Saturday, 9 July 2011

In praise of Tableau

In my day job in IT at Newcastle Uni, I've been looking at some software called Tableau that provides an easy way to create 'visualisations' of data in databases, spreadsheets and even text files.  I don't say this very often about software but I've been incredibly impressed with Tableau - it is a real delight to work with. Anyone who has done it will know that extracting data into nice graphs and reports in a meaningful and accurate way is something of a black art a lot of the time.  With Tableau it suddenly becomes easy!

Having explored the product website a bit more this morning, I've spotted that they provide a free Public version of Tableau that looks as if it could be extremely useful for bloggers and website managers.  Have a look at this video which gives a clever example of how to use it:

There is a 50MB limit on the data size for this free version of Tableau which doesn't sound like much, however you can get an awful lot of text into 50MB.  (Images do take up a lot of space of course, but you can just provide web links to those rather than including the actual images in your data.)

I can't help thinking that Tableau is the killer app for data management that we've all been waiting for.  Undoubtedly I'll be waxing more about this product in posts to come!

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