Friday, October 19, 2012

Umm, what's that data source?

It should be easier to find out what data is being accessed.

Here's the Tableau Data Connection right-click menu with its options to see and configure the data connection:

Selecting the "Edit Connection..." option, you see this:

It would be better to see this:

In the improved version on the right the current table is shown in the list when the dialog is presented.

This might seem like a little thing, but when working with real business databases there may be many, many tables in the list and navigating to the currently selected one becomes an exercise in frustration.

General Principle

Whenever possible, present the current state rather than make the User hunt for it.


  1. I agree, all list boxes that have something selected should be scrolled to the selected item.

    Additionally, you can use the "Properties..." option to take a quick look at the settings.

    1. I've gotten into the habit of not looking at the Properties... presentation much. Its only real virtue is that it surfaces the Table(s), and this isn't enough to offset the overall richness of the Edit Connection... dialog.

      There's an argument for dispensing with the Properties... presentation altogether if the Edit Connections... dialog surfaced the table(s) properly, but one step at a time.

      Footnote: I don't think that I've ever found the Server Version in Properties... useful, and the order of Properties... elements should be rearranged to put the most salient at the top.

  2. I was thinking about this and I realized why this has not been an issue for me, I do not rename my connections, I leave the default table name as the connection name. This does not diminish the issue you raise though.