Tuesday, 31 July 2018 23:01

New features arrive in Tableau 2018.2

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Tableau 2018.2's spatial join feature Tableau 2018.2's spatial join feature

A new software release from analytics and visualisation provider Tableau Software features a new API for extensibility, among other changes.

Tableau 2018.2 features an Extensions API, Tableau Services Manager, mobile formatting tools, and the ability to join data sources based on spatial data.

Tableau's new Extensions API means users can drag and drop third-party functionality into their dashboards.

Publicly available extensions include Wordsmith (automated written analysis), Show Me More (additional visualisations such as Sankey diagrams and radar charts), Tableau Tracker (track user behaviour), and Export All (generate one Excel workbook from multiple Tableau charts).

IT administrators control which extensions are allowed to run, preserving best practices for data governance and security.

"The Extensions API in Tableau 2018.2 unleashes the innovation of our community. For the first time, customers, partners, and developers can add new functionality right into the Tableau platform," said Tableau chief product officer Francois Ajenstat.

"From custom visualisations and write-back, to advanced and predictive analytics, the possibilities are endless and only limited by a developer's creativity."

Deloitte Consulting partner Cameron Price said: "We are very excited about the Tableau Extensions capability as this provides a level of functionality that allows us to truly operationalise data and insights within our customers' business."

Tableau Services Manager allows customers to more easily administer Tableau Server from within a browser, from a command line interface, or via a REST API. Several Tableau Server configurations to be changed without needing to restart the server.

Other new features, based on feedback from Tableau users, include spatial join and automatic mobile layouts.

Spatial join allows multiple data sources to be joined via a single common attribute such as location. The company gave the example of joining neighbourhood boundaries with package delivery data to analyse the number of orders coming from each neighbourhood.

Automatic mobile layouts, as the name suggests, automatically create phone and tablet layouts for dashboards by applying mobile best practices. The resulting layouts can be used as-is, or customised by using the device designer feature.

A full features list for Tableau 2018.2 is available here and a free two-week trial is available here.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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