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I am working on an analytic app that will be establishing connections to several different databases on several different servers. I read the guide about using the Alias Manager to set up consistent DSNs but the Alias Manager does not show under Advanced Options. Do I need to have administrator access to my laptop in order create DSNs? Am I not able to see the Alias Manager because I don't have administrator access on my laptop? The organization I work for restricts administrator access for everyone and we don't have an Alteryx server. Is our only option to configure the connections for each user?
The alias manager was re-labeled in version 11.0. You're in the right location and it's the first option on your screenshot, "Manage Data Connections".
You should be able to create user connections (and connection files for In-DB connections). If you launch Alteryx with Admin rights, you'll be able to create system connections for anyone who uses that machine as well.
I only see the 'User' connection type under "Manager Data Connections". My organization restricts admin rights to users so I'm not able to launch Alteryx with admin rights. I see that I can create "User" and "file" connections under "Manage In-DB connections".
My analytic app uses formula tools to build connection strings with SQL queries which feed into dynamic input tools that connect to SQL Server databases that are on the network. The users of my app will have access to the SQL Server databases to the network from their laptops but none (including me) will have admin rights and we don't have an Alteryx server either. I've read about file connections being used in workflows so they can be easily shared without having to re-configure connections for different users but it looks like I can't use file connections when I'm using dynamic input tools.
If I am correctly understanding how all these things work, it seems there's no easy way to share my app so that users can automatically just start using it and I would have to help them set up their connections to the SQL server(s) and configure the app workflow for each user's laptop. Is this right or am I missing something? Are there any workarounds to make it easier to share the app without having to make each user set up their user connections and re-configure the app on each laptop?
The data connection manager (aka Alias Manager) is designed to manage the connections on that specific machine. A "User" connection type indicates that the connection you're creating will only be visible to your user profile only. Creating a "System" connection type indicates that ANYONE who uses that same machine will also be able to utilize the that connection.
Neither of those will help to make your app's data connections 100% transferable to someone else on a different machine.
Alteryx does have native support with MSSQL Server and Oracle and in those cases (and assuming that you did NOT establish a connection using an ODBC connection), you'd have a better chance of having others being able to run without additional setup. I say "better chance" because there's also the dependencies of your authentication requirements from your DB server.
tl:dr, No; there's no way to share an app that requires a DB connection and to assume that it will seamlessly work for them. If you have the Alteryx Server product, publishing to the Gallery and directly users to run it from there is going to be the best way to ensure usability.