Should I Stay or Should I Go?

July 24th, 2020

This article is by and originally appeared on the Alteryx Engine Works Blog here:


With working from home - WFH - becoming the new normal, I’m constantly asking myself why I decided to live in a four floor walk up with no A/C and a tiny balcony, when I could be a lot more comfortable with more space (and A/C). Since I no longer have to worry about the commute, I can look a little bit out of the city centre.

This naturally led me to take a look at what’s available on the market today. I personally love real estate, one of my favourite Sunday activities was frequenting open houses in neighbourhoods I could only dream of living in.

I got to looking at what my local government has available in terms of Property Data, I found building information that lists all the building in my city and area with amenities available. I’ll still be renting for the time being, so this data was perfect, now I just need to choose what amenities are right for me:

1. Pet Friendly (for my Foster Dogs)
2. A/C
3. Parking

1.jpgFigure 1. Foster Dog #3: Igor (@GoodWolf.Studio)


The information I found was a little messy (as usual) and I wasn’t interested in ALL the amenities, so I decided to create a quick workflow and application to narrow down my search. My friends expressed that would be helpful for them as well, so I made something that would work for everyone.


There were a lot of null fields in this data set and with the new release of Alteryx 2020.2, the Data Cleansing tool has the option to get rid of null columns or rows, so I don’t have to look through each field to determine which ones I should eliminate.



This reduced my fields from 70 to 37! This already saved me a lot of time, but 37 fields is still more then I need to make an informed decision. I wanted to allow the user to chose which fields to bring in.

The Site Address and Ward Number are hidden away in the data set, so I used the Select Tool to bring those up to the top and renamed _id. In addition, there is a mostly empty Amenities Available field, which is already represented in the rest of the data.


The all-caps on the field names were a little harsh so I wanted to make them all title case. Instead of renaming all of them with the Select tool (which would take some time), I used the Dynamic Rename tool. This is a cool tool that I don’t see used often, so I found it by searching for it in the search bar.

Making sure Formula was selected, I wanted to change ALL the fields except ID to Title Case. I also wanted to get rid of those underscores, so I replaced them with spaces.



Now I was able to set up my application. As I mentioned, I only wanted amenities that were important to me, but I could always find out if there is more important information for the future. I wanted each of my fields to be a possible selected field. But I needed to ensure the Site Address, Ward, and ID remain constants in the results.

To achieve this, I added two Select tools to the output of the Dynamic Rename, one to only have my wanted fields in the user selection, and another to carry through the results. For first Select tool, which was used to set up the application, I deselected Site Address, Ward and ID, so users wouldn’t have the option to deselect them themselves. The second Select tool was left as is.



I brought the List Box tool, attached the top of the Select tool to the top of the List Box Tool and the bottom of the List Box tool to the top of the second Select tool for the Action Button to Appear.



The question we were asking was “What amenities are you interested in?” I left all Selected by default:


In the Action tool, Updating Select with multi-select ListBox, which didn’t need any additional configuration.


This will allow the user to choose which fields THEY want to keep, instead of me making the decision for them.

An initial test of my app displayed the following options and more:



I wanted the selections to be displayed at the end, so I added a Browse tool and allowed it to display using the settings in the Interface Designer.


After I saved the app, I needed to use it myself, so I went back to choose the three things more important to me. Pet Friendliness, Air Conditioning, and Parking.


The results still contain the full data set, but now I don’t have to sort through multiple fields in order to find what’s important to me.


The possibilities here are endless. I can export this data and create a report in where each location is mapped, or I can enhance this app, and further narrow down my search resulting, by not only choosing which amenity fields I want to see, but also their corresponding options.

In order for me to make an informed decision, I have to enhance my app to further narrow down my search for my dream (rental) home.


Stay tuned for Part Two: