Business Intelligence Tools

Spotfire Hacks — IsValid in Column Properties

  • Have you ever wondered what the IsValid column in the Edit > Column Properties dialog means or does?
  • Have you ever wanted a faster way to figure out if your column calculations are working than opening up each calculation individually?

This week, I am working on getting all the Essentials courses converted to online content (YAY!), so that we have that as an option for clients.  I was recording a short video on the Column Properties dialog that explains what helpful information  you can see in this dialog.  I discussed the Column Type, Data Type, ExternalName, Expression and Origin columns because those are all very important.  I skipped over the IsValid column because I don’t really use it.  I’ve never really had to learn what it was for or what it did.  Today, however, I was curious.

For calculated columns in particular, the IsValid column tells you if the calculation is functioning (i.e. does it work).  Why would it not work you ask?  Well, perhaps a column that was used in the calculation is now missing, so the calculation is invalid.  This is one of the ways in which Spotfire differs from Excel.  In Excel, if you delete a column used in a calculation, all the calculated cells will read #NA, and it’s very obvious.  The same issue in Spotfire is not as obvious.  The result will be null, which you may or may not notice.

Here is a quick example that explains IsNull.

In this screen you can see I have a calculation called Avg Sale Price and a binned column that both use the Sale Price column.  All IsValid cells are shown to be true.

Then, I delete the Sale Price column.

Now, you can see that the IsValid column is False for both Avg Sale Price and Binned SalePrice.

Thus, the IsValid column is a good quick check that all calculations are working.  After replacing a table or matching columns, it’s a good practice to review the IsValid column and make sure they are all true.  This also tells you that if the value is ever False, it needs to be investigated.


3 thoughts on “Spotfire Hacks — IsValid in Column Properties

  1. Pingback: Spotfire Features — Manually managing filters |

  2. Kevin Reply

    Hello Juile,

    Amaze! I have been looking bing for hours because of this and i also in the end think it is in this article! Maybe I recommend you something helps me all the time?

    In Web Player application, there is an attribute to logout a user on inactivity logout (inactivityTimeout – Spotfire.Dxp.Worker.Web.config).
    Unfortunately it only works in library browser. So, it doesn’t work when an analysis is open or on an administrator page like “Users & Groups”.
    Is it possible to have a global inactivity timeout function to logout a user when he does nothing during a period of time (ie. 15min)?
    Please note “Absolute session timeout” is not convenience for our users because they need to login every 15min.
    I look forward to see your next updates.

    Merci Beaucoup,

    • Julie Schellberg of Big Mountain Analytics, LLC Post authorReply

      Thanks for the suggestion Kevin!

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