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Alteryx Designer Ideas

Share your Designer product ideas - we're listening!

Refactor Date-time treatment

Hi there,
 
In working with dates in strings, we have an option to use the DateTime tool to convert from string to DateTime, or to use a formula with DateTimeParse.
The DateTime tool is limited in the number of formats possible - and even if you edit the XML directly, you often can't get exactly the format that you are looking for (e.g. 01-sep-1975 - dd/mmm/yyyy) because it's not in the predefined list of "Format of Input String".
 
The DateTimeParse is similarly painful because it requires you to go and look up a set of arcane %b or %y characters on the Alteryx Help screen.
 
Would it be possible to change the treatment of dates so that:
- DateTime tool can take any format that you need - and includes a simple format builder tool so that people don't need to remember the codes
- The DateTimeParse function also uses the same format codes as the DateTime tool, and also includes a simple formula/format builder so that people don't need to remember the codes.
- When you point a DateTime tool to a column in a data-stream - it can read the data to determine the best format to suggest
- Finally - if you could profile the data, and clean it up visually (like the new release of Tableau; or like Cognos) where you can see the values on screen and apply a transformation to them in-situ, which then translates into Alteryx Formulas - it would be even more useful and rapid.
 
Cleaning up date handling would speed up date processing tremendously. 

2 Comments
Nebula
Nebula

Adding to this - it would be valuable if date parameters and date treatment was symmetrical.   For example - you can use %W in converting from date to string, but you can't use %W to convert from a string to a date (%W being Week number).   This is a bit painful for any data cited in financial reporting periods.

 

Overall - it would make sense to standardise and simply treatment of dates across the board in all date functions.

Alteryx
Alteryx

Plus 1 here.

 

Date Parsing is often complex for new starters (I have been using Alteryx for 10 years and still have to look up certain more rare specifiers), so would definitely be nice to have the above