New Tableau 8 Server features

In my previous post http://apandre.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/new-tableau-8-desktop-features/ (this post is the continuation of it) , I said that Tableau 8 introduced 130+ new features, 3 times more then Tableau 7 did. Many of these new features are in Tableau 8 Server and this post about those new Server features.

The Admin and Server pages have been redesigned to show more info quicker. In list view the columns can be resized. In thumbnail view the grid dynamically resizes. You can hover over a thumbnail to see more info about visualization. The content search is better too:

ThumbnailView

Web authoring (even mobile) introduced by Tableau 8 Server. Change dimensions, measures, mark types, add filters, and use Show Me are all directly in a web browser and can be saved back to the server as a  new workbook or if individual permissions allow, to the original workbook:

webAuthoring

Subscribing to a workbook or worksheet will automatically notify about the dashboard or view updates to your email inbox. Subscriptions deliver image and link.

Tableau 8 Data Engine is more scalable now, it can be distributed between 2 nodes, 2nd instance of it now can be configured as Active, Synced and Available for reading if  Tableau Router decided to use it (in addition Fail-over function as before)server2sTableau 8 Server now supports Local Rendering, using graphic ability of local devices, modern browsers and HTML5. No-round-trip to server while rendering using latest versions of chrome 23+, Firefox 17+, Safari , IE 9+. Tableau 8 (both Server and Desktop, computing each view in Parallel. PDF files, generated by Tableau 8 up to 90% smaller and searchable. And Performance Recorder works on both Server and Desktop.

Tableau 8 Server introducing Shared sessions allows more concurrency, more caching. Tableau 7 uses 1 session per viewer. Tableau 8 using one session per many viewers, as long as they do no change state of filters and don’t do other altering interaction. If interaction happened, Tableau 8 will clone the session for appropriate Interactor and apply his/her changes to new session:server3sIFinally Tableau getting API, 1st part of it I described in previous blog post about TDesktop – TDE API (C/C++, Python, Java on both Windows AND Linux!).

For Web Development Tableau has now brand new JavaScript API to customize selection, filtering, triggers to events, custom toolbar, etc. Tableau 8 has own JavaScript API WorkBench, which can be used right from you browser:server4w

TDE API allows to build own TDE on any machine with Python, C/C++ and Java (see 24:53 at http://www.tableausoftware.com/tcc12conf/videos/new-tableau-server-8 ). Additionally Server API (REST API) allows programmatically create/enable/suspend sites and add/remove users to sites.

In addition to Faster Uploads andPublishing Data Sources, users can Publish Filters as Set and User Filters. Data Sources can be Refreshed or Appended instead of republishing – all from Local Sources. Such Refreshes can scheduled using Windows Task Scheduler or other task scheduling software on client devices – this is a real TDE proliferation!

My wishlist for Tableau 8 Server: all Tableau Server processes needs to be 64-bit (and they still 32-bit, see it here: http://onlinehelp.tableausoftware.com/v7.0/server/en-us/processes.htm ; they are way overdue to be the 64-bit; Linux version of Tableau Server (Microsoft recently changed very unfavorably the way they charge users for each Client Access) is needed, I wish integration with R Library (Spotfire has it for years), I want Backgrounder Processes (mostly doing data extracts on server) will not consume core licenses etc…

And yes, I found in San Diego even more individuals who found the better way to spend their time compare with attending Tableau 2012 Customer Conference and I am not here to judge:

SealsInLaJolla

New Tableau 8 Desktop features

I left Tableau 2012 conference in San Diego (where Tableau 8 was announced) a while ago with enthusiasm which you can feel from this real-life picture of 11 excellent announcers:

Tableau8IntroducedInSanDiego

Conference was attended by 2200+ people and 600+ Tableau Software employees (Tableau almost doubled the number of employees in a year) and it felt like a great effort toward IPO (see also article here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-12/tableau-software-plans-ipo-to-drive-sales-expansion.html ).  See some video here: TCC12 Keynote . Tableau 8 introduce 130+ new features, 3 times more then Tableau 7 did. Almost half of these new features are in Tableau 8 Desktop and this post about those new Desktop features. New Tableau 8 Server features deserved a separate blog post which I will publish a little later after playing with Beta 1 and may be Beta 2.

A few days after conference the Tableau 8 Beta Program started with 2000+ participants. One of the most promising features is new rendering engine and I build special Tableau 7 visualization (and its port to Tableau 8) with 42000 datapoints: http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/Zips_0/Intro?:embed=y  to compare the speed of rendering between versions 7 and 8:

ZipColors

Among new features are new (for Tableau) visualization types: Heatmap, “Packed” Bubble Chart and Word Cloud, and I build simple Tableau 8 Dashboard to test it (all 3 are visualizing the 3-dimensional set where 1 dimension used as list of items, 1 measure used for size and 2nd measure used for color of items):

3NewTypesOfVisualizationsInTableau

List of new features includes improved Sets (comparing members vs. non-members, adding/removing members, combining Sets: all-in-both, shared-by-both, left-except-right, right-except-left), Custom SQL with parameters, Freeform Dashboards (I still prefer MDI UI where each Chart/View Sheet has own Child Window as oppose to Pane), ability to add multiple fields to Labels, optimized label placement, built-in statistical models for visual Forecasting, Visual Grouping based on your data selection, Redesigned Mark Card (for Color, Size, Label, Detail and Tooltip Shelves).

New Data features include data blending without mandatory linked field in a view and with ability to filter data in secondary data sources; refreshing server-based Data Extracts can be done from local data sources; Data Filters (in addition be either local or global) can be shared now among selected set of worksheets and dashboards. Refresh of Data Extract can be done using command prompt for Tableau Desktop, for example

>tableau.exe refreshremoteextract

Tableau 8 has (finally) API (C/C++, Python, Java) to directly create a Tableau Data Extract (TDE) file, see example here: http://ryrobes.com/python/building-tableau-data-extract-files-with-python-in-tableau-8-sample-usage/

Tableau 8 (both Desktop and Server) can then connect to this extract file natively! Tableau provides new native connection for Google Analytics and Saleforce.com. TDE files now much smaller (especially with text values) – up to 40% smaller compare with Tableau 7.

Tableau 8 has performance enhancements, such as the new ability to use hardware accelerators (of modern graphics cards), computing views within dashboard in parallel (in Tableau 7 it was consecutive computations) and new  performance recorder allows to estimate and tune a workload of various activities and functions and optimize the behavior of workbook.

I still have a wishlist of features which are not implemented in Tableau and I hope some them will be implemented later: all Tableau processes are 32-bit (except 64-bit version of data engine for server running on 64-bit OS) and they are way overdue to be the 64-bit; many users demand MAC version of Tableau Desktop and Linux version of Tableau Server (Microsoft recently changed very unfavorably the way they charge users for each Client Access), I wish MDI UI for Dashboards where each view of each worksheet has own Window as oppose to own pane (Qlikview does it from the beginning of the time), I wish integration with R Library (Spotfire has it for years), scripting languages and IDE (preferably Visual Studio), I want Backgrounder Processes (mostly doing data extracts on server) will not consume core licenses etc…

Despite the great success of the conference, I found somebody in San Diego who did not pay attention to it (outside was 88F, sunny and beautiful):

HummingbirdInLaJolla