Cross-Database Join functionality with Tableau 10

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Cross-Database Join, one of the most anticipated features in Tableau 10

Tableau 10 comes with a great new feature called Cross-Database Join, which allows us to cross data between different sources easily and intuitively.

In previous Tableau versions, you needed the Data-Blending solution to join data from different databases. This feature works well enough in one-to-one relationships, but unwanted asterisks pop up when we want to perform a join in one-to-many relationships. JOIN Data from Different Sources is one of the most voted for ideas in the Tableau community for avoiding this scenario and at last we got this great feature in August with Tableau 10.

In this article we are going to reproduce these painful asterisks by applying Data-Blending and then explain how to use Cross-Database Join functionality to escape such limitations.

 

1. Data-Blending

Imagine that we want to analyse sales by employee and region and that the data comes from different sources:

➜ Oracle table: contains region details

➜ Excel file: contains region details and sales by employee

Notice that in the second data source, there are multiple employees by region, so in order to cross data between both data sources we use the Region Name field whose relationship is one-to-many.

 

Figure 1: Primary Data source

Figure 1: Primary Data source

Figure 2: Secondary Data source

Figure 2: Secondary Data source

As we mentioned before, when we apply Data-Blending in one-to-many relationships we get asterisks in those cases where a specific region contains more than one employee.

Figure 3: Data-Blending

Figure 3: Data-Blending

Until now, there was no quick way to avoid these asterisks, and technical IT knowledge was needed to apply database federation between connections.

 

2. Cross-Database Join

Cross-Database Join is the new feature that Tableau 10 provides to cross data between different sources much faster and without any additional technical knowledge. Let’s explain how to perform a Cross-Database Join, step by step, using the same example and data sources as before.

First, we need to include the Oracle DB table as a primary source and the Excel file as a secondary source. Once both data sources are available, we need to carry out the following steps to apply Cross-Database Join:

1. Place on localhost connection (HR Oracle Schema data source).

2. In table area, double click on REGIONS to use this entity.

3. Perform the same steps to include Employee Sales entity from Employee connection (Excel file). Now you can see that Tableau tries to join both entities automatically.

4. Click on the circles icon; a Join set-up window will appear.

5. Select which kind of join you want to perform.

6. Select the specific fields of each entity that you are going to use to apply the join. In our example, they are “Region Name” field for REGIONS entity and “region Name1” field for Employees Sales.

7. After following the above steps, just click on “Update Now” to display the join results.

Figure 4: Cross-Database Join, step by step with Tableau 10

Figure 4: Cross-Database Join, step by step with Tableau 10

If we reproduce the same analysis as before (sales by employee and by region), Tableau 10 aggregates fields from the second data sources without any issues and asterisks do not appear in the analysis.

Figure 5: Data-Blending Tableau 9.3

Figure 5: Data-Blending Tableau 9.3

Figure 6: Cross-Database Join Tableau 10

Figure 6: Cross-Database Join Tableau 10

It’s easy to see the benefits of this new feature. Cross-Database Join functionality will allow us to cross data between different data sources and types in an easier and more intuitive way (avoiding those painful asterisks when using Data-Blending). It is a very interesting improvement that many Tableau users will welcome to create their daily scorecards.

If you want to know the latest news about Tableau 10 check our previous post and keep updated!

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Tableau 10 Release!

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Introduction

The Tableau 10 release is already here and we’d like to highlight the most important new features available in this version. Some of these features will revolutionize how we develop with the tool whilst others will make our lives much easier - just check out the cross database join functionality as an example. It also presents us with some new functionalities for Tableau final users such as the highlighter and, of course, Tableau is still improving the look and feel of the tool and its amazing visualizations, and it is now more flexible for mobile and tablet designs allowing you to consume your reports anywhere.

Tableau 10 Release

 

1. Analytics

We can detect some interesting new features in analytics. One of the most relevant is the cross data source filter - with this capability we can easily set a filter for the data sources feeding our visualizations. We can also build a cluster analysis by just dragging and dropping the functionality to our report, thus allowing the detection of patterns in the data. Finally, with the highlighter function, the dashboard consumer can mark the desired data. Other interesting functions are the custom territories, the new bar charts options available and more advanced analytics.

 

2. Data

In Tableau 10 we can see some big improvements in the way we interact with our data sources. The most important is the cross database join feature, which allows us to make joins between tables coming from different data sources. This will avoid data-blending in many situations and thus multiply analysis possibilities. In this version of Tableau you can also get email alerts and notifications if there is any issue when refreshing a published extract. In terms of data, there are some other new features like a connector to Google sheet and many others, enhanced maps data and more Oracle options in the connection.

 

3. Beauty

Tableau has also invested heavily in developing the look and feel of the tool and the resulting creations of the users. The workbook formatting feature allows you to apply a format to the entire workbook, thus saving time, and global changes are quicker. We can also see enhancements in the predefined fonts and titles.

 

4. Mobile

Here we can see another big improvement: the device designer feature can make a real difference as you can now define how you want to display your dashboards depending on the client’s device. You can design a different disposition of the visualization for mobile, tablet and desktop; and needless to say, there is an Android version of the mobile app.

 

5. Web

Here there are some improvements that offer more flexibility to web users: with web authoring it is possible to create new dashboards and add new data sources in the Tableau Server editor; with the revision history feature, the admin will be able to access the history of the published workbooks and data sources and restore or download an older version if desired. Furthermore, there’s more information on the statistics of your data sources and the publish flow to the server is now more user-friendly.

 

6. Enterprise

In Tableau 10 there is also space for IT perspective improvements. One of the most important is the subscribe others function, allowing you to subscribe other Tableau users to your visualizations so that they will automatically receive the view via email; there are other new features for the admins like the licensing views, new API functionalities for the developers, SAML support and sensible performance improvements.

 

Click here if you would like to receive more information about Tableau 10 or if you need any guidance with the migration process!

 

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