One of the larger challenges that my organization's users have when moving from creating workflows in Designer to uploading them to the Gallery is dependencies and pathing. Given the fact that the server does not mount drives (e.g. G:\), but requires UNC pathing, this creates an additional step and hurdle for new users. Furthermore, understanding the difference between packaging an asset with a workflow and pathing live also introduces yet another consideration to check for. While Alteryx provides the ability to set each of these, I think that there is an opportunity from a UI perspective to better consolidate and expose dependency/asset management.
I only recently discovered the Workflow Dependencies window after using the product for two years, and probably should have known it was there, but I feel like tucking that dialog into Advanced Options is kind of a strange place to put it. In that menu, you have both User/System connection management, as well as Workflow-specific encryption and dependency management. Maybe I’m alone here, but I only think of hitting User Settings and Advanced Options when I am setting environment settings, not working on a workflow.
In order to effectively manage assets when creating a gallery workflow, I currently have to:
- Ensure that all of my Inputs are UNC pathed or go into the Dependency Manager to switch them all
- Uncheck any “live” file connections by clicking on the input and unchecking it in the Assets properties window. Even getting this property to show up is a bit of a pain point by telling my users they have to go to Edit User Settings-->Advanced-->Display Asset Management in Properties Window. Note that unchecking an input from the Edit button in the Workflow Dependencies window does not uncheck the asset (which seems like a bug to me).
- I can check on my assets when I go to save a workflow to the gallery, but that only saves it to the gallery copy, not the source workflow. In order to switch UNC pathing or asset inclusion in the original workflow, I have to go back to steps A and B.
Ultimately, I feel like a better user experience would be to consolidate each of these into a Workflow Dependencies & Assets dialog box that is comprehensive and consistent. This dialog box could be accessed either from an intuitive menu in Designer or from the Save As menu when uploading to Gallery, and the user would have the option to save the settings back to the source workflow. Furthermore, a validation step could be added to let the user know before uploading to the gallery that they have non-UNC paths and they could have the option to switch it prior to upload.