What is a Spotfire Data Set?

  • Have you ever heard of a Spotfire data set?
  • Would you like to make files (like Excel) load faster?
  • Are you working with static data or data that does not change often?

For many years, I taught Spotfire Essentials courses at field office across the US (internally for my employer).  I developed my own training materials, and all students used the same materials regardless of their physical location or job function.  I noticed that in some of the field offices, the Excel-based DXPs took a very long time to load.  Whenever I taught in Denver (the home office), Excel files stored on our shared drives fired right up.  However, in Billings, those same files took a very long time to open.  Because the files were static and did not change, I was able to transition them to a Spotfire data set, and the DXPs opened up much faster.

What is a Spotfire Data Set?

It is a file that has been saved (exported actually) to the Spotfire library.  They are represented by an icon that looks like this to distinguish them from other library items.  These files are saved with. sbdf extension ( Spotfire Binary Data Files).

How Do You Save a Data Set to the Library?

Saving a data set to the library is simple, although counter-intuitive.  In a manner of speaking, you are exporting to import.

First, open the file in Spotfire using the standard method.  Then, go to File > Export > Data to Library.  Save to the desired folder.

Now, you can replace the Excel file with a data set by choosing Data from Library when replacing the data source.

When is this a good option to improve load time?

  1. …when the data is static or doesn’t change often.
  2. If you have data that changes infrequently, you can still use this method. Just save over the data set in the library.  The DXP will remain connected.
  3. Data sets can still be valuable when data does change.  For example, if you are bringing in several years of financial data, it likely that some of the data changes, like current year data, but not all of it.  Therefore, you can send previous year’s data to the Spotfire library as a data set.  Then, bring in the current year’s data as an information link. Use an insert rows transformation to combine them, and you’ve dramatically improved load time.

Spotfire Version

Spotfire content created with version 7.12.

Guest Spotfire blogger residing in Whitefish, MT.  Working for SM Energy’s Advanced Analytics and Emerging Technology team!

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