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What method do you find best for documenting your workflows?

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8 - Asteroid

Hello,

 

I've been using Alteryx for a while now and I love it!  As my workflows are getting more complex, I am having a hard time keeping track of the work that is done. The two areas I am having some difficulty with are: 1) Individual workflows that get very complex  2) A project with multiple workflows where some rely on others for their data.

 

1) Individual workflows that get very complex

In each work flow I do my best to use the comment boxes and clearly explain what I am doing an why. I also use containers to chunk the workflow into easier to handle parts. Where this gets hairy is if I create a formula in the second step and then I use its results later as part of another formula at the 10th step. If I make a change to the first one, the second one blows up (as expected). Is there an easy way to keep track of this?  

 

2) A project with multiple workflows where some rely on others for their data.

While I consolidate workflows as much as possible, sometimes I have a workflows that need to run prior to a secondary workflow. Is there a good way to keep track of this? I've been trying to name my workflows logically to help keep them organized. Would anyone have a suggestion of a methodology or tool to keep track of this? My understanding is I cannot run/call a workflow inside another workflow.

 

Thank you for the help.

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Alteryx
Alteryx

See below for responses: 

 

1) Individual workflows that get very complex

The formulas would not "blow up" unless a field name is changed and/or if a datatype is changed to something incompatible. Can you give a specific example? Also, you can use the Field Info tool to see where the fields are being derived from. For example, if a field was created within a formula tool, it would say "formula: <expression in formula>. 

 

2) A project with multiple workflows where some rely on others for their data.

To essentially achieve this, you can do two things: create a chained application or make your workflow into a macro. A macro is nothing more than a set of tools that has been bundled together. Both will allow you to reference a workflow within another workflow and use the results in another. 

 

Let me know if that helps or if you need further clarification! 

 

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11 - Bolide

For documentation, I really recommend using the template that Ian Baldwin from The Information Lab created.  He uses colour coded comment boxes to group tools together.  The comment boxes have large text so they are legible on a large workflow when zoomed out, and you can clearly see what each section of the workflow is doing.  Each workflow has a clear title and description.  See further details here :

https://www.theinformationlab.co.uk/2019/02/14/documentation-best-practices-with-alteryx/

 

Then on your 2nd point about running workflows in order, sounds like you could use chained apps, see Weekly Challenge #175 for plenty of examples.

 

Hope that helps.

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8 - Asteroid

Hi echuong1,

 

"Blow up" was a poor choice of words, sorry about that. You're right, if I change the field name, that is where I would have a problem.  

 

I did try the Field Info tool and that was helpful. I did notice that if there were multiple Formula Tools used, and the Field Info tool was used at the end of the workflow, it appears that the Field Info doesn't maintain showing the "formula <expression in formula>". But I have to double check that.

 

I will look into chained applications. It sounds like a great solution for me.

 

Thank you for the help!

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8 - Asteroid

markcurry,

 

I really appreciate the information and link to Ian Baldwin's template. 

 

This all very helpful.

 

Thank you.

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