Tech and T-Accounts

Tableau Server - Bad behavior

What constitutes bad behavior on the part of Tableau Server users?  Here's my view, what's yours?

  1. Old reports that aren’t used yet still run extracts.
  2. Failed extracts, especially repeat offenders on PROD.
  3. Huge number of subscribers to reports which take minutes to render.
  4. DEV versions on PROD server that aren’t actively being UAT.
  5. Repetitive extracts embedded in workbooks rather than as a datasource.
  6. Huge extracts when someone has access to a more cost effective db solution.
  7. Custom SQL when a Tableau build with referential integrity could have been done.
  8. Thirty or so connections in a single workbook.
  9. Using Projects instead of Sites.
  10. Governing AD groups by an organization distant from the managers of the AD group.
  11. Leaving departed users licensed on a server.
  12. Poor Tableau performance from attempting to design according to another product’s ‘best practices’.

Server 2012R2 - remote session time limits

I had a problem with Server 2012R2 automatically logging me out and closing any open applications (thereby losing all in process work product).  This bummed me out.

Found this helpful information which describes how to reset the timeout limits:

Use the 'Edit Group Polidy' administrative tool from the start menu (gpedit.msc - which controls Local Security Policy on that single machine).

Navigate through the folder list to the following locations:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Session Time Limits  (configured here for all users)
User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Session Time Limits  (Not configured)

Change the following settings:

  • Set time limit for disconnected sessions  - Enable, set to never
  • Set time limit for active but idle Remote Desktop Services sessions  -- Not configured (may have to also Enable, set to never)
  • Set time limit for active Remote Desktop Services sessions -- Not configured
  • End session when time limits are reached -- Disabled
  • Terminate session when time limits are reached -- Not configured

Other changes that I've been known to need on VM installed 2012r2 OS:
And under the same Remote Desktop Session Host go to the Device and Resource Redirection folder, check that "Allow audio and video playback redirection" is Enabled, as well as making sure that in Administrative Tools->Services that the Windows Audio is both enabled and set to Automatic start.
Used Powershell commands to install >Install-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience -- reboot, then with gpedit.msc remove Windows Components->Store  -- Enable all 'Turn off' features, then under User Configuration->Administrative Templates->Start Menu and Taskbar->Enable 'Do not allow pinning Store app to the Taskbar' and Disable 'Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar'
Lastly, navigate using File Explorer to %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and remove the shortcuts for both 'Store' and 'PC Settings'

Can't find gpedit.msc?  Then try MMC.EXE. Go to File->Add/Remove Snap-In. Click "Group Policy Object Editor" in the left pane, then the "Add ->" button in the center.
In the "Select Group Policy Object" dialog, click the Browse button.
In the "Browse for a Group Policy Object" dialog, enter the name or the IP address of the computer to control.
OK all the way back to the main MMC window. Provided there are no firewall or security issues, you'll be working with the local Group Policy on the target system.


Tableau Export Crosstab - getting large numbers to 'look right'

Here’ a trick to use when Tableau’s Export Crosstab has String fields filled with large numbers. As you likely have found out, when the csv is opened by Excel, the Microsoft Jet Engine interprets to the default ‘General’ cell formatting. A Tableau string field with numbers is converted to Excel number values, with the result that leading zeros are dropped and, if it is a large number, being displayed in Scientific notation. This is typically not what users want to see for fields like account numbers. What they want is for the string number to come across into a formatted text cell, but that won’t happen.

So, an alternative is to create a text version dimension of the field by appending it with a non-printing character. The character I’ve used is the ‘En Quad’, which can be found in MS Word by inserting a Symbol, then typing 2000 in the character code field in the dialog box as shown below. Once the character is selected, then click Insert to place it into a MS Word document. For ease of finding this character, I typically insert it between two visible characters, like the !@ shown below.

Highlight the character between the two visible, copy it and then paste that into your Tableau calculated field equation, which would be something like this:

// Appends non-visible character to string “ ” + [field]

Use the new calculated field in your worksheet and when exported, the MS Jet Engine will interpret the column as text, showing the entire large number, even with leading zeros.

MS Symbol Dialog:
Smiley face

Sample insert between two visible characters:

        !!͏ @

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