10 Replies Latest reply on Jan 9, 2017 11:46 AM by Philip Baer

    Report generation for non-Tableau users

    Alexander christopherson

      Our company is trying to create a report that can be refreshed and sent to about 20-30 internal individuals daily. We are trying to find the best way to do this using Tableau. We have licenses for Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server, but only a limited number of accounts for each.  Our goal is to get data from SQL Server to be viewable (interactively) with Tableau visualizations to our recipients with the least amount of hassle possible. We know that one option is to refresh and repackage a workbook overnight and have people use Tableau Reader but is there a simpler option? It's not a huge amount of data so an export to Excel and some use of Tableau Public could also be possible. Or is there some way of embedding the visualizations into a daily email?

       

      Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

        • 1. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
          Russell Christopher

          Hey Alexander -

           

          I'm going to read between the lines here and guess at what your goal is:

           

          • We want more people to be able to consume Tableau content than we have licenses for

           

          Is that about it? If so, you have some options, but none of them are especially good - the best experience is achieved by consuming reports directly via Tableau Server - but you probably know that

           

          Anyway:

           

          Tableau Reader: Use this to consume a twbx you've created with Tableau Desktop or exported from Tableau Server. It'll be up to you to distribute the twbx file

           

          "Screenshot": Export a dashboard as an image, and send that around. Of course, it's completely non-interactive and you'll have to roll your own batch files to do the exporting and emailing

           

          Tableau Server 8 (soon to be released) does have a subscription feature in which reports can be emailed, but this won't help you as you need to be a licensed user to take advantage of it.

           

          Hope this helps, at least a little.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
            John Munoz

            I'm in a similar situation, having to distribute reports to hundreds of folks and not wanting to spend oodles of $ on Tableau server licenses (sorry Tableau).

             

            Here's a suggestion I got from Michael in Tableau's product support that I think is viable. I hope to test it in the next few days.

             

            http://kb.tableausoftware.com/articles/knowledgebase/using-tabcmd

            Here’s a KB article that serves as an intro for using Tabcmd. At the end you will see the instructions for using tabcmd to send emails. Notice that the instruction use febootimail to send the email. That’s a 3rd-party shareware command-line utility to send Emails. The idea is that you combine the tabcmd logic to grab a pdf or png (notice that uses the get function) with the febootimail logic to send an email.

             

            http://onlinehelp.tableausoftware.com/current/server/en-us/tabcmd_cmd.htm

            Here is the full documentation on tabcmd. If you go to the ‘get url’ you’ll see that the only difference in ‘get’ting a png and a .twbx (packaged workbook which is what you’ll want to grab if you want you users to view it in Reader) is the file extension in the url that you specify. Also notice that with the –filename flag, you can choose where you’d like to save the file, which you could use to save it to the S:\ drive.

             

            Putting that all together you might create a script very similar to the one on the first KB article, but modify it slightly so that you get something like this:

            tabcmd login -s http://tableauserver:80 -u admin -p admin
            tabcmd get "/views/Wow/SummaryReports.png" -f "S:\SharedTableauViews\progressReport.png"

            tabcmd get "/views/Wow/SummaryReports.twbx" -f " S:\SharedTableauViews\progressReport.twbx"
            febootimail.exe -SMTP yourSMTPhost.yourcompany.com -TO "recipient1@yourcompany.com; recipient2@yourcompany.com;recipient3@yourcompany.com" -FROM
            sender@yourcompany.com -SUBJECT "Generated Tableau View - Tableau Server Automated Alert System (TSAAS)" - -HTMLFILE "emailbody.html"

             

            And you’d have your ‘emailbody.html’ be something like:

            <html>

            <head><title>Your daily Tableau View is ready to view and download!</title></head>

            <body>

              <a href=’ S:\SharedTableauViews\progressReport.twbx’><img src="S:\SharedTableauViews\progressReport.png" /></a>

            <a href=’ S:\SharedTableauViews\progressReport.twbx’> S:\SharedTableauViews\progressReport.twbx’</a>

            </body>

            </html>

             

            It would take me a bit more work to verify this via testing and I wanted to get it to you as soon as possible, but I am fairly certain it should work. Let me know if you need any help in verifying it.

            3 of 3 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
              Cristian Vasile

              Alexander,

               

              I have 2 advices for you:

              - purchase the minimum server licenses

              then

              - use BLAT as email agent in order to distribute .pdf reports, is free and it works great under huge load (10-20 k emails per night)

               

              regards,

              Cristian.

              2 of 2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
                Ajo Abraham

                Hi Alexander,

                 

                Would love to learn more about your use case.  Our product, Vero Designer, allows you to build reports against SQL Server and maintain a cached table.  You can then point Tableau it in live mode.  This would mean your end users could consume the data using just the Tableau reader.  Find out more about our solution here http://www.veroanalytics.com/

                 

                If this isn't ideal, or if you have found an alternative solution, I would love to hear about it.

                 

                thanks!

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
                  Rob Flint

                  You can automate the creation of a twbx file. First you have to script the refresh/update of the tde files containing the data, then a script to build the twbx file.

                  Check out the link below.

                   

                  http://sirrobflint.blog.com/automate-tableau-twbx-files-for-reader/

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
                    Chris McClellan

                    Tableau Reader is your best option, because the users are able to interact with the workbook (ie you can build dashboards) just as if they were using Desktop or Server.

                     

                    tabcmd is the next option if they want pdf/jpg but it's static, so you're quickly should be getting questions about further filtering on the data (a self service exercise if they had Reader).

                     

                    tabcmd can be integrated into more powerful scripting to create static files and email them out, but you loose the power of Tableau.

                    • 7. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
                      Frederic Pinchon

                      I think Tableau finally heard you! Out of the box, V10 lets you subscribe other users than yourself:

                      Subscribe Others to Your Views and Workbooks in Tableau 10 | Tableau Software

                      • 8. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
                        Sarah Arnio

                        I noticed this option on Tableau Online but it looks like the user needs to have a license to be able to subscribe them to a report or view

                        • 9. Re: Report generation for non-Tableau users
                          Philip Baer

                          You can also use Powershell v4 instead of BLAT and write a scripts as follows:

                           

                          #

                          #Send Email Test

                           

                          param(

                          [string]$to,

                          [string]$subject,

                          [string]$body

                          )

                           

                           

                          $PSEmailServer = "mail.zzz.com"

                          $FromEmail = "test@test.com"

                          $ToEmail = $to

                          $messageSubject = $subject

                           

                          #Execute Script

                          Send-MailMessage -From $FromEmail -To $to -Subject $subject -BodyAsHTML "Test inline image <br /><img src='C:\shipping.png' />" -Attachments "C:\shipping.png"

                           

                          Then in powershell run the command to execute script

                          .\Send-EmailTest.ps1 -To "test@test.com" -Subject "Test inline image"