TDS file in Tableau is a Data Source file.
What is a TDS file
TDS file is a saved Tableau Data source file. It contains meta-data or information about the data. TDS file by default is saved to \My Tableau Repository\Datasources\
Users can connect to .TDS file. If TDS file is saved under the above location, it will show up while creating data source connection.
TDS is in XML format and contains the following:
- Data Source type
- Data Source connection details such as Server,Port,location of local files etc.
- Type of joins and Tables in the join
- Data type of the fields
- Calculated fields
- Geographical role of the fields
- Default field properties such as number formats,aggregation and sort order
Since TDS file is in XML format, you can open it in notepad or other text editor and review.
Advantage of using a TDS file
TDS file is advantageous in maintaining and enforcing data standards such as naming conventions,aliases,hierarchies etc.
It is also useful when you are working in a multi-developer environment. Data Source once developed, can be used by other developers and business users.
How to create a TDS file
TDS file can be created by right clicking on the datasource and selecting “Add to Saved Data Sources”
How to connect to a TDS file
TDS file once saved under \My Tableau Repository\Datasources\ will be available to connect in the Connect screen in Tableau.
Developers can select this file to connect and data source will come with all the defined attributes like Hierarchies,aliases, calculated fields etc.
TDS vs TDSX
Datasource can be saved to a TDS file or a TDSX file. TDS file contain the details about the datasource and works once user connects to it.
TDS file does not contain data. It expects physical data source file to be in the same path as mentioned in the TDS file.
TDSX file is a packaged file and contains data extract along with the meta-data or information about the data.