Power BI RoundUp – Power BI Desktop Dec Update – Dataflows Integration with your own Azure Data Lake – Business Application 2019 – Developer Update Nov 2018 – Windows App Update

It appears that there is one last massive push from the Power BI team before the end of the year.

I would consider this my early Christmas present, so please enjoy and read below.

Power BI Desktop Update Dec 2018

Once again it is another big update to Power BI desktop.

Reporting

I really like the smart guides that are available, this makes the visuals line up better and make the entire development experience that much easier. To me it is very similar to what you get in PowerPoint.

There have been a whole host of really cool updates for ArcGIS in both the free and paid versions where you can find similar items, as well as having up to 5000 map data points in the paid version.

It is great to see such a great focus on accessibility features being implemented into Power BI, and this month they have extended this with the field list accessibility support.

You can now set the tab order on objects on a page, this is really good not only for accessibility but I have had times when the mouse has not been working and by setting this up, it allows me to easily move between items. You can also move items and disable them from being in the tab order.

There now is tooltips for buttons, which was suggested by my good friend Matt Allington and it certainly makes it a lot easier to get more context on what the button is supposed to be doing.

Icons showing the visual interactions as well as all the other images now are in an SVG format, which will make it scale better. I personally like the updated icons

Analytics

There now is support using Q&A for LiveConnection SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) databases. The one thing to note is it is currently only supported for Tabular Models with the compatibility mode of 1103 and above.

The above is a preview feature, so you will have to update it in the Preview features under Options.

Modeling

The DAX formula bar has received 2 updates.

The first one is now you can zoom in and out, which is great when you are presenting or when you want to see more of your code on a high-resolution screen.

Second, is that the DAX formula bar will expand to the size of your screen, allowing you to see more of your DAX code, when there is a lot of code

Yet another accessibility feature is that you now can access the data view using CTRL + F6 and you can navigate all the items in the data view.

Data Connectivity

This month there are 2 new connectors.

The AtScale Beta Connector and the Essbase Beta Connector

Data Preparation

When using the Fuzzy merge there now is an option to select the TopN matches when trying to match using the Fuzzy merge logic. This is great to ensure that you do not return too many matches

Other

High contrast support is now available for all panes and report footer

And finally, there is an improved keyboard shortcuts dialog as shown below.

Here are the blog post details, and I would recommend watching the YouTube video: Power BI Desktop December 2018 Feature Summary

Data Flows Integration with your own Azure Data Lake

There has been a lot of interest with Power BI Dataflows since it was released.

That latest release now allows you to unify data across Power BI and Azure Data Lake.

This can now be done by creating CDM folders in the Azure Data Lake, and once that has been created not only can that be used by Power BI, but it can also be used by Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Bricks, Azure ML and no doubt more integration points over time.

There really is a wealth of information in this blog post.

Not only that but there also is a full tutorial which will allow you to test and end to end setup. That is SO COOL! (And I am going to set some time aside to get it working)

Here are the blog details: Power BI Dataflows and Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 Integration Preview

Business Applications Summit 2019

The dates for the Business Applications Summit have been announced on 10-11 June 2019, at this year it will be in Atlanta Georgia.

You can already buy tickets for this event, and I am planning on attending next year again. I found that going to these events are an invaluable way to do a lot of learning and networking with some incredible people.

All the details are here: Microsoft Business Applications Summit is back – join us June 10-11, 2019 in Atlanta!

Developer Update Nov 2018

There have been a lot of updates in the Power BI Developer space in November.

Power BI Embedded in Azure

You can now have Paginated reports and data flows in Power BI Embedded.

Not only that but there are also 2 new metrics to monitor your Power BI Embedded which are Memory per Workload and QPU per Workload. Both are important because now there are potentially 3 workloads in Power BI Embedded which would be Analysis Services, Paginated Reports and Dataflows.

There is also now Azure Health monitoring to ensure that all the resources are available as shown in the image below

There is now also the capability to have zero downtime when scaling your resources when scaling up or down.

This is done by using a script which creates a temporary capacity resource, and moves your current workspaces to this temporary capacity resource, until the scaling up or down is complete and then moves it back.

Embed Capabilities

Usage metrics are now available for embedded reports and dashboards as shown below.

Automation and Life Cycle Management

You can now create a new App Workspace with the Power BI REST API

Custom Visuals with additional purchases are now supported, with In App Purchases

Here are all the details: Power BI Developer community November update

Windows App Update

There has been an update to the Windows App for Windows PC’s, Laptops & Tablets where you can now enter presentation mode which will allow you to have it as you are presenting.

Not only that but if you have a pen and compatible device you can also Ink this onto the report.

The blog details are here: Presentation mode in Power BI Windows App

Power BI RoundUp with SQL Pass updates – Dataflows – Paginated Reports (SSRS) – Premium Metrics App with Data Flows & Paginated Metrics – Paginated Reports in Mobile App – Mobile & Service Update for Oct – Bonus features coming to Power BI Desktop

As expected this week with SQL Pass, there has been a whole host of new capabilities and features in Power BI, so please see my roundup below with the relevant links below.

And even though there is a lot of announcements here, we are still waiting for the update to Power BI Desktop!!

Power BI Dataflows

One of the biggest updates and releases to Power BI is dataflows. I personally think that this is a MASSIVE differentiator from other players in the Self-Service space.

The first thing I would like to highlight is that this is available to both Power BI Pro and Premium Customers. Below is a table of the key differences.

Dataflows allows you to now build data purely inside the Power BI Service, that stores the data in Azure Data Lake Gen2.

There are so many advantages to this:

  • Not only does it allow the business user to easily access data and use it in their data model as a data source (like SQL Server)
  • It also allows for the linking of entities (Premium feature)
  • It allows for Incremental Refreshing (Premium Feature)
  • Linking of entities which works like Excel (Premium Feature)

I would highly recommend that you read the blog post here: Introducing: Power BI data prep with dataflows

And here is the link to the Whitepaper: Understanding Dataflows in Power BI

Power BI Paginated Reports (SSRS)

There is now the capability to be able to use SSRS in the cloud. This is really great news and I am certain that there are a lot of customers who have been patiently waiting for SSRS to be available in the cloud.

It is now available in Power BI Premium. And along with this out of the box there are a lot of features that are already there, and some additional features which will come later. No doubt it is a very different set of requirements to build something that will work in the cloud vs an On-Premise implementation.

Some of the potential new capabilities which will be coming in the future to Paginated reports are:

  • Support for scheduling and sending paginated reports using e-mail subscriptions and having attachments
  • Embedding in third-party applications
  • Authoring reports against Power BI datasets
  • The ability to seamlessly drill through from a Power BI report to a paginated report in the service

All the details can be found in the blog post: Public Preview of Paginated Reports in Power BI Premium Now Available

Power BI Premium Metrics App includes metrics for Dataflows & Paginated Reports

It is incredible to see the pace of innovation from Microsoft and the Power BI team. Even though both dataflows and paginated reports have just been released you can now already use the Power BI Premium metrics app to see metrics for dataflows and paginated reports.

You can now see the following metrics for Paginated reports

  • Total views of the report with average for row count
  • Total time spent on the reports between retrieval/processing/rendering
  • Split by hour, dataflow name, and workspace name

The following is also available for data flows

  • Total refresh count
  • Refresh reliability
  • Average/max duration and average/max wait times of dataflow refreshes by dataflow name and workspace name

You can find more details on the Power BI Premium Metrics App here: Paginated report metrics and dataflow metrics now available in Premium Capacity Metrics app

Power BI Mobile App with support for Paginated Reports

If you update your Power BI Mobile App, you will now have the capability to be able to see paginated reports directly within your Power BI mobile app.

Once again it is incredible to see all the new functionality released across the entire platform, not only to the Power BI Service, but to the mobile app also.

It is available in the Android, iOS and Windows Apps

More details can be found here: Power BI Paginated Reports also available in Power BI Mobile Apps (preview)

Power BI Mobile and Service updates for Oct 2018

A lot of the updates for the Power BI Mobile and Service app have already been covered in other blog posts.

Below is a list of the updates with the relevant links