An API Client for Alteryx Gallery in R

Data

An API Client for Alteryx Gallery in R

One of the things I love most about Alteryx is R integration. The predictive tools are built using R and, if I want, I can use R code directly in my Alteryx module. It really only makes sense that there should also be an API client for Alteryx Gallery that is written in R. So, I did it and now you can use it too by installing alterryx (with the double “r”).

install.packages(“alterryx")

alterryx provides access to each of the Alteryx Gallery API endpoints (https://gallery.alteryx.com/api-docs). With alterryx users can:

  • Retrieve information on Alteryx Gallery resources like apps, workflows and macros
  • Queue jobs for applications
  • See scheduled jobs
  • Retrieve the status and output of jobs as a data.frame in R

In order to use this package, you will need to have a private gallery API key and secret.

Setup

Once you have obtained your API key and secret, set them as global options. Though it is not necessary, it will save you typing later if you also set your Alteryx Gallery URL as an option.

alteryx_api_key <- "ALTERYX_API_KEY"
alteryx_secret_key <- "ALTERYX_API_SECRET"
alteryx_gallery <- "https://yourgallery.com/gallery"
 
options(alteryx_api_key = alteryx_api_key)
options(alteryx_secret_key = alteryx_secret_key)
options(alteryx_gallery = alteryx_gallery)

Your Apps

Access to Alteryx Gallery resources like workflows, applications and macros are managed through studios. Your account has a subscription ID which determines what you can access. For the purpose of this package, when you see the term “resource” that can refer to anything published to the Alteryx Gallery like workflows, applications and macros. When you see “application” or “app” it specifically refers to files with the extension .yxwz that are published to your Gallery.

The resources you can access are obtained using get_app.

Search Apps

subscription <- get_app()

You now have a list containing all of the resources you can access. If you are a power user, this is probably going to be a long list. To pare down the list, use the request_params parameter.

If you wanted to see only the five most recently uploaded resources, you can use the limit and sortField parameters. If you need more information on which parameters you can use, see the API documentation linked above.

request_params <- list(
  limit = "5",
  sortField = "uploaddate"
)

subscription <- get_app(request_params)

Non-applications

There is a reason to differentiate between “resources” and “apps.” get_app will return all resources that you can access via your subscription that match the search parameters. However, only “apps” can be used with the rest of the API functions. To make sure that get_app only returns apps, use packageType = "0" as a request parameter.

request_params <- list(
  packageType = "0",
  limit = "5",
  sortField = "uploaddate"
)
 
subscription <- get_app(request_params)

Search Apps by Name

If you are looking for a specific app, it might be easiest to simply search for it by name. I’ve published an application named "api_tester.yxwz" to my private Gallery. It is a simple application that takes a single number as input and then has three different outputs. It was created, you guessed it, to test this API client.

request_params <- list(
  packageType = "0",
  search = "api"
)
 
subscriptions <- get_app(request_params)
app <- subscriptions[[1]]

In this case, the app I was looking for was the first result in the list.

Queueing a Job

Now that I have the app I want, I want to queue a job for it. A “job” is one run, a single iteration of an app.

App Questions

Most of the time, applications have questions that must be answered in order for the app to run. For example, an app that performs trade area analysis might ask you to specify a radius for the trade area. These questions are set by the app author when they create the application in Alteryx Designer. My app, "api_tester.yxwz" has a single question: "How long should this application run?"

If you don't have your app questions memorized, use get_app_questions to get a list of the questions that must be answered in order to run the app.

questions <- get_app_questions(app)

Build the Answers

Each question has a name and a value. In my specific case, the question name is "runtime" and the default value is "1." Because this app "api_tester.yxwz" was built specifically to test this API client, the "runtime" question will simply determine how long the app will run.

I would like the app to run for "3" minutes. Use build_answers to format the answers.

name_values <- list(
  name = "runtime",
  value = "3"
)
answers <- build_answers(name_values)

Usually, apps have more than one question. If that is the case, send each as a list to build_answers:

name_values1 <- list(
  name = "one",
  value = "1"
)
 
name_values2 <- list(
  name = "two",
  value = "2"
)
 
multiple_answers <- build_answers(name_values1,
                                  name_values2)

Queue the Job

Once you have the answers to the app questions you can queue the job.

job <- queue_job(app, answers)

The job will begin with status "Queued." If you want to check on your job, poll the job using get_job to update the job status. The status will be “Running” while the job is running. Keep polling until the job is “Completed.” You could even using a while loop to keep checking the job until it is complete.

job <- get_job(job)

Job Output

Most Alteryx jobs contain an output tool that writes data once the job is complete. Use get_job_output to retrieve the results as a data.frame. The result will be a list with one element for each valid output. “Valid” in this case means an output from an Alteryx output tool that can be converted into a data.frame.

A job needs to have a "Completed" status before outputs can be retrieved.

output <- get_job_output(job)

Invalid Job Outputs

All outputs cannot be properly converted to a data.frame. If your job contains outputs that cannot be converted, get_job_output will issue a warning by default and skip the “invalid” outputs.

In order to be properly converted, your output must be written in .csv or .yxdb format from the Alteryx app published to Gallery.

Feedback

I want your feedback! This is only the first version of the package and it no doubt can be improved. If you use my package and find a problem, please visit the project Github page and make bug reports or suggestions. Thanks!

More About the Author

Michael Treadwell

Data Engineering Lead
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