Tableau Prep 2020

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Prep Builder in the browser simplifies enterprise and cloud deployments; other features include Resource Monitoring Tool for Linux, enhanced spatial analytics capabilities

This is the fourth and final talk in the four-part series where Tim Ngwena aka ‘Tableau Tim’ looks at the key new Tableau 2020.2 features, and gives you a ch. Einstein Discovery Embed Einstein Discovery predictions in Tableau Prep Builder. Previously, you could access Einstein Discovery only in Salesforce. Now in Tableau Prep Builder version 2021.1.3, you can bring prediction models built in Einstein Discovery directly into your flows. With the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence, you can now bulk score your flow data and generate. For self-service data preparation, Tableau Prep is relatively easy to use—as long as you know how to clean and organize your datasets. Carl Allchin, from The Information Lab in London, gets you up to speed on Tableau Prep through a series of practical lessons that include methods for preparing, cleaning, automating, organizing, and outputting your datasets. Tableau Prep carefully guides the user to limited choices which will help them transform their data to how they wish to see it in Tableau. There are an abundance of tools available in Alteryx but doing simple data preparation would only use around 15% of those tools, all of which are available in Prep. Tableau Prep has the interesting behavior of running the workflow every time you do basically anything. Since Mapbox’s geocoder talks to their API and does incur costs, you’ll want to limit as much activity as possible. Here are two methods to help you: In 2020.1, Prep allows you to pause or disable Prep’s autorun feature.

Tableau Software, the leading analytics platform, today announced the general availability of Tableau 2020.4, which simplifies enterprise-wide data preparation and analysis by bringing the full suite of Tableau Prep capabilities to the browser on Tableau Server and Tableau Online. This new addition lowers deployment costs across the organization, while simplifying the data prep process by enabling analysts to build and edit their data flows without leaving their web browser. Other capabilities introduced in Tableau 2020.4 include the ability to add unlimited spatial layers to maps, a Resource Monitoring Tool (RMT) now available on Linux, and additional native data connectors.

“Tableau Prep has taken the tedious task of data preparation and made it accessible to anyone by making it easy, visual, and direct,” said Francois Ajenstat, chief product officer at Tableau. “Now anyone can access, build, and edit their data flows directly in the browser from anywhere, putting full data preparation capabilities in the hands of anyone in the organization. ”

Tableau Prep 2020.1

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Data Preparation from Anywhere

Tableau Prep Builder is designed to help customers easily combine, shape, and clean their data prior to analyzing it, using the same drag-and-drop simplicity familiar to all Tableau users. New in 2020.4, this process can now be done completely within a web browser, simplifying the experience for organizations while allowing IT administrators to centrally manage deployment and version control without manually updating individual machines. Now, analysts are able to connect to a data source, clean and prepare their data, build dashboards to analyze their data, and even share it – with no desktop required.

“Tableau Prep in the Browser is putting the data prep process in the hands of the people who know the data best, in any browser they can access,” said Carl Allchin of The Information Lab. “This is really going to empower teams to prepare their own data whenever necessary, and unlock all the value that data has to offer.”

Resource Monitoring on Linux

Tableau Server on Linux has been an invaluable solution for customers who deploy Linux in their IT environments and don’t want to maintain a Windows instance to host their Tableau deployment. With the addition of the Resource Monitoring Tool on Linux in 2020.4, customers with the Server Management Add-on are able to proactively monitor and troubleshoot the health of their deployments, with deep visibility into both hardware and software performance. Previously only available on Windows-based deployments, the RMT on Linux can help customers to identify issues causing slow load times, extract failures, and other critical issues that can impact the experience for end users.

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Other features added in Tableau 2020.4 include:

  • Enhanced spatial capabilities. Customers analyzing geospatial data are now able to add unlimited marks layers from a single data source to their map visualizations, combining multiple spatial layers and context for a deeper understanding and analysis. In addition, Tableau can now connect directly to spatial data tables in Amazon Redshift, prepare spatial data in Tableau Prep, and create maps while offline with Tableau Server.
  • Predictive modeling improvements, including the addition of regularized linear regression and Gaussian process regression to the list of predictive models. Customers can easily change which model to use in the calculation field, and get immediate visual feedback on how that model impacts predictions.
  • New and improved connectors, including an update to the Salesforce Connector API that allows direct connections to the latest Salesforce objects, including Work.com. Other new connectors include Datorama and the brand new COVID-19 web data connector to make it easy to access the most up-to-date COVID testing data.

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On 8/12/2020, Tableau released Tableau Desktop version 2020.3 that included some fun new features, including Write to Database in Tableau Prep, Export to Crosstab Button, and the IN function. There are lots of great new features in this release, but the IN function caught my eye specifically. Let’s dive deeper into understanding the IN functionality and how you can leverage this in your Tableau development.

Those who are familiar with SQL are already familiar with the IN concept as it’s a common method of defining criteria for a WHERE statement. The IN function in Tableau functions similarly to SQL. See an example SQL query below:

The IN function in Tableau is used to create groupings of different values within a dimension or measure that you specify in the function criteria. The values that you specify in this IN group are essentially creating a permanent Set based upon those criteria.

The explanation of the syntax to use this operation is shown in bold below.

Returns TRUE if < matches any value in <expr1>.

<expr1> can be a Set, or a lister of literal values or a combined field

Tableau Prep 2020

Practically, the syntax is going to look like this when assigning values to groups:

You can also define what values you want to show a measure for as well using mostly the same syntax, just with a different ending:

In addition to text functions, you can define criteria if they are numeric as well. Using this method you will not have quotations around the values as they are not text values.

Lastly, you can use parameter values within the IN function as well. Although this may not be a great way to define your criteria, I am simply stating that this is possible.

Tableau Prep 2020.3.2

Tableau Prep 2020TableauTableau Prep 2020

Whether or not it’s best practice, the most commonly used instance of this new feature will assuredly be creating some sort of criteria based upon a list of text (like below). If your list of text is extremely long, then you could place your items in an Excel sheet and create a formula to put quotes around each word and commas between each word. You could then paste this into your IN syntax.

If your calculations are already structured in this way, this new function might help make some of your old formulas more understandable, both for you and anyone else who might look through your calculations (including other developers making changes). See how much easier it is to create and comprehend the formula with IN rather than the long list of OR statements.

The calculation using IN is below. Notice how much easier it is to create as well as consume.

Admittedly, when I saw the announcement of this function, I wasn’t very excited about it. I thought that everything you could do with IN you could already accomplish using Sets. I still think this is mostly true, but an advantage of instead IN instead of Sets to group data values is that in order for a dimension value to be in a Set, it has to already have occurred in your data. Let me explain what I mean.

Tableau 2020 Conference

As an example, I want to create a Set containing only states within a certain Region. I then want to use these Sets to create calculations. Let’s say I create that set, the calculation to get the region value would look like below.

Download Tableau Prep 2020.1

The only issue using this methodology is that only states within your data set would be able to be placed in a set. Let’s say you’ve got sales orders from every state in the Midwest except for Ohio. If you created this Set, you would not be able to have this calculation automatically update once you get a sale from Ohio, BUT, if you used your WHEN IN(‘Ohio’,’Iowa’,’Indiana’,’Michigan’, etc) function it would automatically assign Midwest to your Ohio sales.

I want to caveat these examples by saying that if you’re mapping states to region, stores to group, or whatever your situation may be, the optimal solution would be to get those values in your original data set in the back end. If that’s not possible, a mapping table would also be a more efficient solution than using IN (especially given Tableau’s new Relationships). I want to reiterate that my use cases using IN are just examples and may not offer the most performant results.

Using Tableau Prep 2020 Version

Thanks so much for reading! If you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback make sure to email me at [email protected]

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