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Alteryx Designer Ideas

Share your Designer product ideas - we're listening!

Let Question Constants be used like Engine and User Constants in Formula, Filter, etc.

Whenever I add an interface tool, it adds a constant just like the 4 engine constants and any user constants. It would be useful if tools like the formula and filter automatically added question constants to the list for you to use. This would be identical to how user constants behave currently. Here is the before and after for visual effect:

 

BEFORE:

Capture.PNG

 

 

AFTER:

Capture2.PNG

 

9 Comments
Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

Hi Patrick,

 

When you connect the interface tools to the formula, the value is available under the Connections from Questions section.  Are you hoping to have variables from all interface tools show up?

 

ConnectedQuestion.png

Bolide

I agree! I often use the same interface tool input in many different locations across large workflows or have several interface tools affecting the same formula. Having to make all the connections between interface tools and data tools really slows app development and adds unnecessary clutter to a workflow. A selectable constant like @patrick_digan is mentioning would greatly speed development, especially when you have a lot of interface tools you wish to leverage.

 

There's also an additional advantage to this approach: suppose I have 2 interface tools connected to a formula ([#1] and [#2]). If I break those connections and reconnect in the opposite order, the formula would function incorrectly because the expression is static. Not a problem with a constant.

 

To add to this idea: If you change the interface tool's name (and by extension the constant's name), everywhere the constant is used should update as well so nothing is broken.

 

P.S. Currently I use the %Question.Name% expression to achieve this affect but I don't like how that trick is an Easter Egg and requires remembering all of the names you gave to the questions.

@BenG I was hoping all interface variables would show up. The idea came as I was beta testing 11.0. I'm really liking the autocomplete feature. I like it so much, that I may never need to use the mouse again in a formula tool! That's when I realized the only thing I was missing was my interface variables. Without ever using a mouse, I can get to all the functions, all my incoming data, engine constants and user constants. And they are all autocompleting. I couldn't get my interface variables to autocomplete (since %Question.ToolName% isn't supported), and then when I did connect it, I had to call it by the connection name (#1 by default) instead of tool name (which I'm in the habit of always naming my interface tools when I drop them on the canvas). So when you guys add the question constants to the user and engine constants, then it would autocomplete and I could code away to my hearts content.

@BenG I just wanted to circle back with a small issue I was having connecting a list box to a filter tool. If someone selects items A, B, and C, I would want my filter to say Field1 IN ("A","B","C"). I setup the filter be: Field1 IN ([#1]), but the issue is that the list box escapes all quotes when it passes the values. When I used the debug mode, I confirmed that the list box was passing "A","B","C" and that the resulting formula was then: Field1 IN ("A"+'"'+","+'"'+"B"+'"'+","+'"'+"C"+'"'+","+'"'+"D"). I realize that an action tool would certainly suffice, but I'm back to arguing that it would great in the 11.0 Autocomplete world to be able to type in: Field1 IN (Question.test).

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: Under Review

Hi @patrick_digan,

 

We definitely see the value in this.  We would like to add it, but there is still quite a bit of polish we need to add to the new Formula tool before we add new features like this one.  We will definitely keep it in mind for a future release.

 

Thank you,

Ben

@BenG @RachelW I'm just giving this idea a bump now that the new syntaxing is rolling out to more tools. I would find this feature even more useful with the autocompletion in place. Currently, when I'm in a formula tool and start typing a bracket, everything from fields to engine constants to user constants to connected tools shows up:

 

Capture.PNG

 

If I look at my workflow configuration tab, the Question constants are the only item that don't show up.

 

Capture2.PNG

 

i think it would be simpler if as soon as I add an interface tool, it is then available to be selected in the new formula and filter tools (similar to if I were add a user constant). It would be faster for me to develop, and I think it would be easier for beginners. For example, you can change your old formula ([Field1]= "stale value") to a new formula ([Field1]=[Question.DropDown]) as soon as your add an interface and rename it.

Alteryx
Alteryx

Thanks! We're still considering this idea, but we don't have it planned in the near term. 

Aurora
Aurora

This is a super useful idea @patrick_digan !

Alteryx Partner

I guess we can call that a no-brainer situation. Good idea, cheap implementation.