Best Practices for Designing Efficient Workbooks

By Ellie Fields October 10, 2013

A new whitepaper by Alan Eldridge, “Best Practices for Designing Efficient Workbooks,” is a joy for anyone who loves fast workbooks. And who doesn’t love fast workbooks?

Alan is one of the most qualified people in the world to write such a paper. He’s one of our best Sales Consultants and has worked with dozens of clients to roll out self-service business intelligence and yes, speed up their analytics.

This is a paper with a lot of technical information, but it’s not just for tech-heads. In his characteristic style, Alan cautions us from taking too narrow a view of “efficiency.” An efficient workbook is:

  • A workbook that takes advantage of the “principles of visual analysis” to effectively communicate the message of the author and the data, possibly by engaging the user in an interactive experience.
  • A workbook that responds in a timely fashion. This can be a somewhat subjective measure, but in general we would want the workbook to provide an initial display of information and to respond to user interactions within a couple of seconds.

If you’re not sure if you should read this paper, try this quiz.

How would you most efficiently filter to the purple dots?

  1. Keep-only the selection
  2. Exclude the rest of the dots
  3. Keep-only on the State dimension
  4. Filter by range, like lat/ long

Read the paper to get the answer. Or read it if you want to become an expert in fast workbooks-- this paper will make you one.

Comments

Submitted by . T. on

Excellent Resource. Lots of great tips. Thanks
Trevor

Submitted by Patrice C. on

This papers mentions to use a 64-bit OS to ensure that the 64-bit version of the
Tableau data engine is used.
I don't understand. I thought that the 64-bit version of Tableau will only be available in version 8.1.

Submitted by Sawan Ruparel (not verified) on

64 bit data engine was always available, even with 32 bit Tableau.

Tableau server is divided among multiple blocks - dataengine, reporsitory, vizql server, web server ( have a look here - http://onlinehelp.tableausoftware.com/v7.0/server/en-us/distrib_maint.htm )

Out of all these components the data engine is 64 bit and the pdf recommends the same.

Sawan
http://tableauweekly.com

Submitted by Alan E. on

Thanks for the question, Patrice. As Sawan posted, Tableau Server is made up of several independent processes, each of which performs specific tasks. For example, the application server handles much of the logic related to drawing the Tableau Server portal UI; the VizQL server renders workbooks and dashboards; the extract host (also called the data engine) manages Tableau Data Extract files.

In Tableau 8 and earlier, all of these processes are 32-bit processes with the exception of the extract host. This service has both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version and it depends on the underlying OS as to which gets installed. If you are running a 32-bit OS, the 32-bit extract host is run. If you are running a 64-bit OS, the 64-bit extract host is run. The 64-bit extract host (like all 64-bit processes) can take advantage of much more RAM than the 32-bit version, hence the recommendation.

In 8.1 all of the components will be available as either 32-bit or 64-bit.

I hope this clarifies.

Cheers,
Alan