Dealing With 404 Errors In Power BI Query Editor

Callum Green shows how to deal with a scenario when you try to retrieve data for a particular row but get a 404 error:

The error message is a little misleading but let’s save the debugging debate for another day. The key observation is “Guildford” data is not available, simply because it comes after “Camberley” in the list. Whilst we want to see errors in a Query, we do not want them causing data loss.

Resolution

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, using the Remove Errors function would prevent the loss of Guildford data. However, the user needs to handle errors as Unknown Members and conform to a typical Kimball Data Warehouse.

I am sure there are many ways to fulfil the requirement, but here is how I approached it:

Read on for the resolution.

Power BI Free Is The Problem

Matt Allington shares his thoughts on the recent Power BI licensing changes:

I think the existence of the Power BI Free product has been the root of the problem here.  The fact that you could do so much for free (including some sharing) really muddied the waters and has taken the focus away from acknowledging that there needs to be a two tier pricing model for users (free is not a pricing tier). Microsoft is addressing one part of the problem by making it clear that Power BI Free is for personal (non sharing) use. However it has not addressed the second part of the problem being the need for a lower priced offering for users that just consume data in a way I would describe as “low involvement”. Microsoft has taken away the “proxy for a low priced sharing tier” without providing a genuine low priced replacement – this had just made the situation worse, not better and it has upset a lot of people.  Power BI Free has been a great product to “try before you buy” but unfortunately its existence prevented Microsoft from realising it was missing a price tier for 2 years!  Power BI Free for personal use (no sharing) is an incredibly generous offering from Microsoft.  It is a shame that it will need a backlash to fill the real gap – a lower priced tier.

Check out the comments as well.  I think Matt has a good point, and my guess is that the Power BI team will make it easier for small to medium sized businesses to use Power BI, but they first wanted to focus on the problem with big customers.

No More Sharing With Power BI Free

Ginger Grant explains an important ramification of the recent Power BI licensing changes:

Included in the recent list of announcements Microsoft made about Power BI Local and Power BI Premium are a series of changes to the Power BI Free version which will go into effect on June 1. The free edition of Power BI will no longer be able to share reports. Currently free users could create reports and share them with others, which will be discontinued.  Only Power BI Pro Editions will be able to share reports.  Currently Power BI Pro users can create reports which can be shared with Free versions as long as no Pro features are used.  This means that if a Power BI report is set to automatically refresh the data, that report cannot be shared as Free versions do not have the ability to create reports which have data refreshed automatically. If the report was recreated to remove the automatic updates and instead refreshed manually, then the report could be shared with Free versions.  Starting June 1, the sharing feature will be removed. No longer can Power BI Pro users share anything to Power BI Free users.  If you have a Power BI Free account, there is no way to share information in the service. The Power BI Desktop will continue to be free but since you cannot print the content within it and sharing a PBIX file means that you will always be sharing the entire data model, this is of limited value.

Read the whole thing.

Build Your Own Power BI App

Reza Rad shows how to build a Power BI app:

Till now there were about 6 methods of sharing content in Power BI, including:

I have written about some of these already (follow links above), and will write about the rest soon. Yesterday, Microsoft announced preview version of Power BI Apps, which is a new method of sharing. This is an enhancement version of two methods previously: Work spaces, and Content Packs together!

Read on for a step-by-step guide.

Narrative Custom Visual

Devin Knight continues his Power BI custom visuals series:

In this module you will learn how to use the Narrative Power BI Custom Visual.  The Narrative visual is developed by Narrative Science and it gives you the ability to automatically deliver analysis of your data.  The results look similar to a final report that a analyst might provide after spending weeks with your data.

It’s not going to replace a seasoned analyst (or any analyst at all, frankly) but if you need a couple paragraphs of text summing up a trend, it’s a good start.

Power BI On-Prem Details

Ginger Grant explains what’s going on with Power BI Premium and the on-prem offering:

It is not possible to run Power BI reports locally right now, but sometime before the 1st of July 2016,  users who have SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition per-core and active Software Assurance [SA] can deploy Power BI Report Server.  This means that no one is going to have to wait for SQL Server 2017 for Power BI on premise as that will be available sometime in June.  The functionality in SQL Server 2017 SQL Server Reporting Server [SSRS]. Community Technology Preview edition is going to be available in Power BI Report Server, with the addition of the ability to include custom visuals, which the CTP version did not do. The Power BI Server includes all of the functionality of SSRS This means that users will not need an SSRS Server and a Power BI Server, as the Power BI Server will be able to both.  If you want to migrate all of the reports created in SSRS from 2008 R2, and SSRS Mobile Reports, you can migrate these reports to the new Power BI Report Server, provided of course you have SQL Server 2016 Enterprise per-core edition with SA. The Power BI Report Server will be a separate install with separate release schedules.  Microsoft has announced that they are planning on doing updates at a greater frequency than SQL Server. Power BI Report Server will also be able to publish reports to mobile devices as well. If the reports uses data in the cloud, you can employ a Data Gateway as the Power BI Reporting Server can use the gateway to access cloud data. Of course if all of the data in the report is located on-premises, no gateway will be required.

I’m a bit disappointed that the on-prem installation will not allow you to create dashboards, but perhaps that will come in time.

Power BI Premium

James Serra explains the Power BI Premium tier:

For costs, it allows an unlimited number of users since it is priced by aggregate capacity (see Power BI Premium calculator).  Users who need to create content in Power BI will still require a $10/month Power BI Pro seat, but there is no per-seat charge for consumption.

For scale, it runs on dedicated hardware giving capacity exclusively allocated to an organization for increased performance (no noisy neighbors).  Organizations can choose to apply their dedicated capacity broadly, or allocate it to assigned workspaces based on the number of users, workload needs or other factors—and scale up or down as requirements change.

They’re throttling down Power BI Free, making it really just for personal use, but I think the Premium tier will help with pricing for adoption.

Power BI: Calculated Measures + SSAS Tabular

Shabnam Watson notes that the May updates to Power BI Desktop allow you to create new calculated measures on a report which connects live to a tabular model:

Ideally the SSAS database has all the measures you need but now you have the capability to add new ones if you need to.

You can control the folder (table/measure group) under which the new measure shows up by using the “Home Table” option from the Modeling tab. I really like this feature as you can create copies of the same calculation and send them to different folders for ease of use.

If you’re interested in getting this added to Multidimensional as well, there is a request you can vote on.

Power BI Report Server

The Power BI team knows how to make me happy:

Today Microsoft announced Power BI Premium — a capacity-based licensing model that increases flexibility for how users access, share and distribute content in Power BI. The new offering also introduces the ability to manage Power BI Reports on-premises with the included Power BI Report Server.

Power BI Report Server will be generally available late in the second quarter of 2017.

I like this a lot for internal company dashboards.

Twitter Campaign/Brand Management In Power BI

Mindy Curnutt looks at a Power BI solution template for managing Twitter campaigns:

Now you can start poking around and seeing what’s in the Dashboard. Since I opted to not put any handles in for analysis of FROM and TO, the first two tabs in the workbook (Outbound Tweets and Inbound Tweets) will not have any information, this is normal.

But then we get to tab #3 – Author Hashtag Graph.  The gray dots are hashtags and the green dots are accounts that have tweeted. You can see that I made a tweet that had 2 hashtags – #osmf2017 and #mvpbuzz. And boy was @TexasMusicDude busy tweeting up a storm – and using lots of other hashtags in conjunction with his tweets. Other hashtags that were popular appear to be #CampGround, #ShinyRibs, #TexasMusic, #DreamFolk and #Strings. Along the bottom you can see the day/timeline and the quantity of tweets at what time of day. If you click on any of the nodes, the information about what time the tweet(s) took place is highlighted in the timeline. It’s very interactive.

It does require an Azure subscription, but it looks very useful as a model for an advanced set of dashboards as well as a campaign management tool.

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