Exploration Canvas for the Open Data Platform

The exploration canvas is the most effective way to explore and shape your data. Specifically, you can:

  • Empower users to gain more meaningful insights from data, regardless of their technical skill level, by making advanced data shaping approachable in a new visual interface.

  • Reduce time spent on daily platform workflows by streamlining the steps from data exploration to view publication.

  • Support lightweight, read-only data exploration, making tabular data simpler to share and use.

Accessing the Exploration Canvas

You can access the Exploration Canvas by selecting the “Actions” button from the primer page on any dataset or SoQL derived view and then the "Query" data option.

Note: Some existing derived views that have been created using the grid view may not be compatible with exploration canvas at this time. We will be migrating these legacy views to work with the exploration canvas over the course of 2023. Those non-compatible assets will continue to open in grid view at this time.

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  • Not all assets are eligible for use in the Exploration Canvas yet. Please see the list of asset types that would not be compatible:

    • Dataset with sort order defined
    • Dataset with default filters defined
    • Filtered View with a saved In Dataset Search value
    • Dataset or Filtered View with a deprecated column type

Overview of the Exploration Canvas

The Exploration Canvas houses the tools users need to explore data, shape it, and create derived views.

The primary components of the Exploration Canvas are the data table and the Visual Query Editor. Here’s a base dataset loaded in the Exploration Canvas:


The rows and columns of data shown on the top portion of the page make up the data table. This data table can be scrolled (up and down, left and right), or paginated through, depending on the size of the dataset.

The search bar located above the data table can be used to quickly analyze data within a dataset or derived view. By typing a word or phrase into the search bar, the data table will search all cells within that asset and display only rows that contain the search term.

Users can also directly export the data table from within the Exploration Canvas. Exporting from the Exploration Canvas is available in a variety of formats, and will export what is being shown in the data table at that point in time. This means users can now explore an asset and export their findings without having to save and create a new derived view.

Clicking the kebab button in a column’s header will expand a menu with quick action options, and the column’s description:


On the bottom of the page, the Visual Query Editor includes three tabs which contain the Exploration Canvas' data shaping tools.

It’s easy to adjust the amount of space these tabs take up on the page. If you’d like to see more of the data table at once, or expand your view of the tabs, just click and drag to resize the section at the bottom of the page:


Visual Query Editor

The Filters, Group, and Column Manager tabs house a point-and-click visual data shaping interface. Altogether they are referred to as the Visual Query Editor (VQE).


Filter Tab

This tab allows you to filter the data in your data table. To get started, select a column to filter on:


Then select the operator:


Finally, enter the value(s):


If needed, continue adding filters (using AND or OR):


Once you’re ready to apply your filters, click the “Apply” button on the bottom right:


The data table will update to show the results of your applied filter(s).

Group Tab

This tab allows you to group on dataset columns, as well as create aggregate columns. To get started, select a column to group:


To create an aggregate column, select the column to aggregate, and then select the calculation you want to use. Confirm the API fieldname for this new column (a default name will automatically appear here based on the column name and calculation type selected):


Column Manager Tab

This tab is where you can manage the columns in the data table.


Click and drag the icons under “Order” to customize the order columns appear in the data table.

  • Use the checkboxes under “Include” to choose which columns to include in the data table.

  • Use the options under “Sort” to apply sorts to columns.

  • When sorting multiple columns, use the values under “Sort Order” to set the appropriate sort order.

If you have grouped any columns, the Column Manager will show only the columns available according to the group(s) you have configured. Here’s an example:


Creating Derived Views

When first opening a published asset in the Exploration Canvas, you will see these options below the Asset Action Bar at the top of the page (whether or not you also see the “Edit” button depends on your permissions):


If you’d like to start building your own asset here, click “Create View” to create a new draft view. You’ll see a modal that prompts you to name your view before proceeding:


Read-Only Interactions

In the Exploration Canvas, you can explore published assets without having to create a draft first. This can help save time on performing ad-hoc exploration during your day-to-day workflows.

To take advantage of this, simply start exploring or shaping your data with the VQE. As soon as you’ve applied your first configuration, you’ll see that the “Create View” option below the Asset Action Bar changes into “Save As”:


As soon as you’re ready to save your work, click “Save As.” This will open the same “Name Your View” modal pictured above.

If you do have unsaved work and navigate away from the Exploration Canvas, a modal will appear so that you can confirm whether or not you’d like to discard those unsaved changes:

  • Click “Cancel” to close the modal and continue using the Exploration Canvas.

  • Click “Discard changes” to discard your work and continue to your destination.

  • If you do want to save your work, enter a name in the text field and click “Save.”

Copy This Asset

A new “Copy This Asset” feature is also available for derived views opened in the Exploration Canvas (subject to permissions restrictions). Simply click the kebab button below the Asset Action Bar and select “Copy This Asset”:


A modal appears for you to name the new copy being created; after you submit a name, a draft of the duplicate asset will open in a new browser tab.


If you have any questions about the content of this article, please reach out to our Support Team at datainsights-support@tylertech.com.

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