KNIME Modern UI Preview

Hello community,

We are happy to announce the KNIME Modern UI Preview! This Labs extension now provides a preview of the new user interface with an improved user experience.

In the current preview the following features are already included

  • Create new workflows, open existing workflows and save any workflow locally.
  • Side panels for
    • the workflow and component metadata such as description, external resources and tags in a side panel.
    • the node repository to browse and add nodes by category, search for nodes or filter search results by category, and look into the selected node’s description.
  • A workflow toolbar at the top of the user interface to interact with the entire workflow, for example to execute all nodes. Or, Select specific nodes and interact with them.
  • A node action bar that appears on hover above a node.
  • The possibility to re-organize workflows by collapsing nodes into a metanode or a component. Likewise, metanodes and components can be expanded.
  • The re-naming name feature for metanodes or a components – directly in the workflow canvas.
  • Setup your metanodes by adding ports at the metanode.
  • Enter components and metanodes and browse their contents, with the help of the workflow breadcrumb.
  • The node monitor at the bottom to immediately inspect the node port output and supplied flow variables.
  • An infinite workflow canvas which expands the canvas automatically to give as much space as needed in any direction.
  • Different kind of zooming possibilities with different zoom levels.e.g. scale the view to fill or fit to the screen.

More features come in the future

We will add more features in the future, like:

  • Dynamic ports at native nodes
  • Workflow annotation and node label editor
  • Opening multiple workflows side-by-side
  • Copy and paste
  • Handle dropped items (files, workflows, nodes …) into the user interface

Documentation

How you could install the extensions is listed on the KNIME Documentation page.

Disclaimer

This extension is considered a preview and is currently under development. Workflow elements such as connectors or annotations are visualized in a new way and may therefore not look exactly like in the current KNIME Analytics Platform.

Feedback

We are looking forward to receiving your feedback. So, please reply here with any ideas, comments, or questions. If you run into any problems please follow the Bug Reporting Best Practices.

13 Likes

Hi guys.

Here’s what I would like to see added from the new User Interface:

  • Must be able to add node descriptions - It important for complex workflows.
  • The node connectors should have an option of curved or straight.
  • The panels (Node Repository, etc) should be able to drag and set however the user wants.
  • Like the older UI, the user should be able to add more panels (Workflow coach, KNIME Explorer, etc) - With a dual screen PC, this serves a purpose.

Thank you.

Regards,
Denzil.

4 Likes

Hi,

Will the previous UI stay available in case users want to switch between UI’s or have a preference in one UI over the other?

Thank You,

1 Like

First off, loving the new UI. So much sleeker.

Ideas for improvement:

  • Change “queued” text on nodes to be a graphic similar to the “executing” blue bubble waving side to side or the double-arrow (like for metanodes). It’s hard to read the “queued” text anyway, and that blue bubble is mesmerizing.
  • Metanodes only having a dashed outline is kind of irksome. It makes them seem tertiary rather than central to the workflow. Can you make it a solid color again?
  • Need a way to either custom-path curved connectors or have them automatically avoid going behind nodes.
  • The grab-box area for out-ports needs to be expanded or easier to click on/select/hover over. Actually, clicking on an outport to to select the connection without having to click-and-hold would be nice.
  • The snap-to-grid seems to be inconsistent. Would also like those “arrange” buttons back. I like to make my workflows look nice… or like spaceships.
  • Need annotation boxes back.
  • The design looks so sleek now that it makes configuration dialogues look super old. Maybe that will be fixed once the new UI is out of Labs.
    *I don’t think we need a separate “Ok” and “Apply” button anymore in configurations - we’re all mostly grownups.
  • For visuals, please add back in “Execute and Open View” or just change the action of “Open View” to include the execute.
5 Likes

I am so excited about this news. Great to see this coming into life! Congratulations Peter and the whole team!

6 Likes

+1 for me

+1 for me. Also I would like that when auto arranging nodes the description below would could - I use it a lot to document functions right at the node and when auto-arranging there are overlapping texts.

3 Likes

Really hoping we can retain the existing UI. Not liking quite a few things about the new one.
Lots of wasted white space - The node view on the left uses more space, and yet you have less to see, literally a handful of nodes. The existing text tree view is much more functional.
The table view at the bottom is nice when you click on a node, however it takes a good 10 seconds to load and the whole workflow view is frozen in the meantime, you cannot move around or navigate whilst this view is being loaded. This becomes annoying very quickly.
The table view does not parse chemical structures which is very limiting for my line of work.
The table view does not allow columns to be a specific width, and they expand to match the length of the column name which is not ideal at all.
The table view does not allow any sorting, column reordering, HiLiting, row or column resizing.
Table view navigation is sluggish.
Access to the table structure is gone. I found that very useful to quickly see where some columns are, or if any are missing.
Cannot work out how to view the output from a node such as Interactive Table which has Chemical Structure rendering. This makes the whole new UI view useless for me as there are no structures, and I do not want to be parsing them as actual images as then I lose the ability for resizing and copy and pasting to other programmes.
I hope this is not the only way to view the data along the workflow, as otherwise I will be constantly needing to drag the horizontal screen splitting bar up and down to look at the data then drag down to see the workflow again, then back up again to see the data, etc…
Overall so far for me is in summary, looks polished and modern, but loses a lot of functionality and usability, making tasks more frustrating than before.

8 Likes

@schramm

I had no difficulty installing the new UI. It was also cool that Brew already had the cask ready today. Thanks.

Back in 2016 and 2017 I was super interested in Knime as a low code way of doing data science. However, I found the interface really frustrating because one could in many cases not easily explore the output of one’s nodes (exploring a large sample of the results) as you make node configuration changes at the same time. You sort of had to remember what your data looked like. Bring up the node dialog box make changes to a node in the blind without looking a large sample of the data. Run the Node. And then bring up results often from another node that was used for display. Doing all of this work with modal dialogue boxes that take over things, (blinding me from my data) did not work for me personally.

The new UX / UI still has the Modal Dialogue box that takes over the screen and does not allow one to scroll through the node results. However, the new UI does provide a bit more visibility into a few records. Which helps a bit. Thank You.

However, I’m not clear that where the interface is currently is sufficient for me to switch back to knime on a regular basis. There are other vendors out there that do a better job of this scroll through the data at the same time you have the paramaters for a node available. One can see examples of these UIs in Microsoft Power Query Main dialog box in MS Excel and Power BI. In Dataiku DSS’s Prepare Recipe. And I believe in Rapid Miners UI. At this time, for me those other User Interfaces are more usable for me.

That said I’d like to see KNIME more successful. If having a follow up conversation would be helpful. I’d be glad to have a call.

2 Likes

Nice concept! First thing I noticed is missing is a way to connect to the KNIME Server but I guess this is somehow on the roadmap :slight_smile:

I would also suggest a different icon for the Node Repository sidebar tab, as the plus sign is usually associated with creating something new in my experience. In KNIME I would hope this creates a new workflow. Node repository might be a cute little node in a magnifying glass for example.

2 Likes

Dear Knimers,

this Modern UI is very interesting; obviously it is still missing a lot of features that are available in the old UI, but I think the new UI is much more welcoming to newbies - an issue with the old UI that I wrote about before here

But I see that the new UI has its own special license. I am not a lawyer, but it doe not look very “FOSSy”; for example: “3.2 The Licensee may make copies of the KNIME Modern UI Preview
for installation and backup purposes only.” When I give my workflow to other people I usually combine it with the KNIME Analytics Platform itself to save people the trouble of installing everything in multiple steps, and to me it seems that with the new UI this is no longer allowed.

I guess this license is not GPLv3 compatible?

Best
Aswin

2 Likes

Compliments for the new UI! It’s modern and more intuitive.
I really hope there will be the possibility to switch to a dark theme because on the old UI it’s not working on Win 10. :+1:
Thank you!
Good job!

3 Likes

My node repository is completely empty and there is no result when i search for a node in the new UI preview.

Also giving me this error

{
“app”: “KnimeUI”,
“message”: “Could not load application state”,
“vueInfo”: null,
“stack”: “Error: Could not load application state\n at http://org.knime.ui.java/index.html:8:389261\n at v (http://org.knime.ui.java/index.html:8:86926)\n at Generator._invoke (http://org.knime.ui.java/index.html:8:86714)\n at Generator.throw (http://org.knime.ui.java/index.html:8:87351)\n at r (http://org.knime.ui.java/index.html:8:13813)\n at h (http://org.knime.ui.java/index.html:8:14052)”
}

Fantastic work guys, Thanks for good work.

I will like to be able to move nodes and copy paste after group selection.

1 Like

I find the node filter buttons confusing. It would be nice to be able to create a Favorites Node area and add the grid option.

2 Likes

Some promising developments here, but am I missing something, or is there no equivalent of the Description Pane in this preview? Instant documentation of nodes and components is a pretty critical feature of the interface, in my view. Component documentation is visible when you Ctrl-click inside of it, but that is not helpful for normal use. I can only assume that this functionality is still on its way.

Likewise with the Workflow Coach, which for me is by far the most efficient way to access the Node Repository and discover new nodes. I assume that’s on its way too?

2 Likes

Yes, it’s currently not GPLv3 but it will be made open source in a future version.

6 Likes

Hey, KNIME Team!
I had no issues with switching to the modern UI preview, however I do- have some with what is in it, or, rather, missing (as expected, right :slight_smile: ).
In general, new modern UI indeed feels more modern, which is very welcome and expected improvement. I love

  • the stepless zooming
  • the infinite canvas
  • direct renaming and adding ports to metanodes is a much needed improvement
  • node action bar - well, nice, but I have no use to it, as i am anyway using keyboard shortcuts; however, popup action buttons is a big step for those who use context menus.

What I was not too happy about:

  • strange looks of metanodes, the dashed-contoured empty boxes (but no biggie)
  • entering metanode does not open a tab, but switches whole view. I liked tabs :slight_smile:
  • exiting metanode automatically zooms out whole workflow. That’s annoying.
  • could not see the old way of checking node data output. The preview pane is rather useless - no table [column metadata] info, no sorting or lookup
  • could not see any (!) way to see image outport contents (Python view)
  • the new node lookup - while I appreciate the “natural” looks of nodes, I had no issue with the old, list style lookup. Additionally, the old way pane was resizeable, new one is fixed and takes up lot of space on screen. Lookup itself has a little bit improved, however.
  • top bar with execute all buttons and such is another way to take up space on screen with little need, it would be good to have possibility to disable that bar. May be a personal preference, but I always want as much as possible screen space for the actual workflow.

But all in all, appreciate the effort, and eagerly waiting for further improvements. KNIME is a beautiful tool for accomplishing amazing things!

8 Likes

Hello Guys,

I know that this is a preview only. So just a little message to say that it looks good and to keep up the good work.

Knime really deserves to be better known. Thanks for everything, I use it every day now.
Great team, great software (my company just start working with Knime Server btw :ok_hand:).

Regards, Samir

5 Likes

Hi

Thanks for your work. Indeed, it looks more like many applications nowadays. Got it. It reminds me quite of pgadmin4. :grinning: I like it, but the motto I go by is fff - form follows function.

I am not sure, how complete it is already, but it some things struck me. One thing is that the outline seems to have gone. I also miss the description pane too. Is it just me, or can workflows not be opened or even open workflows be selected to work on? May I be as bold as to say that it looks nice, but has rather limited use? It quite reminds me of the interface change M$ made to their Office Suite, I still search for less used functions, I know where they used to be. I hope, I am not too harsh with my critics.

7 Likes

Nice fresh look, but before you consider switching off the old UI make sure that all features available in the old user interface are available in the new one. I am sure most users wouldn’t want to loose functionality for the sake of making a nicer looking interface!

At the moment I can see that some functionality from old workflows is not supported by the viewers. As an example, if you run ‘Building a churn predictor model’ in hte new UI, you are unable to see the red and blue color coded output (predicting churn or no churn) in the output table.

3 Likes