BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Service & Mobile Update for July & August 2018 – User Research Panel – On-Premise Gateway Update for Sep – Webinar on Power BI Dashboard Comments)

Here is this weekly BI-RoundUp where I will detail what updates there have been in the past week.

Power BI – Service & Mobile Update for July & August 2018

In the past two months there has been a lot of updates to the Power BI Service and the Power BI Mobile App. All the details are below with links as per the blog post.

I am not going to go into any detail, due to it already been covered before, or it is the relevant links below.

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Sep Update for Power BI Desktop – Dashboard Comments – Community Contribution to PowerShell Cmdlets – Power BI PowerShell Cmdlets available in Azure Cloud Shell)

Welcome to another week of my Power BI Round Up. And as expected there is another massive Power BI Desktop Update.

Power BI – September Update for Power BI Desktop

As always I am going to over the new features and highlight what I think is really relevant in terms of what has been released.

Reporting

With the added support for categorical fields on the X-Axis this now makes the scatter charts more flexible.


As shown above there now is the capability to be able to copy a single value, which will copy the value in its unformatted form, which could be used to put into a search of another application.

Whilst when using the Copy selection feature, it will copy everything that you have highlighted in your table or matrix. And when pasting this, it will keep the column headers as well as the formatting options which you can then paste into Excel or another program. This is really a great piece of functionality which makes it easier when certain data needs to be copied into another system.

There are now some built in report theme’s which are great for those people who just want to move from the default colours, but do not want to create their own custom themes.

Report Page Tooltips are now generally available meaning that you will not have to enable it as a preview feature.

Along with that as shown above there is now report page tooltips available for Cards.

There have also been additional improvements for accessibility in the formatting pane, making it easier to navigate, as well as when using the screen reader there is more support.

Analytics

This is a really big, BIG one having the ability to have aggregated tables in your data model. What this means is that you can have a highly aggregated table of your data which might answer 60 – 70% of the queries. When the queries are run they will use the data in the aggregated table, which in turn results in exceptionally super-fast query response times. And if it does not hit the aggregated table it will then go down to the source table, which could be imported or using Direct Query mode, which means then that the entire data model is actually very small but very fast.

There is a lot more to this, so I suggest reading up the documentation that is included in the blog post. But this is something that I have been waiting for and cannot wait to try it out and get it working.

Finally there is now support for RLS with Q&A, this means if you have had a dataset that has had Row Level Security (RLS) previously you could not use Q&A. This has now been fixed and Q&A is available which is awesome.

Data Connectivity

As shown above there is a new connector where you can connect to PDF files and it will attempt to extract table data from your PDF files.

There is now support for the SAP BW Connector measure properties

There is a new connector called dataflows which will soon be in limited preview which will allow users to connect to an existing data flow.

Data Preparation

As per my first image, and above, there is now Intellisense when going into the Advanced Editor in the Power Query Editor. This is so awesome. There have been so many times in the past when I have not known which M function to use. As well as having syntax errors, and a lot of that pain is now gone with having Intellisense.

The add columns from examples now supports text padding your data, as shown above you can pad the text with zeros for data where you want them all to have the same length.

It is interesting to see that right at the end of the blog post they highlighted that they are working on being able to copy visuals between PBIX files. How cool is that??

You can find all the blog post details here: Power BI Desktop September 2018 Feature Summary

Power BI – Dashboard Comments

This was announced at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit and it is great to see that you now can add comments to Power BI Dashboards, as well as individual tiles on the dashboard.

It is also great that you can tag people in the comments, which will then send an email or send a push notification to the Power BI Android and IOS Mobile App.

At the end of the blog post, they also indicated that this will be coming to the reports, so stay tuned.

You can find all the details here: Announcing Dashboard Comments in Power BI: Your new hub to discuss data and collaborate with others

Power BI – Community Contribution to the PowerShell Cmdlets

This is the first contribution from the Power BI Community which adds to the existing Power BI PowerShell management cmdlets. Where Kenichiro Nakamura has added functionality to work with datasets, tables and columns.

You can find a lot more detail in the blog post: Celebrating our first community contribution to the Power BI management cmdlets

Power BI – PowerShell Cmdlets available in Azure Cloud Shell

What this means is you can now use the Azure Cloud Shell to run the Power BI PowerShell Cmdlets. This also means that there is no need to try install and configure the required PowerShell modules, because this is all maintained in the Azure Cloud Shell.

I would suggest looking into the storage options because depending on how much storage you need, if you have an existing Azure Subscription this could be a very good option.

You can find more details on how the Azure Cloud Shell works, as well as the blog post details here: Power BI Management cmdlets in Azure Cloud Shell

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (New Monitoring Capabilities for Power BI Premium – Developer Update for August – Webinar on New Power BI Tools)

Welcome to another week of the BI-RoundUp.

Power BI – New Monitoring Capabilities for Power BI Premium

As you can see above there now is an App which you can get for Free from the App Source which will get all your capacity metrics which you can then use to better understand how you and your users are using your Power BI Premium Capacity.

There was also an indication that additional metrics will be added such as Long Running Queries and Query Duration, which is great to see if there are particular queries which could be consuming CPU and memory.

If you are using the A SKU’s for Power BI Premium you can also use the above App to analyse your capacity.

All the details can be found here: New monitoring capabilities for Power BI Premium Capacities

Power BI – Developer Update for August

Power BI Embedded in Azure

As you can see above, there are once again a whole host of great improvements to the Power BI Development story.

There is now Multi-Geo support for ISV’s who require their customers data to be located in their specific regions.

Power BI Embedded is now integrated with Azure Diagnostics, which helps with better diagnosis of resource issues and what is the root cause of these issues.

As per the request from a lot of users, there now is the QPU metric available when using Power BI Embedded.

Embed Capabilities

Now you can create a customized error notification for your end users when your App is embedded, so that the users do not get confused when there is an error.

There is now a more detailed and indicative error message when you are developing your app, which should make the entire development experience that much better.

There is now also a new updated Power BI Embedded playground which is more integrated and shows you how to leverage the JavaScript API

And finally, you can now use the Power BI Rest APIs to integrate with the new App Workspace experience, which is great as it moves away from the tight integration with Office 365 groups

All the blog post details can be found here: Power BI Developer community August update

Power BI – Webinar on new Power BI Tools


Seth and Mike will be hosting a webinar with Chuck Sterling from the Microsoft Power BI Team where they will go through their wonderful tools that they have developed on www.powerbi.tips

I use a fair few of their tools, so this will be a great webinar to watch.

Details can be found here: 9/11 Webinar: New Power BI tools and new templates including a walkthrough of Cool Blue and the layout Purple Haze

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (On-Premise Data Gateway August)

This week has been rather quiet, but I have a feeling that if Power BI Desktop gets released next week, we will be back at it and have a whole host of updates.

Power BI – On-premise Data Gateway Update for August

In this month’s update there is additional improvements for Custom Data connectors.

And it also has got the August version of the Mashup Engine.

You can find all the details and content here: On-premises data gateway August update is now available

That is it for this week, short and sweet!

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Report Server Update – Aug 2018 – Ask a Question Generally Available – URL Filter Improvements – Python Episode 1 – Multi-Geo Support for Power BI Embedded)

Here is the weekly roundup, and as always the Power BI team has been very busy over their summer releasing some incredible features.

Power BI – Report Server Update Aug 2018

I am not going to go through all of the updates to the Power BI Report Server, due to almost all of the functionality already being released in Power BI Desktop and the Power BI Service.

What I will say is that there is a lot of new features that have been released. And as at the time of the release it almost has parity with the August release of Power BI Desktop. This is once again an incredible effort by the Power BI team to get this all out.

Below are all the updates with links to the specific sections, and if you do use Power BI Report Server, I would suggest reading through the blog post.

 

REPORTING

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Working with PowerShell in Power BI – Deprecation of Custom Visuals API 1.1)

Here is the weekly BI-RoundUp and at least this week it will be a quick read!

Power BI – Working with PowerShell in Power BI

I am not going to go into great detail here, due to Kay giving a detailed explanation how to use the PowerShell cmdlets.

What I will say is that after reading through the above blogpost and with the Power BI Team creating the PowerShell Modules, this means that you can install the module for Power BI, which will then allow you to leverage all the module items. I have been using PowerShell for a while and having the modules is a lot easier to use and get out the data you want.

I suggest reading through the blog post below, as I am certain there is something you will learn and can use in your organisation.

Blog Post link: Working with PowerShell in Power BI

Power BI – Deprecation of Custom Visuals for API 1.1

As shown above there will be a deprecation of support for the Custom Visuals API version 1.1

This will happen from 01 September, so I suggest people who have got old Custom Visuals read this blog post with the links on how to upgrade their Custom Visuals

Here is the blog post: Announcing the deprecation of custom visual’s API version 1.1 and older

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Desktop Release for August – New App Workspace Experience – Power BI World Tour) – Analysis Services (White Paper for AS Scalability)

Here is my weekly BI-RoundUp, and as I thought when I started putting this together yesterday that there would be a release of Power BI Desktop, which there is and not only that an updated App Workspace experience!

Enjoy the read!

Power BI – Desktop Release for August


Well that was pretty quick to get another release of Power BI Desktop. And I am sure that the release of Power BI Desktop will go back to the normal cadence of the first week of the month. With that being said let’s get into this month’s updates.

Reporting

You can now export your report pages to PDF currently only in Power BI Desktop. The Export to PDF will only export the visible pages. Currently wall papers or background images are currently not supported. This is some great functionality for those people who want to take the contents of a report and email it, or possibly print it out for a meeting or for customers.

Bookmark groups are now available, which allows you to group specific bookmarks together into a logical area. It is easy to create and allows you to group it based on your requirements such as organisational bookmarks or specific bookmarks relating to a certain subject. You can start from a bookmark group which will only play the bookmarks in that group. By starting with the default view, it will play through all the bookmarks.

Theming is now generally available, so you no longer have to enable it in the Preview Settings.

Using the List Slicer, there is now an option to Filter restatement which is similar to the restatement in the drop-down slicer.

Analytics

You can now use conditional formatting by values. What this means is that if your value has got the name of a colour or a HEX code the background color or font color can be formatted to use the values in that column. This means that you can use any color you need based on your data. Not only that but you do not have to manually add each color. The colors can be part of your dataset or DAX measure.

If you use Python scripts, this is now available in Power BI. You can import your script in the Power Query Editor and then use Python visuals in your reports. Whilst the visuals will render, and change based on other visuals in your report, currently the Python visual is NOT interactive.

Q&A is now generally available which means that you do not have to go and enable it in the Preview settings. There has also been an update to the matching experience in Power BI Desktop and Power BI Premium which will allow for better results when using Q&A

Modeling

You can now add data categories for measures in the form of Image or Web URLs. This will allow you to create a dynamic URL that can then be used to go through to another Power BI report with the filter applied within the URL.

The really exciting part of using a measure with a Web URL is that it will you will be able to render SVG images as shown above, based on your data and show it as sparklines or bar charts.

As shown above there are a whole host of new DAX Statistical functions.

There are a whole lot of new and interesting Custom Visuals which are part of the blog post.

The Spark connector is now Generally available.

A sneak peak of what is coming next month is having the expand and collapse buttons for tables and matrix. And updates to the scatter chart visual which will have the ability to use the categorical axis

All the details can be found here: Power BI Desktop August 2018 Feature Summary

Power BI – New App Workspace Experience

This blog post from the Power BI Team has got a lot of content, so I am going to highlight some of the new features in the new App Workspace Experience.

  • No longer will it rely of Office 365 Groups for the creation of an App Workspace.
  • You will be able to manage access from security groups, distribution lists and multiple existing Office 365 Groups.
  • New additional roles to manage access and permissions to the App Workspace.
    • Admin Role, Member Role, Contributor Role and Viewer Role
  • New Admin API which will give all the details of the new App Workspace details.
  • Associate a workspace to a OneDrive for Business

It is interesting to note that the new App Workspaces will not be brining across Content Packs. With that being said the Power BI Team is still working to bring across the full parity from Content Packs to Apps.

There also will be a migration plan to migrate all existing App Workspaces to the new App Workspaces which will be available at General Availability.

The detailed blog post can be found here: Enable your team with new workspace experiences (preview)

Power BI – Power BI World Tour

The Power BI World Tour will be coming to a city near you. Please see the link below with more details on which cities it will be happening in, as well as other event details.

I am very fortunate to be attending the Power BI World Tour in Sydney where I will be presenting 2 sessions Common Power BI Challenges and How to Overcome Them and My Power BI Report Has Hit The Size Limit, Now What?

I attended last year, and it was a great event, so if you can make it I would highly recommend it.

Here is the link to more details: 2018 Power BI World Tour – Powered by Your Local User Group

Analysis Services – White Paper for AS Scalability

To be honest I have already this white paper which is only 11 pages long, but it contains a lot of really useful and insightful information.

I always enjoy reading these white papers and I always learn something new. And this time it was to sort the dimensional tables by Surrogate Key (SK) to ensure that the engine will use Value Encoding.

I suggest reading through this because the same engine is used in Power BI Desktop, so you can apply the same techniques to your Power BI Model.

The White Paper Link is here: Whitepaper on modeling for AS tabular scalability

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (July Desktop Update – Admin APIs & PowerShell for Power BI – Multi Geo Support for Power BI Premium – Power BI & SharePoint – On-Premise Gateway Update for July – Developer Update for July)

Since the Business Applications Summit there has been a whole host of updates to Power BI, so please find all the details below.

NOTE: This is once again a longer read with just so many updates that have come through. And it is well worth the read.

Power BI – July Desktop Update

As with every month I will highlight the features from the monthly update

Modeling

As shown in the picture above Composite models are now available in Power BI Desktop

What are Composite models? This is where you can combine DirectQuery (All other sources except for SSAS) with data that you have imported into your model (for example an Excel spreadsheet)

This allows you to combine data from DirectQuery with Imported data and it will all work well together. This is really an incredible feature and will allow for a whole host of new data scenario’s.

Along with this there is also now the capability to be able to do a Many:Many relationship, which will apply to all relationships in your composite model.

Reporting

There has been a big improvement to the Visual headers as shown above, now where the visual headers are within the visual. This is compared to the previous iteration where there was a big block above the visual. Not only this, but you can also control which visual aspects you want to be made available.

As shown above there is now the capability to create a Wall Paper which will format the grey area outside your report as shown above.

There has also been a theming update all the visual properties can be formatted through theming.

Shown above, there are now tooltips for Table and Matrix visuals. Not only that but now you can also toggle the switch to have Tooltips per visual in your report. By default they are set to be on.

The Slicer has got some updates for people who require accessibility, can now access the slicer and interact with it via the keyboard and screen reader

The formatting pane has had a revamp and as you can see above, it has had some subtle changes in terms of colouring to make parts easier to get to. As well as better spacing and new toggles to make the formatting experience that much better and easier to use.

There is now stepped line support in line and combo charts. As well as there are additional formatting options that can be used.

People have asked for the ability to be able to toggle data labels for individual series, and this has now been released for combo charts.

Previously when trying to sort items in a visual it was a bit of a challenge to get it done. But with the new updates as shown above, not only are the Sort Desc and Sort Asc separated, but now you can also pick which field you want to sort by.

There is now the ability to find insights through distributions of your data. Not only that but you can select different slicers as shown above with Mod, Low and High. To better understand the distribution of your data.

Custom Visuals

There now are Certified Custom Visuals from the Market place which have to meet code requirements and additional code check by the Power BI Team. You can see from the image above that they have got the blue tick.

There is now additional Organisational Custom Visual settings where the Admin can disable a Custom Visual and the next time the report is viewed, the visual will display as shown above to the end user. Another great Admin capability.

There are a whole host of new Custom Visuals shown below.

Visio Custom Visual

Mapbox Generally Available

Datatext Box

China Scatter Map

Data Connectivity

Direct Query support for IBM DB2 in preview.

There have been improvements to the Web Connector with support for importing multiple custom tables. And the ability to auto complete when specifying values. And the exposure of the Html.Table function in the Query Editor

And finally, the SAP HANA has now got default variables when input controls.

You can find all the blog post details here: Power BI Desktop July 2018 Feature Summary

Power BI – Admin APIs and PowerShell scripts

Whilst this might not look like the greatest screenshot above, what you now can do is access all Power BI Assets in a tenant. This is really awesome news and something that I have been waiting for quite some time.

As in the blog post it explains how you need to get it configured and then run the PowerShell scripts to get the data you require.

All the blog post details can be found here: Announcing APIs and PowerShell Cmdlets for Power BI Administrators

Power BI – Multi Geo for Power BI Premium

There is a preview release for Power BI Premium when creating it where you can specify where the data will reside. As shown above when selecting the capacity and assigning it to a workspace you can then assign it to a workspace in a specific region.

More details can be found here: Public Preview of Multi-Geo for Power BI Premium

Power BI – SharePoint and the road ahead

The Power BI Team has been looking to improve the integration between Power BI, Power BI Report Server and SharePoint.

Starting with SharePoint 2019 and SharePoint Online the following will be coming:

  • Adding support for all major report types across all platforms. This includes SSRS Reports, Power BI Reports and Excel Workbooks.
  • Recently announced easier ways to leverage CSV and Excel files from SharePoint directly into Power BI.

For Power BI Report Server the following will be coming:

  • Power Pivot Scheduled Refresh for Excel Workbooks.
  • Adding modern authentication support with ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) / AAD (Azure Active Directory)

You can find the details here: Power BI and SharePoint – the road ahead

Power BI – On-Premise Data Gateway Update for July

The update for the On-Premise Data Gateway for July includes the following:

  • Public preview for the Custom Data Connectors in the Enterprise Gateway.
  • Request distribution of data queries across all gateways in a cluster.
  • Support for Single Sign On (SSO) for Spark in the Power BI Service.
  • Diagnostic check to see if the On-Premise Data Gateway can access all the ports required to work successfully.
  • It now includes the July version of the Mashup Engine.

All the details and more can be found here: On-premises data gateway July update is now available

Power BI – Developer Update for July

Below are the Developer updates for July:

  • Ability to programmatically control the visual headers for specific visuals, which is now also available in Power BI Desktop.
  • New Developer Center under the learning in the Power BI website which is a one stop location for users looking to develop solutions using Power BI
  • Power BI Embedded is now available in the China Cloud.
  • There have been some updates to the Custom Visuals to allow High Contrast mode Support for accessibility options.
  • Source code available for the following Microsoft Custom Visuals.
    • Heat Stream
    • Card Browser
    • Text Filter
    • Timeline StoryTeller

The details for this blog post can be found here: Power BI Developer community July update

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Service & Mobile Update – Create Power BI reports from Excel & CSV Files in SharePoint Online)

Here is the weekly BI-RoundUp, so let’s get into it

Power BI – Service & Mobile Update

As you can see above there now is an option to share a report with the current filter and slicers that are enabled. This is great because it will mean that you can have a subscription report that will send it out every time with the applied filters and slicers.

There is the updated Gateway connections a lot easier with greater visibility to show you what you need to do to get it working.

The On-Premise Data Gateway has been updated to the June Edition of the Mashup Engine.

And finally, for the Mobile Report canvas they have increased the amount of tiles to be larger and longer.

You can find more details here: Power BI Service and Mobile June Feature Summary

Power BI – Create Power BI Reports from Excel or CSV Files in SharePoint Online

I was not aware that there have been updates in SharePoint online, where if you have got an Excel file with a table formatted or a CSV file, there is the option to now Open in Power BI.

This will then open it in Power BI and automatically be connected to your SharePoint Online files. Which in turn means when you update the files on SharePoint online, it will automatically be updated in the Power BI Service without having to use the On-Premise Data Gateway.

You can find the full blog details here: New feature: Create Power BI reports from tables in Excel files and CSV files

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Power BI Desktop June update – Subscribe others to Email Subscriptions – Developer Community for May, Service & Mobile Update)

Here is my weekly BI-RoundUp, and once again the awesome people from the Microsoft Power BI Team have released some additional gifts.

Power BI Desktop June Update

Here is another month of big updates to the Power BI Desktop.

Reporting

The first item is now based on your contrast settings, this will be applied to the Power BI Desktop file and in the Power BI Service. The only thing to make note of is that currently background images are not supported in high contrast mode.

There is now also more control for the Donut visual in terms of how wide or skinny the donut will be.

Along with this, there is now more control for the Pie and Donut charts with regards to the label positions in terms of where they will be positioned.

As with the line and bar visuals where you can format the measure labels, this now is also available for the Combo charts, which means that you can now format them individually for better control in terms of how they are viewed.

And finally, they have added more rows when configuring the Mobile Phone reports. It has gone from being 20 rows long to 40 rows long.

Custom Visuals

There is now a new Organizational Chart which can be used to view your data.

There is a new China Heat Map visual which will allow to view your data in China with a heatmap

Modeling

As shown in the initial image, there now is the ability to sort, and filter your data in the data view. This is a great improvement and something that I have already been using quite a bit.

It is also good to see that it has very similar functionality in terms of what you get in the Power Query Editor, where you can not only select the items, but search for items as well as advanced filters based on the data type.

If you have a different locale, there is now improved support for locale in both the Power BI Desktop and the Power BI Service.

Data Connectivity

There has been a lot of work put into the SAP BusinessWarehouse connector, where there have been improvements to the following:

  • Improved performance
  • Ability to retrieve several million rows of data, and fine tuning through the batch size parameter
  • Ability to switch execution modes
  • Support for compressed mode, which is especially beneficial for high-latency connections or large datasets
  • Improved detection of Date variables
  • [Experimental] Expose Date (ABAP type DATS) and Time (ABAP type TIMS) dimensions as dates and times respectively, instead of text values.
  • Better exception handling, so errors that occur in SAP BAPI calls are now surfaced.
  • Column folding in BasXml and BasXmlGzip modes. For example, if the generated MDX query retrieves 40 columns but the current selection only needs 10, this request will be passed onto the server to retrieve a smaller dataset.

The Spark connector now supports Windows Authentication

There has also been a lot of updates to the OData V4 connector, where it has improved support for complex data types. There is also now Open type navigation which supports extra navigation properties. Improved support for Custom URLs. Significant performance improvements. And greater resilience when loading data, where it will first try query folding, and if that fails it will then try with less query folding until it succeeds.

On the ODBC connector there has been improvements where if your underlying data source supports the TOP operator, it will then fold that down to the data source. As well as if the underlying DSN connects to a catalog, this will be shown in the Power Query Editor, so that you can select the required catalog.

And finally, there is an update if your account has been provisioned in more than one National Cloud, when signing up you can select which cloud you want to use.

All the blog post details, as well as the video by Amanda can be found here: Power BI Desktop June Feature Summary

Power BI – Subscribe others to Email Subscription

You now can subscribe other users in your organization to email subscriptions, so that they do not have to do it themselves.

I know this is something that I personally have been waiting for and so happy that it is finally here!

The only thing to note is that if your Reports or Dashboards are in a standard App Workspace, you can only subscribe other users who have a Power BI Pro license.

Whilst if your reports or dashboards are in a Premium Workspace, you can the subscribe any users, security groups or distributions lists regardless of whether the user is a Pro user or not. This is because in a Premium App Workspace you can share your reports with a free or pro Power BI User.

All the details on the blog post are here: Subscribe others to email subscriptions in Power BI

Power BI – Developer Community Update

You can now set the background colour when you embed your Power BI Application into an application, where there is extra space.

Now when you load your Power BI report in an application you have the option to load it on a specific Bookmark, so that the users can see the report in the bookmarked state.

There is now an easier and faster experience to set up and embedding environment for Power BI Embedded. This process now means that you can create the Application and upload a PBIX directly as part of the embedding creation.

And finally, there is a new Sample Application from Ted Pattison, which is on GitHub and shows the basics to embed a report. This is something that I am certainly going to look into (when I get a gap).

You can find the blog post details here: Power BI Developer Community May Update

Power BI – Mobile & Service Update

PIC

As you can see below there have been a lot of updates to the Power BI Mobile App and Service, which have already been covered in previous blog posts by Microsoft. Here is the list below, with hyperlinks if you want to get more details.

The only one that was new to me was the updated workflow invite for B2B reports, which is great to see that the experience is easier to complete.