R Integration with Tableau

During my Corporate Tableau Training in Gurgaon , i get questions many time regarding R Integration with Tableau .

Writing “R” Scripts inside Tableau : Step by Step

1.Tableau with R

  • This blog is intended to show how to leverage R to extend Tableau capabilities and visualize outputs from R.

  • This is not a Tutorial on R.

 

2.What is R

  • R is an open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics

  • The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis.


 

3.What is R Studio

  • RStudio is a free and open-source Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for R.

  • RStudio is available in two editions: RStudio Desktop, where the program is run locally as a regular desktop application; and RStudio Server, which allows accessing RStudio using a web browser while it is running on a remote Linux



 

4.Installing R & R Studio

  • Download R from the Link:

http://cran.us.r-project.org/

  • Download R Studio from the Link:

https://www.rstudio.com/products/rstudio/download/

 

5.Setting Up Tableau Desktop with R

Tableau communicates with R using a package called Rserve.


You can install and initiate Rserve from R command line by entering:
install.packages("Rserve");
library(Rserve);
Rserve()

 

6.Configure an Rserve Connection on Tableau

On the Help menu in Tableau Desktop choose Settings and Performance > Manage R Connection to open the Rserve connection dialog box.

 

The below screen opens up:

 

Enter or select a server name using a domain or an IP address. The drop-down list includes localhost and the server you most recently connected to.
Specify a port. Port 6311 is the default port for Rserve servers. If the server requires credentials, specify a Username and Password.
Click Test Connection. Click OK.

 

7. Pass Expressions to R

  • In order to let tableau know that the calculations need to go to R, it must be passed through one of the 4 functions.

  • These 4 functions are : SCRIPT_BOOL , SCRIPT_INT , SCRIPT_REAL , SCRIPT_STR

  • R Functions are computed as Table calculations in Tableau.

  • Since these are table calculations, all the Fields being passed to R must be aggregated like Sum(PROFIT), MIN(Profit), Max (Profit), ATTR( Category) etc.

8. R Functions in Tableau

 

8. Run an R script on Tableau

8a → SCRIPT_BOOL

Returns a Boolean result from the specified expression. The expression is passed directly to a running external service instance. In R expressions, use .argn (with a leading period) to reference parameters (.arg1, .arg2, etc.).

SCRIPT_BOOL(" .arg1 > 0 ", SUM([Profit]))

  • In this R example, .arg1 is equal to SUM([Profit])

  • All the Fields being passed to R must be aggregated like Sum(PROFIT), MIN(Profit), Max (Profit), ATTR( Category) etc..

 

8b → SCRIPT_INT

SCRIPT_INT(" .arg1 / 2 ", SUM([Profit]))
Returns an integer result from the specified expression. In this R example, .arg1 is equal to SUM([Profit])

 

8c→ SCRIPT_REAL
SCRIPT_REAL(" log(.arg1) ", SUM([Profit]))
Returns a real result from the specified expression. In this R example, .arg1 is equal to SUM([Profit])

8d → SCRIPT_STR

SCRIPT_STR(" paste(.arg1 ,.arg2)",
attr([Category]),
attr([Sub-Category])
)
Returns a string concatenate result using “R” paste function. In this R example, .arg1 is equal to attr([Category]) SCRIPT_STR(" paste(.arg1 ,.arg2)",
attr([Category]),
attr([Sub-Category])
)
Returns a string concatenate result using “R” paste function. In this R example, .arg1 is equal to attr([Category])











 

9. Share a Workbook That Requires an Rserve Connection

You may need to send a workbook that contains R functionality to other users, who may be using different copies of Tableau Desktop on other computers. Or, users may download a workbook from Tableau Server that contains R functionality. Before users will be able to use the R functionality in workbooks they have received or downloaded to Tableau Desktop, they must Configure Rserve connections on their Computers.




 

10. Publishing Workbooks with an Rserve Connection

  • Publishing a workbook with R functionality to Tableau Server requires Server to have a connection to Rserve.

  • If multiple users need to access Rserve simultaneously, Rserve should be installed on Linux.

  • Rserve on Linux, unlike Windows, handles each user independently and does not allow users to overwrite other’s objects.

  • Before you publish a workbook that relies on an Rserve connection to Tableau Server, you should configure Tableau Server to have its own Rserve connection.

  • You do this by configuring settings with tabadmin set.

  • The settings are equivalent to the values you set in the Rserve Connection dialog box. They are:

  • vizqlserver.rserve.host

  • vizqlserver.rserve.port

  • vizqlserver.rserve.username

  • vizqlserver.rserve.password

  • Note: The settings vizqlserver.rserve.username and vizqlserver.rserve.password should be omitted if Tableau Desktop connects to RServe without a username and password.


 

11. About R integration with Tableau [ As of Tableau 10.1 (April 2017)]

  • You cannot publish workbooks containing R scripts to Tableau Public.

  • You cannot view workbooks containing R scripts in Tableau Reader.

  • You cannot publish a workbook that contains R scripting to Tableau Online.

  • Tableau has been tested with R versions 3.1 and 3.2, and with Rserver version 0.6-8.

  • Tableau cannot verify that workbooks that use R will render properly on Tableau Server. There might be scenarios where a required statistical library is available on a user’s machine but not on the Rserve instance that Tableau Server is using.

  • For views that cannot be rendered in Tableau Server because of an R script error, you see a warning error when you publish the workbook .

  • Because Tableau Server provides an authentication mechanism, it can be more secure to expose Rserve functionality to users through Tableau Server than in Tableau Desktop.

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