1. Introduction to Applications and Macros

Overview

In this lesson you will be introduced to the Alteryx interface tools, learning the difference between an Analytical App and a Macro. The different types of macros are also discussed.

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Summary

  1. Alteryx File Types (00:19)

    Alteryx has three different files types. The standard workflow is denoted by the extension .yxmd. We’ve used this file type up until now. The other two file types are for Analytical Apps and Macros.

  2. Analytical Apps (00:40)

    Analytical Apps have the file extension .yxmz. They are self-contained programs designed to perform specific functions. They provide an interface allowing users to interact with the underlying workflow, resulting in more dynamic workflows. The app interface can be more intuitive and approachable to those who aren’t familiar with Alteryx.

  3. Macros (01:42)

    Macros have the file extension .yxmc. Macros are standard workflows that have been packaged up as a tool to be used in other workflows. There are four types of macros in Alteryx: Standard, Batch, Iterative, and Location Optimizer

  4. Designing Apps and Macros (02:15)

    Workflows used to design apps and macros make heavy use of the tools found in the Interactive tab on the Tools Palette. These tools connect to different parts of the workflow and allow you to toggle variables in standard Alteryx tools.

    Macro Input and Macro Output tools connect to each end of a workflow, allowing users to turn a standard workflow into a Macro that can be used on future workflows.

Transcript

(upbeat music) - [Instructor] When dealing with large volumes of data, you invariably come across tasks that you'll want to repeat again and again.

Alteryx facilitates the automation of various procedures through applications and macros.

As we view the workflow tab in the configuration window we can see that workflows will typically default to a standard file type identified by the yxmd file extension.

However, there are two other general Alteryx file types, Analytical apps and Macros.

Analytical apps have the file extension yxmz.

These files are self-contained programs designed to perform specific functions.

Apps in the Alteryx environment enable you to create certain user interface graphics allowing a user to interact with the underlying workflow.

For example, you could use apps to give the user a dropdown choice between sorting by customer or by product when generating a report.

You can use an app to make your workflow more dynamic saving you from creating multiple versions of the same basic workflow to address different queries.

Another powerful use for these apps is to serve up information to other people in your organization who may not be familiar with Alteryx.

In other words you can design an Alteryx workflow that interrogates a range of data sources and then presents a simple user interface or dashboard to present the relevant information to stakeholders in a dynamic and flexible way.

Moving on, Alteryx macros have the file extension yxmc.

A macro can be thought of as an Alteryx workflow that has been packaged up as a tool that you can use in other workflows.

As such macros are similar to the various tools available on the tools pallet.

There are four different types of macros in Alteryx, Standard, Batch, Iterative and Location Optimizer.

We'll look at these in more detail later.

When designing apps and macros you'll use workflows similar to those you've seen today.

However, absent macros make extensive use of tools found under the interface tab of the tools pallet.

These black and white tools connect to different parts of the workflow and enable you to toggle variables inside formulas, filters, date fields et cetera.

The macro input and macro output icons can connect to each end of the workflow.

This turns your workflow into a tool that you can save as a discreet function and use on future workflows.

At this point you should have a basic understanding of macros and apps. As a reminder, macros work like tools while apps allow users to interact with a workflow.

In our next lesson, we'll explore the interface tools in more detail as we develop our first Alteryx app.

Practical Applications of Alteryx
Applications and Macros