1 Reply Latest reply on Apr 5, 2018 8:24 AM by Michael Hesser

    report prompt - creative ways to add a prompt?

    Ross Moffitt

      Report prompt, a notorious feature of legacy BI reporting tools and tools such as MS Access and SAS, has not appeared to be a feature that Tableau Desktop offers. Rightfully so, as Tableau is a visualization and dashboard tool, and not a reporting tool. However, it can be used as a reporting tool and many users, probably more corporate users, are using it for reporting.


      Is there a way to add a report prompt to Tableau Desktop? My research has ended with a No. But are there other creative ways to do this?


      By report prompt, I mean - a screen where a user can enter a date of their liking, and then the date is passed to the SQL which then is executed for that specific date in the query.


      1) I realize you could just query a rolling set of dates and have the query pull in everything and then have the user use a filter or prompt to select the date they want, emulating a prompt, but not quite. The issue with this is the user wants to be able to go back 365 days and each day has a population of about 300,000 records. This seems very inefficient to me.


      2) Next there is the idea of starting with a csv or excel file on the data sources tab where the Tableau model starts on the far left with the excel file with 1 date entered by the user, and then the query to the relational database is inner joined to that excel file. The query would have no date and just query the entire database and then join back to the excel bringing in just the one day specified. This also seems like a crappy model that is not efficient at all.


      3) JavaScript API on server - We are looking to not use server and this API as an option, as soon as we make this available, the server now becomes a report extract ETL machine hogging resources as opposed to the what it's meant for - sharing and collaborating with folks on visualizations.


      4) Suck it up and just edit the SQL code for the date you want


      5) No Report Prompts - Use a different tool



        • 1. Re: report prompt - creative ways to add a prompt?
          Michael Hesser

          Hi Ross--


          If you're worried about computing efficiency, I think I'd go with #5.

          You can make a prompt in any number of programs (Excel, Access) that will generate a tiny file from which your SQL can pull the necessary data.


          You might also be able to create your prompt in "Tableau Viz Alpha", where your SQL brings in ONLY the date (no other data)-- the key benefit here being that your user would choose just the active dates in your DB.

          The user would export those Start & End dates (uhg, messy), which would then be picked up in your SQL when you open "Tableau Viz Beta". (or is this a rehash of your #2?)


          Since SQL isn't front-end, you won't be able to make your code prompt the user (but you already knew that, eh?). And if you're going to have more users than yourself, I'd avoid #4 at all costs (lest someone messes up the code by accident).


          Good luck-- and watch closely what people smarter than myself recommend! --Michael