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Although visual interfaces and databases are two of the success stories of the computer revolution, their synergy to date has been modest, probably because visual interfaces have focused on human capabilities while databases have focused on efficient query processing. Unlocking this synergy will shift us from data workers to data thinkers, people who can use data at the speed-of-thought.
Tableau Software was founded on the idea that analysis and visualization should not be isolated activities but must be synergistically integrated into a visual analysis process. Successful visual analysis software unites data exploration and data visualization in an easy-to-use application that anyone can use.
This paper discusses the three problems that must be addressed when trying to do effective visual analysis:
This whitepaper describes how Tableau's visual analysis software solves these problems with a declarative visual query language (VizQL) that simultaneously describes how to query data and how to present it visually. The result is a fundamentally new way of interacting with databases and spreadsheets. Software products based on VizQL can be used for tasks that range from everyday question answering that require small data collections and simple visual analysis to mission-critical tasks that require very large data collections and deep multidimensional visual analysis.
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