Tableau released 2020.3 on August 12th, 2020 with 12 new features for Tableau Desktop. All are useful, but these are the 5 that will have the most impact on developers’ workflow and capabilities in my opinion when creating dashboards. I’ve ranked them in the order of the biggest impact for developers and the challenges or questions they face frequently.
1. The IN operator for calculations
Ever do giant IF or CASE statements with nested CONTAINS? Well your life just got a little easier. You can now use the IN operator to compare a field to a list of values.
Why it’s important: Easier readability, shorter and more efficient calculations.
2. Search improvements in the data pane
With the new Relationships features and data modeling capabilities, the data pane had to be redesigned to allow for multiple tables. This removed the separation in the pane between dimensions and measures. That was quite a shock to many Tableau users as it was an efficient way to separate those field types. In 2020.3, there is now the ability to filter your fields in the data pane by field name, type, or comments. It still feels like a compromise but after a few weeks of use, it probably won’t even be a noticeable difference from the original data pane.
Why it’s important: The new data pane to handle Relationships felt like a step back. This is a step forward in making the data pane easy to use again.
3. Relationship improvements
If you’ve jumped into the new Relationships feature earlier in 2020, you’ll quickly realize its powers, and quickly realize its (few) shortcomings. One of these shortcoming has been fixed in 2020.3. You’ll now be able to relate tables using calculated fields and/or using inequality operators (like <>).
Why it’s important: Running into the serious limitations of operators or calculated fields in earlier versions minimized the usefulness of Relationships. These improvements significantly expanded Relationships use cases again.
4. Predictive modeling functions
I really wanted to put this one higher, but ultimately most developers still won’t get into predictive modeling. I’d highly recommend adding general predictive modeling skills to your toolbox with something like Python, but ultimately predictive modeling inside Tableau will be great as well.
Why it’s important: Making the leap from descriptive to predictive and prescriptive analytics provides huge value to your users and customers. This new feature makes the gap between descriptive and predictive much smaller to bridge.
5. Additional viz export capabilities
Users are always requesting various ways to export dashboards and their underlying data. Back in the day, strange hacks and/or extensions would have to be used to provide the desired output. With 2020.3, you’ll be able to export crosstabs from dashboards into Excel formats to preserve formatting, provide easy export buttons for this feature, and customize PDF subscription layouts for your dashboards.
Why it’s important: This new feature expands the export capabilities, showing that Tableau is still focused on improving some of the most frequent end user requests.
What are your thoughts on the new releases in Tableau 2020.3? Do you think Tableau is on the right path in their development efforts? The company continues to actively seek user feedback and has been implementing the most requested features. What would you like to see improved next?