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Alteryx Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.
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For any macro or analytic app – one of the inevitable questions that you may encounter is “how do I configure this to do what I need?” For example, if you build a macro that checks if two fields are equal, but sometimes you want to ignore the case such that “A” equals “a,” and sometimes you want an exact match. This is where the Interface Tool Category comes to the rescue, with a super-tool called Check Box!
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You're working on your gazillionth Formula tool and "Jeff" from Quality Assurance sends you an email that the margin of error for your process has been restandardized. It's not 0.122  anymore but 0.121 . Then the horrible reality sets in - you're going to have to go back through all of your formulas and update that one.. stupid.. little.. number .
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You just finished making a workflow, now how do you share it so your colleagues can also use it but with their own inputs? Make an Analytic App!
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Looking to install additional R packages?  Here's how!
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Alteryx Analytic Applications (Apps) let us take a process, parameterize parts of it, and add an interface so that end users don't need to know all of the inner workings of the process in order to make it work for their specific scenario.
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This article will show three scenarios in which the list of selections in the List Box tool can be generated dynamically.
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Fact: workflows are the best. Look it up. They’re all about getting things done and, with hundreds of tools and the ability to integrate external processes , there’s no shortage of things you can get done. We know that there are some areas of analytics that require a little extra firepower, however, and that’s why you can leverage your workflows in apps and macros for added functionality.
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Is there a workaround for not being able to use the Folder Browse Tool in the Gallery? Though it may not be as clean as being able to use the Folder Browse Tool, the simple workaround for this is to use the Text Box Interface Tool instead. This will allow the user to copy a directory path from Windows Explorer and paste it into the Text Box. In the workflow, all you need to do is connect the Text Box Tool to an Output Data Tool and have the Action Tool update the path portion of the Output Data Tool. You can even enter in a default path in the Default Text section of the Text Box if there is a path that is most commonly used.
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You’re creating an app that involves dates. You want the user to be able to dynamically select the dates being used in the app, though. The tools you already know may not work. A  Text Box  would be too messy and allow lots of room for error. Pre-defined  Drop Downs  and  List Boxes  aren’t dynamic enough. Ah ha! What about that tool that looks like a calendar? The  Date  tool in the  Interface  category provides the perfect solution!
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A product idea recently introduced the ability to compare workflows using the command line from Windows. I thought it would be good to turn this idea into a more GUI friendly Alteryx Analytic App!
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The  Radio Button Tool  can be used in a number of ways. This is a simple tool to configure but can be very powerful!
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The  Numeric Up Down Tool  can be used in a variety of ways to enhance your macros and apps. This very simple tool requires just a few seconds to configure and you're on your way!
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The  Filter Tool , which is part of the  Preparation tool category , separates your data into 2 output streams, True and False, based on a basic filter or custom expression.
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In a workflow, not too far, far away...       Structured data has vanished. In its absence, the sinister Dirty Data Order has risen from the ashes of the Server and will not rest until Data Analytics have been destroyed. With the support of the Alteryx Engineers, Solutions Engineer Tony Moses leads a brave RESISTANCE. He is desperate to find structured data and gain its help in restoring blending, joining and analytics to the galaxy.   Tony has sent his most daring Community Leader, Matt DeSimone, on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to the structured data whereabouts....   Welcome to the Star Wars universe!   Ever wanted to know the most important details of your favorite characters from Star Wars? Me too!    Our generous friends, Paul Hallett and team, have given us the Star Wars API - the world's first quantified and programmatically-accessible store of Star Wars data.   After hours of watching films and trawling through content online, Paul presents us all the People, Films, Species, Starships, Vehicles and Planets from Star Wars.   The data is formatted in JSON and has exposed it to us in a REST implementation that allows us to programmatically collect and measure the data.   Now, how was I able to retrieve this treasure of information via Alteryx? Easy! I've built a REST API connection using the Download Tool to pull information based on a user inputted query in an Alteryx Application (attached as v2018.1 Star Wars.yxwz).   Normally, once having retrieved JSON formatted data, structuring and parsing the data would be a nightmare! With Alteryx, this is just one tool away. The JSON Parse Tool allows you to identify the JSON field, in this case our download data field, and easily extract Name and Value columns. From there it's some simple formatting and using the reporting tools to present us a nice clean composers file (pcxml).   Man, if only the Rebels could process information as fast as Alteryx then they wouldn't have had to send poor R2 to find Obi Wan.    I'll be bringing you, the Alteryx Community, updates of the app with each new movie release!   I hope you enjoy the API and may the Force be with you!
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There’s a lot going on in the world of analytics. Endless data stores and insight are at the other end of an internet connection and, as analysts, we’re always in on the action. Being in the thick of the fray with data whizzing by at lightning speeds, being equipped with the right tools is a must. Like you, Alteryx also likes to live dangerously, and we’re always ready for action.
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Question Have you ever wanted your own help page for your custom macros or applications? Answer If you create your own macros or applications and send them to other who aren’t as familiar with your project, or if you just need a refresher from time to time, you may try and access the help menu only to be greeted by the general Alteryx macros/apps pages:   Macro Workflows Page Analytics App Workflows Page   You can actually create your own help pages/files that can be accessed how you would normally access the Alteryx Help Menu for any "out of the box" tool that comes with the Designer.   Using your favorite text editor (Microsoft Word, for example), you can create your help file with any instructions or graphics that you feel would be helpful to the end users who may need to access a help file. Once you are done, you can save this in any file format that your (or your users') machine is able to open, as well as any location those users would be able to access (a network drive for example).   In your application or macro’s Interface Designer Properties, there is an option to add the path of a file or hyperlink to your newly created help file.     For an example I created the following help file as a .docx, .pdf, and .htm file type. Each other these files open in their respective default programs.   Word:   PDF:   HTM:
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This article is part of the CS Macro Development Series. The goal of this series is to communicate tips, tricks, and the thought process that goes into developing good, dynamic macros. If you’ve ever built an analytical app and used the Interface Designer (View >> Interface Designer), you’ve probably spent some time in the Test View: This menu provides a great runtime view of the interface as you’re adding and configuring tools and also allows you to interact with them, much like you would when selecting “Run As An Analytical App” in your Designer. You can clear (Reset), save (Save – as an .yxwv analytical app value file), reopen (Open – search for your .yxwv files) and investigate the xml capture of your test values (View – these will initialize to your specified defaults) in here, but the real value is in using the “Open Debug” button to open your app debug workflow: This will create a new module with the workflow that would result from executing all the actions of your interface tools (individual values, tools, even xml, can be updated). You can also see these values, along with an actions log, in a comment box preceding the tools themselves. The workflow will even show you errors if your interface tools created any after updates! This comes in handy as you’re updating detours, opening/closing tool containers, and performing complex updates to your workflows via interface tools because it gives you a snapshot into what, exactly, is happening with each set of Test View values and, in effect, at runtime. For example, in the screen capture of the Test View above, we have the default app (attached as v10.5 App Debugger.yxwz) values. When opening the debug workflow (attached as v10.5 Debug Workflow Default Values.yxmd), we can see the result of them in that our row value is still “Test” and our detour defaults to the right: However, if you update the values in the Test View and reopen the debug workflow with the values below: You’ll see in the new workflow (attached as v10.5 Debug Workflow New Values.yxmd), that our row value is now updated to “DebugTest” and our detour no longer goes to the right:   The above is a simple example of the power of the tool, but using it more often in your troubleshooting will help pinpoint where your errors or conflicts are arising, freeing more time for you to build out more apps!
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Question Did you know that instead of having to choose a save location in the Output Tool, you could leverage the directory that is used to save your temporary files? Answer This can be handy if you are running chained apps locally or have macros that have a file output process. To use temporary space instead of actually writing out a file to a specified location. All you have to do is add the following onto your file name: %temp%..\Output.yxdb. Once you run your workflow you can navigate to your temporary directory (which can be found in System Settings->Engine->General->Temporary Directory) to view your saved file.       The same path you used in the output tool can be used in an input tool to read in the file that is saved to the temporary directory.
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This article is part of the CS Macro Development Series. The goal of this series is to communicate tips, tricks, and the thought process that goes into developing good, dynamic macros. The Detour Tool and its counterpart, the Detour End Tool, are tools that come in handy in building out custom Analytical Apps and Macro workflows when you want to “turn on” or “turn off” entire sections of the workflows based on a user input. While handy, there is an alternative to the approach in using Tool Containers to encapsulate the sections that you’d like to turn on/off and using a Radio Button (or other Interface Tools) and action to “Enable/Disable Container from Condition.” There are other action types that are also useful if you’d like to implement more logic to the enable/disable approach. As long as you conjoin the outputs of each Tool Container to a Union Tool none of your data streams require records to be output, successfully completing your bypass!   Attached is a short v10.5 example of the approach, using Radio Buttons, and the “Update Value with Formula” action to update the “Disabled” attribute of Tool Containers:
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This article is part of the CS Macro Development Series. The goal of this series is to communicate tips, tricks, and the thought process that goes into developing good, dynamic macros.   Implementing APIs into macros isn’t a difficult process, you only need to first understand macros and how they’ll interact with your API requests. In short, a macro gives you the ability to encapsulate just about any repeatable process in an Alteryx workflow as a tool. Understanding that, you only need to identify what in your API request will need to change with each row the process/request is being repeated for, and how to update this request dynamically. With each row of your input data stream, expect to be able to use fields to reference what individual values will be – doing so in a formula tool will build out parts of the request that change with each record. If instead you need to update an argument of the request just once for all your records, try using an interface tool and a place-holding value. Need to update parts of a request for only certain records? You can use formula logic or the batch macro’s control parameter approach.   Consider the Google Maps Geocoding API request format below:   If we were to send a request to their API to geocode a single address (specifying an xml output), this would look like: https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/xml?address=1600+Amphitheatre+Parkway,+Mountain+View,+CA&key=YOUR_API_KEY To update this dynamically, within a macro, we need only to map our input fields to their appropriate places in the request, emulating the rest of the request syntax with formula logic: "https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/xml?"+"address="+replace([Address]," ","+")+"+"+[City]+"+"+[State]+"+"+[Zip]+"&key="+"X" (the replace function exchanges spaces for + characters, the remainder of the + characters are added as literal strings to mirror the format above) Then only updating our key remains before passing this to a Download Tool, and this will be the same for all our input rows:           The v10.5 example above is attached for reference. It is an adaptation of a more robust Google Maps Geocoder hosted on our gallery.   Please note that in order to use this macro, you must first generate a server key from the Google Developers Console. Each key has a limit of 2,500 free requests per day. Click here for more information on usage limits for the Google Maps API.   This macro demonstrates requests to Google Maps' web service API and is meant as a proof of concept only. It is not intended for production use.
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