Reading pointers below I borrowed from my Google+ microblogs “Data Visualization” ( , 7000+ followers) and “Data Visualization with Tableau” ( , almost 1000 followers). Sometimes the reading is more important then doing or writing. The reading on the beach (like below) can be even more…


  1. How Scalable Do Analytics Solutions Need to Be?
  2. The Data Visualization Catalogue. and
  3. The Evolution of SQL Server BI,
  4. Abela’s Folly – A Thought Confuser.
  5. TIBCO Spotfire Promotes an Insidious Myth.
  6. User Ideas Turned into Product Features:
  7. Is Data Is, or Is Data Ain’t, a Plural? and
  8. Talk: How to Visualize Data,
  9. Pillars Of Mapping Data To Visualizations,
  10. Radar Chart can be useful(?),
  11. Visualization Publication Data Collection,
  12. Visual Representation of SQL Joins, and


  1. Example of stupidity of the crowd:
  2. Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data,
  3. Exploring the 7 Different Types of Data Stories:
  4. Set Your Own Style with Style Templates:
  1. A Look at Choropleth Maps ,
  2. Mountain Chart for different categories (profiles) of web visits:!/vizhome/MountainChart/MountainChart


  1. To the point: 7 reasons you should use dot graphs,
  2. Rant: A Tableau Faithful’s View On Qlik ,
  3. Too Big Data: Coping with Overplotting,
  4. Too much data to visualize? Data densification in Tableau 9 ,
  5. The Architecture of a Data Visualization, , also see
  6. Filter Views using URL Parameters ,


  1. Building a Visualization of Transit System Data Using GTFS ,
  2. A Look At Box Plots ,
  3. Custom Tableau Server Admin Views ,
  4. Circular and Hive Plot Network Graphing in Tableau ,
  5. Hexbins in Tableau ,
  6. Tableau Public Goes Premium for Everyone; Expands Access to 10 Million Rows of Data ,


2 year ago the IPO instantly created almost $3B of market capitalization for Tableau Software Inc. and since then it almost tripled, making Tableau the most “valuable” Data Visualization company (click on image to enlarge):


Tableau more then doubled the number of its Full-Time employees (almost 2200 now, roughly the same (or more?) as QLIK has) and more then doubled its Revenue (again, roughly the same as QLIK has). Tableau’s YoY growth still in range of 77%-100% per year, which is far, far more then any competition:


Combination of that growth with technological progress and new features of Tableau’s products led to huge growth of its share price – it reached in 1st week of June 2015 $115, while Qlik’s share price is hovering around $37 or even below (click on image to enlarge):


Visitors to this blog kept asking me of what is most impressive (for me) about Tableau and what are my concerns. I will list just 3 of each:

  • most impressive: YoY (Year-over-Year growth ratio); migration to 64-bit (finally) and performance improvements; and  increasing capacity of Tableau Public to 10 million rows and 10 GB storage.
  • concerns: rumors that price of Tableau Server will be increased (I heard doubled; that can slow down the growth and the popularity of Tableau); moving CEO to Europe away from HQ (repeating of mistake of Spotfire and Qliktech, who had/have R&D in Europe – away from american HQ);  and limited capacity of Tableau Online (basically it can be good only for small workgroup).

Not all of its huge success can be contributed to Tableau itself:

QLIK for example did not release Qlikview version 12 for last 4 years (but kept updating the last version, recently with release 11 (!) of Qlikview version 11.2). Another help Tableau got from TIBCO, who kept Spotfire inside strict corporate cage and went private with little change for Spotfire to be a spin-off. As a result, competition for Tableau during last 2 years was weaker then before its IPO and we are witnessing a massive migration to Tableau from competitive products.

Don’t assume that Tableau is slowing down: I visualized (using Tableau Public of course, see it here:!/vizhome/Data2Months/TableausMarketCap ) the Tableau’s Market capitalization during last 52 business days and it keeps growing at least as fast as last 2 years:

Tableau's Market Cap

Update 6/7/15: finally, just check the number of Job Openings @Tableau – 344 (as of today 6/7/15), @QLIK – 116 (3 times less then Tableau!), and only 1 (ONE!) opening for Spotfire… If you still think that Microstrategy can compete with Tableau, then please keep this in mind: as of today Microstrategy’s total number of Job Openings is … 50.



My best wishes in 2015 to visitors of this Data Visualization blog!

2014 was very unusual for Data Visualization Community. Most important event was the huge change in market competition where Tableau was a clear winner, QLIK lost it leadership position and Spotfire is slowly declining as TIBCO went private. Pleasant surprise was Microsoft, who is finally trying to package Power BI separately from Office. In addition other competitors like Microstrategy, Panorama and Datawatch were unable to gain bigger share in Data Visualization market.

2014 again was the year of Tableau: market capitalization exceeded $6B, YoY growth was highest again, sales approaching $0.5B/year, number of employees almost the same as @QLIK, LinkedIn index exceeded 90000, number of Job Openings increased again and as of today it is 337! I personally stopped comparing Data Visualization products for last few months, since Tableau is a clear winner overall and it will be difficult for others to catch-up unless Tableau will start making mistakes like QLIK and Spotfire/TIBCO did during last few years.

2014 was very confusing for many members of QLIK community, me included. Qlik.Next project resulted in new Qlik Sense Product (I don’t see too much success for it) and Qlikview 12 is still not released, while prices for both QLIK products are not public anymore. Market Capitalization of QLIK is below $3B despite still solids sales (Over $0.5B/year) and YoY growth is way below of Tableau’s YoY. Qlikview’s LinkedIn index now around 60000 (way below Tableau’s) and Qlik Sense’s LinkedIn index is only 286…  QLIK has only 124 Job opening as of today, almost 3 times less then Tableau!

Curiously, BI Guru Mr. Donald Farmer, who joined QLIK 4 years ago (a few months before the release of Qlikview 11) and who was the largest propagandist of Qlik.Next/Qlik Sense, was moved from VP of Product Management position to new “VP of Innovation” @QLIK just before the release of Qlik Sense and we hear much less from Donald now. Sadly, during these 4 years Qlikview 12 was never released, and QLIK never released anything similar to free Tableau Reader, free Tableau Public and Tableau Online (I am still hoping for Qlikview in Cloud) and all Qlikview prices were unpublished…

As a member of Spotfire community, I was sad to see the failure of Spotfire (and its parent TIBCO) to survive as public company: on December 5, Vista Equity Partners completed the acquisition of TIBX for $4.3 billion. I estimate Spotfire sales around $200M/year (assuming it is 20% of TIBCO sales). LinkedIn index of Spotfire (is way below Tableau’s and Qlikview’s) is around 12000 and number of Job Openings is too small. I hope Vista Equity Partners will spinoff the Spotfire in IPO as soon as possible and move all Spotfire’s Development, Support, Marketing and Sales into one American location, preferably somewhere in Massachusetts (e.g. back to Somerville).

Here is a farewell Line Chart (bottom of Image) to TIBX symbol, which was stopped trading 3 weeks ago (compared to DATA and QLIK Time Series (upper and middle Line Charts) for entire 2014):


Tableau Server works as a team of multiple processes, processors, programs and applications, like data engine, data server, VizQL Server, bacgrounder, application server etc.:
Each of those processes generates LOG files with data about user activities, data connections, queries and extractions, errors, views repaintings and interactions, etc.:
Those data parsed regularly and stored into PostgreSQL-based Tableau Server Administrative Database, called “Workgroup” and also known as Tableau Server Repository.

PostgreSQL Server containing Workgroup DB usually runs on the same Windows Server as Main Tableau Server or (if Tableau Server runs on multimode cluster with Worker Tableau Server(s)) on other Windows Server, which runs Worker Tableau Server and uses non-standard TCP/IP port 8060.

During installation Tableau Server will create the almost empty Workgroup Repository with the main DB Schema called “public”, 100+ tables, 900+ columns (about 100 of them used as Keys), 300+ Joins, 16+ Views and 4 pre-approved users ( 2 internal (repository and rails), 1 SuperAdmin ( tblwgadmin ) and 1 default user ( tableau, which has read-only access to 16 views (click on image to enlarge):
and nothing else). Similar Schema (with linkage between Keys for Tableau 7.0 Repository) is here (Originally published by great Russell Christopher) :

None of these pre-approved Workgroup users available outside of Tableau Server environment (unless designated static IP address(es) will be added (this may violate your Tableau License) to pg_hba.conf PostgreSQL configuration file, except “tableau” user (and new default “readonly” user) who can be given a privilege to connect to Workgroup Repository remotely as described here:

In November 2014 Tableau Software introduced (Release 8.2.5) a new, 2nd default user, named “readonly” with read access to all Tables and Views of Workgroup Repository:

New “readonly” user enables us (if/when migration to Tableau 8.2.5+ or 8.3 happened) to create custom Operational Dashboards and monitor the usage and state of Tableau Server in Enterprise environment. TABADMIN utility’s command DBPASS now has new parameter “—username” which can enable remote access for “readonly default user:

tabadmin dbpass –username readonly p@ssword

Tableau Software also introduced and published the Data Dictionary and Documentation for entire Repository, its DB Schema, Tables, Views and other details here:
and here:

Please find below the list of all tables, columns, their data types:

Tableau 8.2 Repository: tables and columns

or you can see it here:!/vizhome/shared/4WQSHR642

and the portion of Diagram of “public” DB Schema for Tableau Server Repository (click on image to enlarge):

Russell Christopher originally posted the portion of DB Schema of Tableau Server Repository for v.7.0. here: and then added awesome articles about History Tables in Data Dictionary for v. 8 here: and here:

Tableau’s IPO on May 17 2013 instantly created the most valuable (in terms of Market Capitalization) Data Visualization Vendor. Since then Tableau kept having the best in “BI industry” YoY growth and its sales skyrocketing, almost reaching the level of QLIK sales. During summer of 2014 DATA (stock symbol for Tableau) shares were relatively low and as one visitor to my blog cynically put it, TCC14 (Tableau Customer Conference for 2014) can be easily justified, since it raised DATA Stock and added (indirectly) to Market Cap of Tableau more than $1B to the level of more than $5B. Below is entire history of DATA prices (click on image to enlarge):


Tableau’s IPO on May 17 2013 instantly created the most valuable (in terms of Market Capitalization) Data Visualization Vendor. Since then Tableau kept having the best in “BI industry” YoY growth and its sales skyrocketing, almost reaching the level of QLIK sales. During summer of 2014 DATA (stock symbol for Tableau) shares were relatively low and as one visitor to my blog cynically put it, TCC14 (Tableau Customer Conference for 2014) can be easily justified, since it raised DATA Stock and added (indirectly) to Market Cap of Tableau more than $1B to the level of more than $5B. Below is entire history of DATA prices (click on image to enlarge):

For me the more indicative then the stock prices, market capitalization and a number of participants in customer conferences are numbers of job openings for competing vendors and Tableau has 270+ of them (more than 20% of its current number of employees), QLIK has 120+ (about 7% of its number of employees) and TIBCO has only about 2 dozens of openings related to Spotfire (unless I misread some other openings). For the quarter finished June 30, 2014, the company posted a year-over-year revenue increase of 82% with just over $90 million in revenue. Headcount was up 62% year-over-year to 1,532 employees worldwide.

As a background for Tableau growing sales (and tremendous YoY) you can see slow growth of QLIK sales (QLIK also delayed for almost 3 years the release of new product: we will not see Qlikvew 12, we still waiting for release of QLIK.NEXT and only recent release is Qlik Sense, which does not make too much sense to me) and almost no changes in Spotfire sales. I am guessing that Tableau is taking all those sales away from competition…

Keynotes and sessions of TCC14 were packed (you cannot find available seats on images below) and full of interesting info and even entertainment for new users and customers.


These 2 fresh multimillionaires (see below, not sure why Christian’s face looks unhappy – I guess it is just me) opened TCC14 as usual, with exciting keynote.


You can find their keynote either on TCC14 website (link below) or on Youtube (below TCC14 link). Keynote contains 3+ parts: two speeches from co-founders (this year Christian choose theme of “Data Art” – I am not sure if it help sales,  but nevertheless entertaining and very speculative topic) and the rest of keynote about new features in upcoming release of Tableau (8.3 and 9.0?).

As you see from slide below, Tableau is positioning new features in 7 groups, and I will try to mention those.


Let’s start with most interesting to me: potential performance gain 2x or even 4x, mostly because better usage of multithreading and 64-bit code and I quote here: “Vice President of Product Development Andrew Beers takes his turn next, speaking about Performance. He shows breakthroughs in the Viz Engine, flying through a visualized painting, seamlessly panning, zooming, and selecting. Switching into data more likely to be representative, he shows a live connection to a database of 173 million taxi rides in New York City, and dives in showing results easily four times faster than the same calculations run on the same machine running Tableau 8.2, leveraging a change in the Data Engine to use multiple CPU cores in parallel. Database queries will likewise be parallelized, with cited examples reducing 15 second queries to three, and more complex ones reduced from nearly a minute to as little as seven seconds.”


Among other features, Chris introduced “Lasso & Radial Selections”:  these selections allow interactors to select points in shapes other than just a square. In Stolte’s keynote, he used a map as an example. He only wanted to lasso points in a city from the northwest to the southeast, not selecting some along the way. The shape ended up being like a figure eight. This was impressive.

Vice-President of Product Marketing Ellie Fields talked about new developments forthcoming in Cloud computing with Tableau, featuring Tableau Online as a platform for connecting Cloud data warehouses and applications in conjunction with on-premise data which can be presented in web browsers, on mobile devices, or even encapsulated in embedded applications.

Of course the star of TCC14 was Prof. Hans Rosling – as keynoter as well as part of the excited crowd.

HansKeynotingAtTCC14Hans stars even in cafeteria (could not resist to include his picture seating at table with right hand raised).

HansAtTCC14Another memorable event was “ZEN Masters of 2014” –


this is a living prove of huge and very capable Tableau community


Tableau provided during TCC14 a lot of classes and training sessions – almost all of them were well prepared and packed. Expect many of them to be available online – many for free.

TCC14_TrainingSessionI included below two video interviews, showing insider’s take on Tableau as Sales Organization

and also Tableau’s approach to Product management with these priorities (I am curious if they always followed in real life): Quality – Schedule – Features.



While on Cape Cod this summer and when away from beach, I enjoyed some work-unrelated fun with Tableau. My beach reading included this article: by Andrew Ball and I decided to create my own Radar. When I show it to coworkers later, they suggested to me to publish it (at least the fun with Polygons, Path and Radars) on my blog. I may reuse this Radar chart for our internal Web Analytics. CloudsOverAtlantic

Natural Order of Points and Segments in Line.

Many visualization tools will draw the line chart, its datapoints and connecting line segments between datapoints in natural progressing order – repainting them from left to right (horizontal ordering by Axis X) or from bottom to upside
(vertical ordering by Axis Y) or vice versa.

Path as the method to break the Natural Order.

Some demanding visualizations and users wish to break the natural repainting and drawing order and Tableau allows to do that by using the Path as the method to order the datapoints and line segments in Lines and Polygons. A Collection of increasing Ordering Numbers (Pathpoints) for each Datapoint in Line defined a Path for drawing and connecting datapoints and segments of that Line (or Polygon). Each Pathpoint can be predefined or calculated, depends on mplementation and business logic.
Changing the Natural Order can create “artificial” and unusual situations, when two or more datapoints occupying the same pixels on drawing surface but have very different Pathpoints (example can be a Polygon, when Line ends in the same point it starts) or when two or more Line Segments intersecting in the same Pixel on screen (example can be the Center of the letter X ).


Radar Chart has 2 parts: Radar Grid (background) and Radar Polygons (showing repetitive Data Patterns, if linear timeline can be collapsed into circular “timeline”). Radar Grid has Radials (with common Center) and Concentric Rings.
Polygons optionally can be filled with (transparent) color. For future Discussion let’s use the RMax as the maximal possible distance between the Center of Radar Grid (in case of Radar Grid) or the Center of Radar Polygon (in case of Radar
Polygon) and the most remote Datapoint shown in Radar Grid or Polygon respectively. We will use the “normalized” statistics of Visits to typical Website to visualize the hourly and daily (by day of the week) patterns of Web Visitations. By
normalization we mean the removal of insignificant deviations from “normal” hourly and daily amounts of Web Visits. For complete obfuscation we will assume for Demo purposes that RMax = 144.

Radar Radial Grid.

Radial Grid contains a few Radiuses (equidistant from each other) and we will draw each Radius as 3-point line where Starting and Ending points of each line are identical to each other and collocated with the Center of Radar. For Demo Web Visitation Radar we will use Radial Grid with 8 Radiuses, corresponding to the following hours of the complete 24-hours day: 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21:
For example see the Radius, corresponding to HOUR = 3 (below in light brown, other Radiuses greyed out on that image):
And for that Radius we are using (redundantly) the following 3 datapoints:

Concentric Rings for Radar Grid.

For Demo Radar we will use 4 Concentric Rings, corresponding to 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% levels of maximum visitation per hour:
Each ring is a line with 25 datapoints, where Starting and Ending Points collocated/equal. For example, dataset for external Ring (red line above) looks like this:
When Radials and Concentric Rings collocated and overlaid they represent the Radar Grid, ready to be a background for Radar Chart:

Radar Polygons.

For Demo purposes we use only 2 Polygons – one (largest) representing average Hourly Visits during Weekday and 2nd Polygon representing average Hourly Visits during Weekend day. For Websites which I observed the minimum number of visits happened around 1 AM, so you will see both Polygons are slightly rotated clockwise and slightly shifted up from the Center of Radar Grid to reflect the fact that the minimum number of visitors (even around 1 AM) is slightly more then 0. Each Radar Polygon (in our Demo) has 25 Data Points with Starting and Ending Points collocated at 1AM. Here is a Weekday Polygon, overlaid with Radar Grid:
Here are the data for Weekday Polygon: 


Here is a Polygon for Weekend day, overlaid with Radar Grid:


Radar Chart.

When Radar Grid and Radar Polygons overlaid (Polygons transparent but on top of
Grid) we will get the Radar Chart. Please note that Centers of Radar Grid and Radar
Polygons can have different locations:



I published Tableau workbook with this Demo Radar Chart and Radar Data here:!/vizhome/radar/Radar

Visitors to this blog keep asking me to estimate Tableau Software prices (including for Tableau Online), even Tableau published all non-server prices on its website here: However this does not include discounts, especially for enterprise volume of buying no pricing for servers of any kind (at least 2 kinds of server licenses exist) and no pricing for consulting and training.

Thanks to website of Tableau Partner “Triad Technology Partners” we have a good estimate of all Tableau prices (they are always subject of negotiations) in form of so called GSA Schedule (General Services Administration, Federal Acquisition Service, Special Items: No. 132-33 Perpetual Software Licenses, No. 132-34 Maintenance of Software as a Service, No. 132-50 Training Courses) for Tableau Software Products and Services, see it here: here (for example it includes prices for IBM Cognos and others): and specific Tableau Prices here:

I grouped Tableau’s Prices (please keep in mind that TRIAD published GSA schedule in April 2013, so it is 1 year old prices, but they are good enough for estimating purposes)  in 5 groups below: Desktop, Server with licensing for Named Users (makes sense if you have less then hundred “registered” users), Core Licenses for Tableau Server (recommended when you have more then 150 “registered” users), Consulting and Training Prices:

Google sheet for spreadsheet above is here:
and image of it – for those who has misbehaved browsers is below:

Again, please keep in mind that above just an estimate for prices (except for Tableau Online), based on 2013 GSA Schedule, and a good negotiator can always get a good discount (I got it each time I tried). You may also wish to review more general article from Boris Evelson here:

Note about choice between Core License and Server License with Named Users: I know organizations who choose to keep Named Users Licensing instead of switching to Core License even with more then 300 registered users, because it allows them to use much more capable hardware (with much more CPU Cores).


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