New in Tableau Prep: Performance improvements, reuse steps across flows and usability enhancements
In the October release of Tableau Prep Builder (2019.3.2), we are excited to introduce new product capabilities and improvements to make you more productive with your data prep. We’ve focused on performance to enhance how you connect to and interact with your data. In this release, we’ve also updated our user experience to allow you to insert steps and seamlessly navigate your flow. You can also leverage the work of others in your organisation with reusable steps and custom data roles.
Many of these improvements came directly from the Tableau community. Thank you for the feedback, we love hearing from you. Read on to learn more and keep the feedback coming!
Share and reuse one or more steps
Combining and cleaning your data in Tableau Prep Builder is easy, but you may find yourself doing the same work across multiple flows. We are introducing reusable steps in Tableau Prep Builder 2019.3.2 to help you reduce redundant work across your flows and share them across your organisation.
You can build your library of reusable steps locally or share them to a centralised location on Tableau Server or Tableau Online where everyone in your organisation can access them. The next time you build a flow, you can save time by leveraging reusable steps!
Flexible step insertion anywhere in your flow
The flow pane gives you a bird’s-eye view of your data workflow. You told us that inserting steps in your flow can sometimes be a cumbersome process because you must disconnect and reconnect steps. Not anymore! Starting with this release (2019.3.2), you can insert steps. Simply find the branch where you want your step to go and from the context menu, select the step you’d like to insert. Building flows in Tableau Prep Builder has never been this easy!
Navigate large flows easily with Flow Navigator
Navigating your flow can sometimes be difficult, especially on large flows. You often find yourself scrolling back and forth to see the steps outside your view. We are introducing a Flow Navigator to help you see your full flow and navigate to the steps you care about.
This feature gives you a miniature version of your flow and a navigation tool. You can also zoom in or out of your flow and re-centre the flow to fit the screen and bring the full flow into view. With Flow Navigator, stay in the flow of your data preparation tasks.
See your fields in a list view and take quick actions
The profile pane is great for your data prep needs. It allows you to see data summaries and easily identify outliers based on the relationships among your fields. But you can only see five to seven fields at a time. You told us this can be frustrating because you often find yourself scrolling back and forth to find the fields you’re looking for. We’ve introduced list view to solve this exact problem. This view allows you to see all your fields and take quick actions such as renaming a field, removing a field or changing a data type.
Standardise and fix data quality using custom data roles
Do you see inconsistent data values when you combine data from different systems because they represent the same items in slightly different ways? Or do the names of your products or departments change over time and you need a consolidated set for your analysis? Well, you can fix these inconsistent values as easily as you do geographic values with data roles!
In Prep Builder 2019.3.1, we introduced custom data roles, so you can create your own data role to share with your organisation and easily validate data values in your flows. Publish your categorical field as a data role, as you would a data source, so you and your team can leverage the same rules and standardise your data. Then apply your custom data role to a field and Tableau Prep Builder will automatically identify invalid values. In this release, Prep Builder will even replace invalid values with the closest valid ones from that role (just like you could with the geographic roles in Builder 2019.2.3). For example, if you have a standardised set of product categories and one of your retailers has “Envelops” instead of “Envelopes”, Tableau Prep Builder is smart enough to automatically replace it with the expected “Envelopes” value so you can accurately analyse your products.
Performance improvements throughout your experience
We are constantly making updates to enrich your experience, and, in this release, we have made improvements to performance. Depending on your machine specifications, the size of your flow and your connections type, you may see the following improvements:
- Your data may load up to 50% faster for excel or csv file connections.
- Wildcard unions that used to take minutes can now take seconds. In some tests, we’ve observed performance gains of up to 700%.
- Your data may load up to 95% faster when clicking a step.
We are continuing to invest in new innovations that will make your data preparation experience more performant. You feedback is instrumental in helping us identify and address core scenarios. Thank you!
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