3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 27, 2015 11:22 PM by Bradley Kirby

    Data descriptions

    Bradley Kirby



      We're building a data warehouse and intend to use Tableau as the BI tool that queries the warehouse schema (currently developing in SQL Server). I'm struggling with the metatada aspect, specifically, where can I describe data items for the Tableau user?


      In Yellowfin, there is a pretty comprehensive metadata layer that can be created on top of the data warehouse schema, which allows me to create views and physically define entity relationships and what fields are available for the end user. It also lets me describe the meaning of individual data items, i.e. using language to describe what a data item is and its meaning in a business context.


      Tableau doesn't seem to have this ability. Logically, it would appear under the 'Describe...' option when you right click a dimension or measure, but in Tableau this just describes a basic set of metrics associated with that field, i.e. role, type, status, and values (which Tableau calls 'Domain' for some reason).


      I've read the "Tableau Metadata Model" whitepaper but that appears to be more about connections and data models rather than data description.



        • 1. Re: Data descriptions
          Jonathan Drummey

          There are a couple of different things here that I'm seeing: One is having a description or comment metadata for fields, this can be done in Tableau using the Comment option, here's the v9 menu to access it:

          Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 6.14.48 PM.PNG


          The second part is about building out views. The Tableau equivalent is to build a data source, then that data source can be saved out as a file or published to Tableau Server.



          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Data descriptions
            Chris Gerrard

            I recently ran into the situation where one of my clients had multiple Tableau connections to a common data source - common in that the same fields occurred in multiple tables and views. They wanted a way to have a canonical set of metadata, particularly comments, that each of the Tableau connections would be provided with.


            They also wanted the ability to apply the metadata to connections users, themselves database people, created, for database fields that match a canonical name.


            I build a Ruby script to handle this. It works by scanning the Workbooks in a directory and applying the canonical fields' comments where appropriate.


            Is this something like what you're looking for? If so, it wouldn't take long to whip up a version, and I'm looking for interesting Workbook management projects to while away the spare time.


            That said, synchronizing comments is really pretty easy, with some subtleties. Data types, formats, and other metadata gets pretty messy pretty fast.

            2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Data descriptions
              Bradley Kirby

              Comments is what I'm looking for. Thanks. Can these be applied to multiple connections? Perhaps that what Chris Gerrard is referring to with Ruby scripts?