Publish a Flow to Tableau Server or Tableau Online

Publish your flows to Tableau Server or Tableau Online to automatically run them on a schedule and refresh the flow output using Tableau Prep Conductor.

Note: The content in this topic applies to both Tableau Server and Tableau Online, exceptions are called out specifically.

Who can do this?

Server Administrator, Site Administrator Creator, and Creator allow full connecting and publishing access.

Explorer (can publish) and Site Administrator Explorer have limited publishing capabilities, as described in the following topics:

Tableau Server:

Tableau Online: General capabilities allowed with each site role.

Before you publish

To make sure that you can run your flow in Tableau Server or Tableau Online, check the following:

  1. Verify that there are no errors in the flow.

    Flows that contain errors will fail when you try to run them in Tableau Server or Tableau Online. Errors in the flow are identified by a red exclamation mark and a red dot with an Errors indicator in the upper right corner of the canvas.

  2. Verify that your flow doesn't include input connectors or features that aren't compatible with your version of Tableau Server. Tableau Online should always be running the most current version.

    Flows that include connectors or features that aren't yet supported in your version of Tableau Server can be published, but can't be scheduled to run in Tableau Server. To publish and schedule flows to run on Tableau Server, you must be using Tableau Server version 2019.1 or later and Tableau Prep Conductor must be enabled.

    For example, the SAP HANA connector was introduced in Tableau Prep Builder version 2019.1.4 but this connector isn't supported until Tableau Server version 2019.2 for Tableau Prep Conductor. When you publish the flow, you would see a message like the example below.

    To run your flow in Tableau Server, you need to take the appropriate actions to make the flow compatible. For more information about working with incompatible flows, see Version Compatibility with Tableau Prep.

  3. Flows that include input or output steps with connections to a network share require safe listing. Tableau Online doesn't support this option and files must be packaged with the flow on publish.

    Flow input and output steps that point to files stored in a network share (UNC path) aren’t permitted unless the file and path is accessible by the server and are included in your organization's safe list. If you publish the flow without adding the file location to your safe list, the flow will publish, but you will get an error when you try and schedule or run the flow in Tableau Server.

    If the files aren't stored in a safe listed location, you will see a warning message when you publish the flow.

    Click the "list" link in the message to see a list of allowed locations. Move your files to one of the locations in the list, and make sure that your flow points to these new locations.

    In Tableau Server, to configure the allowed network paths, use the tsm command options described in Step 4: Safe list Input and Output locations.

    If you don't want to move your files to a safe listed location, you will need to package the input files with the flow and publish the flow output to Tableau Server as a published data source. For more information about setting these options, see Publish a flow in this topic.

  4. Make sure each flow output step is set to Publish as a data source. All flow output steps must point to the same server or site where the flow is published but can point to different projects on that server or site. Only one server or site can be selected.

    To set the publishing location for all output steps, do the following:

    1. In the flow pane, select the output step.

    2. In the publishing pane, select Publish as a data source.

    3. Select the server or site and the project where you want to publish the flow. Sign in to the server or site if needed.

    4. Enter a name and description for each output.

      The output file name should be distinctive enough so that the person running the flow can easily identify which output files to refresh. The file name shows on the Overview and Connectionspage for the flow in Tableau Server or Tableau Online.

    5. Save your flow.

      For more information about how to configure output steps for publishing, see Create and publish data extracts and data sources.

Publish a flow

Note: When you publish a flow that includes a published data source as an input, the publisher is assigned as the default flow owner. When the flow runs, it uses the flow owner for the Run As account. For more information about the Run As account, see Run As Service Account. Only the Site or Server Administrator can change the flow owner in Tableau Server or Tableau Online.

  1. Open your flow in Tableau Prep Builder.

  2. From the top menu select Server > Publish Flow.

  3. Complete the fields for your platform. Then click Publish. Tableau Server or Tableau Online opens automatically in your default browser on the flow Overview page.

  1. In the Publish to Tableau Server dialog, complete the following fields:
    • Project: Click the drop-down option to select your project from the project hierarchy. This should be the same project that the output files are published to.
    • Name: Enter a name for your flow. This name shows on the server on the Flow pages. If you want to overwrite an existing flow, click the drop-down option to select a name from the list.
    • Description (optional): Enter a description for the flow.
    • Tags (optional): Click Add to type in one or more tags to identify your flow so users can easily find it. Tags can also be added after publishing in the Flow pages in Tableau Server.
  2. Click Edit in the Connections section to edit connections settings or change authentication.

    Files

    By default, file input connections are packaged with the flow. Packed files aren't refreshed when the flow is run in Tableau Server. All files must have the same setting, either Upload or Direct Connection.

    • To retrieve the most current data when refreshing the output files, select Direct Connection if Tableau Server can connect to the file location and the location is included in your organization's safe list.

    • If your input or output steps point to files stored in a network share (UNC path) and the location isn't included in your organization's safe list, you will see a warning message. Click the link in the message to see a list of safe listed locations, move your files and point your input and output steps to the new file location. For more information, see Step 3 in Before you publish

    • For information about how to add locations to your organization's safe list, see Step 4: Safe list Input and Output locations.

    Databases

    If your flow connects to one or more databases, select one of the following authentication types to use to connect to the flow input data sources.

    • Prompt User: You must edit the connection in Tableau Server and enter the database credentials before running the flow.

    • Embedded Password: The credentials you used to connect to the data will be saved with the connection and used by everyone who accesses the flow you publish.

    • Server Run As Account: The server’s Run As User account will authenticate all users.

  1. In the Publish to Tableau Online dialog, complete the following fields:
    • Project: Click the drop-down option to select your project from the project hierarchy. This should be the same project that the output files are published to.
    • Name: Enter a name for your flow. This name shows on the server on the Flow pages. If you want to overwrite an existing flow, click the drop-down option to select a name from the list.
    • Description (optional): Enter a description for the flow.
    • Tags (optional): Click Add to type in one or more tags to identify your flow so users can easily find it. Tags can also be added after publishing in the Flow pages in Tableau Server.
  2. Click Edit in the Connections section to edit connections settings or change authentication.

    Files

    Tableau Online doesn't support direct file connections for input step data and you must package your files with the flow. Packed files aren't refreshed when the flow is run in Tableau Online.

    Databases

    To keep data fresh when publishing flows to Tableau Online, you can only connect directly to cloud-hosted data sources. But when connecting to on-premises data sources, you must convert the data sources to a published data source and Tableau Online can use a Tableau Bridge client to connect to your data if Tableau Bridge is configured for the data source.

    For more information about direct connections supported by Tableau Online, see Allow Direct Connections to Data Hosted on a Cloud Platform.

    For more information about using a Tableau Bridge, see Allow your Publishers to Maintain Live Connections to On Premises Data.

    If your flow connects to a cloud-based data source that supports a direct connection, select one of the following authentication types to use to connect to the flow input data sources.

    • Prompt User: You must edit the connection in Tableau Online and enter the database credentials before running the flow.

    • Embedded Password: The credentials you used to connect to the data will be saved with the connection and used by everyone who accesses the flow you publish.

    • Select the Publish Data Source radio button for on-premises data sources. Tableau Online can't connect directly to these data sources to refresh your data. Selecting this option converts the data source input connection to a published data source when you publish the flow to Tableau Online.
    • If Tableau Bridge is configured for the data source and the data source is supported by Tableau Online, the data can be refreshed when the flow is run. See Allow Direct Connections to Data Hosted on a Cloud Platform for more information.

    • To replace the on-premises data source connections for the flow in Tableau Prep Builder with the published data source, select Update flow inputs to use published data sources in the More options section before publishing your flow.
    • If you don't select the check box, the flow in Tableau Prep Builder remains connected to the local on-premises data source and the flow in Tableau Prep Builder can become out of sync with the published version of the flow. To continue working with your flow, you would need to download the flow from Tableau Online to edit it, then republish it.

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