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Project Griffon: Who has used Web Edit?

UPDATE 2023: Griffon has evolved! Our efforts to help people understand Tableau Server Usage is now part of the Tableau Exchange here – https://exchange.tableau.com/en-GB/products/643

With Project Griffon, we want to share examples and started with you – the Tableau Community. The objective here is to share tools which use what you have in front of you to help explain more about what’s going on. Please be sure to read the introduction to Project Griffon, and ensure that you have access to the Tableau Server Repository via the Postgres connection.

Let’s talk about ‘Web Edit’ or ‘Web Authoring’

Tableau Server 9.0 introduced a revolutionary feature – The ability to use something similar to Tableau Desktop from your browser. Imagine, being able to bring the power of asking and answering questions using Tableau Desktop, but on the fly without the need to fire up the full application from your Desktop.

Since then, Tableau’s developers have been hard at work to move the needle to achieve parity between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server’s web authoring capabilities. A good way to track the changes is to view my colleague Andrew Pick’s fantastic viz on which features are available on Desktop vs. Web Edit.

With the changes to Tableau’s product offering, in particular the difference between Creators and Explorers, the potential which the web authoring brings when looking to scale out across an organisation brings a whole new faction to the way a user interacts with the Tableau platform. Imagine a scenario where a user wants to make quick changes to a dashboard to see how it looks, or perhaps amend some formatting or visualisation types whilst presenting in a meeting. Maybe an executive is looking for an off-the-cuff visual, which will be viewed once and thrown away? What if a member of the organisation isn’t a power Tableau user who requires Desktop, but does want the ability build some dashboards on the odd occasion?

Whilst web edit adds the potential for further bespoke training for these users, it also adds another quiver to the bow of administrators and centre of excellence leads to quantify this. What is the impact of web edit training? Who is using it, and when? Are there particular workbooks which are edited most? This can drive conversations where a workbook is improved or another created with more bespoke analysis.

Project Griffon is here to help.

Using the Postgres repository, we have created a workbook which does begins to answer these exact questions.

This is using the ‘Monitor Requests and Users‘ datasource – this is actually extracted from the ‘Performance of Views’ tab from the default Administrative Views workbook. The useful part of this joined table is it contains the ‘_https_requests’ table which can be used to garner information such as;

  • The IP address and browser which is being used to access Tableau Server
  • Who is exporting views as a crosstab
  • The referring page for a search request

And probably more, once the table is dug into a bit deeper. One thing to remember is the _http_requests table is cleaned of all data older than 7 days every time tabadmin/tsm cleanup or tabadmin/tsm backup is used.

But our objective is different; let’s dig into this.

Using this data, we would like to create a simple view which tells us which sessions have been started using Web Edit, and when they occured – and what was being edited.

I’ve done this with a simple table with squares highlighting sessions which were started, the user who started the sessions and what they were looking at.

As mentioned in the previous post, we want the community to start using this as soon as you’re ready. So please click the above picture, or this link (Who has used Web Edit_v10.2) to download the workbook. Now I know many organisations might not be in the latest and greatest version, therefore I’ve uploaded this as a Tableau Desktop 10.2 file.

Don’t forget to change the repository details in the datasource details window, adding your password of course.

Please do share your feedback and experiences, and stay tuned for more #ProjectGriffon goodness!


Ravi Mistry

London, UK

3 thoughts on “Project Griffon: Who has used Web Edit?

  1. In the Http Request Uri dimension there’s also an /authoringNewWorkbook/. Would this fall into the web edit as it looks like it’s creating a new workbook off a published data source? Thanks

    1. Hi Mike,
      I believe it might! A good test would be to see whether your own activity pops up if you test this yourself.


      1. Hey Ravi. You might consider using the TS Web Requests data source from https://community.tableau.com/docs/DOC-9974 for this type of analysis. The user_id field in http_requests is not consistently populated, and it can also be difficult to tie the individual requests to a particular workbook/data source. This data source will do its best to do those things for you as reliably as it can (nothing is perfect with http_requests, however!). It will also identify CSV/PNG/PDF exports. I extract it and increment every hour so that I can maintain an up-to-date record of everything happening beyond the 7-day window that the data is retained for in Postgres. That makes it really great for monitoring viz load times on Server, as you can compare current load times with historical averages.

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