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As the final culmination of "millions of dollars" in investment, the much acclaimed Tableau Software recently released Tableau Public [tableaupublic.com], the long awaited answer to Many Eyes, Swivel, and all the other social visualization incarnations that exist today.

Tableau Public is specifically designed for anyone who likes to post content to the web as interactive charts, graphs, maps(!) or dashboards, with data that can be shared online, think bloggers, journalists or sports stats fanatics. Its biggest difference with its many competitors sits in the necessity to download a (~16MB) desktop application first. Tableau Public can connect to Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and multiple text file formats, and is limited to a (probably still generous) 50MB online storage restriction. The desktop program saves all work to the Tableau web servers, so that nothing is saved locally on one's computer. This also means that all the data saved will be accessible by everyone on the internet, so that authors need to be sure to work only with publicly available data.

As the software unfortunately is not available for Mac or WinXP, I am unable to make any direct statements on its usability (but please feel free to share your impressions in the comments section below!).

According to a published interview elsewhere, Tableau public should be "... as fun and accessible as online video." I personally feel a big unsure about to this statement and wonder whether they are not missing the right demographic, as the currently available examples seem to be more professional (but aesthetic) looking than its probably biggest competitor Many Eyes, which tend to look aesthetic (but professional).


I love tableau public, but I think it's fair to say that Many Eyes has a different focus. There are many things it does that Tableau can't do, especially in the domain of text analysis. That, and it's social by nature, as it is possible to comment and rate visualizations on the site.
Another interesting feature of Many-Eyes, in retrospect, is its limited number of visualizations. Users have only a few choices to make so it's easier and quicker to create a tangible output.

Tue 16 Feb 2010 at 2:07 AM

Hi - I think Tableau Public is a very interesting product. I'm surprised it's not quoted to work on XP as I'm using it's big brother on an XP machine. Also note that visualisations can be commented upon in Tableau Server so if it's not in Public right now, i'd guess it will be there very shortly.

Tue 16 Feb 2010 at 4:28 AM

Hi, I'm one of the software developers at Tableau that worked on Public. Thanks for all of the great feedback!

The software has been tested to run on Windows 2000 and up, which includes Windows XP. Many MacOS users have also claimed success when running Public on top of Parallels.

Tue 16 Feb 2010 at 5:25 AM

@max I will change the post to reflect the compatibility with winXP.
However, I concluded it was incompatible after a very weird error message during install at one of the uni's computers, and then being unable to find the prerequisites on the site.
Will try to recreate the error tomorrow and contact you.

Tue 16 Feb 2010 at 6:48 AM

Have you seen data-applied.com? They have visualizations but also some pretty cool data mining stuff. What I like about them is that you don't need to download and install a Windows app to create visualizations (they're free too).

Wed 17 Feb 2010 at 4:20 AM

@Max, we have been using Tab Pub on Windows7 in VM Fusion since Beta. Marvelous.

Peace and All Good!
Michael W Cristiani
Market Intelligence Group, LLC

Thu 18 Feb 2010 at 3:08 PM
Michael W Cristiani
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