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Iced Tea and Lemonade

Break time!


Let's kick back and relax.  I just submitted a support ticket through the customer portal; so we should have plenty of time to catch up.


I think I'll have me an Arnold Palmer .  Two beverages which are great on their own.  But, when mixed together, what could go wrong?


Like I said, let's catch up.




Ring Ring

Sorry; forgot to silence my cell phone.


Tyler who, from where?

But, I just submitted that ticket.  How could you ...

OK.  Yes.  But.

Wow, OK; thank you so much!

That was Tableau Tech Support.  I know!  That's got to be one of the fastest turn around times I've ever experienced from a company. Anyway, Tyler knew my issue and got an answer for me ASAP.


Thank you Tyler.  You Rock!


Tableau Mobile

Failed A Secure Connection To My Server

My issue?  I just installed Tableau Mobile on my Android phone and wanted to try it out.  Alas, it wouldn't connect to my Tableau Server.



The URL you provided specifies an encrypted (https) connection, but the server's certificate is untrusted.  Tableau Mobile can connect to this server only over a non-secure (http) connection, or you can sign in through the web browser.  How would you like to connect?



Yes, a secure connection is required.  And yes, our certificate is valid.  I know because I can connect to our Tableau Server via a web browser from my PC just fine.  It does however have a certificate chaining issue.  But, why can I make a secure connection from my PC and not my phone?  This issue seems more complicate that what can be seen on the surface.


The app didn't seem to like Tableau Public either.  Not because of the certificate; I tried http and https connections.  It just doesn't like it.



Tableau Mobile cannot connect to Tableau Public.  Sign in to this server from the browser instead?



Pitty.  Assuming it's certificate is setup correctly, connecting to Tableau Public via https would've been a good troubleshooting step.  I used instead, and the app worked just fine.



Tyler sent me a link to the article "Connecting Tableau Mobile to Tableau Server Using SSL".  And this seems to fix the issue on my phone.


Now to install it on every phone within our organization.  NOT!


Don't go bad mouthing Tyler!  In fact he's the one who brought up this wrinkle while talking to me.  It's a workaround; and we both agreed the root cause needs to be found.


But, that article does cover fixing this issue on the Tableau Server.  Thus a fix, and not a workaround!


Sadly, I don't have admin privileges on our server.  So I'll pass along this information and let y'all know how things turned out.



While we were chatting, I took the opportunity to give some feedback on the messages that Tableau Mobile displayed.


  • "Tableau Mobile cannot connect to Tableau Public."
    This reads as an error.  Instead, how about "Tableau Mobile doesn't support connections to Tableau Public." 
    And for brevity, place the details in a More Info link.  E.g. "This app requires a Tableau Online or Tableau Server account."
  • "The URL you provided specifies an encrypted (https) connection, but the server's certificate is untrusted."
    Honestly, I'm being pedantic here.  But, IMHO, the wording should've been "..., but the server's certificate failed its chain of trust."
    Space is limited, and you probably don't even want to mention the certificate is actually trusted.  It would just confuse the issue.


Don't Mix Your Content

Web pages should never mix secure and insecure content.


I've purposely made all hyperlinks in this post use https.  And, for some, you've probably seen what a mess that causes.  The following are some of these links, but using http instead.



Marshall Mills


Posted by Marshall Mills Oct 13, 2016

Diet Soda

Break time!

Oh no you don't.  I'm not sticking around for another of your diatribes.

Wait, wait!  OK, yes.  I've gotten too long winded.  I really did intend these posts to be short and to the point.


There's just so much to cover.  Like last time when ...


What if I just ...

I'm walking towards the door now.

OK.  Short and sweet.  I'll try.


How To Blog

So, what are some good practices when writing a blog?


Obviously I have some loose concept of a theme.  But, I do get long winded.


I'll keep writing these as long as I'm working with Tableau; and I find something to write about.



Till next time,



Break time!  And wasn’t I Mr. Sour Puss last time.  I brought a little sugar, so let me see if I can whip up a pitcher of lemonade from all that harrumphing last time.


Starting Over with Tableau Desktop

I really did enjoy, and was impressed by, Tableau’s “Get Started with Tableau Desktop” tutorial.  But, IMHO, some information was lacking.


And, to be fair, some of the things I’m going to mention were never intended to be a part of the tutorial.  Oh, I’m going to cover them just the same.  If I don’t, I won’t be able to make a full pitcher of lemonade.


Hey Marshall, what’s with the title of this post?  Click bait much?


Version 10.0 Specific

When I first went through the tutorial, some of the images and information wasn’t matching up with what the tutorial was saying.


At the time I was using Tableau Desktop 9.3.5.  After upgrading to 10.0.0, I wanted to see if there was any difference.  Sure enough, the images and information from the tutorial are now matching up.  But, only if I start over with a new workbook.  Opening the previous workbook created from version 9, I still experienced incorrect colors.


Different Automatic Color Palette

Colors?  Marshall, are you going to be that pedantic?


No.  Yes?  Listen, there’s a more important point to be made later; and, it concerns color.  For now, I’m just pointing out behavior which turned out to be an indicator that I was using the wrong version of Tableau Desktop.


Back to the topic at hand.  As an example, in step 4 the tutorial walks you through creating a heat map of profits in the South. Previously, my worksheet looked different.  But, as I said, if I started over using version 10, it all looks correct now.  Initially, I didn’t see anything obvious about this change in behavior.  But, there’s some good background on the change in color palettes by Maureen Stone.  A more in-depth breakdown of the changes in Tableau 10’s look and feel is covered by Zi Krostag.  There’s also the new features in 10.


Tutorial's Worksheet with Automatic color palette.png
Tutorial's Worksheet with Automatic color palette
My worksheet created using version 9.3.5 with Automatic color palette.png
My worksheet created using version 9.3.5 with Automatic color palette
My worksheet created using version 10.0.0 with Automatic color palette.png
My worksheet created using version 10.0.0 with Automatic color palette


Changing The Color Palette Changes The Behavior

Wow, the customizations available!  So many.  The choice of color palette is just the beginning.


But, don’t assume too much.  Or anything?  I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here when I see that I can change the colors being used; the only thing that should change is.  Wait for it.  The colors.




When the automatic color palette is used, you get additional behavior that isn’t available otherwise.


What follows speaks only towards adding color marks to a continuous field; which uses a quantitative palette.  I.e. dimensions.  I.e. aggregated measures.  And I’m only speaking about the diverging palettes.


I’ll use profits since an example is easier to talk about than trying to describe the behaviors in general terms.   So, after dragging profit onto the color mark, Profit Mark.bmpa continuous range of profits by state are created.


Keep reading if you wish; I fell asleep 5 minutes ago.  I published an example Vis that demonstrates this behavior if you want to play around yourself.


Behavior (with the automatic palette)

  • 2 colors are used
    Left  color for negative values
    White is used for the value 0
    Right color for positive values
  • Legend Card shows
    Lowest and highest profit value.  E.g. -$7,491 and $18,598.
    Color band matching the lowest and highest profit value.
  • Each color is shown only if its associated value is shown.  E.g.
    If negative and positive profits are visible, then both colors are shown.
    If there’s only positive profits visible, then only the right color is shown.


Behavior Lost (with a specific diverging palette)

Changing the colors to a specific diverging color palette changes how your worksheet behaves.

  • 2 colors are used
    Left  color for lowest value
    White is used for the median value
    Right color for highest value
  • Both colors are shown.  Always.


Positive profits onlyPositive and negative profits
AutomaticProfit Legend using automatic palette - positive values only.bmpProfit Legend using automatic palette.bmp
Orange-Blue DivergingProfit Legend using Orange-Blue Diverging palette - positive values only.bmpProfit Legend using Orange-Blue Diverging palette.bmp




Hey Marshall, isn’t that lemonade ready yet?  What are you doing?


Mostly, but I still wanted to cover ...


NO!  It’s Friday, well after 5 PM and it’s a 3 day weekend.



Marshall Mills

Where To Start

Posted by Marshall Mills Aug 24, 2016

Spring Water

Break time!  Nothing fancy for me today.  They’re so many choices.  I could be here for weeks trying to decide on the best one; which gets me nowhere.  I just grabbed a cup from the water cooler.




Get Started with Tableau Desktop

So my first real dive will be with this tutorial.  It’s cited in several places.  In fact it’s mentioned just 1 click away from the Community’s landing page. You know, where it says “New to the Community?”



First paragraph and I’m in love – a real world working example.  Hello World has it place.  But this tutorial is giving me a real situation, describing my goals, and telling me what to expect.  A story I can follow and empathize with.


Step 1:  Connect to your data

Tableau Desktop comes installed with sample data?  Bonus. I don’t have to go searching online for the example’s download site; or try to figure out which version of the example to use.  I’m looking at you Adventure Works.


It’s also reassuring me that Tableau doesn’t alter my data.  Knowing this empowers developers to explore and experiment since they don’t have to worry about accidentally altering the source data.


Step 2:  Drag and drop to take a first look

In several places the tutorial gives me expandable sections called “Learn more”.  It suggested not to dig into these on my first time through, but I can’t help myself.  Personally, I’d recommend it, because it explains the UX/UI, terminology, and why Tableau arranges things the way it does.


There’s even animated gifs to further demonstrate the UI and review the instructions I was supposed to follow.


Is the rest of like this?  If so, this is going to be great.


Step 3:  Focus your results

And then I came to a screeching halt.  And it was my fault.  But I didn’t figure that out till later.


As I followed along, it was obvious my worksheet didn’t look like it should.  The tutorial was trying to demonstrate how Tableau revealed a loss in profit; but the data given had no such information.


Tutorial's worksheet showing a profit loss
Tutorial's worksheet
My worksheet not showing a profit loss
My worksheet


First, it turns out the data from the online tutorial didn’t match that which was installed with my version of Tableau Desktop – 9.3.5 (9300.16.0726.1843) 32-bit.


The tutorial has orders from 2015, but the latest order I had was on 12/31/2014.  The tutorial didn’t supply a copy of the data I could download; so I searched both and my PC.  There were a few, but none of them seemed to match up exactly.


Frustrated, I started over; and low and behold, it worked.  I still didn’t have 2015 sales data, but my workbook was acting very much like the tutorial.


Root cause?  While playing around in the “Data Source” I was double clicking tables trying to display the information and take a look at the raw data.  Sadly, when I double clicked on Orders; Tableau joined the Orders table to itself. Ugh, what’s in this water?


Don’t blame the water Marshall.  It was your own fault.  Next time you experience strange behavior like that, try looking at the data first. You know:  is the correct data being used, is it joined correctly.


Step 4:  Explore your data geographically

I think I did a spit-take at how easy it is to create a map.


Everything looks great. Mostly.  Profit’s color pallet is set to “Automatic”; but it looks like my worksheet is using “Red-Green Diverging” for its “Automatic” setting instead of the “Orange-Blue Diverging” as the tutorial said it would.  No problem; I’ll just edit the colors from Automatic to “Orange-Blue Diverging”.  There. Now my map looks like the one from the tutorial.


Tutorial's worksheet with Automatic color palette shows orange to blue diverging colors
Tutorial's worksheet with Automatic color palette
My worksheet with Automatic color palette shows red to green diverging colors
My worksheet with Automatic color palette
My worksheet now using the Orange-Blue Diverging color palette shows orange to blue diverging colors
My worksheet now using Orange-Blue Diverging color palette


Oh Marshall.  Didn’t you learn your lesson before about going off script?


Step 5:  Drill down into the details

Here the tutorial is showing me how to use a worksheet to investigate data.  But, it didn’t point out that the worksheet as designed, couldn’t be reused if the data gets updated.  Harrumph # 1.


At the end of this step, the tutorial is showing how FL, SC, and TN can go from negative profits to positive by removing binders, machines, and tables.  But, instead of having all southern states showing a profit, my map looks like there are are now 8 states with negative profits.


Wait.  It's the coloring.  The tutorial’s map shows orange for negative profits.  Mine is just using orange as a lower bounds.  If I change the profit’s color to “Automatic” it’s no longer misleading.  Harrumph #2.

Tutorial's worksheet with Automatic color palette shows all states in blue
Tutorial's worksheet
My worksheet using Orange-Blue Diverging color palette shows 8 states in orange
My worksheet using Orange-Blue Diverging color palette
My worksheet using Automatic color palette shows all states in green
My worksheet using Automatic color palette


I’ll drain the water cooler if I keep going down rabbit holes.  I’ll cover these 2 issues later.  I’ll have to think what beverages would be appropriate.  Yes, yes; I’ll update this blog and insert links later.


Step 6:  Build a dashboard to show your insights

Anyway, back on task.


In this step filters on one worksheet are now applied to all worksheets.  Interesting, but confusing too.  I’m expecting worksheets to be isolated and not affect others.  It’s a powerful feature; I’ll just investigate it later.


Step 7:  Build a story to present

OK, seriously!?  All the data in this tutorial includes 2015 sales; and mine doesn’t.  Not perfect, but I was dealing with it.  Then at the end of this step, I was presented with an embedded version of the story just created.  And it only has data up to 2014.


Not only that, its “Automatic” colors are the same as mine – “Red-Green Diverging”.  Harrumph #.


Calm down Marshall. You keep that up and you’ll have to rename your blog to Harrumph Central.


Step 8:  Share your findings

I love that this tutorial acts as a working example; which of course means publishing your work.


Oh, that doesn’t look quite right.  Er; minor adjustment, save, delete, and republish.


So, make sure to select the first sheet before publishing.  Whichever sheet is in view when you publish, will be the starting point used on the server.


Learning Library

I almost skipped the learning library.  Big mistake. For all the features covered in the tutorial, it gives links to the applicable page within Tableau’s Online Help.  There’s also some additional links to other Tableau resources.



Wow, look at the time. Long post, I know.  Till next time.

Marshall Mills

Tasty Beverage Club

Posted by Marshall Mills Aug 19, 2016

Artisan Roasted Hazelnut Coffee

Break time!  Oooh, this looks promising.  Catchy branding, enticing description.  What could go wrong?


What!?  Store brand coffee; natural and artificial flavoring.  Well, it is 100% Arabica beans; and it does say your satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back.  Eh, might as well.  You’re here anyway.


New To Tableau

I need the coffee just the same.  I just installed Tableau Desktop and got access to our own Tableau Server.  You know me, never happier than when I get to learn to use a tool.


Oh that’s right, you don’t know me.  I’m new here.  I started off wandering around the place, trying to get a feel for what resources are available.  But, it’s time to dig in and get some work done.  Learn what Tableau can do for me.


Glad to make your acquaintance.  I got to say I’m excited.