Alteryx Connect: Tableau Loader
The Tableau loader is a powerful tool for bringing Tableau’s Server content together with your other data assets inside Alteryx Connect. Not only does this open up the capability to search and explore lineage but also for analysts to crowdsource valuable business attributes against this widely used platform. Now, Tableau offers some features for tagging and describing workbooks as well as assigning owners out of the box. This is a good starting point but without deeper ‘connectedness’ a Tableau Server is unfortunately still a ‘silo’ if analysts can’t trace back to sources, people, and business definitions. Connect provides these capabilities as well as a more developed social experience to enrich and enhance Tableau’s context in an organization. As part of the loader process Connect captures metadata on Tableau workbooks and worksheets; the individual components of a workbook. Additionally, key metrics such as the number of views for each workbook are brought in and made available to analysts who want to understand content popularity. Tableau report owners are automatically mapped to existing people defined in Connect. Or if a match fails to occur, new users are created in Connect to ensure that ownership information isn’t lost. The Tableau content is then made available directly from the Connect web portal. Clicking the launch button on a specific asset will drill the analyst directly into the Tableau Server-hosted report providing the user has access rights. The loader produces a thorough catalog of the data lineage through the Tableau content specifically in three main ways. Firstly, lineage is captured for Tableau directly accessing any of the databases that are currently supported by Connect loaders. Remember – you need to run those database loaders prior to running a Tableau loader: the context must be present for Connect to associate the data together. Secondly, lineage is captured where an Alteryx workflow produces a TDE that’s delivered to a shared drive. If this TDE is then consumed by a Tableau report this can be recorded and socialized in Connect. Finally, if Alteryx is being used to publish datasets directly to a Tableau server then this connection and lineage can also be captured and made available in Connect for wider use. Currently, where data proxies are configured in the Tableau Data Extract file – for example if a dataset is created in Tableau Desktop published to the Tableau server and then used in reports, then the lineage of this process will not be available in Connect. Given the depth of information that can be extracted from a Tableau environment for data cataloging there are a few prerequisites that need to be met before the loader can be deployed. Tableau server must be on version 10.3 with the REST API – version 2.5 and up – enabled. And note, that this is usually the default configuration. SAML cannot be used to run the loader since SAML is not officially supported by Tableau for REST API calls. If you want to learn more about SAML please watch the Authentication video later in this series. The loader also supports Tableau SITES configuration. To discover the ID needed for this setup visit your Tableau Server or Tableau Online and examine the value that appears after ‘/site/’ in the URL. For a single site server or for a Default site the Site ID can be left empty. The user credentials entered into the loader must also correspond to a Tableau Server administrator or site administrator – i.e. they must be user credentials with the ability to load users, groups, and permissions.