Take your Alteryx/Tableau collaboration to the next level

One of the most over looked and under used integrations between Tableau and Alteryx is Alteryx’s Publish to Tableau Server Macro. The publish to Tableau Server macro is useful for streamlining and industrializing your data refresh process. It also helps data analysis and visualization teams in which one team member creates the data source and another creates the visualization by eliminating the need to use Tableau Desktop to make data sources available to Tableau Server users.

When publishing interactive dashboards to Tableau Online using Tableau extracts generated by an Alteryx workflow, you might have found that every time the data in your underlying source changes, you are required to refresh your data using a four-step process.

  1. 1. Run the workflow in Alteryx…
  2. 2. Spit out the updated TDE (or .hyper) to your local machine
  3. 3. Open the extract in Tableau Desktop
  4. 4. Publish the extract to Tableau Online, ensuring that you are publishing over the original

The Alteryx Publish to Tableau Server tool eliminates steps 2 – 4.  All you need to do is run the workflow in Alteryx. You can also fully automate the process by scheduling your workflow.

For example, here is an Alteryx workflow that pulls the top 50 breweries in Wisconsin from the Yelp API, transforming it into a usable format.

alteryx publish to tableau workflow.png

With the addition of the Publish to Tableau Server tool at the end, the data source is published directly to Tableau Online. The Tableau dashboard is then built directly off the published data source. Because ‘Overwrite data source’ was chosen for the output data source option, any time we want to update the data in the top 50 Wisconsin breweries data set, we can simply rerun the Alteryx workflow and the dashboard will be updated. And, voila – with the use of this Alteryx tool, we have saved time and clicks!

So how does it work?
The Publish to Tableau Macro is—well just that: a standard macro (SM). However, if you take a peek under the hood (right-click/control-click>open macro) you’ll see that this macro isn’t so standard. This SM leverages the Tableau Server REST API (and a slew of other custom macros) to programmatically perform the same steps an end user would publishing a data source to tableau server (authenticate, pick a site, pick a project, name the source, etc.). One of the nicest features is the ability to either overwrite the data source or append to the existing data (especially helpful when publishing deltas). The data is then published as a Tableau Data Extract (TDE) to the Tableau Server/Online site and project specified in the configuration of the macro. The macro handles all the sign in and sign out authentication and all the token creation and closing.

Getting started with the Publish to Tableau Server Macro
The publish to Tableau Server macro is available from the Alteryx Gallery [https://www.alteryx.com/products/alteryx-analytics-gallery]. To use this macro, your system must meet the following requirements:

  • Alteryx 10.5 minimum
  • Instance of Tableau Server (9.0.1 and above) or Tableau Online
  • Blobs and spatial objects cannot be written to Tableau data sources
  • Input must contain at least one column that contains strings, numbers, or dates
  • Credentials to the Server or Online instance

Alteryx and Tableau have always played nicely together. The publish to Tableau Server tool takes the collaborative nature of these two programs to an even higher level. Get started by downloading the Publish to Tableau macro from the Alteryx Gallery. If you have any questions about this new tool, please reach out to the Continuus team for more details.