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Alteryx Designer Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.

Visually Compare Workflow Versions

MattD
Alteryx Community Team
Alteryx Community Team
Created

Thanks to the brilliance of @RobertB during last year’s Alteryx Innovation Days, we now have a command line tool in beta that generates visual markup in the Designer to compare two workflows. Using the tool is simple:

 

1. Open the Command Prompt and navigate to the AlteryxGui executable

  

cd C:\Program Files\Alteryx\bin

  

CMD 1.png

 

2. Use the below command to launch the Alteryx Designer with a comparison between <Workflow 1> and <Workflow 2>

 

AlteryxGui.exe /diff <Workflow 1> <Workflow 2> 

 

CMD 2.png

 

Please note: All Designer instances must be closed before running the instructions above.

 

The Designer will then open up with a side-by-side comparison of the two workflows, marked to show the differences between them. Differences like:

 

  • Tools that don’t appear in the other module get a big red box behind them
  • Tools with changed configurations get a hashed red box
  • Tools that are the same but have something different immediately up or down stream from them get a red arc on the side
  • Connections that are different get drawn in red

 

Essentially, any changes that affect what the workflow does at runtime should be marked in red one way or another, while cosmetic changes are ignored. This looks like:

 

Before:

 

Workflow 1

Workflow 1.png

Workflow 2

Workflow 2.png

After:

 

Workflow 1

Workflow 1 Diff.png

Workflow 2

Workflow 2 Diff.png

 

Running the command line tool will open up a new instance of Alteryx with your workflows compared visually.Running the command line tool will open up a new instance of Alteryx with your workflows compared visually.

 

Thanks to @BenBu for his help providing detailed instructions!

Comments
ShaanM
Alteryx
Alteryx

thanks to @MattD and @BenBu

 

I have taken this and made it into a neat Analytic app:

 

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Knowledge-Base/Visually-Compare-Workflow-Versions-App/tac-p...

 

SeanAdams
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

This is super useful - especially for central teams that manage an alteryx implementation & server.

 

cc: @avinashbonu @Deeksha @revathi 

Deeksha
7 - Meteor

A Visual version compare utility  takes   controls and governance to another level, we don't have to  any longer rely on just the underlying excel - but see the changes for real called out on the canvases.We had the opportunity to work   with     @BenBu  on this, and find it extremely useful. We are looking to integrate this into our  standard SDLC  process, will keep the group posted on any other interesting findings on this. 

 

BenMoss
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

THIS IS BLOODY AWESOME (Thanks @LordNeilLord for pointing me to this).

bsachin1
5 - Atom

Hi, I am using Alteryx version 11.7.4. I tried the above APP but now luck :(. Could someone please share the steps to compare two workflows. 

Getting issue with the workflow...thanks in advance 

jdbartosh
8 - Asteroid

Heard about this in Alter Everything - Podcast, very helpful! I am with an internal audit department and this is exactly what is needed for us to rely upon the data transformation the business is performing for regulatory purposes.  

NicoleJohnson
14 - Magnetar
14 - Magnetar

@MattD You have made my day. THIS IS PERFECT. I had just resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to develop some sort of obnoxious workflow to parse out XML code, and then I catch wind of this beauty: the simplest, most straightforward solution, already baked into the Gui. Cannot tell you how happy I am that this exists, AND that it ignores annotations/moving tools/cosmetic edits... 

 

#AlteryxHero

 

Cheers!!! 

NJ

SubratDas5
10 - Fireball

where was this hiding all this while and here I was manually looking for changes or asking for detailed documentation of the CR. 

 

Thanks, @MattD for sharing this. 

 

 

cckennedy7
6 - Meteoroid

Very helpful

bkclaw113
8 - Asteroid

I definitely appreciate this ability, however one place that I was hoping it could help me, it was not able to.

I have a workflow the was handed off to me with a repeated sequence of the same steps against the same input data with just a different filter applied at the beginning of each repeated container.  This should be a batch macro, however the original developer is no longer around and has let no notes on if any subtle differences exist between the copied containers.

I wanted to use this diff tool to copy each container to its own workflow and then compare that back to the first container, so that I can identify any changes, however I am guessing that since the tool ID is different on each block this tool is calling every single tool as not represented in the compared workflow (big red block behind tool).

 

I know this is an edge case, but it would be great if the diff tool could recognize the sequence of tools to identify changes instead of comparing tool id 23 in A to tool id 23 in B (which again I am only assuming is what happens).

abbeyq
5 - Atom

Great solution! Does the process requiring uploading files to a server or is it completely local? Wanted to make sure so I don't break any confidentiality rules when using the solution. 

NicoleJohnson
14 - Magnetar
14 - Magnetar

@abbeyq - it's all local! If you had workflows saved on a server, you'd actually need to download them locally first and unpackage them in order to run the comparison 🙂 So you should be good.

 

Have fun with this one - it's SO super helpful for change tracking between workflow versions!! One of my favorite "hacks" ever shared here on the Community! Make sure you check out the app-ified version that @ShaanM created for this too if you want to make things even simpler to kick off the comparison...

 

Cheers!

NJ

bkclaw113
8 - Asteroid

It all happens locally.

IlyaD
5 - Atom

Yan has further developed this tool and added a function to spit out a report using the underlying XML. Great for change control and audit purposes.

 

 
 

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Discussions/Workflow-Comparison-Tool-Please-have-a...

SeanAdams
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

it would be great to see this added to the menu-system in Alteryx so that more people could find this GREAT tool that's built into the platform.