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Why Dashboard Gauges Aren’t as Bad as You Think

2016-05-22 – 2:57 PM

Dashboard gauges were once the darling of the executive suite. Some designer took inspiration from a car dashboard and its gauges. A gauge is useful because it tells us how fast we are going or how much gas is in the tank. My newer model dashboard still has gauges but it also states how many miles until empty. That information is more useful than knowing how much gas is in the …

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BI Admin, User Conferences, Visual Analytics »

SAS Visual Analytics: Modern Theme Vs Classic Theme

2016-05-08 – 1:03 PM

At the SAS Global Forum 2016 the SAS Viya platform was announced and part of the platform was SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Statistics converting to the HTML5 interface. Noticeable changes were that the Designer and the Explorer have merged into one interface and there is a spiffy new color Modern theme. Dr. Goodnight said the expected release of the tool was projected to be Fall 2016.

There were two demonstrations, which are available on Live Stream so you can see for yourself how the new interface looks and learn more about what is happening with Viya:

Modern versus Classic Home

The new interface colors seems to have moved from a Facebook-theme to a brighter, cleaner look called Modern. With SAS Visual Analytics 7.2/7.3, the Modern or HTML5 theme was introduced. The theme applies to the Hub (aka home page)  and the Viewer. The following figure shows how the Modern theme looks on the Hub and in the Viewer. It does have a clean, perhaps flat look.

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The Classic or Flash-based theme is still available. The following figure shows how this theme looks in the Hub or Viewer. You can see on the Hub how it has a Facebook like color scheme. I am partial to this color scheme but I like the new one was well.

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Issues with the Modern Theme

Many sites are choosing to return to using the Classic theme.  There are various reasons and here’s some of the communications from SAS about what issues are being noticed.  These issues do not affect everyone.  (Thanks to Michelle Homes for posting these in SAS Communities.)

Not all web browsers are supported by SAS Visual Analytics – those that are supported have noticed these issues:

Here’s some other issues there were noted:

However the biggest issue is that the Export to Excel is not supported.

Export to Excel Only Available with Classic Theme

Many viewers want to download a visualization’s supporting data for various reasons. When using the Classic Viewer, you can right-click an object and select Export <name>, you are able to download the data as Excel or CSV file. This is not possible with the Modern viewer. In the following figure, you can see the difference in the Viewer.  As you can see, when you right-click in the Classic Viewer there are several options, but in the Modern Viewer there is only one.

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If you want to use the Modern viewer, then you can use a workaround such as writing a stored process to download the data. It’s also possible that your user base rarely wants to download the data so it’s not a huge issue.

Switching to SAS Visual Analytics Classic Mode

Users can switch to the Classic mode from the Hub or the Viewer from the Preferences > Settings menu.

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Administrators can force users to the Classic theme regardless of any preferences chosen by the user. There are two properties in the SAS Management Console: one for the Hub and the other for the Viewer. These settings are documented in the SAS Visual Analytics Administrators Guide.

Thanks to David Rice for showing me how quick and easy this process is.

Switch the Hub to Classic

To switch the Hub to Classic mode, do the following:

  1. In the SAS Management Console, from the Plug-in tab navigate to the following location:
    Application Management > SAS Application Infrastructure > Visual Analytics Hub 7.3
  2. Right-click Visual Analytics Hub 7.3 and select Properties.
  3. Select Advanced from the Visual Analytics Hub 7.3 Properties tab.
    If the home.ui.mode property is there, it should equal classic.
  4. If the property is not there, click the Add button.
  5. In the Define New Property window, add home.ui.mode and set this to property to classic.
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Click to enlarge image

Switch the Viewer to Classic

To switch the Viewer to Classic mode, do the following:

  1. In the SAS Management Console, from the Plug-in tab navigate to the following location:
    Application Management > SAS Application Infrastructure > Visual Analytics 7.3 > Visual Analytics Viewer 7.3
  2. Right-click Visual Analytics Viewer 7.3 and select Properties.
  3. Select Advanced from the Visual Analytics Viewer 7.3 Properties tab.
  4. If the vav.ui.mode property is there, it should equal classic.
  5. If the property is not there, click the Add button.
  6. In the Define New Property window, add vav.ui.mode and set this to property to classic.

Each site needs to decide the priorities and use cases before deciding if they want to switch.  It’s possible to switch the Viewer and leave the Hub alone. You may want your users to start learning the new interface. Tell me in the Comments about your experiences.

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SAS Visual Analytics: Bubble Plots for Less Toil and Trouble

2016-04-24 – 12:55 PM
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You cannot research bubble plots from any data visualization expert without reading a reference to the Hans Rosling’s Ted Talk Let My Dataset Change Your Mindset. It may have been the first time a bubble plot gained a mainstream appeal noted Stephen Few in his Show Me the Numbers book. Rosling provided an intense amount of information in one data visualization and he changed my mindset. Here’s some …

SAS VA Data Builder: Add a New Data Item

2016-02-05 – 9:25 AM
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The SAS Visual Analytics Data Builder allows you to prepare and load data to the SAS LASR Server so you can complete analysis or build reports and dashboards. It’s a little more tricky to use than some of the other parts of SAS Visual Analytics but can usually be mastered within a day. If you need to add a data item to your data table, …

3 Methods to Remove Data from the HDFS VAPUBLIC Directory

2015-12-20 – 3:53 PM
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When working with HDFS, you are often loading data to the various directories to upload into SAS Visual Analytics. However, sometimes you want to remove that data. Here’s three different ways to remove the data.
Method 1: Use the SAS VA Administrator Tools
If you have access to the Manage Environment area, you can use the Explore HDFS tab to interact with the data in the HDFS. You …

SAS VA: Dealing with Missing Dates

2015-12-20 – 1:27 PM
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It’s nearing the new year and you may have already started preparing reports that have the organization’s goals and the progress toward those goals. However your chart may not be displaying correctly. If your data is not setup properly then you’ll notice that you only have one or two months when you want to see the entire year even if there is no data yet. …

Adding a Stored Process to SAS Visual Analytics

2015-12-01 – 7:04 AM
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Not all data belongs in SAS Visual Analytics – it’s true. You may have situations where you want to filter and zoom on data and then look at the data in another system. Maybe it’s a list of items that the user wants to follow-up on in a different method. If you are using a non-distributed version of SAS Visual Analytics you may be particular …