Transforming the Data Import Experience (8 August 2018)

Changing the Way You Import and Edit Data

Starting the week of August 13th, the new and improved import experience will become the default way to import and edit data on your Socrata site. This experience has been in preview since the beginning of the year, and we encourage you try it out if you haven’t already!


As a reminder for those who have not tried the new experience yet, here are some of the highlights of what’s new:

  • Adaptive to your publishing workflow: editing data no longer has to happen in a linear workflow; you can edit metadata or data first
  • Fast feedback and validation: see errors while the data is still being streamed in, and confirm changes look as expected immediately
  • Powerful data transformations: apply transformations for things like dates or text validation, and they’ll be re-run automatically for each subsequent update
  • No longer all or nothing: if your data has errors, they are set aside for you to correct while the rest of the file finishes importing
  • Speedy: import files more quickly, such as a 100K row dataset in 40 seconds, and start editing data after 10 seconds
  • More configurations: settings such as “trim whitespace” and setting the column separator (delimiter) can be set in the UI
  • Powerful geospatial data: the full attribute table for geospatial data can now be filtered and visualized like any other tabular dataset
  • New action bar: a new action bar will help you take management actions on your data and quickly switch between the published and draft state

As with any new feature, some elements of the old experience are changing or going away. These are detailed in an article on our Knowledge Base here, but a few of important things to note are:

  • Sharing Rights: individual who are shared as a “Viewer” to a dataset will only be able to view the published dataset and not the draft.
  • Manual Edits: manual cell-by-cell edits are no longer supported, in place of fast streaming of file imports (even if it’s an individual row!).
  • Data Types: the number of data types is reduced, but using column formatting you can still display data such as money, URL, and percent with the same formats as before.

Read these Knowledge Base articles for more details on how the new import experience works.


Disabled Users

Within the next week, a new security feature will be available to all Socrata customers - the ability to disable user accounts of internal users who are no longer part of the organization.


Historically, Socrata has allowed a user account to be removed or disassociated from a domain, but doing so also removed information about which assets that user owned, their historical actions, and more. Now, when someone leaves the organization (or goes on an extended leave), administrators can simply disable their account. This will add a flag throughout the platform indicating that the user’s account has been disabled, and will prevent that individual from logging in with that credential.

Of course, administrators can also choose to re-enable a previously disabled account, which will immediately remove the badge and restore the normal functionality of the account.

Read this Knowledge Base article for more details on how user roles work.


Visualizations on Derived Views

Starting next week we will be enabling an exciting new capability for the visualization canvas - the ability to create visualizations based on derived views (such as a filter), in addition to directly on a dataset.

This is an important change for a few reasons. Firstly, all Socrata users can now leverage the more powerful data grouping and shaping capabilities of the tabular dataset, as well as the modern, responsive visualizations offered in our new visualization library. This opens the doors for users to create a significantly wider variety of visualizations and charts than was previously possible.

Additionally, for Socrata Connected Government Cloud customers, this is an important security capability that allows public visualizations to be created on top of a specified subset of private or secure data.

Read this Knowledge Base article for more details on how visualizations work.


Small Updates & Bug Fixes

  • Starting next week, when inserting a table visualization into Perspectives, users can add in a filter bar to easily create viewer-filterable tables.
  • When a user activates a new account on a domain, a new event will be logged in the Activity Log called “User Account Activated.”
  • Data visualizations:
    • Chart creators can customize the date display format for bar or column charts based on a date column (i.e. Feb 2017, February 2017, 2017 Feb).
    • Charts display up to 20 groups and legend items (instead of 12) when a dimension grouping is applied.
    • For timeline charts, you can choose to show points and value labels along the line.
    • When you create a combo chart, columns can now be displayed as stacked as well as normal.
  • The new data import experience:
    • When editing a dataset, if you import a new file with a different schema from the original file, a modal now helps guide you through mapping your columns.
    • The “What’s in this Dataset” section on a draft dataset will now show you more detail about what’s in the draft version, as compared to the published version, including any errors in the upload.
    • Geospatial data files uploaded through the new import experience can now be downloaded as a geospatial file format from the published version of the dataset.


Check out our other Product News, and give us a shout at with questions or ideas.

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