Power BI Supports Interactive R Visuals

David Smith reports on a great update to Power BI:

The above chart was created with the plotly package, but you can also use htmlwidgets or any other R package that creates interactive graphics. The only restriction is that the output must be HTML, which can then be embedded into the Power BI dashboard or report. You can also publish reports including these interactive charts to the online Power BI service to share with others. (In this case though, you’re restricted to those R packages supported in Power BI online.)

Power BI now provides four custom interactive R charts, available as add-ins:

I’d avoided doing too much with R visuals in Power BI because the output was so discordant—Power BI dashboards are often lively things, but the R visual would just sit there, limp and lifeless.  I’m glad to see that this has changed.

Rotating Tiles Custom Visual

Devin Knight continues his Power BI custom visuals series:

In this module you will learn how to use the Rotating Tile Custom Visual.  The Rotating Tile gives you the ability to display multiple metrics on a single visual that rotates through each value you wish to display.  This allows you to save valuable space on your reports!

This feels like the type of thing that works on a dashboard but would get frustrating if you used it for time-sensitive data or data which required thoughtful analysis.

Power BI Report Server Released

Ginger Grant notes that Power BI Report Server is now generally available:

The most glaring change from what was announced earlier, is Power BI Report Server can only connect to analysis services data sources, both tabular and multidimensional.  If you want to connect to SQL Server, Oracle or Excel or all three, use the Power BI Web Service.  Only going to the cloud version will users be able to create a data mashup or connect to anything but SQL Server.

Connecting to one data source is not what was promised when the Power BI Report Server was announced in May.  Various Power BI Product members held a session at the Microsoft Data Summit where attendees were able to ask questions.  I asked “When are we going to be able to use Power BI Report Server with data sources other than analysis services?”  In a room full of people, I was assured that it was a top priority of the team to release the same data connectivity functionality for Power BI Report Server that currently exists for Power BI Services and the current plan was to release this functionality the next release.

This is the most glaring flaw with Power BI Report Server at the moment.  Unfortunately, that probably makes it DOA for my purposes, at least until they introduce SQL Server relational as a valid data source.

Planning A Power BI Enterprise Deployment

Melissa Coates announces a new whitepaper co-authored with Chris Webb:

I’m excited to share that a new technical whitepaper I co-authored with Chris Webb is published. It’s called Planning a Power BI Enterprise Deployment. It was really a fun experience to write something a bit more formal than blog posts. My interest in Power BI lies in how to successfully deploy it, manage it, and what the end-to-end story is especially from the perspective of integration with other data assets in an organization. Power BI has grown to be a huge, wide set of features so we got a little verbose at just over 100 pages.

It is a beefy whitepaper.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it’s now on my list.

Power BI Premium Released

Dustin Ryan reports that Power BI Premium is now generally available:

Microsoft stated that Power BI Premium would be GA late Q2 of 2017, which could mean nothing else aside from June. Well, today is the day that Power BI Premium, along with Power BI Report Server, are generally available.

Lucky for me, I have a user on a tenant with Power BI Premium capacity available for me to use. When you first log into your tenant after Power BI Premium capacity has been purchased, you are presented with the following welcome screen which includes a link to learn more about Premium capacity.

The Power BI team continues to be busy.

Allowing Native Queries In An M Project

Cedric Charlier ran into an error running native queries in his Visual Studio M project:

I was just using it since a few days when I found an interesting case. My query had a native query

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Sql.Database(
   “server”,
   “db”,
   [Query = “select * from myTable where field=” & value]
)

When I tried to execute it, I received a message from the Power Query SDK that

The evaluation requires a permission that has not been provided. Data source kind: ‘SQL’. Permission kind: ‘NativeQuery’.

Read on for the solution.

Power BI Desktop Trend Lines

Koen Verbeeck explains the conditions necessary to see a trend line in Power BI Desktop:

A quick blog post on finding where the trend line is hiding in Power BI Desktop. Docs will state it is in the analytics pane for certain types of visualization. However, it doesn’t always show up:

Click through to see what the necessary pre-conditions to see a trend line.

Decomposing Power BI Desktop Files

Reza Rad wants to see exactly where the M scripts in a Power BI Desktop file are stored:

Talking about Power Query; DataMashup file is all you need. It includes everything from the structure of queries, tables, parameters, list, to the actual M scripts behind the scene. You can Fetch all of these information from this single file. Let’s look at the structure of this file. If you open this file with a text editor. you will see some binary things first (which are related to the zipped nature of this file), and also some XML information. Yes, this is a zipped file. Let’s start with unzipping it into a folder. I’ve done that with 7-zip application.

This is an interesting peek under the covers of a PBIX file.

Creating Nicer Reports

Reid Havens has a few tips for making Power BI reports look nicer:

This is less of a single applied step as it is multiple formatting practices applied throughout the report. I’ve already hit on this subject a little bit in the two previous Power BI visual design practices in regards to using complimentary colors. The two key takeaways in this section are object formatting and color coordination.

Of all my best practices I’m showcasing here I’d say this one is the most subjective. However I think that maintaining complimentary colors goes a long ways to creating a professional looking report. I also have a strong dislike for the default title design for visualizations in Power BI. By default it is left aligned and a grey color (AGAIN…hard to read!). I center that sucker and color the background. An added benefit to coloring the title background is it actually forces me to make sure my objects are aligned, otherwise it is VERY noticeable now if they aren’t.

Definitely read the comments on this one, as some of these tips are subjective.

Route Map Custom Visual

Devin Knight continues his Power BI custom visuals series with the Route Map visual:

In this module you will learn how to use the Route Map Power BI Custom Visual.  The Route Map uses latitude, longitude, and time to show the trajectory of an object on a map.

For a certain class of dashboard, this is quite powerful.

Categories

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