7 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2014 9:15 AM by Jonathan Drummey

    Why don't newly published data sources show up immediately?

    David Li

      After publishing data sources to Tableau Server, the newly created server data sources don't appear immediately in the data connections of the source workbook. In order to add them to the workbook, one must create a new connection to them and then replace the original references. Is this the expected behavior, and if so, what's the rationale for that?

        • 1. Re: Why don't newly published data sources show up immediately?
          Shawn Wallwork

          Hey David, I'm going to take a run at this. But


          Please note:

          1. I could be completely wrong,
          2. I might be misunderstanding the way Tableau works
          3. I might be misunderstanding your particular situation
          4. You might have accidentally used terms that misled me

           

          Caveats in place?

          Great, lets move on....

          David Li wrote: After publishing data sources to Tableau Server...

          Did you actually publish a data source (extract - tde) to the Server? Or did you publish a workbook to the Server that included some extracts? These are very different things.

          ... the newly created server data sources don't appear immediately in the data connections of the source workbook.

          Sorry David but this is a bit difficult to unpack. Until you actually 'make a connection' you won't see any new data sources in the Data window. Are you looking for them in the Connection window, and not finding them? Can you provide some screenshots so we can better understand what you're say here. (There really are a couple of different ways of interpreting this particular sentence.)

          In order to add them to the workbook, one must create a new connection to them and then replace the original references.

          This isn't exactly true. You can do an Edit Data Source, and then point the original connection at a new source; thereby avoiding some of the more unpleasantness of doing the 'replace data source' option.

          Is this the expected behavior...

          Well.... this is obviously NOT meeting your definition of 'expected behavior'. But maybe it is just a matter of aligning your particular expectations with how Tableau behaves. (?) Sidenote: Tableau does NOT behave anything like the way Excel folks think it should, and this is a continual point of stress. So maybe this is just a continuation of that age-old argument. (?)

          .... and if so, what's the rationale for that?

           

          Short answer: Because this is a better way of doing it, considering all the factors that a data visualization software must consider.

          Longer answer: Because this is the way a bunch of Stanford data scientist designed it.

          Even longer answer: Because this works.

           

          Cheers,

           

          --Shawn

          • 2. Re: Why don't newly published data sources show up immediately?
            David Li

            Hi Shawn, thanks so much for the thoughtful response.

            shawnwallwork wrote:

            David Li wrote: After publishing data sources to Tableau Server...

            Did you actually publish a data source (extract - tde) to the Server? Or did you publish a workbook to the Server that included some extracts? These are very different things.

            ... the newly created server data sources don't appear immediately in the data connections of the source workbook.

            Sorry David but this is a bit difficult to unpack. Until you actually 'make a connection' you won't see any new data sources in the Data window. Are you looking for them in the Connection window, and not finding them? Can you provide some screenshots so we can better understand what you're say here. (There really are a couple of different ways of interpreting this particular sentence.)

            Yes, I did publish an extracted data source to the server, not a workbook. Here's an example of the steps I took:

             

            1. Extract the data source that I intend to publish. In this example, I used "Sales Planning".
              Untitled.jpg
            2. Publish that data source by right-clicking and pressing "Publish to Server...". I changed the project, but otherwise, I left all other settings on the defaults.
            3. Tableau states that the data source has been published, but the Data section at the left is unchanged. It still points to the original data source, not the new Tableau Server data source.
              Untitled.jpg

            This is surprising behavior to me. I would have expected that Tableau would immediately replace that TDE with the server data source so that it looks like this:

            Untitled.jpg

            I suppose that immediately replacing the data source in the workbook could create some issues, but I'm surprised that there isn't any kind of option to automatically connect to the published data so it can be used immediately. Even just a dialog box would do. I think a common use of publishing to Tableau Server is to create a cloud-based data source that other users can access once a workbook gets distributed, and thus it seems strange that the new published data source doesn't appear at all in my workbook. It's an orphan. I have to wade through other Tableau Server data sources to add it.

            This isn't exactly true. You can do an Edit Data Source, and then point the original connection at a new source; thereby avoiding some of the more unpleasantness of doing the 'replace data source' option.

            Is this possible across different types of data sources? For instance, if I have a connection to an Excel file, can I do an Edit Data Source and then point it to a Tableau Server data source, for instance? Or a MS SQL source?

            • 3. Re: Why don't newly published data sources show up immediately?
              Shawn Wallwork

              David,

               

              Tomorrow I will work through your detailed response(s). In the meantime, I suggest that you read through this excellent explanation Jonathan Drummey put together to help us all understand why all this works the way it does.

               

              O Extract, Where Art Thou? | Drawing with Numbers

               

              Let's connect tomorrow and see how much Jonathan's insights might have helped with your issue. Then we can work through the rest. Work for you?

               

              Cheers,

               

              --Shawn

              • 4. Re: Why don't newly published data sources show up immediately?
                Shawn Wallwork

                David, now that I've read through you response, I think you are understanding the way all this works. And there is not an option to publish and connect immediately. And you are correct, that when you publish a data source you are creating a different type of file, so Edit Data Source won't work (I wasn't thinking it through correctly.)

                 

                If you know you will be publishing data sources, I suggest you do this when you first connect to your data before you build any vizzes. Then connect to the tds files, close the original connection and start building your views and dashboards.

                 

                But take special note of what Jonathan said about published data sources:

                 

                A connection to a Tableau Server Published Data Source – this has four subtypes, the first are variations of three types mentioned above – a passthrough live connection to the data source, an extract made from a live connection, or a naked extract, and the fourth is a “static” connection to the data source (which is what we get from a  live connection to a data source when we leave the “Include External Files” option to it’s default of being checked, or make a connection to a static source where we Include External Files, there’s a failure mode in this that I’ll talk about further down in publishing).

                 

                Otherwise you may end up with static data that doesn't throw off an Alert.

                 

                Cheers,

                 

                --Shawn

                • 5. Re: Why don't newly published data sources show up immediately?
                  David Li

                  Hi Shawn, thanks again for your response. That link was very helpful and interesting. I suppose this is just one of those situations where the answer is "because that's how it is", and I'm all right with that. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing some kind of setting or something.

                  • 6. Re: Why don't newly published data sources show up immediately?
                    Shawn Wallwork

                    I think/suspect/hope you (I) am not missing something.

                     

                    Cheers,

                     

                    --Shawn

                    • 7. Re: Why don't newly published data sources show up immediately?
                      Jonathan Drummey

                      Hi David,

                       

                      I think the expectation that you're having is that the Tableau Server published data source is 100% equivalent in features/functionality to your original data source and it's not. (I was confused by this as well when published data sources were introduced in v7 and ended up doing a bunch of small tests to figure out the differences to my satisfaction).

                       

                      For example, in Tableau Desktop we can create calculated fields in a data source, when they are in a Tableau Server published data source those calculated fields are non-editable - they are treated just like any other raw field in a data source, we can hide them but not edit nor delete them. Also in Tableau Desktop we can create data source filters, the user of a published data source doesn't even see that those data source filters exist. When using a published data source in Tableau Desktop we can certainly add more calculated fields and add new data source filters, but we can't change what's already there.

                       

                      My suggestion is to think of that initial Tableau Desktop data source as your authoring environment, and Tableau Server published data source is the consumable data source. For maximum flexibility, besides what you publish to Tableau Server you're going to need to maintain a master copy of the original Tableau connection somewhere locally, that way if you need to make any changes you can make them to the master copy and then republish that to Tableau Server.

                       

                      So back to your original point, Tableau doesn't replace/reconnect our original data source with the published one because it would potentially blow away the source that we could use to modify the published data source. I think where this is confusing to users (it was certainly confusing to me) is that when learning Tableau we are typically taught to 1) connect to data 2) build views, and when creating a published data source the process has up to five extra steps that go between 1 and 2:

                       

                      1) connect to data

                      2) build data source (create calculated fields, set colors, etc.)

                      3) publish data source

                      4) save workbook to be the master copy of this data source

                      5) start a new workbook

                      6) connect to published data source

                      7) build views from published data source

                       

                      Jonathan