Sometime this morning was the 100,000th page view on this blog, and along with it I got a nice thank-you message from Shawn Wallwork that for me represents a lot of why I started this blog & wiki project. About 18 months ago I started laying out the blog, inspired by some other blogs from Andy Cotgreave (who was posting at the Data Studio, now part of Interworks, and Andy is now at Tableau), Andy Kriebel, Clearly and Simply, Alan Smithee, The Information Lab, Steve Wexler, Chris Gerrard and the Tableau Community Forums posts of Joe Mako, Richard Leeke, Alex Kerin, Andy Cotgreave, and James Baker, among others. A highlight of my first Tableau Customer Conference was getting to thank most of these folks in person for their inspiration, and I’ve really enjoyed all the blogs I’ve learned about since, like Kelly Martin’s VizCandy, Anya A’hearn’s Datablick, Peter Gilk’s Paint By Numbers, Ken Black’s 3danim8, and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting.
My goal with this has been three-fold:
- Finding and highlighting not well-known and/or novel solutions with Tableau and writing them up in such a way as to have something I could reference in answering user questions. Some big posts are the Customizing Grand Totals series (parts 1, 2, and 3,), User Defined Functions and Control Charts, and Conditional Formatting.
- Helping to surface Tableau-related content that I’ve found useful so the Googles and Bings have more to work with. The Tableau Wiki that I started is part of this, I’ve recently changed the underlying storage to make it easier to update with what I’ve been learning, and there’s a new RSS feed of the wiki and all changes at http://drawingwithnumbers.artisart.org/category/wiki/feed/. As the Tableau (the company) has grown, there are more KnowledgeBase articles, the TabWiki, Calculation Reference Library, the brand-new Workbook Library, and Andy’s monthly Best of the Tableau Web.
- Have some fun sharing some of the wacky stuff I play with, like the Virtual Orrery or Monte Carlo Simulations.
I think I’ve mostly met those goals…my first post was 16 months ago today, with 41 since, and I’ll continue posting but at a slower pace for a while. I’ve quietly announced this already, my bigger news is that I’m collaborating with Joe Mako on a series*** of ebooks on Tableau. We’ve been doing a lot of deep thinking and research to figure out how we approach and work with Tableau to build the amazing solutions we come up with so that we can share those fundamental techniques with others. In one sense, we’re writing the books that we wish would have existed when we started with Tableau, in another we’re trying to make more Tableau Jedi and Zen Masters. Our goal is to help users who want to have a better sense of how Tableau thinks and works “under the hood” so they can come to their own solutions. It’s a bit different in structure and scope than the other Tableau books out there, with more theory mixed in with the practice.
*** Between a day job, parenting, husband-ing, householding, and feeding my Tableau forums addicition, writing the book is taking longer than I’d initially thought, so instead of trying to write a magnum opus (and have to keep revising for the moving target of new functionality in new Tableau releases), we’re cutting things down to be able to ship something sooner. I’m really excited about this, here’s a little snippet (of a draft of) something you’ll see in the first book, due out this winter:
We’ll also have a full-size poster available for the real Tableau fanboys & fangirls out there. 🙂
Thanks to everyone who has given me encouragement and support, and I look forward to the next 100K!