the results.
  • Click on the “Gear” icon on the right upper corner and select  the “Save as a look” option.
  • Enter the name and a description.
  • Finally click on “Save”.

Add a View/Look to a Dashboard

To add a View to a new Dashboard click on the “Gear” icon on the top right corner and select the “Save… > As a new dashboard” or  “Save… > To an existing dashboard”option.

A view can be added to an existing dashboard or to a new one. For this example we are going to add this view to a new Dashboard so we click on “As a new dashboard” and set a name.

After creating the dashboard, select it and click on the “Add” button so the view is added to this dashboard.

Once this is done, to go to the newly created dashboard click on the dashboard link with the chosen name or click on the “Browse” menu, by clicking on the link with the account name and selecting the corresponding dashboard in the Dashboards section.

It is possible to continue adding different looks to this dashboard in order to build a more complex and useful one as the following:


LookML Reference

The information provided in the Denodo Knowledge Base is intended to assist our users in advanced uses of Denodo. Please note that the results from the application of processes and configurations detailed in these documents may vary depending on your specific environment. Use them at your own discretion.
For an official guide of supported features, please refer to the User Manuals. For questions on critical systems or complex environments we recommend you to contact your Denodo Customer Success Manager.


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