2017-05-29

Building Tabular Reports in Flow Analytics

Overview


Flow enables you to build many types of reports, such as tabular, grouped, pivot tables, tables, and data summaries. This is the first in a series of posts focusing upon building reports in Flow. You can learn more about these different types of reports in the Flow online help. A tabular report is the most basic type of report you can build in Flow, it is organized in a multicolumn, multirow format, with each column corresponding to a column in a dataset.

There are two basic methods you can employ to create tabular reports in Flow. The first is to add a Tabular Report action to a new or existing workflow. The second way is to open a dataset within the Flow portal then click on the report icon Create Report button in the toolbar located at the top of the dataset view. This post will cover the the first method.

Getting Started

Add the Sample Data


After logging into Flow, you'll first need to add the "Product Sales" sample dataset to your Flow account. Click on the down arrow down arrow button in the top menu bar then click on the sample data sample data icon to open the Add Sample Dataset dialog. Click the ADD link next to the "Product Sales" entry. The sample data will be added to your account.

sample dataset

The sample data will be added to your account.

sample dataset
sample dataset

Open Cloud Connect


Flow provides an integrated development environment for building analytics-oriented workflows called Cloud Connect.

Cloud Connect is ClickOnce deployed software for developing and managing workflows. To launch Cloud Connect, open the Workflows menu in the left sidebar of the Flow portal then click the Launch Cloud Connect button, see below:

Depending upon your browser, you may need to add an extension to enable ClickOnce and launch Cloud Connect. Click on the View Cloud Connect Requirements link beneath the Launch Cloud Connect button to learn the requirements for your particular browser. If this is your first time using Cloud Connect, it may require a minute or so to install. Once the installation has completed, the application will open automatically.

workflow menu
workflow menu

Cloud Connect

  • 1. Top Menu
  • 2. Workflow Library
  • 3. Workflow Action Editor Tab
  • 4. Workflow Actions Menu
  • 5. Working Data View

Add a New Workflow


To get started, we'll need to add a new workflow. From the Cloud Connect top menu, click the add workflow button. The Add New Workflow dialog will appear as shown on the right.

Enter the workflow name then click OK. The new workflow is added to the Workflow Library list on the left-side of your screen. To open the workflow for editing, simply double click its name. Alternatively, you can right-click the workflow name and then select Open from the context menu.

add workflow
open workflow

Add a Load Data Workflow Step


Add a Load Dataset step by clicking on the actions menu menu and selecting Load Dataset from the drop-down menu; the Load Dataset Dialog will display.

Select the "Product Sales" dataset from the drop-down list then click OK to add the Load Dataset workflow step.

Next, click the run button button on the Workflow Menu then pressEnter or click Yes in response to the Run All dialog. The Load Dataset action will execute and import the Product Sales data. The data will be displayed in the Working Data at the bottom of your screen.

load dataset workflow action

Create a Tablular Report

Add a Tabular Report Action


Now that we have some data, we can add a Tabular Report action to our workflow. From the Workflow Menu, click on the results button button then select Tabular Report, the Tabular Report Dialog will appear, see below.

tabular report menu item

Tabular Report Steps

  • From the Working Data drop-down list, select the Product Sales dataset.
  • Enter the Report Name, Title, and Report Description as shown.
  • Add Report Columns
    • In the Report Elements -> Select Report Columns select a column from the Columns drop-down list.
    • Enter the column header text Column Header Text text box or accept the default header (the column name)
    • If the column's data type is numeric, optionally select a Number Format from the drop-list.
    • Optional - use the Sort drop-down list to select a sort direction and include the the column in the report sort order.
    • Optional - check the Include Total box to display a column total.
    • Click the Add Column button to the add the report column. The column will be added to the Columns list.
tabular report dialog

Add Filters

Click the Add Filter button to display the Add Report Filter dialog. You can specify multiple filters to restrict the data displayed in the report.

add report filter dialog

When you have finished selecting report elements, click the OK button to add the Tabular Report action.

tabular report action

Run the Workflow and View the Report


Click the run run button button on Workflow Menu. Press Enter or click Yes in response to the Run All dialog. The workflow will load the data, create the report, and save the report result to your Flow account. To view the report, go to the Flow portal and open the Reports & Charts section under the Results menu. Click on the "US Retail Sales Report" report name to display the report.

reports and charts menu
tabular report display

Summary


In this post, I covered how to make a simple two-step workflow to build and publish a tabular report. To generate a tabular report, you must first add a load dataset action. This action imports the required report data into the workflow's working data memory and builds the data point definitions used to create the report. After running the "Load Dataset" action, you then add a "Tabular Report" action. The tabular report action allows you to define the report's column order, sort options, number formats, and column totals. The "Load Dataset" and "Tabular Report" actions are all that is required to produce a report in Flow. To learn about other reporting options in Flow, check out these related posts: