The Prep Off: Alteryx vs Tableau Prep Round 2


Two major contenders in the ring tonight: new but developing at light speed, Tableau Prep and tried and trusted, Alteryx Designer.

Who will win this time after a draw in the last Prep Off? Watch the replay of Round 1 here.

How do these two softwares compare when cleaning an Excel spreadsheet with 182 fields? The chosen data features the table seen in Figure 1. This data was used in Makeover Monday Week 2 2019 (after it was cleaned, of course). Download the Excel file (Freedom of the Press) and follow along with me. 


Fig 1. Original Excel spreadsheet. Years go from 1979-2016


Ready? Fight!

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Tableau Prep: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

prep error

 

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…

 

The Good

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).

Figure 1. Demonstration of Pronunciation Group and Replace

 

Amazing right? Yes, but there are limitations. This segways us nicely into…

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Tableau Prep: Getting Started Guide

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!

 

Start Screen

The first thing you’ll see when you start up Tableau Prep is something like Figure 1.

Figure 1. Tableau Prep start up screen

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