1 2 Previous Next 25 Replies Latest reply on Jul 15, 2016 7:59 AM by Noah Wright

    Data updates in Reader?

    Noah Wright

      I'm using Tableau Desktop to build and maintain several dashboards for a number of users with Tableau Reader. The dashboards are saved to a share drive and draw their data from an Access query on the same share drive, which in turn draws from a SQL Server database that updates constantly (the users don't have SQL server credentials hence the Access query).

       

      I'd always assumed that when Reader opened the packaged workbook (I'm using live connections) it ran the query and got the most recent version of the data. This appeared to be the case until today, when one of my users noticed that the data was out of date by a few hours. Is this an issue with Tableau Reader caching the data locally and drawing from the cache instead of the query? And would turning off caching as indicated here (Disabling External Caching in Tableau Desktop and Tableau Reader | Tableau Software) fix this?

        • 1. Re: Data updates in Reader?
          Jeff D

          Hi Noah, Tableau Reader only works with the data in the packaged workbook.  It doesn't query the database -- you'd need Tableau Desktop (or Server or Online) for that.

          • 2. Re: Data updates in Reader?
            Noah Wright

            I don't understand- with my other dashboards I've gone weeks without opening them in Desktop, yet when I open them in Reader they display the data correctly and up-to date. How is this possible if they're only loading data stored within the packaged workbook? And if they're not running the query, then what's Tableau doing when it says "Executing Query"?

            • 3. Re: Data updates in Reader?
              mortenbodaugaard.jrgensen

              Are you sure you are not using Desktop when you open it?

               

              If you have a valid Tableau Desktop installed on your PC, the reader might "use" that functionality since the Reader and the Desktop version is basically the same except for the loading new data feature.

               

               

               

              Otherwise it is a bug, I have had the same issue with a client who thought Reader could connect live because it had always worked like that, but it turned out to have been a bug,

              • 4. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                Noah Wright

                If that's the case, then why did the dashboard load so much faster in Reader (on a computer that did not have Desktop) once the query was greatly simplified? If the data is locally stored then the complexity of the query shouldn't make a difference to Reader, right?

                • 5. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                  Tom W

                  Noah Wright wrote:

                   

                  If that's the case, then why did the dashboard load so much faster in Reader (on a computer that did not have Desktop) once the query was greatly simplified? If the data is locally stored then the complexity of the query shouldn't make a difference to Reader, right?

                  Perhaps the simplification of the query resulted in a smaller data-set as well.

                  • 6. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                    Noah Wright

                    It's an identical set of data- I had IT script the query to update a table in Access on an hourly basis, and now Tableau draws from the table rather than the Access query. It loads much, much faster.

                    • 7. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                      Noah Wright

                      Also, I just used another user's computer (without Desktop) to open an archived version of a different dashboard I haven't touched since March, and it loaded mostly up-to-date info. As far as I can tell, the data is being accessed with a live connection, as I'm not using extracts. Which is why I'm wondering why it's slightly out-of-date at times: if it were storing everything locally it would be very out-of-date instead of just slightly out-of-date.

                      • 8. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                        Tom W

                        OK, that rules that out then. At the end of the day though, Tableau Reader specifically does not support live connections to any datasources, so I don't know that I'd spend too much energy looking into the differences you've identified.

                        EDIT; sorry, bad info on my part, I thought this was connecting through to mssql.

                        • 9. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                          Toby Erkson

                          I just copied this from the Help in Tableau Reader 9.1:

                          • 10. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                            Noah Wright

                            Exactly, it's connected to Access- but the Access queries used to populate the dashboard are live SQL-Server connections (except in the one dashboard mentioned above where it's not a query but table scripted to update on the hour).

                             

                            This might help: when I open the dashboards in Tableau Desktop and click on the data source, it says the data source is in the following location:

                             

                            C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Temp\TableauTemp\3399160322\Data\Supporting Files\Access File.accdb

                             

                            Which is incorrect, the actual data source is in this location:

                             

                            S:\Dashboards\Supporting Files\Access File.accdb    (S:\ is the share drive)

                             

                            -which is why I assume there's some kind of caching at work.

                            • 11. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                              Toby Erkson

                              Noah Wright, you should always use UNC paths, never mapped drives e.g. \\server\folder\moreFolders\filename.extension is correct, S:\... is not correct.

                              • 12. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                                Toby Erkson

                                I just installed Reader 9.3.  I also created an Access db with a single table and connected Desktop to it.  I saved the workbook as a .TWB, so it has a live connection to the Access db.  I then launched Reader and tried to open the .TWB but got the following message:

                                A packaged workbook does not have a live connection to a data source so this means that Reader cannot be pulling "fresh" data from the Access db.

                                 

                                To test:

                                I closed Reader, opened Desktop and saved the workbook as a .TWBX, closed Desktop, then successfully opened the workbook in Reader.

                                I closed Reader, updated the table in my Access db, opened my .TWBX with Reader and the update did not display in the viz (looked the same as before).  I opened the .TWB and the viz updated with the new data I had entered.

                                 

                                Conclusion:

                                Reader only connects to .TWBX files (which are static) and cannot have a live connection to a data source.

                                • 13. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                                  Noah Wright

                                  I'll switch to the absolute path and see if that helps.

                                   

                                  They're all .TWBX files, not .TWB files, so Reader opens them fine.

                                  • 14. Re: Data updates in Reader?
                                    Noah Wright

                                    Doesn't seem to be making a difference.

                                     

                                    If it helps, it's looking like some sheets in the dashboard are updating and others aren't. For example, a bar chart will show a total of 23 items in category A, but a table aggregating the total number of items will be counting 26 (the most recent number) in category A. They're both on the same dashboard drawing from the same data source with identical filters.

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