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So – you’ve run into a problem, and you’re stuck. You may be struggling with a problem that others have solved before, or you may have identified a new bug.
You need help!
What I’ve found, both in this community and other contexts, is that the structure and information provided on the original post strongly determines how quickly a solution can be found that actually addresses the problem - and you really want to get from problem to solution with as few as possible cycles or false starts or clarifications.
So - I’ve put together this guide to share some ideas that I’ve found helpful when I’ve been on both either of the discussion, and my hope is that this will give you some tips / ideas on how to post your issue in a way that will have the quickest possible path to solution; to get you back on the road again!
Define what you want:
The starting point is to define what you want, and the problem you’re having in getting there(specifics really help). @JoeM&@DanM have a very useful structure for defining this for the weekly challenges, where the starting & ending data are provided, with notes about what the process should do.
Where to log it?
Capturing your issue /question / idea in the right place is key to getting a good response. Here’s a guide to where to post different topics on the community site:
Each platform component has sub sections that contain
Culture & Events
The knowledge section in each platform component is owned by the Alteryx team and is used to create articles that help the broader community. Culture & Events are where updates on Alteryx events are published (again, owned by the Alteryx team). The blogs section contains authored content from the Alteryx team or the community (Analytics blog; Engine Works blog; and Alteryx community news, and the Data Science Blog) – this is moderated by the Alteryx team.
The key areas where the community may be posting then are Discussions & Ideas
Any thoughts you have about how to make the product better – mockups are always valued, as are a descriptions on how this would help you or your team.
Improve the Community Experience
How could the community be improved?
Questions and Errors related to all functions within the DESIGNER product. Including: Spatial, Reporting, Advanced Analytics, Macros, Apps and Data Sources
Questions and Errors related to the SERVER product. Including: setup and configuration, Scheduler, troubleshooting and adding workflows from Designer.
Questions and Errors related to the CONNECT product
Questions and Errors related to the PROMOTE product
Note: If you’ve spotted a defect, and you are able to replicate it – the best way forward is to report directly to Customer Support.
Take stuff out:
When you’re having trouble, you can try taking things off in order to isolate the problem. This will also help the support team and community to quickly focus on the core of the problem.
Stub it out:
You can replace pieces of your Alteryx logic which is not needed to create the issue or which you cannot distribute (e.g. a database connection), with a simple “stub”. What this means is that you take out all the complex logic and replace it with something simple and predictable like a Text Input control.
For example, if the problem is in a complex flow which involves pre-processing; database reads etc. – and the error is occurring in a final write tool – you can replace all the connectivity or complex logic with a simple text input.
Example: This takes sales headers; details and products from a publicly available database; and summarizes to find the top 5 products by quantity. However I’m having trouble with the reporting piece, trying to get it to look right.
Instead of sending this whole flow (which will not work anyway because folks don’t have access to my database connections) I can stub-out the entire flow up to the sample tool, and pop the data that is currently in the browse tool into a text input.
This flow is now simpler, focusses on the problem area, and is independent of your database connection and/or any sensitive or proprietary firm information (since you can change the data to hide the true sales figures when you publish).
NOTE: Please be careful about your company’s and client's intellectual property, and where possible use mocked up or altered data to demonstrate the problem.
Do it AGAIN!
For a bug / defect – the key is to be able to re-create the issue, so that the developers and other support teams can look into this to understand what went wrong as quickly as possible. So – the more information you can provide to replicate the issue the sooner that the bug can be isolated (and hopefully fixed)
Examples of helpful info:
The Alteryx flow itself
Screenshot of the error
Copy of the input data (preferably within the flow)
If this is an issue in a database, the table definitions would help
Any critical version info:
What version of Alteryx are you on
If it’s an issue connecting to a database – what database and version are you on
Database driver versions (go into ODBC administrator – screenshot below)
Hopefully this guide gives you some tips on how to post your issue to get the best possible chance of a quick solution!
Request: If there's anything that you think needs to be changed / added / or any other useful tips that we could add to this guide, please feel free to comment below - Let's make this a living document.