My first day of Dashboard Week! Yesterday the rest of DS11 enjoyed vizzing >200M rows of data about snow ploughing while I watched from home (hurray for a coincidental day of annual leave).
This morning I was rested and ready to take on the challenges of the week. Today, Andy set us the challenge of analysing New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) body-worn camera data. Now, this would have been super fun and interesting if there was information on the crime that was being recorded, whether this led to an arrest, etc.. but no. As you can see from Figure 1, the data contained information on the times body cams were used, where, how long each video is, when it was uploaded to the system… not exactly the juicy stuff.
Two major contenders in the ring tonight: new kid on the block, Tableau Prep and reigning champion here at the Information Lab, Alteryx Designer.
How do these two softwares compare when cleaning two Excel sheets (within the same workbook)? The chosen data features the table seen in Figure 1. The data includes merged cells, totals, unnecessary content, dates in a row and times in a column, plus its in German! Download the Excel file (2018-09-18 Hamburg) and follow along with me.
Since my last blog, I have used Tableau Prep 2018.2 to clean five different datasets so I think it’s a good time to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of Prep…
As with Tableau Desktop, Prep is pretty. Compared to Alteryx, it looks modern, clean and is just overall, aesthetically pleasing. The user interface is friendly and intuitive. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ drag and drop? I mean, we love Tableau Desktop right?
Unlike Alteryx, Prep lets you actually interact with your data as you would in Desktop. I personally love being able to do this.
Tableau Prep has some great built-in features for data cleansing. It’s easy as pie to split fields as you would in Alteryx with Text to Columns. It’s easy to remove whitespace and change the case of your fields (note: you can only change the case of the whole string, not title cases).
Another super useful function is the Pronunciation Group and Replace. Take a look at Figure 1, you can see that ‘Growlith’ should be spelt like ‘Growlithe’. You could click on ‘Growlith’ and type the ‘e’ manually or… you could use Pronunciation as seen in Figure 1. Doing this groups the two terms together under ‘Growlithe’ (denoted by the paperclip icon).
Amazing right? Yes, but there are limitations. This segways us nicely into…
Tableau Prep version 2018.1.1 was released in April this year. Six months on and five versions later, Emily Chen introduced DS11 to Tableau Prep 2018.3.1.
My first thoughts? Its user interface is modern and intuitive with some great functions but there are some limitations. Tableau Prep won’t surpass Alteryx in power at the moment but definitely has potential!
Being a new software, many of you probably haven’t given it a go yet. In this guide, I will run through everything you need to know to get started! See my previous posts on getting started with Alteryx (link) and Tableau Public/Desktop (link).
Now, if you haven’t got Tableau Prep downloaded yet, you can get the free trial here. Otherwise, start up Prep and let’s get started!
The first thing you’ll see when you start up Tableau Prep is something like Figure 1.