Alteryx Designer Ideas

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Bug: Alteryx 11 formula tool - rename auto-reverts column to VW_String

Once you select a data type, making any change to the name of the new field auto-reverts the data type back to V_WString!   I'm very picky about names of fields, so I oftentimes make a change as I think through what that field should be called, and then discover later in the workflow that I cannot do calculations on it (since it's been changed to V_WString).

10 Comments
Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

I can see where this would be very frustrating. This issue is on my radar. We're going to look at how the Formula tool tries to be helpful when you create a new column and when this helpfulness is a little overeager. We'll be making a few changes, so you'll run into issues like this less often. 

 

Thanks so much for the comment!

Bolide

Another thing that happens at the same time as the issue @sbedwell brought up is that the size of the column reverts to 1073741823! Yikes! The only way the data type and size should change in a Formula tool is if the user intentionally edits the Data type drop down or Size text box.

Meteor

Good catch @DultonM! Yikes :).

Asteroid

Yes I agree this is frustrating and it would be nice if it was fixed.

It would also be good if in the Data Type drop down list you could type a letter and it would scroll through the list to the data types that started with that letter. So you press "d" and "Date" would come up rather than having to scroll all the time.

Bolide

@TheLowlyInternreminded me that when you use V_WString (or V_String), the size of the field doesn't matter. It's an ultra-conservative approach to prevent truncation of your string data that conveniently does not increase the size of your output files or anything like that. I still believe that the field type/size should only change when the user intentionally edits it and that Double should be the default type, but I am not longer freaked out by the giant size that comes with selecting V_String or V_WString 🙂

Meteor

Thanks @DultonM.  As you mentioned, generally max-length is acceptable for V_WString columns, but there are some cases when it causes problems.  For instance, it can cause problems when uploading to a database table (at least on SQL Server) where max row-size limits are exceeded.

Meteor

Hi @RachelW,   checking on this.   Is Alteryx willing to recognize it as a bug?  This one burns me at least once a day.... for instance, just now, I calculated some new fields in one workflow which eventually outputs to a YXDB for use by other workflows.  I needed to change the names for a couple fields, and re-ran... then while working on the later workflows, I realize the datatype is now incorrectly VW_String, which causes me to need to re-run the first workflow.

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

@sbedwell Good news! We've made a change to the Formula tool that you'll see in the next release. 

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: Coming Soon

Based on user feedback, we've implemented a change in the Formula tool so that once you add a new column it will not return to defaults. You'll see the change in the 11.3 release. 

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: Implemented

This was fixed in our 11.3 release back in June. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.