1 Reply Latest reply on Sep 21, 2016 1:53 AM by Russell Christopher

    tabcmd export to PDF performance ( issues )




      I have come to realize Tableau Server distribution capabilities like exports using tabcmd scripting is not one of its strengths.


      Played around tabcmd scripting to setup exports for one of our customer dashboards and it was painful. With just 2 filters - time (5 values) and province (13 values), choosing a time and province leading to 65 possible combinations of views. I wrote a tabcmd script with filters incorporated to export these 65 views into 65 PDF's. With sequential exports, it took almost 2 hours to complete. I could split out the tabcmd script with lesser commands and run them in parallel but it still takes more than an hour and I have seen that sometimes one parallel script in execution can mess other script running simultaneously. I've seen that it takes about 4-5 minutes from when tabcmd export command is executed until I see a PDF in the folder.

      I tried doing similar PDF export process for another Dashboard but it still takes longer for spitting out couple of PDF's.


      I wanted to ask and get an idea of how you guys in the community are accomplishing something as above efficiently ? What methods do you think can save me some export time ? If it helps, think enterprise. If I have to setup weekly exports for say 100 Dashboards..

      We are currently on version 9.0.2 and planning to shortly upgrade to version 10. I am not sure if anything has changed, but will find out. Meanwhile, I thought I can get some ideas from experts here. Thanks in advance for any valuable suggestions.

        • 1. Re: tabcmd export to PDF performance ( issues )
          Russell Christopher

          Hi Santosh -


          At the highest level, your problem is the fact that you're trying to use Tableau Server as a PDF "rendering engine" at scale. Tableau Server has never been export-focused since we feel users find the "real" value when they interact with their data rather than look at it on a piece of paper.  A Tableau person will typically say "Why are you trying to export every combination of report values to PDF? Simply have the users interact with the dashboards directly in Tableau Server. It'll be faster, more secure, and much more useful".


          I suspect you're trying to work around a lack of licenses or create some sort of compliance-related "archive of record" - and that's OK. But you probably are never going to be particularly happy with Tableau as an "export engine". I doubt 10 will make this much better for you, simply because we don't spend that much time on exporting compared to improving analytics-related features and functionality.


          This is probably not what you're hoping to hear, but (in my opinion, anyway) it's reality.


          You may be able to improve performance a tiny bit by NOT logging in/out each time with TabCmd - there is a cost associated with launching TabCmd and creating a session - so you only want to do it once. You might also try to export images instead of PDFS and then post-process them INTO a PDF using some sort of 3rd party tool. Neither of these solutions is optimal from where you sit, clearly.



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