Alteryx Designer Ideas

Share your Designer product ideas - we're listening!

Disable the ability to open the same workflow more than once

I’m sure this has happened to you.

You’re working on several workflows at a time and you’ve made some progress on one of them but not saved it yet. You then try open the same file again in error and somehow, as you’re trying to declarer by closing windows, you mistakenly close the workflow you’ve made all the changes to without saving, leaving the one open without all your changes.

I’d like a similar situation where for example, you get an error message if you try and open an excel workbook if it is already open on your desktop.
6 Comments
Alteryx
Alteryx
Status changed to: Coming Soon

Thank you for this suggestion! This will be available in an upcoming release.

Alteryx
Alteryx
Status changed to: Implemented

Thank you for this suggestion! This has been implemented in the 2019.4 release (https://downloads.alteryx.com).

Meteor

I wish I had seen this earlier--I really do not like this new "feature".

Alteryx Partner

@natej @Really? Why is that? I work with a number of large workflows and with many windows open at a time was difficult to switch between them so many instances of the same workflow could be open and end up saving the wrong version. 

 

I thought this would address that. I’m curious to know what your use case is. 

Meteor

@wale_ilori IMO if you have so many workflows open at a time that you can't keep track of them you are probably switching contexts too often and have things open that you should probably save and come back to when you are ready to work on them again. I work with a large number of workflows as well--but I can't be meaningfully engaged in editing a large number of them at the same time.

 

I think taking away flexibility to support what is frankly a messy habit of treating Alteryx like google chrome (having dozens of tabs open at the same time) is bad design. I would say that if you have found working on multiple versions of the same workflow is dangerous for you then you can simply ignore that functionality. And if you can't remember if you already have the workflow open/have made changes to it then you are definitely switching gears too much.

 

Also, you mention in your post requesting the change that you would "mistakenly close the workflow you’ve made all the changes to without saving, leaving the one open without all your changes". However, Alteryx already warned you when closing a workflow with unsaved changes, so I'm not sure why you would be running into that as an issue. If instead your problem is a result of making changes in both copies but not remembering which version has the changes you actually want I would see that as further reason to close a few tabs rather than an Alteryx design problem.

 

The reason I personally dislike the change is that I benefit from the ability to branch off from a saved workflow by making changes and not yet saving them, but then being able to compare to the original (saved) workflow by opening it in another tab, or by branching off the original workflow to try something different from my current changes. Of course I could achieve all this by saving a bunch of copies, but that would clutter my folder, require me to use a useless naming convention to differentiate between the different versions, and require me to remember to delete the extra files when I am done. Before overwriting a workflow I could easily open the original for reference--now that takes a few extra (previously unnecessary) steps.

Alteryx Partner

@natej I hear you and you have some valid points. Apologies for the delayed response too.

 

Perhaps its more a way or working and style but I see your point. My experience with the tool and reason for this idea was more borne out of the need to have several workflows open at the same time, many of which are large and quite detailed. In order to move swiftly and with confidence that I properly delineate version control, being able to make changes with the assurance that I will not overwrite a version I don't mean to adds some level of assurance. 

 

Also, I have had situations where I'm working on multiple projects at a time. If I had to close out each set of iterations when switching gears, it does take away a lot of precious time as I would have to again re-run the workflows to see the data I'm working to transform. 

 

In the past, I have changed the property of the Alteryx workflow in Windows to read only, thus forcing me to give a new name/version if I want to commit the changes but found that quite inefficient.

 

I'm sure there are others but like all ideas on this forum, if it turns out that this idea is much more disliked than liked, I'm sure the dev team can revert to how it was before and we will all have to change our working habits. Even I may not like the idea over time and call for a reversal too. 🙂 Time will tell.