Tips & Tricks Series: March 2024

Mar 5 / Data Prep U (Jose Arevalo)
Welcome to our Alteryx Tips & Tricks Series, where each month, we explore untapped aspects of the Alteryx platform and dive into three intermediate-to-advanced tips & tricks that can elevate your Alteryx skills and help you tackle common data challenges! 🚀
Replacing the Dynamic Input Tool with a Batch Macro

One of the hurdles when dealing with multiple data files in Alteryx is handling inconsistencies in their structure, especially when their headers don't align perfectly. Typically, using the Dynamic Input Tool in such scenarios leads to errors or skipped files. The solution? Integrate a batch macro into your workflow.

How Does It Work?

Set up a batch macro that reads each file through a macro input and outputs it via a macro output. The trick lies in feeding the macro a list of file paths. Crucially, configure the macro properties to auto-configure the result outputs by name. This approach not only circumvents the issue of one-off columns but also future-proofs your workflow against the introduction of new columns.

Opting for API Inputs Over Traditional File Exports

Traditional data inputs, like exporting Excel files or pulling surface-level data, might not always meet the need for speed and precision in your analytics. Here's where swapping your inputs with an API can be a game-changer.

Why It's Better:

Using the Download Tool, Alteryx can handle simple GET and POST requests, among others, to directly stream data into your workflow. This not only streamlines your data input process but ensures you're working with the most current data available. For more complex API requests or situations where the Download Tool falls short, integrating a Python script via the Python Tool can offer a powerful alternative, allowing for intricate HTTP request handling directly within your workflow.

Setting Inputs and Outputs to Relative Paths for Enhanced Collaboration

A common challenge in collaborative environments is ensuring that workflows run smoothly across different machines. The crux of the issue often lies in the use of absolute file paths, which are specific to an individual's computer.

The Solution:

Switch your workflow dependencies to relative paths. By doing so, you ensure that as long as the input and output files, as well as the folder structure, remain consistent, your workflow will operate seamlessly on any machine. This setting can be adjusted within Alteryx under Options > Advanced Options > Workflow Dependencies by toggling the 'relative' path option.
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Don't miss our next monthly post for more tips and tricks! 🚀