Going beyond base Tableau – Unofficial Add-ons

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Advanced data visualization tools such as Tableau and Spotfire bundle capabilities such as Table calculations and Custom expressions respectively and make new dimensions of viewing data possible. Further, interactivity and customization which could be brought into dashboards with the use of parameters (in Tableau) and property controls (in Spotfire) set apart these visual analytic products from conventional BI query and analysis tools.

However, apart from out-of-the-box functionality, more could be achieved using these tools with some minor tweaks. One such example is to use phpGrid in a webpage (as part of the Tableau dashboard) as a user interface to show dynamic views depending on the data entered on the grid.

Below is a simple gantt chart which has parameters to filter data. Interactivity is limited to filtering data depending on the filters which only work on the data from the source file.


However, there are a couple of ways we could update the data into a database with these parameters. First is to use a phpgrid to interact with the database using the refresh button action. And another method is to use the GET method (to pass parameters as part of the URL) using the dashboard webpage.

By Ryan Robitaille


By Russell Christopher


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