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Option to force data types for all fields in Select Tool

I've obviously been doing lots of work with APIs for this to be my second idea posted today which relates to an improved based on recent work with APIs, but I also believe this is wider reaching.

 

I've been using Alteryx now for over 4 years and always assumed implicit behaviour of the select tool, so would add a select tool as best practice into a workflow after input tools to catch any data type issues. However I discovered that only fields where you either change the data type, length or field name result in that behaviour being configured and subsequently ensured. I discovered this as part of API development where I had an input field which was a string e.g. 01777777. Placing a select tool after this shows this is a string data type, however if the input was changed to 11777777 the select tool changes to a numeric data type. Therefore downstream formulas such as concatenating two strings would fail.

 

The workaround to this is to change the select tool to string:forced, which is fine when you know about it, but I suspect that a large majority of users don't. Plus if you have something like 2022-01-26 which is recognised initially as a string, then the forced option will be string:forced, however if you wanted it to be date:forced you need to add a first select tool to change to date, and a second select tool to change to string:forced.

 

Therefore my suggestion is to add a checkbox option in the select tool to Force all field types, which would update the xml of the tool and therefore ensure what I currently assume would be implicit behaviour is actually implemented.

 

 

1 Comment
AlteryxCommunityTeam
Alteryx Community Team
Alteryx Community Team
Status changed to: Accepting Votes