1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Dec 10, 2010 3:39 PM by Richard Leeke

    Meta discussion about TCRL

    James Baker

      This is a thread for ideas, suggestions, constructive criticism, and questions about the TCRL.

        • 1. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
          James Baker

          Breadcrumbs don't work on article pages. (There's no "Forums > Forumname" at the top of the page.) This is a temporary condition: I chose URLs that won't break later (i.e. .com/tcrl/article-name) over having forum breadcrumbs (which work by analyzing the URL, evidently).  Eventually the TCRL will have its own navigation.


          What is the future of submitting articles?  Well, I'm trying to keep to a structured "fill-in-the-blanks" approach so that eventually we can put up a few HTML submission forms that you just fill in the 6-7 sections.  This will give an easy submission path along with the ability to easily maintain articles according to the semantics of that structure. FOR NOW, just toss a post with a "TCRL:" title in the main Calculations forum and I'll translate that into an article in the TCRL forum.

          • 2. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
            Robert Morton

            No complaints here, I think you're doing a great job James!  When we upgrade Public to 6.0 we should consider publishing simple examples as live views in each page so folks can see the TC results and download the example workbook.  In many cases the most effective examples will be a textual table, so folks can understand table calcs by way of auditing the numbers.  However some table calcs like moving windows (and optionally secondary calculations) might be more easily understood with an additional graphic showing e.g. the smoothing effect.



            • 3. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
              Joe Mako

              How about a section for "Related Table Calculations" that links to other entries in the TCRL?


              Example for your 4 Rank functions:


              Related Table Calculations

              Table Calculations:

              Dense Rank

              Rank with Ties

              Unique Rank


              Builtin functions:



              and since they are related, Robert's idea of a embedded Tableau Public Viz would be useful to show the differences between each.


              Attached is an example worksheet. Of note, I added an extra "My Dense Rank" because the Dense Rank at http://www.tableausoftware.com/tcrl/table-calculation%3A-dense-rank did not work properly for me. My Thanks to Richard Leeke for pointing out the IIF has a return argument for unknown/null, useful for the first PREVIOUS_VALUE(1) in this case.


              (side note: maybe the function

              could be changed to
              PREVIOUS_VALUE([expression], [return value if null])
              , and have default argument values of 1 and either Empty Sting, Zero, or 1/1/1900 based on the field type, so we can set the return value if null in the case of the first row where there is not previous value)


              In addition, for formatting, I prefer the formatting of the Example with multi line, instead of the single line for the Definition. I am also looking forward to seeing the code colored as it would in the calculated field dialog. How do you think the part that we are supposed to replace be formatted? Black or Orange? as currently if copy pasted as it is in the definition, it would be black.

              • 4. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                Richard Leeke

                Great work James - and good suggestions Robert and Joe.


                I'm interested to see how you tackle the description of addressing/partitioning requirements for more advanced examples.


                I'm planning on contributing a percentile calculation today (my time - tomorrow for you) and that needs quite a bit of discussion of context.  I'll have a go at making that clear - at least it might give you a concrete example to think around how best to present that - even if you don't like what I come up with.

                • 5. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                  Richard Leeke

                  One more thought.  Once this is up and going it probably deserves being bumped up at least in front of the user groups - I don't normally scroll down as far as the bottom, so it would be easy for people to miss cool new stuff.

                  • 6. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                    James Baker

                    Examples: Would love to add workbooks in the future, I think it'd slow us down too much for the initial pass.


                    Related calcs: I've been wanting to do this programmatically.  On second thought, though, only for the usages of the builtin functions.  The related-ness of complex calcs will still have to be curated by hand.  I'm leaving this off until we have lots more calcs to relate to one another.


                    I ran into the corner cases of rank myself recently!  I'll be updating those calcs soon, thank you for the feedback.  I expect to make mistakes; please don't be shy about calling them out.


                    Location: I've hidden this 'forum' at the bottom on purpose while it's being built.  It will go someplace else entirely in time.


                    I'm building a list of good v6 calc threads as they pop up on the forums.

                    • 7. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                      Andy Cotgreave

                      Hi James

                      Enjoying your example so far. Could you adopt a policy of attaching an example workbook to every example, too? Sometimes it's easier to understand your commentary with a worked example on screen too.



                      • 8. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                        James Baker

                        I think I may need to, Andy.  I've been hoping to get away without that, but I don't know that trying to write down exhaustively understandable text descriptions is going any faster.  ...especially as I try to tackle more complicated sets of calcs.

                        • 9. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                          James Baker

                          Okay, I gave the (now five) ranking functions another overhaul, with workbook example.  I think I'm getting fairly close to a format I can run with, though I'm still a little fuzzy on describing "running along" versus "compute using" and specifying sorting/ordering in the abstract.

                          • 10. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                            Joe Mako

                            James, I would default to say you cannot fully explain all cases of "running along" versus "compute using" and specifying sorting/ordering in the abstract. The best or most that I could expect would be a single example (published to Tableau Public). Then comments provide additional examples, with different partitioning, because partition depends on the subject and what dimensions are on the worksheet.

                            • 11. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                              Richard Leeke

                              I knocked up the attached template to try to get my postings resembling the style you are using as closely as I could, James, to minimise your reformatting work.  I've attached it here in case it makes it easier for others while you're getting the entry forms sorted.  It's just some text to paste into the posting with a few style tags, and a space character that survives the posting so allows indentation to survive.


                              It might just pay for you to have a quick look and see if the styling actually helps (do tell us not to bother if it actually makes your life harder), and whether there are any more tweaks needed before you get inundated with all the contributions that must be coming soon - (come on guys, don't be shy!).

                              • 12. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                                Joe Mako

                                James and all,


                                I just noticed, two questions were posted to this thread recently: http://www.tableausoftware.com/tcrl/table-calculation:-standard-rank


                                While they are good questions (and I will likely attempt to answer them tonight), I believe they would be better suited as their own threads in the Calculations area.


                                Also I do not think comments should be closed in the TCRL, but maybe moderation should be imposed on them to ensure the content stays focused on the calculation formula concept, and send related situational questions to the regular forum.


                                And if you do move a comment or thread, how do you let the poster know that the thread/comment has been moved? Do you think sending an email to the address they registered with would be prudent?


                                What do you think?

                                • 13. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                                  James Baker

                                  Yes, we'll definitely have to make clear in the future this choice: "Have a question? Click here!" (Goes to forums), and "Have notes, clarifications, or extensions to this calc? Enter them here!"


                                  For now... I'm not sure.  It's a pain to "spin off" sub-discussions to their own threads.  Maybe that's what I'll do, though: leave a "go here for questions" comment+link in the TCRL, pointing to a new post in the calcs forum. That solves the notification problem for now, and maybe even gets their questions more visibility.


                                  Then I'll stick a "PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING HERE" post in the TCRL to try to guide behavior.

                                  • 14. Re: Meta discussion about TCRL
                                    Jordan Cardonick

                                    Would it make sense to have continued linkage to the newly created threads. . . something of a "Frequently Asked Questions" area where within the TCRL thread is the discussion of Uses, Modifications, etc. and then links to the situational questions so people can get more of an understanding of how people are using these calculations or how they want to use these calculations for themselves. Might be a pain for people to be hopping around the forum looking for these questions.


                                    I'm not sure the set-up of the forums here, but is it possible to have a sub-level under each individual Table Calculation where people can post their questions and then this will help with keeping the situational things together with the appropriate Calc, instead of bouncing all over the place and having things getting buried on the main forum.


                                    Basically the TCRL would be its own little entity and Calculations would still be used for typical calculation questions and some of the crazier things people try to do with the Tableau functions.

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