Building a Workflow

We now want to take you step-by-step through the process of building a small, simple workflow: we read in data from an ASCII file, assign color to it, cluster the data and display the data in a table and a scatter plot. After we execute this flow we will examine the data model that has been built. We assume you have just started KNIME with an empty workflow. The more comprehensive KNIME quickstart guide that is also contained in the KNIME downloads can be found here.

Adding Nodes

In the Node Repository expand the “IO” and the contained “Read” category as depicted below (left picture) and drag&drop the File Reader icon to the Workflow Editor window.

The next node for now will be the k-Means clustering algorithm. Expand the "Mining" category followed by the "Clustering" category, and then drag the K-Means node to the flow (picture on the right).

In the search box of the Node Repository enter “color” and press Enter. This limits the nodes shown to the ones with “color” in their name (see figure above in the middle). Drag the Color Manger node to the workflow (this node will define the color in the data views later). To see all nodes in the repository again, press the ESC or Backspace key in the search field of the Node Repository. Now, drag the Interactive Table and the Scatter Plot from the "Data Views" category to the Workflow Editor and position it to the right of the Color Manager node.

Connecting Nodes

Now you need to connect the nodes in order to get the data flowing. Click an output port and drag the connection to an appropriate input port. Complete the flow as pictured below:

Your nodes will not show a green status, as long as they are not configured and executed.

Configuring Nodes

Fully connected nodes with a red status icon need to be configured. Start with the File Reader, right-click it and select “Configure” from the menu. Navigate to the "IrisDataSet" directory located in the KNIME installation directory. Select the data.all file from this location. The File Reader's preview table shows a sample of the data.

Click OK to close the dialog of the File Reader node. Once the node has been configured correctly, it switches to yellow (meaning ready for execution). After that, the K-Means node immediately turns yellow, as its default settings are applied. To be sure, that the default settings fit your needs, open the dialog and inspect the default settings.
In order to configure the Color Manager node you must first execute the K-Means node. After execution all nominal values and the ranges of all attributes are known: this meta information is propagated to the successor nodes. The Color Manager needs this data before it can be configured. Once the K-Means node is executed, open the configuration dialog of the Color Manger node.

Executing Nodes

Now execute the Scatter Plot node: the workbench executes all predecessor nodes for you. In a larger, more complex flow you could select multiple nodes and trigger execution for all of them. The workflow manager executes the nodes as needed, if possible in parallel.

Inspecting the Results

In order to examine the data and the results, open the nodes' views. In our example, the K-Means, the Interactive Table and the Scatter Plot have views. Open them from the nodes' context menus.

Hiliting

Select some points in the scatter plot and choose “Hilite Selected” from the “Hilite” menu. The hilited points are marked with an orange border. You will also see the hilited points in the table view. The propagation of the hilite status works for all views in all branches of the flow displaying the same data.

Embark on Your Own Voyage of Discovery!

This was just a very simple example to get you started. There is a lot more to discover. Play with it! We tried to keep it simple and intuitive. It would be great to receive your feedback and find out what you liked and what you did not like; things you find awkward or things that did not seem to work.