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Building the Tableau Postgres Directory

As you may have seen over the last year or so, I’m a massive fan of the Tableau Postgres Repository. When I started with Project Griffon, I found it tricky (and annoying) to keep having to go back to the Data Dictionary help document on Tableau’s documentation, so Jonathan MacDonald said “Why not scrape it?”

So in this post, I’ll look to outline the steps I took to build out the viz.

Step 1: Steal like an artist

My personal Alteryx skills are alright, but I’d never actually scraped a table from a web page before – So to our trustworthy Google I went, and discovered https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Discussions/Parsing-HTML-tables/td-p/25886 and the workflow to attached by Alteryx User markp201 to start seeing what I could cobble together by standing on the shoulder of giants.

This is the flow which markp201 had built

I then took this flow and added a few things. I know that the URL for the dictionary was “https://help.tableau.com/current/server/en-us/data_dictionary.htm” and the “current” could be swapped out for “v2019.1” for example to get previous entries – So I added two text inputs… One with the URL, the second with the versions.

You’ll notice the 1’s and 2’s in Field 3 – this is because of the way Tableau changed the URL (it became htm than html, don’t ask)

Anyway, long story short – I ended up with a flow which looked a bit like this

Step 2: Build a viz!

Essentially, I took a lot of the hard graft done by Alteryx User markp201 and extended it to fit my own needs. From there, the viz was the fun part. Thanks to some great feedback from the community, I added in parts such as join clauses, being able to scroll tables etc.

The thinking of the design was to keep it basic, with a few interactive points – such as seeing what changes from version to version, or looking for tables or fields with a search and even being able to select certain fields to figure out join clauses.

I’m always up for ideas and suggestions, so please do feedback to me about what you’d like to see in this viz, and indeed if you would want to see this updated.

Find the viz on Tableau Public here! http://til.bi/postgresdirectory

Ravi Mistry

London, UK

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