Inspiring Ingenuity

Alteryx, Bicycles and Teaching Kids Programming.

Alteryx: Wildcard Inputs

There is now an update to this post at: Alteryx: XSLX Wildcard inputs – read both to see how it comes together.


Wow, what a conference that was last week!  I loved meeting all kinds of amazing customers in the Solutions Center and getting all kinds of product feedback, as well as being able to help people solve their problems.  In particular, if you haven’t seen it, check out Adam’s Blog Macro Pack.  He took a bunch of macros from this blog as well his and Chris Love’s and packaged them up with a cool installer so they show up in your tool palate.

imageMuch of the feedback is already under consideration by product management and some of it has already been put on the development teams backlogs for Alteryx 9.1.  There was one request in specific though that is actually much easier to implement as a macro then it would be as a native tool.  The customer asks:

While I know that the input tool will accept a wildcard, it fails if the schemas are different.  How do a read a set of files using a wildcard when the schemas don’t exactly match?

Continue reading


Alteryx: Simple Batch Macros

This comment asks how to create a simple batch macro in Alteryx.  Batch macros can seem very intimidating, but they are really quite easy to build once you understand how they work.

The 1st thing to understand is that you will be building 2 modules, not 1.  The batch macro itself is designed to process a single item, however you define item, and the module outside sends in a list of items.  In the case of this specific question, he would like to read a list of files, do some simple processing on them and then write them back out. Continue reading


Alteryx: Processing Groups of Records in a Macro

I have been working on a blog post that is going to integrate a variety of different aspects of Alteryx together to paint a larger story.  As I have been building towards it, I have run into a variety of challenges that have grown into blog posts in their own right.  It started with Weighted Medians and continued on with Downloading from TIGER.  Today I ran into a very common problem – I needed to process records in groups.  The solution I outline is extensible to any macro; it should be a useful technique for any data artisan. Continue reading


Alteryx: Downloading from TIGER

or how do I get free spatial data for Alteryx…

I keep having this big idea for a blog post, but getting sidetracked by things that I need before I start.  Its always nice to share, and I figure many other Alteryx users would have the same needs as me.  Last weeks post, Weighted Medians, was one example of this.  This week, for the next step in what I have been working on, I needed a US Block polygon file.  Blocks are the lowest level for which Census data is tabulated.  The census helpfully makes the polygons available for download on their ftp site, but the data is in a separate ZIP file per state containing SHP files.  What I really want is a single  YXDB file for the entire layer.  Downloading 50+ files and then unzipping and converting by hand sounds like a lot of work.  I am a programmer and programmer’s by nature are lazy, so I wanted to make this process easier. Continue reading