Tableau Template – Bootstrap Portal Theme

Since seeing the work that is doing with wrapping Tableau in a bootstrap portal, I loved the idea but haven’t had the time to build (or more accurately have my team build) the framework to support it. I also interact with over 100 site owners of varying skill levels, and not everyone is looking to support a portal solution outside of the Tableau server.

So I’ve turned to Robert Rouse’s slide out Menu Container in order to achieve the same effect. While I’m not a big fan of supporting custom tricks, once this solution is implemented, it isn’t hard for others to modify and support.

This is my attempt to practice this technique and make a template example that could be reused for simple dashboards.


Tableau Invisible Shape Trick

Have you ever been frustrated with that light blue background when you select something in Tableau? This is particularly problematic when you have white text, because you can’t read the selection. Recently I figured out that I can use a fully transparent shape to change this effect. I’m sure that someone else must have figured this out by now, but I’ll share my technique here.

Take this awesome phone ready dashboard example by Zen Master Kelly Martin. On my phone it looks great, but it is really easy to fat finger selecting a KPI and then it makes the text white on a light blue background. So let’s take 2 minutes to fix that.



Career Path Dashboard in Tableau

Creating simple dashboards with Tableau is very fast and easy. I’m trying to understand the full limits of more customized dashboards compared to what I would have done in the past with Xcelsius/SAP Dashboards or even Excel. Today I have finally recreated my career path dashboard on Tableau Public, and I admit that it was a bit tricky to build the 30 different parameters into the one skill chart on the bottom right.


Click the image above or the following link:!/vizhome/CareerPath_0/CareerPath


Inovista Tutorial – Part 1 (The Basics)

I’ve had a number of people reach out in response to my teaser post about the capabilities of Inovista add-ons. Before I jump into things like the concept of sliding panels, we need to cover some of the basics.

If you are going to invest in the Inovista add-ons, I highly recommend that you get the full developer suite for $999. Remember, this is only required for the developers and not the end users, so it grants a lot of extra features without being a big deal if you have a couple hundred end users. Usually I recommend that organizations have at least 2 licenses because everyone needs a back-up. If you end up building a lot of mobile dashboards with Inovista, they have another option that allows you to package your own apps. I haven’t reached that point myself, but their mobile app reader is a great way to get started.

Here are some of the packages in the suite:

– Advanced Shapes
– Mobile Components
– iOS Components
– SVG / Image Controllers
– Inovista Mobile Charts
– Inovista Grids
– Inovista Microcharts

Business Intelligence Job Landscape

While my personal specialization is in dashboard design and data visualization, I’m finding that there are a lot of tools and options to choose from. Although I have focused on several of these, it is important to understand the overall market trends and the benefits/comparison to the alternatives. Gartner’s 2013 BI Magic Quadrant is a great place to start, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the corresponding job market for some of these tools. To accomplish this analysis, I used the trends feature on For a current snapshot, the following chart shows the number of listed openings by term searched. I’m sure that there are duplicated positions and such, but it gives us a nice order of magnitude demand for these skills. The accompanying comments and opinions below are my own.


Xcelsius Reborn vs. Visualization Best Practices?

Since I’m fresh off of the 2013 ASUG Developer Wars, I felt inspired to build another dashboard quickly. Plus I had hours to kill in the airport while waiting to return to the East Coast. I figured this was a great time to build another sample showcasing our upcoming add-on package and stand-alone dashboard reader.

I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing the entries Stephen Few’s recent dashboard competition. In particular, Jason Lockwood’s winning dashboard entry, so I used that as inspiration for this example.

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Reimagining the Xcelsius Experience

I started this blog several years back when I created my custom Xcelsius theme. But challenges when upgrading versions of Xcelsius and the fact that it doesn’t work in the mobile version has been disappointing. Now I finally have the chance to work with a more reliable solution that can produce lightweight, minimalist charts consistently. Powered by Inovista, this custom add-on suite and super simple stand-alone iPad app allows me to get the visuals I want with the bonus of accessing Business Objects BI services without needing a BI 4.1 environment!

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Balanced Scorecard on Mobile

Recently I rebuilt my Balanced Scorecard in the mobile version of SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius). While I learned a great deal from this exercise, the true lesson is that you should be designing for mobile first! While you can export to both desktop and mobile with the same file, most ‘desktop’ dashboards are over-complicated and overcrowded. Trying to convert those files to mobile will impact both usability and performance.