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Alteryx Designer Ideas

Share your Designer product ideas - we're listening!

Suggestion: Edit documentation page, "Contains" function

My employer just started with Alteryx, so I'm sure after a few months, this will be basic simple, but I'm sure I'm not the only person who has made this mistake, so there you go...

 

I was running a larger workflow that ends with outputting a table with about 80 columns.  Everything was working fine, except for one column, which kept coming up as all 0s.  Took me a while to find it, but the error all traced back to an error I made with a "Contains" function in a Formula node.

 

The Alteryx "Contains" function takes two arguments, 'string' and 'target'.  I interpreted this as 'find this string in this target variable', and entered two arguments: the string of characters I was looking for first, and then the name of the column I wanted to search in second. 

 

I think I had this backwards.  You need to enter the column name first, then the substring you want to look for second.  So the column name is the 'string' and the search term is the 'target'.  Me getting these reversed did not produce any errors or warnings, which I understand (e.g. maybe you might want to pairwise search for the text in one column in the text of another).

 

I think the terms 'string' and 'target' are kind of vague labels in this case (in Excel, for example, the analogous "Search" function takes the arguments 'find_text' and 'within_text', which is a lot harder to misinterpret).  So I would suggest changing the argument names in Designer and the online documentation, or at least adding text to the Alteryx Documentation (https://help.alteryx.com/2019.2/Reference/Functions.htm) that clarifies which is which.

 

Normally, I'd say this is a pretty minor thing, but since this is a potential 'silent error', I'd argue it's worthwhile.

 

(Also, the online documentation seems to imply there is a "CaseInsensitive" argument you can pass to "Contains", however I don't think there actually is.  May want to edit that for clarity.)

 

Thanks!

 

1) Contains function.PNG

 

 

2 Comments
Alteryx
Alteryx
Status changed to: New Idea
Bolide

Good idea.  The names of function parameters could be significantly improved to be more intuitive.

 

The Examples on the Functions page usually help:

  Contains('123ABC', 'ABC') returns TRUE

 

https://help.alteryx.com/current/Reference/Functions.htm