Create a written documentation trail in KNIME

I am a new KNIME user who is evaluating KNIME in a proof-of-concept exercise for my company. Some of the potential KNIME users in my company may need to demonstrate how they performed an analysis and provide that documentation to an authority, such as a supervisor or a government official. Our KNIME users would need to show explicitly steps such as removing observations with missing values or renaming variables.

A workflow map would be difficult to print in a convenient format, and the icons would not show the variables that were involved. Using KNIME, is there a way to produce a summary of a workflow that indicates the steps followed in a workflow with a text output? Analogies would be a “script” in R or a “program” in SAS. Thanks for your help.


If you are new to KNIME, then you may not know that KNIME workflows are totally self documenting. That means all settings are actually stored in the workflow itself, including all information not only about node settings but data sources and external libraries used. they are also 100% backward compatible, meaning that you can come back in 10 years and rerun your workflow, even when created with an earlier verison of KNIME, and be guaranteed to get the exact same answers. We use this self documenting functionality within KNIME already: the notification that a node has been “deprecated”, workflow DIF function as well as many of the features of HUB.KNIME.COM all come about because of that self-documenting. For external sources as of 4.2 (available next week), there is a new feature called “export workflow summary” available from the file pull down. This surfaces all that self-documenting information in either a JSON or XML format so that it can be used for external documentation purposes. As an aside, you can also output an SVG of the workflow itself. You can automate the writing of both the workflow summary and SVG via KNIME Server so that you can capture all workflows stored there. as of 4.2, there are also sample reports and interactive applications to give examples of how you might want to format that information. Since they are all KNIME workflows you can tailor them to meet your need, which is very important since every organization wants to do this a bit differently. The advantages of this over a “programming language” is that you can decide what level of detail and what format is best for your intended audience. But in all cases, regardless of what you choose to show in your print version, the entire documentation is always there in the form of the XML/JSON file.


Thank you, phil! As a novice user, I appreciate your explanation.

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