Web Authoring in Tableau Server

Subject Area: Server/Web

Level of complexity: Beginner

Approximate Time to complete: 30 minutes

Companion Workbook (twbx): n/a

Additional Resources on the web:

A feature that gets the most mileage out of a view or dashboard published to Tableau Server is web authoring. Use web authoring to change an existing view or create a new view with the meta-data available in the workbook. Most Tableau customers use web authoring to create one-off reports. This is a great substitute if the user is familiar with crystal reports. Instead of having a DBA or analyst peppered with questions from the business user, web authoring enables the end user to have a self-service experience. This has literally cut many clients reports by 75%.

The great part about using web authored views is they are by default only available to the use creating the view, unless shared by the author. The end user has a choice in sharing what they have created.

Web authoring is not Tableau Desktop. Depending on who you are talking to this can be a negative or positive. Some clients want to have the complete Desktop user interface accessible via a web browser, while others do not. Regardless of where you stand it's important to understand what web authoring will allow and not allow. Web authoring is not available to everyone. This feature granted via server permissions set up by a Tableau Server Administrator. When considering the pool of users who should be granted consider these questions:

  • Do you want this user to be able to change the view or create a new view?
  • Is there meta-data associated with the published workbook that should not be accessed by the user?
  • Is the workbook set up properly so if there are any username related filters on they cannot be removed and reveal sensitive data for other users?

Again, web authoring is not Tableau Desktop. Often called ‘Tableau lite', web authoring will not allow these capabilities that are available in Desktop:

  • Connecting to data for the very first time.
  • Making or changing meta-data. This includes creating new calculated fields, creating hierarchies, sets or grouping.
  • Annotations
  • Right-click functionality in Tableau Desktop. A good rule of thumb in Desktop is right clicking or using the carrot on the upper left of a field or chart. While the carrot functions are available, right clicking for forecasts or trend lines are not.

If you want to allow users to have web authoring make sure you publish all metadata modeling the end user will need to further their analytical thought process. If not present, a bottleneck could happen when the Tableau Desktop power user is swamped with requests. Users who use web authoring a lot may be good candidates for a Tableau Desktop license because they are interested in creating new insight.

A different feature, but similarly used is the save changes feature is another easy feature to save time. It captures the drill down path of dashboard a user needs to regularly view. By saving the dashboard with the correct filters already in place, redundancy is limited; the minute or two a user would have to take to capture the correct data is saved.

Access both features in while logged into Tableau Server. A user must be on a view granularity. Both features are accessible on the upper right hand of the view.