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Posted by Peder Enhorning

November 20, 2012


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Have Fun with Tableau 8!

Employee satisfaction is mostly about having fun and feeling like you’ve made a valuable contribution. Analyzing a bunch of numbers can actually be exhilarating when you use the right tool, and Tableau is definitely one of those tools! Tableau allows you to explore and play with data to find answers to questions you hadn’t even thought of. It provides you with a canvas for creative thinking and makes work fun because you can uncover gems of information that were previously hidden.

I recently attended Tableau’s annual user conference and got a look at Tableau 8 which is due for release early in the new year. Here are some of the great new features Tableau 8 will deliver for both Desktop and Server.


New Visualizations: Treemaps, Bubble Charts, Word Clouds

These are great new ways to visualize your data.



Forecasting capability allows you estimate future values by projecting data values into the future based on the historical data.

Data Blending 

Combining data from multiple data sources to use in a single visualization has been a powerful and popular feature in Tableau. In Tableau 8.0, you can blend data from multiple sources without including the linked field in the view itself. You can also see underlying data across both the primary and secondary data sources. Additionally, dimensions from secondary data sources can now be filtered regardless of whether they are a linked field.

New Connectors to Salesforce and Google Analytics

Tableau 8 provides native connections to all data on Salesforce.com, force.com and Database.com, and for Google Analytics. These connections allow you to create Data Extracts which you can update incrementally.

While the Google Analytics connection delivers information on Dimensions, Measures, and Date Ranges, it does not yet support Segmentations which will be a concern for some Google Analytics customers.

Fast Graphics & Calculations

Drawing elements on the screen is dramatically faster in 8.0 which means less waiting when drawing complex views like scatter plots with tens of thousands of marks. The improved performance also allows for interactive responses to actions. For example, when sliding a quick filter, the view updates continuously while the slider is moving.


Web and Mobile Authoring

People accessing content on Tableau Server in a browser or on a tablet can now edit and even author new visualizations without the Desktop application. I think this is one of the most significant changes to the new product features as it lets you change dimensions and measures, change mark types, add filters, and use Show Me all directly in a web browser, and all without using Desktop! Changes and new creations can be saved back to the server as a new workbook, or if individual permissions allow, changes can be saved to the original workbook.

Improved List and Thumbnail View

The list and thumbnail views have been redesigned to show more information on the screen and to help you get to your content quickly. In list view, the columns of information can be resized to see long workbook names. In thumbnail view, the grid of thumbnails dynamically resizes to show multiple columns of images on the screen in a more efficient display. You can hover over a thumbnail to see more details about the view.

Enhanced API for better business integration

Tableau has added many enhancements to API support including:

  • The ability for developers creating web applications to richly integrate fully interactive Tableau content into their applications via the new JavaScript API.
  • An API to Create Tableau Data Extracts which enables developers to write their own programs that access and process the data and then use the Tableau API to directly create a Tableau Data Extract (TDE). Tableau can then connect to this extract file natively.  The API works with C/C++, Java and Python and can be used from Windows.
  • A new REST API to programmatically create sites, add and remove users to sites, and enable and suspend a site.

This is not a complete list of Tableau’s new capabilities, so there’s even more to come. All these great features in Tableau 8 will make for good times at work!

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