Power BI

Version control in PowerBI

Power BI is a awesome self-service reporting tool that has a low-level of entry for new comers, that allows end-users (ie Non-IT folks) to deliver elegant insight into data via interactive reports. It’s biggest flaw however is it doesn’t have any kinda of code version control support. Like it’s impossible. Various people/companies have developed hacky solutions however this goes against Power BI core design of being a simple, self service tool.

Auto refreshing PowerBI

One of the problems we hit today was getting a Power BI to automatically refresh. The underlying data is updated every 5 mins, however the actual Power BI only refreshes when the user interacts with the report despite using DirectQuery. To overcome this, we’ve built a simple HTML page that used a bit of JavaScript magic to force a refresh and the new Secure Embed feature. First, we need to get a code for the report, open the report then click File > Embed (You can select ‘Publish to web’ - this means you don’t need to login to view the report, however anyone in the world could access the report)

Microsoft christmas

Power BI Secure embed codes - allows easy sharing of Power BI reports. The public embedded codes - publish to web - has been out for a while that allows you share the Power BI reports that the anyone on the Internet (unauthenticated members of the public) should be able to see. The key difference is the secure part of the name. Users will need to authenticate, this does of course mean they will require either a Power BI Pro license or the report will be using the Power BI Premium capacity.

Power BI folders

One of the annoyingly missing features in Power BI is the ability to organize fields into folders to allow users to easily find them. Luckily the amazingly animated Will Thompson posted an update on Power BI Ideas, which has received over 400 votes, that it has been developed and is available as a preview feature in the Nov’18 Power BI Desktop release. The display folders are part of the new modeling view.

Getting a list of AD Groups and their members using PowerQuery

The Power Query Formula Language (informally known as “M”) is a powerful mashup query language optimized for building queries that mashup data. It is a functional, case sensitive language similar to F#, which can be used with Power Query in Excel and Power BI Desktop. A few days ago I got asked to produce a list of users (and their email address) in a number of AD Groups. I already had a SSIS package that had a script task to pull this data from Active Directory and push it into a SQL database and we have a PowerShell script to get the same data in our code repo.

Power BI – custom visuals

Power BI is Microsoft new cloud based Business Intelligence platform, one of the cool things about it is it built atop internet standards and leveraging open source libraries like D3.jsfor its visuals. Microsoft has continued on the path of open source-ness by open sourcingsome of its codes allowing Joe Public to submit custom visuals to Power-BI, all via GitHub. Yesterday saw the introduction of 4 new visuals, one in particular looked very interesting – Hierarchy Slicerby Jan Pieter Posthuma.