KNIME Modern UI Preview

Hi @s.roughley , I agree with you that there is a lot currently missing from the new UI but I am sure the KNIME team will address these over time. I too would not wish to lose functionality and my initial reaction to this was similar to your own… and then I went looking to see if there was anything it could do that was better than the existing UI… and I found some!

I mentioned them in an earlier comment, but thought I’d try my hand at demonstrating. I find myself switching to the modern UI as part of my work now, especially if working on a large workflow, simply because there are these ease-of-use things in there that I cannot do with the old UI.

This short video shows those specific features (3) and (4) in the list below, along with a couple of usability things that I think are much nicer in the new UI. Try doing each of these in the old UI, and I think you’ll see what I mean :slight_smile:

There is no audio, and it’s not a polished video(not HD I’m afraid as my free video s/w doesn’t support it) but the features it demonstrates are as follows:

(1) You can join flow ports without having to right click and “show flow ports”. Just hover and they appear. And unused flow ports no longer clutter the interface. A nice touch.

(2) You can “reverse join” nodes. i.e. you can join from destination to source which is a surprising “ease of use” feature when you have just dropped the destination node at one side of you screen and you can now just track back from it.

(3) You can join to a node that is “off screen” by dragging the connector with the mouse while then using the keyboard cursor keys with the other hand

(4) You can drag a node to somewhere “off screen”, again by dragging with the mouse and using the keyboard cursor keys with the other hand.

Those last two are a huge bonus for me… that the old UI doesn’t support this is in my view the biggest usability issue of the existing KNIME UI.

All of the above are great for productivity. I switch to the UI preview just to use these features when needed, and then switch back. Best of both worlds!

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Actually 1), 3) and 4) are also possible with the current UI:

  1. Just drop a connection to the top left of a node. It will then attach to the hidden flow variable port (which will appear once the connection is establish). Same goes for the outgoing port, just start dragging at the top-right corner of the node.
      1. If you hold the mouse with a dragged item at the border for 1-2 seconds it will start to scroll.
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Thanks @thor … lol… I (clearly) never knew that. I knew that you could drop a connection onto an invisible flow port but I never found a way to drag from an invisible port. I just tried it and found it mostly responds to my attempts by starting to draw a selection rectangle (which is probably why I never discovered it could be done). That improves once you know it can be done, and you find the specific place to drag from.

As for moving off-canvas by hovering at the edge… I never discovered that and even now I know it exists, it seems pretty hit and miss in my attempts. Maybe I’m just not yet doing it right but I’m not surprised I never discovered it. I have now achieved it but haven’t worked out exactly what I had to do to make it work… seems I have to hover at some exact correct point or it just ignores my attempt. Hovering “beyond” the edge doesn’t seem to work, and from an “intuitive” point of view that is where I would have expected to hover, or even just expect the canvas to move if I move the mouse to the edge of the screen … and I still haven’t found a way to move the canvas both left or right and up or down in the same movement which is really easy with the preview’s cursor keys.

Useful to know, but I think it proves the point that the modern UI is a little more intuitive in terms of flow-port visibility, and (in my opinion) far easier to control in terms of moving off-canvas. (because the cursor keys just work to scroll the canvas. Of course, on the old UI the cursor keys have a different function, and this is something that is currently missing from the preview…

All-in-all I am mostly happy with the old UI and whether the future is a modern UI retaining the features of the old UI, or the old UI gaining some usability features of the modern UI, I’d be happy :slight_smile:

[Edit - Ok I persevered and I now understand how the scrolling works on the old UI (I think), you have to have the mouse hovering at a point just inside the canvas in a region of a few pixels next to the canvas edge. Touch the scrollbar, or canvas edge, or go beyond the edge of the workflow canvas and it won’t work. To scroll diagonally you have to hover the mouse in a similar small region just inside the corner of the workflow canvas. Yes it works, but with the requirement for very specific mouse positioning I think it is likely to give me RSI ! :wink: ]

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Great work, KNIME team!

My wishes:

  • dark mode (!)
  • node discription
  • workflow annotation
  • workflow outline
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I like the new interface but I think it would be better if it allowed:

1-Copy & paste nodes (or groups of nodes) as this can save a lot of time in some situations
2-adding labels or descriptions for nodes
3-dropping nodes onto the connectors to place the node between two existing nodes
4-an easy way to copy all values from the output of a given node (i used to just open the table, hit crtl+A and then crtl+C, but this no longer works and selecting the whole table manually doesn’t work as well for pasting into excel or google sheets

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Hello,

I love the first steps of this major evolution although it is not yet completely functional.
At first sight, here are some proposals for a future release:

  • Allow renaming columns from the preview panel by double clicking on the column name (a small visual symbol could indicate the column has been renamed - this would have the same effect as the column rename node
  • Allow sorting columns from the preview. Either one by one using small handles in col headers or by multiselecting columns. The multiselect and options to move to start/to end are missing also in the recent table manipulation node and would be handy in this context. Also missing is the auto-fill of the original name when renaming, as usually, the name is similar to original.
  • Allow column filtering from the new preview pane
  • Allow row sorting from the new preview pane
  • Allow row filtering from the new preview pane

I understand this could be a challange to keep the UI sleek with all this but it may be possible with some activation switches (to activate modifiers when needed) or by making it accessible when making the preview frame larger (higher).

It could also be handful to be able to:

  • activate some basic data profiling on demand (distribution, % of missing, nb of distinct…)
  • being able to isolate a particular table preview in a separate and persistant modal window so that it can be viewed in parallel with editing on a separate screen for instance

Another cool feature could be to have inline viewers.
Those would allow to view some simple aggregations results directly in the workflow editor without having to open or click on something. Could look like some KPI cards with just and (editable) name and a value. So many time I add some group by nodes that I need to execute and open to control the number of distinct values or some totals or average value…
We could even make it (optionally) auto-executable when input changes. Some auto-formating rules and automatic historisation of the n last values would also allow to highlight exceptions and trends.

What do you think about it?

6 Likes

Hello @takbb,

I agree with you on selecting node. In the meantime, you can use the great actions added by the Vernalis Extension : which are doing exactly what you are looking for (except the trick with the mouse that i’ve seen in another software …)
image

Br,
Samir

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Hi, the ability to confront visually and to scroll easily over different tables like on the attached picture.

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Hi,
great preview. I am missing “Available Renders” option for double values. Right now, all values are shown in full precision, which is great for scientific purposed, but of limited use in the business context.

Thanks!

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It looks amazing. But you need to add the possibility to open other workflows. I guess that is just because it is a beta version. Also, please that one can modify the connecting lines. I am obsessed to put the lines that look as organized as I want.

Hi everyone,
I was going through the post of other users and agree with most of the points mentioned. Understand that the UI preview is a start and personally, enjoy the look and feel of the interface.
I am not sure if the point was covered in the discussed commentaries specific to open views. I was not clear on the point around execute and open view discussed previously.

Currently, I prefer the option to run the workflow and have the option to view say running decision tree or scatter plots at my convenience. I did not find the open view option in the new UI and am unsure if the same will be have similar functionality going forward. At times, there is quite a bit of lag between the node execution and view being opened which can be difficult to work with, in case the execute and open view option becomes a standard feature as i seemed to understand from the prior posts.

Thanks to KNIME team and enjoying the KNIME experience.

Hello, good afternoon

Thanking knime for the new interface, I give the following points as feedback

  1. That the interface was multi-language, with the option to choose the preferred language.

  2. I think that eliminating the functionality called “outline” is not good, since for massive flows it becomes difficult to search or identify traceability

The new interface needs a more intuitive approach to placing nodes from the repository by drag and drop and by keyboard entry.

Inserting a node into an existing connection by drag and drop is not working on my end. This is crucial and there should be clear visual feedback on the connection line when a node will be inserted into a flow during a drag and drop.

Inserting a node by keyboard or double-click (when a node is selected that has no outgoing connection in place) connects the two nodes on insert as expected, however when a node is selected in the workflow that has an existing outgoing connection (or when selecting the connection line itself) placing a new node from the repository via keyboard or double-click results in the node being dropped separately onto the canvas. It would be much more useful if the selection of a connected node or connection line inserted the node directly into the connection behind the selected node or on the selected connection line.

I also don’t see how to access files and components in this new UI. I have said before that I think it would make more sense to allow users to show components in the “Repository”. This would enable some much needed tools for components such as fuzzy search, keyboard placement and give users a single point of access to all of our solving tools.

I use external controllers to insert new nodes from the repository, so this simple UI is particularly appealing to me as I can operate with just a clean view of the Workflow / Node Monitor windows without the need to access the other support windows.

Control + = is not working for zoom in on my end either, but Control + - is working for zoom out…

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Great to see everyone at the conference.

Just to reiterate on some ideas:

  • Ability to choose/switch between “personas” where the UI and examples will be tailored to the persona (obviously with the ability to add more).
    –Three basic categories are probably sufficient, with some sort of “more/custom” button:
    — Level 1: Reporting/Data Blending/Basic Analytics. Simple I/O nodes, basic transforms
    — Level 2: Advanced Analytics/Data Mining/Data Apps: More advanced nodes, workflow abstraction, workflow management, and some info on variable flow.
    — Level 3: Kninjas/Data Scientists/Engineers: More advanced things like looping, error handling.
    — More: Server admins, Biosciences, academics/statisticians.
    – Perhaps the ability to click a persona, then click some check-boxes on specific areas of interest that will help users down a learning path.

  • UI-Specific:
    – Add tags to nodes (for example, #vlookup to Joiner, #sumif to GroupBy, #union to Concatenate, #concatenate to Column Aggregator)
    — Loosen the fuzzy match on search. I have typed “Group By” 8000 times only have to go back and remove the space. :rofl:
    – Ability to “bundle” outgoing connections or change the curve so that it simply “rounds” what were the straight lines.
    Knime Round
    – Ability to organize connections so that they don’t easily overlap
    Knime Overlap
    – Annotations with a more modern feel (rounded edges, HTML, adding arrows, themes?)
    – Dark Theme… my eyes…
    – Toggle for Grid
    — Toggle for Snap to Grid.
    — Button for Snap to Grid when pressed lines up all the nodes to the nearest grid location (NOT Auto-Arrange… I kinda hate auto arrange… sorry). :frowning:
    – Metadata available when you click on a node (basically run the Statistics node when someone clicks on the tab, but not automatically so that resources are not used unnecessarily.


    — Fix statistics histograms. :rofl:

    – Make Metanodes gray again.
    – Ability to pick an Icon when creating Components (I know you can somehow, but it’s not apparent how).

  • Other general suggestions/oddities:
    – Ability to grab .py files from a GIT repository and pipe into the Python node.
    – Combine Widgets and Configurations back into the same category again. I always use the wrong one.
    – Remove the NEED to put an empty table into a Catch node. Make it optional to add a pre-defined table with ‘…’
    – Add search boxes to all drop-downs in configurations, especially in Joiner, plus anything dealing with DB metadata.
    – Node ports in the search dont match the nodes in the workflow.
    Knime DB y u no

AAAAANNNNNDDDDDDDDD Make the font of all dialouge boxes match the new UI font. :stuck_out_tongue:

I know that is a lot, but I want to see KNIME succeed in gaining market share. Great to see you guys again. Looking forward to chatting with you soon!

10 Likes

Two more things!!!

  • Double-click a node handle/port to grab it so you dont have to click-and-hold. This would be super useful for things like DB connectors that attach to multiple nodes that are far apart.

  • Make the Forum link at the top PERMANENT, but make it more general once the new interface goes live.

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Thought of another thing.

It would be super if changes to variable names propagated to downstream nodes. I know that’s probably a heavy lift, so just a suggestion. :sweat_smile:

1 Like

I know I am totally spamming the thread…

  • When searching nodes, group search results by category rather than string similarity.

Another “cool” thing would be to be able to see nodes that provide or accept ports by clicking those ports on a node in the workflow (with necessary requirements, like if a node needs a URI, only nodes that generate URIs would be listed in “Inputs”).

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The user typed text is too small.

Hello community,
Thank you for all the great feedback and the various ideas.

We are happy to announce new features for the KNIME Modern UI Preview.

With the latest release we have added the following features to the Modern UI Preview

  • Support for dynamic ports at native nodes – add ports directly at natives nodes, the same way like for components and metanodes, by clicking the “+” button.
  • Add ports and connect the nodes automatically at metanodes or components or dynamic ports at native nodes by dropping ports on the “+” button.
  • Quick nodes adding by dragging a port out of a node. After that receive a panel with the 12 most common used nodes based on the workflow coach data. Add and connect the desired node by simply clicking on it.
  • Table view based on the new “Table View (Labs)” node, with the possibility to use basic filtering, basic search or resize the columns.
  • Application tab bar, to work with multiple opened workflows in multiple application tabs – e.g. copy and paste nodes from one to another workflow.
  • Copy and paste nodes.

More features come in the future

We will add more features in the future, like:

  • Node label and workflow annotation editor
  • Handle dropped items (files, workflows, nodes …)
  • Space explorer
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So far, I really enjoy using the new user interface. It looks very good!

A couple of things:

  • When I click on an output node (the Geospatial View node, specifically), the results pane shows the Flow Variables tab. When I then click on any other node, such as a manipulator node, the results pane remains on the Flow Variables tab. Would it be reasonable to default to the data tab for these nodes?
  • When I drag a node onto the canvas, can we drag the node on top of an existing connector and have it added automatically? This was possible with the older interface.
4 Likes