Commit to comments

by Joe Macari

If you have spent some time doing any form of development work or coding in the past you will probably be aware that you are able to comment out certain lines of your code. Whether this be with a – – or a /*, leaving notes behind is always a good idea. You never know when you are going to come back to something in future long after it was tossed from your memory banks or when someone else will be picking up from where you left off.

The same can be done in Tableau, more specifically in calculated fields, and also in Alteryx.

Similar to the above reasons it is good practice to include these to remind yourself in the future what you have done and why you have done it. Or perhaps you just want to put your calculation into English. I find this really helpful especially when it comes to Level of Detail calculations as I don’t have a complete understanding of some of the more complex operations yet (if you want to look at some basic translations of LODs into English see this Learn to Talk Tablish post).

In Tableau, to leave a comment in a calculated field you start the line with a double forward slash ‘//’. Below are a couple of examples where I have used comments in my calculated fields:



If you want to be really, really prepared for someone else picking up your workbook with no other documentation on it you can always have a calculated field which is nothing but comments:



Similarly, you can add comments into Alteryx workflows by using the comment tool. This doesn’t connect to any other tools but floats in you workflow:



Alteryx isn’t something that I have used previous to joining the Data School so I find this really useful to keep in mind what I am doing, and also picking up where I left off the previous day.

I am still in my training with the Data School so I haven’t had to do this in practice with any of the work I am currently producing (I have done so when coding in the past) but I am trying to get myself into the habit of doing it, not only for myself when reviewing my work but also for the future when I will be working in different business dipping into and out of different project.



If you have any questions or would like to leave any comments please do so via my twitter.

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