Alteryx Designer Ideas

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We have discussed on several occasions and in different forums, about the importance of having or providing Alteryx with order of execution control, conditional executions, design patterns and even orchestration.

I presented this idea some time ago, but someone asked me if it was posted, and since it was not, I’m putting it here so you can give some feedback on it.

 

The basic concept behind this idea is to allow us (users) to have:

  • Design Patterns
    • Repetitive patterns to be reusable.
    • Select after and Input tool
    • Drop Nulls
    • Get not matching records from join
  • Conditional execution
    • Tell Alteryx to execute some logic if something happens.
    • Record count
    • Errors
    • Any other condition
  • Order of execution
    • Need to tell Alteryx what to run first, what to run next, and so on…
    • Run this first
    • Execute this portion after previous finished
    • Wait until “X” finishes to execute “Y”
  • Orchestration
    • Putting all together

This approach involves some functionalities that are already within the product (like exploiting Filtering logic, loading & saving, caching, blocking among others), exposed within a Tool Container with enhanced attributes, like this example:

OnCanvas.png

 

 

The approach is to extend Tool Container’s attributes.

This proposition uses actual functionalities we already have in Designer.

So, basically, the Tool Container gets ‘superpowers’, with the addition of some capabilities like: Accepting input data, saving the contents within the container (to create a design pattern, or very commonly used sequence of tools chained together), output data, run the contents of the tools included in the container, etc.), plus a configuration screen like:

 

ToolcontainerConfig_Comment.png

 

 
  1. Refers to the actual interface of the Tool Container.
  2. Provides the ability to disable a Container (and all tools within) once it runs.
    • Idea based on actual behavior: When we enable or disable a Tool Container from an interface Tool.
  3. Input and output data to the container’s logic, will allow to pickup and/or save files from a particular container, to be used in later containers or persist data as a partial result from the entire workflow’s logic (for example updating a dimensions table)
    • Based on actual behavior: Input & Output Data, Cache, Run Command Tools, and some macros like Prepare Attachment.
  4. Order of Execution: Can be Absolute or Relative. In case of Absolute run, we take the containers in order, executing their contents. If Relative, we have the options to configure which container should run before and after, block until previous container finishes or wait until this container finishes prior to execute next container in list.
    • Based on actual behavior: Block until done, Cache, Find Replace, some interface Designer capabilities (for chained apps for example), macros’ basic behaviors.
  5. Conditional Execution: In order to be able to conditionally execute other containers, conditions must be evaluated. In this case, the idea is to evaluate conditions within the data, interface tools or Error/Warnings occurrence.
    • Based on actual behavior: Filter tool, some Interface Tools, test Tool, Cache, Select.
  6. Notes: Documentation text that will appear automatically inside the container, with options to place it on top or below the tools, or hide it.

 

This should end a brief introduction to the idea, but taking it a little further, it will allow even to have something like an Orchestration layout, where the users can drag and drop containers or patterns and orchestrate them in a solution, like we can do with the Visual Layout Tool or the Interactive Chart tool:

Alteryx Choreographer.png

 

I'm looking forward to hear what you think.

Best

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...

Referencing the previous idea: Inputs/Output should have the option to read/write a compressed file (ZIP or GZIP)

 

This idea has been implemented for inputting .zip files. However, we still need to use the run command workaround for outputs. It's very common for many users to want to output their .csv, .xlsx, .pdf to a .zip. The functionality would also need to extend to Gallery.

 

See the following links for people that are looking for this type of functionality:

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Server-Discussions/Download-Multiple-Outputs-from-the-Galle...

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Discussions/Output-files-to-ZIP/td-p/163502

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Discussions/Zip-files/td-p/151456

 

Feel free to merge this idea with the previous one for continuity.

I love this tool,  but think it would be improved by including an option to create a column per delimiting character.  This could be added in the number of columns selector box.  In the case where 1 row has more delimiters than another, null columns can be created.  Without this option you have to Regex count the delimiters, select the max and then embed the Text to columns tools in a macro and then pass the max columns as a param.  Would be nice to resolve all this in the main tool.

 

Thanks, nick

This is a pretty quick suggestion:

 

I think that there are a lot of formulas that would be easier to write and maintain if a SQL-style BETWEEN operator was available.

 

Essentially, you could turn this:

ToNumber([Postal Code]) > 1000 AND ToNumber([Postal Code]) < 2500

 

Into this:

ToNumber([Postal Code]) BETWEEN 1000 AND 2500


That way, if you later had to modify the ToNumber([Postal Code]), you only have to maintain it once.  Its both aesthetically pleasing and more maintainable!

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

Hi 

Wanted to control the order of execution of objects in Alteryx WF but right now we have ONLY block until done which is not right choice for so many cases 

Can we have a container (say Sequence Container) and put piece of logic in each container and have control by connecting each container?
Hope this way we can control the execution order
It may be something looks like below 


When using the output data tool, it would save me and my cluttered organizational skills a lot of effort if the writing workflow was saved as part of the yxdb metadata. 

I've often had to search to find a workflow which created the yxdb. I tend to use naming conventions to help me,  but it would be easier if the file and or path was easily found. 

cheers,

 

 mark

When using the text mining tools, I have found that the behaviour of using a template only applies to documents with the same page number.

 

So in my use case I've got a PDF file with 100+ claim statements which are all laid out the same (one page per statement). When setting up the template I used one page to set the annotations, and then input this into the T anchor of the Image to Text tool. Into the D anchor of this tool is my PDF document with 100+ pages. However when examining the output I only get results for page 1.

 

On examining the JSON for the template I can see that there is reference to the template page number:

cgoodman3_0-1604393391514.png

 

And playing around with a generate rows tool and formula to replace the page number with pages 1 - 100 in the JSON doesn't work. I then discovered that if I change the page number on the image input side then I get the desired results. 

 

cgoodman3_1-1604393499357.png

However an improvement to the tool, as I suspect this is a common use case for the image to text tool, is to add an option in the configuration of the image to text tool to apply the same template to all pages.

 

cgoodman3_4-1604393738275.png

 

 

 

 

 

Alteryx Server was recently updated to allow TLS-mediated connections to the MongoDB persistence layer. This allowed us to switch off of the embedded MongoDB to a highly-available MongoDB Atlas cluster. To our surprise after the switch, when we went to edit our workflows that make use of the persistence layer's data (Server Usage Report, etc.) to hit the new Atlas cluster, we found that the MongoDB Input tool does not support TLS connections. This absolutely needs to be changed. Based on organizational constraints, Atlas is our only option for a HA persistence layer. We absolutely have to have TLS support for the MongoDB Input tool. There is no other way for us to natively query our server persistence layer in Designer. Please bring the MongoDB Input tool into alignment with the MongoDB connections that are supported by Alteryx Server.

 

A common problem with the R tool is that it outputs "False Errors" like the following: "The R.exe exit code (4294967295) indicted an error"

I call this a false error because data passes out of the R script the same as if there were no error. As such, this error can generally be ignored. In my use case, however, my R tool is embedded within an iterative macro, and the error causes the iterator to stop running.

 

I was able to create a workaround by moving the R tool to a separate workflow and calling it from the CReW runner macro within my iterator, effectively suppressing the error message, but this solution is a bit clumsy, requires unnecessary read/writes, and uses nonstandard macros.

 

I propose the solution suggested by @mbarone (https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Discussions/Boosted-Model-Error/td-p/5509) to only generate an error when the R return code is 1, indicating a true error, and to either ignore these false errors or pass them as warnings. This will allow R scripts and R-based tools to be embedded within iterative macros without breaking.

 

 

Working in the accounting department, this has come up too many times now to ignore! 

 

Would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a new formula available in the DateTime formula suite that mimics the function of the EOMONTH() formula when working with dates in Excel. 


The beauty of the EOMONTH() formula in Excel is that I can just give it a date, and then tell it how many months in the future or past I would like it to add/subtract... Alternatively, in Alteryx, this can require 2 or 3 nested DateTime functions to arrive at the same answer. 


Example: To find the end of the month 2 months in the future from today's date, I would use the following formula...

Excel = EOMONTH(Today(),2)

Alteryx = DateTimeAdd(DateTimeAdd(DateTimeTrim(DateTimeToday(),"month"),3,"months"),-1,"days")

 

Seems much more complicated than it needs to be in Alteryx, and easy to get lost in the nested formulas & non-intuitive adding/subtracting of months/days! I can see a new formula (something like DateTimeEOMonth?) being structured as follows in Alteryx: DateTimeEOMonth([Field],increment)

 

Please consider! Our accounting department thanks you heartily in advance... 🙂

 

Cheers,

NJ

Capture.JPG

 

We all love seeing this.  And, it's fairly easy to fix, just go find the macro and insert a new copy.  But, then you have to remember the configuration and hope that it was simple. 

With the tool that's there, the XML still contains the configuration, all that's missing is the tool path.    It would be great to be able to right click and repair the path from the context of the missing macro.

It would be great to have the below functionality in Alteryx.

A workflow is built in Alteryx and button click in Alteryx can be used to generate SQL code that can be ran on a specific database platform, such as SQL Server to run external editors such as SQL Server Management Studio. Thanks. 

When we create new workflows, we like to have them in our company template, to stnadardise documentation. This makes it easier for a supervisor to review, and for a colleague to pick up the workflow and understand what is going on. For instance, we have all data input on the left, and all error checks and workflow validation on the right, and a section at the top with the workflow name, project name, purpose etc. We have a workflow that we use as a template with containers, boxes and images all in the appropriate places

 

It would be great if there was an option to select a workflow as a template. When a new workflow is opened, it would load this template rather than having a blank canvas.

I constantly find my using pre and post SQL Commands in the Output tool to run SQL when I don't actually have any data to output.

 

One example is when I load data into S3 and want to load it into Redshift. I have SQL code to run but no data to Output - I end up running a dummy row into a temp table.

 

So can we have an SQL tool that simply acts the same as a Pre-SQL command without the associated data output. Once the command is run we should be able to continue the workflow, so the tool should have an option input and output, like the Run Command tool.

 

 

Hi there,

 

My idea comes when I've built an application, where user select filter from drop-down list. However it contains thousands of records, so it takes lot's of time to find desired record.

In Excel and MS Access when you use filter you can put many letter and filter shows rows that match the input. In Alteryx user can only put first letter, which is huge drawback to my users.

 

This is how it works in Excel:

werwe.jpg

 

Hope you like it!

Please upgrade the "curl.exe" that are packaged with Designer from 7.15 to 7.55 or greater to allow for -k flags. Also please allow the -k functionality for the Atleryx Download tool.  

 

-k, --insecure

(TLS) By default, every SSL connection curl makes is verified to be secure. This option allows curl to proceed and operate even for server connections otherwise considered insecure.

The server connection is verified by making sure the server's certificate contains the right name and verifies successfully using the cert store.

 

Regards,

John Colgan

Idea: Allow the user to set the data type including character field width in the Text Input tool.

 

The Text Input tool currently auto-senses the correct type and width of the field in a Text Input tool. However, this sometimes restricts the usage of the data downline.

 

Examples:

1 - I often run into the situation where I've copied some data from a browse tool and then pasted that as an input to a new workflow. Then I'll turn that workflow into a macro. But then I run into an issue where the data that comes into the macro is larger than the original width in the Text Input tool. This causes problems.

 

2 - The tool senses that a field containing zip codes should be numeric and then converts the data. This corrupts the data and makes me insert a Select/Formula tool combo to pad the zeros to the left.

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?

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