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Alteryx Designer Ideas

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I surprisingly couldn't find this anywhere else as I know it's been discussed in person on many occasions.

 

Basically the Formula tool needs to be smarter in many ways, but this particular post focuses on the Data Type component.

 

The formula tool, should not always default to V_String as the data type when entering data or a formula into the formula tool, it should look at the data type and estimate the most likely option.

 

I know there are times where the logical type might not be consistent in all fields, but the Data Preview and the Function of the formula should be used to determine the most likely option.

 

E.G. If I type a number or a date directly into the formula tool, then Alteryx should be smart enough to change the data type from the standard V_String to Int, Double or date.

 

This is an extension to the ideas posted here:

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Ideas/Tab-from-Select-Column-to-Enter-Expression-H...

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Ideas/Formula-tool-data-type-should-be-prominent/i...

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Ideas/Alteryx-11-formula-tool-default-data-type/id...

The "Manage Data Connections" tool is fantastic to save credentials alongside the connection without having to worry when you save the workflow that you've embedded a password. 

 

Imagine if - there were a similar utility to handle credentials/environment variables. 

 

  • I could create an entry, give it a description, a username, and an encrypted password stored in my options, then refer to that for configurations/values throughout my workflows. 
    • Tableau credentials in the publish to tableau macro
    • Sharepoint Credentials in the sharepoint list connector
  • When my password changes I only have to change it in one place
  • If I handoff the workflow to another user I don't have to worry about scanning the xml to make sure I'm not passing them my password
  • When a user opens my workflow that doesn't have a corresponding entry in their credentials manager they would be prompted using my description to add it.
  • Entries could be exported and shared as well (with passwords scrubbed)

Example Entry Tableau:

Alias Tableau Prod
Description Tableau Production Server
UserID JPhillips
Password *********
+  

Then when configuring a tool you could put in something like [Tableau Prod].[Password] and it would read in the value.

 

Or maybe for Sharepoint:

 

Alias TeamSP
Description Team sharepoint location
UserID JPhillips
Password *********
URL  http://sharepoint.com/myteam
+  

 

Or perhaps for a team file location:

Alias TeamFiles
Description Root directory for team files
Path \\server.net\myteam\filesgohere
+  

 

Any of these values could be referenced in tool configurations, formulas, macro inputs by specifying the Alias and field.

1-3-2019 12-43-52 PM.png

I think I'm liking the new UI, but I think it's necessary to bring back save, undo and re-do buttons....

 

1. Frequent saving of workflows is crucial and not everyone uses keyboard shortcuts

2. The ability to undo (lots) of changes is a key part of iterating and rapidly building workflows in Alteryx and again not everyone uses keyboard shortcuts to do this.

 

Looks like there's potentially space to add this to the right of 'help' (I suspect this might be technically quiet difficult) or to the left of 'run', 'schedule' and 'active documents' as seen in the image below.

 

Out of interest, where has the 'documents' terminology come from?

 

2018-11-14 22_12_14-Alteryx Designer x64 - PureGym Log In.yxmd_.png

 

 

 

I personally think it would work better to tab from 'Select Column' to 'Enter Expression Here' and not the 'Functions' List as probably people who are tabbing would immediately like to start typing the formula rather than going through functions, fields, etc.

 

joe_lipski_1-1589790965393.png

 

 

I'm not sure if this will ever be possible, but I know that it would greatly benefit me and I'm sure thousands of other users. In my work place I am constantly working in a conference room and at my desk. At my desk I am wired into an Ethernet connection while in the conference room I am wireless. When I start my workflows after working with my team in the conference room, I can't go back to my desk until the workflow is finished running because I am changing internet connections and I lose connection to the databases. With the pause button it would become possible to run a workflow and then change my internet without losing connection to the databases.

 

Another use for this would be while testing a workflow with a new tool. There are times I run a workflow that can take a few hours, but then I realize there is a mistake somewhere in my workflow, where the data hasn't reached yet. I think it would be very helpful to be able to pause the workflow and add the new tool in, while seeing results from tools it has already passed through.

 

But yet again this is just an idea that relates to me, I wonder what the rest of the community thinks.

  • General

Please add official support for newer versions of Microsoft SQL Server and the related drivers.

 

According to the data sources article for Microsoft SQL Server (https://help.alteryx.com/current/DataSources/SQLServer.htm), and validation via a support ticket, only the following products have been tested and validated with Alteryx Designer/Server:

 

Microsoft SQL Server

Validated On: 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2016.

  • No R versions are mentioned (2008 R2, for instance)
  • SQL Server 2017, which was released in October of 2017, is notably missing from the list.
  • SQL Server 2019, while fairly new (~6 months old), is also missing

This is one of the most popular data sources, and the lack of support for newer versions (especially a 2+ year old product like Sql Server 2017) is hard to fathom.

 

ODBC Driver for SQL Server/SQL Server Native Client

Validated on ODBC Driver: 11, 13, 13.1

Validated on SQL Server Native Client: 10,11

I'd like to see Alteryx allow a second install of your license on a second, personal machine.  Tableau allows this and IMO is why there is such a robust online / blog community around that product.

 

For those of us that work at mid-size to large organizations, there are often strict rules governing internal data and use of cloud-based data sources.  If I discover some new trick I'd like the share with my fellow Alteryx analysts outside of my company, I have no clear way to do that the same way I can with Tableau where I can do it at home not using my company's data.

 

Being able to learn new features and test things out on commonly available public data (ever notice that Superstore data set everyone who gets Tableau has?) would accelerate what we're able to do with the community site here and the larger analytics blogging community.

 

 

  • General

At present, Alteryx allows for users to run 2 versions of Alteryx at once - one installed using the "Admin Installer" and one via the "non-admin installer"

 

However, in corporate environments, only the Admin Installer can be used (all installers are repackaged for corporate environment / endpoint management)

 

This leads to a situation were we cannot run two or more different versions of Alteryx on one machine (like you can with Visual Studio or other platforms).   This also prevents us from participating in the BETA program because the BETA version would overwrite the users's current version.    Finally - this also makes version upgrades more risky since we cannot run the new version in parallel for a period to evaluate and identify any issues.

 

Request: Please can you change the installer for Alteryx to default to parallel install per version - so that a user can run 2019.1; 2019.2; and 2019.2 BETA on one machine in a way that is fully isolated (i.e. no shared components - have to be able to uninstall one instance cleanly and leave the others in a fully functional state).

 

Many thanks

Sean

 

 

Ever tried to copy a field rename from one select tool to another, or from one summarize tool from another.

 

Have you noticed that it doesn't work?

 

I think it should. 🙂

 

i.e., if you click on the rename box ("Total") and enter ctrl-c, when you enter ctrl-v in the other tool, it pastes this:

Field2 Sum Total

not just the name "Total"

 

Instead of just the renamed field "Category", the select tool pastes this:

True Field1 String 1 Category

 

SummarizeRename.png

SelectRename.png

Who needs a 1073741823 sized string anyways?  No one, or close enough to no one.  But, if you are creating some fancy new properties in the formula tool and just cranking along and then you see that your **bleep** data stream is 9G for nine rows of data you find yourself wondering what the hell is going on.  And then, you walk your way way down the workflow for a while finding slots where the default 1073741823 value got set, changing them to non-insane sized strings, and the your data flow is more like 64kb and your workflow runs in 3 seconds instead of 30 seconds.  

 

Please set the default value for formula tools to a non-insane value that won't be changed by default by 99.99999% of use cases.  Thank you.

 

 

It would be really nice to be able to easily trace a selected field through a workflow (see below, trace in green). This would greatly help with troubleshooting.

TraceFields.JPG

  • General

Currently when you add an event to notify you of workflow failure / success - you have to enter the SMTP settings every time.    It would be more efficient to set this up as a user setting which can be used for the default across all canvasses that this user creates.

 

Annotation 2019-12-27 180328.pngSettings.png

Sometimes formulas get pretty long. There are cases of deeply nested conditionals, concatenation of long strings, cases where multiple casts and parses are used, etc. where formulas get pretty large and unwieldy. The current system of wrapping lines and managing the size of the properties pane can be a hassle, especially if you are trying to use any sort of whitespace formatting to make the formulas more readable.

 

My solution is this is pretty simple, add a pop-out window for formulas. It could be a context menu option from right-clicking the formula box itself, a button on the bar at the top of each formula, or any number of other things.

 

A really good example of this is MS Access. You can right-click any text box that takes an expression and open it in the expression editor pop-up window. The current system is more like excel where you're stuck with whatever box size you're given.

Given Crew Macro Pack increases Alteryx's capability so much, and is used so pervasively, is there a reason to not include Crew Macro Pack in Alteryx Designer or Alteryx Server by default?

 

Can anyone give a reason why Alteryx wouldn't bundle Crew Macro Pack?

 

If not, can we get Crew Macro Pack bundled into Alteryx and have official support for it?

When using the formula tool -- one of the nice features is that when you start typing in a function or variable -- the tool will show formulas/variables that begin with that letter and keep changing as you type in more letters. I believe this is called predictive typing.

Good.jpg

 

However, this does not happen in tools like multi-row or multi-field where a user would have to search for functions and variables if they weren't sure what they are.

 

Not good.jpg

 

Can predictive typing be added to the multi-row and multi-field tools? If I want to take it further, any tool that allows a user to use the formula functionality should be able to see predictive typing. 

 

Thanks,

Seth Moskowitz

 

 

Given the prevalence of XML - it seems that it's worth adding a native XML capability to Alterxy (similar to the discussion with @CharleyMcGee and  @KaneG in the discussion forum).    Currently XML is treated mostly like a big and oddly behaved text field, which really undermines the usefulness of XML in real applications.

 

What I'm thinking is:

- Add in a component, which acts like a join, but what it does is validates an XML file vs. an XSD file so that you can see if your XML file matches the schema definition.   Tremendously useful if you've ever had to hand-craft XML.

- Add in a native data-type for XML (like you have a data-type for Centroids)

- On this XML data type - you can then do interesting things like walk the document object model, or iterate through all children (which fixes the issue of deeply nested XML being such a pain).     This would bring XML parsing into the level of usefulness that programmers in Java & Visual Studio have enjoyed for years

- Finally - an ability to construct XML data files without having to text-hack this.   i.e. something similar to the transpose tool, where for a given node, you can add children etc.

 

These four things would really really assist with getting Alteryx to be able to deal with modern data sets like JSON; XML and even web-page scrubbing.

 

As always - very happy to commit time to helping shape this - please feel free to reach out if that would be useful.

 

Thank you all

Sean

CC: @JoeM@mceleavey@MarqueeCrew@NeilR@Ned@dawid_nawrot@TaraM@GeneR

We build some pretty robust maps with multiple connections and it would be great to copy the map tool and paste it with all of the connections when we want to tweak the map slightly but keep our original map.  It is a regular occurrence for us to have a very detailed map grouping by trade area name and then may want to have an overview map with all of the same connections but slightly different layout.  Tracking down the connections, reconnecting them and naming them accordingly takes a substantial amount of time even in the most organized of workflows.  This function would be a huge time-saver.  It would also be of value with joins and unions - anywhere you have multiple streams coming in.

Currently if one wants to compare different alteryx files or different versions of the same file - one needs to compare the XML files. If you are not very familiar with navigating XML, this poses a risk as one may not be able to identify all changes.

 

It would be a great addition to Alteryx to integrate Alteryx with Git, Subversion, CVS, Mercurial, and GitHub as this tool is becoming the go-to tool for data processing for data analysts and even programmers.

 

This additional functionality to compare previous versions (diff) and also to merge alteryx workflows if two people are working on the same workflow, and also to easily see what changes have been committed/ made by other developers and when would make Alteryx a much more powerful tool and would open doors to other types of users, as essentially you can run anything through Alteryx.

 

  • General

Every time we create a file output - you first have to check if the folder exists - and if not then create it.

 

Currently it's quite onerous to do a directory create - especially with all the error trapping to make this production safe - and everyone is reinventing the wheel in their own companies.

 

Given the commonality of this need - could we add a tool that allows you to check for existance of a directory and attempt to create it (with nested directories and useful status / error descriptions to act upon)

  • General

Currently the InDB tools require to select a DSN that is defined on your computer.

 

This makes any workflow which uses a DSN incredibly painful to deploy to the server, since the DSN needs to be created on every worker node and for a large server environment this can  mean creating DSN entries on 6+ worker nodes in prod plus prod server plus dev/UAT environment plus dev/UAT worker nodes.

 

Could we please change the InDB tools to default to DSN-less connections, where the connection persists the connection details in-line so that it can deploy to the server without a DSN setup (since all connection details are contained within the connection string)?

 

Thank you

Sean

CC: @rijuthav @jithinmony @HengHe @RajK @ydmuley @revathi @Deeksha @MPistone @Ari_Fuller @Arianna_Fuller @JoshKushner @samnelson @avinashbonu @Sunder_Sriram @Rahul_Thakur @Rahul_Singh

  • General
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