Development Mode and Production Mode

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As of Looker 21.12, if your admin has enabled the Enhanced Navigation Labs feature, the Development Mode toggle is located in the new enhanced left navigation panel.

When Enhanced Navigation is enabled, you can also access the options that are available in the Develop menu by selecting the Develop option in the new enhanced left navigation panel.

Your Looker data model exists in two states: Production Mode and Development Mode.

Production Mode

Production Mode is the production version of Looker. Everyone using a Looker instance in Production Mode accesses their projects in the same state. Project files are read-only in this mode.

Use Production Mode when you are exploring data in Looker for your own analyses or to create saved content (Looks and dashboards) for other users.

Development Mode

Development Mode lets you make changes to LookML files and to preview how they will affect content on your instance. The changes you make to LookML files in Development Mode do not affect the production environment, until they are pushed to the production environment. (If you are familiar with Git, Development Mode uses a separate branch.)

In Development Mode, you can see the effects of your changes to project files in the Explore area of Looker. Once you're happy with your changes, you can save and merge them into production, where they then will be viewable by everyone.

Development Mode is frequently referred to as dev mode.

Switching in and out of Development Mode

You can switch Development Mode on and off by either of these methods:

  • Use the keyboard shortcut Control-Shift-D (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+D (Windows).
  • Enable the Development Mode toggle in the Develop menu:

If your admin has enabled the Enhanced Navigation Labs feature, the Development Mode toggle is located in the new enhanced left navigation panel.

While in Development Mode, you will notice the following changes:

  • The LookML and Explore sections of Looker are populated by your development version of the model.
  • There is a Development Mode banner at the top of the screen:

To exit Development Mode, you can use any of these methods:

  • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-D (Windows) or Control+Shift+D (Mac).
  • Click Exit Development Mode in the banner.
  • Open the Develop menu and disable the Development Mode toggle.

Switching in and out of Development Mode with enhanced navigation

If your admin has enabled the Enhanced Navigation Labs feature, you can use one of the following methods to enable Development Mode:

To exit Development Mode, you can use any of these methods:

  • Use the keyboard shortcut Control-Shift-D (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+D (Windows).
  • Open the left navigation panel and select the Development Mode toggle.
  • Select Exit Development Mode in the banner at the top of the screen:

Version control

Looker's IDE is integrated with Git for version control. This lets you edit a private copy of the LookML files in Development Mode. Looker automatically manages the Git workflows for committing, pulling, and pushing changes. You can use the Looker IDE's Git Actions panel or the Git button to access Git commands:

For details on using Looker's version control, see the Using version control and deploying documentation page. For details on setting up Looker's version control, see the Setting up and testing a Git connection documentation page.