Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Autosave Tableau - You Can Do That

Tableau is one of many applications that would benefit greatly from an Auto Save feature. It's been a much requested feature from Tableau users for years. While not built into the application directly, you can now have your Tableau workbook save automatically every X number of minutes using a third-party tool called AutoHotKey.

All the credit for this great find goes to Nelson Davis, a recent presenter at TCC13. For instructions on how to set up Tableau to Auto Save, check out this post on Nelson's blog:  The Vizioneer.

By the way, Nelson also went to GA Tech, the school where "You can do that". Thanks to Nelson's Tableau auto save instructions and AutoHotKey, now all of us can do that.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Installing v8 on Development Server

Use of v8 in a test environment went really well and right now we're updating the company's Tableau Development Server with v8.0.3. Here are my top 3 things I've liked about the v8 server (thus far): 1. The speed improvements of V8 with some of our data-intensive workbooks Filtering in v7 within some views (querying hundreds of millions of records) was taking about 45-60 seconds to resolve after selecting a filter. With v8 and a few design changes to the filtering method (i.e.: replacing quick filters with tables when appropriate) brought the time down to 5 seconds or less. 2. Altering and authoring a viz from server This feature is one I think many will experiment with, but likely one that only a handful of users will really work it over - those who don't want to develop will still come to those who do to try to get what they want. I suspect this feature will likely reduce the number of desktop licenses Tableau will sell to companies; but this also will entice companies to purchase Tableau Server and more core licenses. 3. Subscriptions I think subscriptions has the potential to be great and one that many will take advantage of; but it is not quite there yet. Currently subscriptions are only time-activated -- by that I mean once a particular time has been reached (once a day at 7AM or the first of each week/month/quarter) the action to email the subscriber takes place. This will be suitable for most workbooks and users; however, there will be those workbooks and users that need subscriptions to be event-activated, so when an event occurs (i.e.: new data extract, workbook republished, new comment to workbook, a certain threshold has been reached in the data to trigger an alert, etc) that the subscriber is alerted. Honorable mention goes to UI improvements (configurable column widths - about time) and improved admin views. The Java API would likely have made the top 3 had I had more time to play with it; I foresee us using this a great deal in 2014 as Tableau is rolled out to more within the company. I'm also looking forward to seeing how well Session Sharing does on a scale greater than my 15-20 v8 test environment. Keeping my fingers crossed that the install continues to go as planned. Andy

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Don't Mess with Texas

Texas just executed its 500th inmate yesterday. For more information about the executions and inmates, check out the following viz:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

When Sub and/or Grand Totals Just Don't Add Up

Ever notice how Sub Totals and/or Grand Totals in Tableau don't always equal the total amount displayed? This happened to me this week while I was working with a table where I was looking for the INT of a set of values. I wanted the Sub Total to display the total amount of the INT values displayed above, not the INT value of all the non-INT values that made up the displayed values above. I remember running into and correcting this issue before, but had forgotten the proper approach to take.

What to do? Peruse the Tableau forums, of course. This exercise led me to some awesome work by Tableau Zen Master Jonathan Drummey which he posted on his blog - Drawing with Numbers. Jonathan goes to great lengths to describe what's going on and how to get around the issues that it takes 3 separate blog posts to complete. I found myself caught in the Category Catch 22 as mentioned in Part 2. Changing my formula up a bit and including a duplicate category field in the Level of Detail shelf did the trick.

If you are experiencing issues with sub totals and grand totals not calculating properly, take a look at the following links: (SQL approach)

If you want to watch him explain and work with sub / grand totals, be sure to check out the video at

Thanks, Jonathan. You are truly one of the Tableau Pros that Tableau users need to get to know.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Installing Tableau Server 8 (test environment) this morning

This morning I'll be installing the new Tableau Server v8 on a virtual machine in a test environment. Looking forward to using some of the new features with this server version - especially report subscriptions and Javascript API.

Hope all goes well.