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Engine Works Blog

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-to's.
Alteryx
Alteryx

I had been with Alteryx for about two months when I started hearing people talk about CEF [Chromium Embedded Framework]. I did a little digging on my own, and true to its name, found that CEF was a framework for placing chromium based browsers within applications. Shortly after, I learned I would have a chance to use this technology myself for the upcoming release of Alteryx.

 

My excitement was two-fold, I was going to be doing work for the release, and I was going to use CEF. HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, the world was my oyster. I would no longer be confined to the static interaction of building connectors with just a macro. That may be slightly dramatic, but if you have ever tried to construct a robust connector using only a macro then you know what I mean. 

 

If you have already upgraded to Alteryx version 10.0 you may have already interacted with CEF. My work began with the construction of new versions of the Marketo connectors that would utilize the REST API as opposed to the SOAP API that the original tools connected to.

 

 

Marketo InputIcon.png  Marketo OutputIcon.png Marketo AppendIcon.png

 

@NeilR, fellow Content Engineer working on the Salesforce Connectors, gave me the run down on the basics of the file structure and I was ready to jump in and start coding. Frustrations I had experienced while trying to previously build connectors with an Alteryx macro quickly dissipated with each and every AJAX call. The basic idea of creating a JavaScript plugin as opposed to using a macro to build a tool, is that from a GUI perspective, instead of having the traditional configuration window where the interface is dictated by simply rearranging interface tools in the interface designer, HTML5 is rendered in its' place. Behind the scenes there is still a macro, but there are many other options as well, more on that in a later blog. 

 

marketoinput.JPG

marketo2.JPG

 

The ability to use HTML5 allowed me to create a more dynamic interaction between the API and the user. Our Designer development team created some really outstanding custom widgets to use, as opposed to traditional HTML elements, since these widgets needed a little extra magic to interact with the Alteryx Plugin API. Since these custom widgets had never been used before, I found myself working closely with the Designer team to iterate through changes to the widgets. The UX team even got in on the action, since we needed some custom styling and CSS to pull it all together. The result was a new set of connectors that displayed user specific information prior to workflow execution, increased performance, and enhanced overall user experience. But don't take my word for it, upgrade to Alteryx 10.0 and check out the Marketo or Salesforce connectors if you are interested in seeing this in action. More about RESTful APIs and Alteryx in my next blog.

 

May your trails be long and your regex short, happy developing!

Tasha Alfano

As Product Manager for Developer Tools at Alteryx, Tasha enjoys working on everything for Alteryx platform extensibility. If you are building cool things with Alteryx-let her know! When she isn't at work in the Broomfield office she enjoys backpacking and climbing in sunny Colorado. @Tasha_Alfano

As Product Manager for Developer Tools at Alteryx, Tasha enjoys working on everything for Alteryx platform extensibility. If you are building cool things with Alteryx-let her know! When she isn't at work in the Broomfield office she enjoys backpacking and climbing in sunny Colorado. @Tasha_Alfano

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