Release Notes 4.0.0

As a little gift from Alation to end 2016 on a high note, Alation 4.0 includes major upgrades to how users can work with code, text, and tags, and how Catalog and Compose can connect to Big Data sources.


In addition to new functionality, we’ve also begun the process of giving a user-interface facelift to every element and screen across the Alation product suite, to make them more modern, elegant, organized, usable, legible, and consistent. In this release, we’ve given the facelift to Compose, to rich-text elements, and to large swathes of the most-used data catalog pages like the Table page.

Beyond providing an improved look-and-feel, the facelift also allows more informative content to fit on screen.


In 4.0, we’ve upgraded the way Compose looks and feels, so it’s nicer to look at and easier to use.

Color Scheme

The first thing you’ll notice upon opening the revamped Compose is that you now have the power to choose from a variety of themes. The new default is light and airy and matches the UI of Catalog. It’s also optimized for legibility. That’s the facelift in action! Or you can revert to the old colors, pick the light-on-dark interface, or go for something more creative. You’ll be prompted to make a selection when you next open Compose, but you can change your mind any time in Settings.


Ever opened so many queries you can’t even read their names in the scrunched tabs? Now query tabs will have a minimum width and extra tabs can be seen and visited using a simple menu, or with horizontal scrolling.


Text Editor, Articles, and Tags

Alation 4.0 also includes many improvements to how you can write, edit, and share articles, business glossary terms, and other pages in Alation. We’ve…

incorporated a powerful new rich-text editor with

  • enhanced HTML table support, including the ability to easily add and remove rows and columns and merge cells, and

  • better image editing (including WYSIWYG resizing and border-customization);

rewritten our architecture for saving such that

  • work-in-progress gets autosaved every few seconds so you’ll never lose your work, and

  • you can make a quick change to a single field without having to enter Edit mode; and

added an additional Share setting so you can invite a user to view a private page but not edit it.

We’ve also separated out the concepts of Tags and Articles. Tags now have their own icon and you can find items with a given tag using Alation Search on the left-hand side of your instance.

Oh, and the new and improved editor applies to rich-text fields throughout the Catalog—like Descriptions, for example.


We’ve bolstered our support for Presto and SparkSQL (rounding out our SQL-on-Hadoop offering for Hive, Impala, and Teradata QueryGrid).


And we also fixed numerous bugs including those where

the Columns tab loads slowly on pages for tables with many columns

the data uploader

  • loads slowly for large schemas and data sources

  • cannot upload data to DB2

  • truncates BIGINT fields

Compose results from Presto sometimes show cells in the wrong timezone

Query Forms sometimes fail to execute properly.

For Admins

We’ve made improvements to…

  • enable sending a DELETE method via the BULK API

  • optimize Microstrategy extraction

  • let you configure your organization’s instance so data samples are collected and stored per user with their DB credentials, rather than being cached and shared across users. This option may appeal to organizations with critical per-user restrictions being enforced by the database. If you’re interested in Per-User Data Profiling, please contact your Alation Solutions Engineer.

And we’ve fixed the bugs where…

  • Tableau Data Source extraction requires Tableau Server admin-privileges

  • Teradata metadata extraction for custom views is broken

  • the top-level Settings page is accessible to non-admins

  • it is not possible to import fully qualified table/column names through API

  • the QLI Push API error reports are difficult to interpret

  • already-ingested events aren’t being appropriately skipped during query log ingestion

  • Greenplum log fetching does not skip empty logs