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Engine Works

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-tos.
TaraM
Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

General rule of thumb...anytime you find yourself having to replicate what seems to be the same process, there is an easier way to automate it.

 

Recently an interesting problem was posed where a user was trying to bring in hundreds of files that were formatted differently and was getting caught up with some of the strict rules Alteryx enforces on input. So this user was converting the files by hand to a more lenient format.

 

Even though it seems Alteryx may have limiting rules there are so many ways to work with those rules to get what you want. In this case we created a Wizard that would convert one file at a time, but then crafted a macro that created a batch file that ran the Wizard for each file in a directory and then even brought all the converted files into a single input for downstream data processing.

 

Remember, the 4.1 release included a handy little program for all users: AlteryxEngineCmd.exe. This guy enables users to run any Alteryx process via the command line, making batch execution a snap and handling what most people ask for when they want looping.

 

For me, anytime I find myself replicating a task, I try to break it down to its simplest component and ask myself how I might be able to replicate it. In the case described above, the solution consisted of two very simple modules, but the time savings is astronomical and the elimination of user error is just as great.

 

Tara

Tara McCoy

Tara McCoy is the Creative Director at Alteryx. Since joining Alteryx in 2004, Tara has held roles in Product Management, Content Engineering, and Community where her focus has always been on delivering an amazing product experience with Alteryx. From designing product icons and community badges, procuring excellent swag, concocting engaging contests, and crowdsourcing content from internal and external Alteryx advocates alike, Tara is dedicated to the Alteryx brand and wants everyone to experience the thrill of problem solving with Alteryx.

Tara McCoy is the Creative Director at Alteryx. Since joining Alteryx in 2004, Tara has held roles in Product Management, Content Engineering, and Community where her focus has always been on delivering an amazing product experience with Alteryx. From designing product icons and community badges, procuring excellent swag, concocting engaging contests, and crowdsourcing content from internal and external Alteryx advocates alike, Tara is dedicated to the Alteryx brand and wants everyone to experience the thrill of problem solving with Alteryx.