Inspiring Ingenuity

Alteryx, Bicycles and Teaching Kids Programming.


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Alteryx: HTML5 Visualizations

4ffdaf0d245ff2ea4a089507d3b99c1eLast week I introduced potentially new visualizations for Alteryx based on HTML5 and its associated parts like JavaScript and SVG.  I started with a macro to write JSON data files from Alteryx.  This week I continue the prototype with a macro to actually render HTML 5 into an Alteryx report.

Skipping to the end of the story, on the left is a chart created using nvd3 in Alteryx.  I found some nice sample data for visualizing from the world bank showing the GDP of every country (and region) in the world since 1960.  The selected data I chose to show is the top 10 countries by GDP since 1980 – the data before then seems to be lacking in some detail.  I show the data as a stacked bar chart, which means that the top line is the total GDP for all 10 countries with each country’s part of the total shown by the height of a specific color. Continue reading

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Alteryx: JSON Data Output

I am working on a prototype for Alteryx of some new charting/visualization ideas.  For most prototypes we do the audience would be strictly internal, but this time I am going to try something different.  As I move forward developing the prototype, I am going to be sharing it with the readers of this blog in order to get as much feedback as I can as early as possible in the process.  The idea is to use JavaScript & SVG for visualization/charting from within Alteryx.  We could of course extend the charting tool we have, but there is a lot of energy in the open source world right now going on with JavaScript visualization.  We want to evaluate the idea of utilizing some of the work that other people are doing – otherwise known as standing on the shoulders of giants.  Some of the specific libraries we are looking at include:  D3, NVD3 and RAW.  There are many, many others, so if we were to integrate a JavaScript engine in a generic way, we could open up Alteryx to all kinds of cool things. Continue reading


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Alteryx: Dot Density Maps

As well as tips for writing reusable macros…

I have been continuing down my path of writing a general interest post about Food Deserts.  Most maps you find online of Food Deserts, or any other phenomenon that happens primarily in rural areas make the issue look much larger than it really is.  Looking at a map of the 2008 US presidential election, you would never guess that the blue team won.  Rural areas are a larger portion of the map than they are of the people and so it is very easy to create a misleading map.  I wanted to explore mapping methodologies that properly shows the scope of an issue – not exaggerating it by making it look bigger or smaller than it actually is.  You can click on all the maps in this post for a larger version.

Continue reading


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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


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Alteryx: Connecting to Cloud Services

Output

…or consuming the Google Directions API…

There are many functions available as cloud services that can be used within Alteryx.  For instance, the Alteryx geocoder is fairly good, but sometimes people want more, or just want to try other options.  Instead of asking Alteryx to do something about it (and waiting for a future release), many of the APIs can be utilized from directly inside of Alteryx.  A quick search will find a variety of options, many of which could easily be wrapped by an App or Macro. Continue reading


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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