TableauPro’s Day 1 with Alteryx – Part 2

This is Part 2 in the series TableauPro’s Day 1 with Alteryx – Intro. If you want to go to Part 1, please click here. In this post, I am talking my impression of the tutorial on Filtering Data. You can watch the corresponding YouTube video here.

  • I clicked on the link from the first tutorial to land here. The first step of bringing the input data is the same as the first tutorial. I am a person easily bored with repeating the same things. Hence, I wanted to see what else I could do:
    • So, I dragged and drop the file from Windows Explorer to canvas and as expected, it configured an Input tool – this is great and it makes me happy as the same technique I use in Tableau often is also working here.
    • I went to the first workflow and copied by the first step (Input Data) by using menu-option copy as well as keyboard shortcut (CTRL + C) – both were working. This again makes me happy as Alteryx has taken care to keep the typical expectations of a Windows user in mind (although I am testing Alteryx on my Mac using the Parallels Desktop as my VM). I also copied more than 1 tool by selecting them together and that also worked without hitches.
  • When I drag and drop a tool, it automatically tries to make logical connections – For example, I dropped Filter tool when Input Data was already there in the canvas and it made the connection automatically, which is nice.
  • One of the things that I expected in Alteryx but was NOT available is double-click option on the tools in the toolbar. I double-clicked on the Filter Data assuming that it would place it in the canvas in the next available logical place and would also make the necessary connection.
  • I tried to delete the tools using the keyboard key ‘Delete’ but it was not working. But it works if I use the right-click menu option – ‘Delete’. Also, when I select more than one tool and want to delete them at one go, I could not find a way to do it, as the selection is gone when I right-click.
  • I created the workflow and ran it – when I click on each tool after running, I am able to simultaneously see the configuration on the left and the results at the bottom – within minutes of using the tool, I am begining to like this functionality. As I imagine myself reviewing complex workflows developed by others, I can see how useful this can be, without the need to click on a few buttons in each step to see the results.
  • I clicked on the results window on the Filter tool and I can see the input and the output separately – I really like that Alteryx displays both the records that satisfied the condition and the ones that didn’t. Also, it displays the record count at the top in all these cases. If Alteryx could display the percentage of records that were True and False in addition to the raw numbers, that would be icing on the cake! One thing I could not understand was the number 14 displayed within brackets after the tool name ‘Filter’. Screen Shot 2016-11-06 at 5.14.23 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-11-06 at 5.25.07 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-11-06 at 5.25.20 PM.png
  • There was an option labeled ‘Metadata’ and I clicked on to see what it says. The following window pops up giving the detail of where the data field is coming from and its datatype, etc. Here, I saw that SCORE is a calculated field that just produces a random value within 100. Given that we are playing around in a limited tutorial mode, the source info may not be useful. But if I am doing a lot of real-world transformations by combining data from different sources and if Alteryx would display the source of each column at any step in the workflow, that would be a killer feature! So, I would wait till I develop complex workflow to fully understand the utility of this feature. Screen Shot 2016-11-06 at 5.25.39 PM.png
  • When you add a field to the Sort field, the default option for sort is ‘Ascending’. It would have been if the default was ‘Descending’ as that gets used more often than the Ascending (in my experience).

This is Part 2 in the series TableauPro’s Day 1 with Alteryx – Intro. If you want to go to Part 3, please click here.

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