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Thoughts on Third-Party Power BI Tools

Chris Webb shares some thoughts:

Rather than blog about the tool itself – there’s no point repeating Nikola’s post – I thought it would be good to answer a question someone asked me later that day about Tabular Editor and which I’m definitely going to be asked about DAX Optimizer, namely:

This looks great, but it’s expensive and it’s hard for me to get sign-off to use third-party tools like this. Why doesn’t Microsoft give me something like this for free?

Chris shares his personal opinions on the matter. My opinion on it, as someone who has worked with Microsoft products for a long time and never for Microsoft, is that Microsoft needs to play a balancing act. They build products and tools with the intention of third parties extending them, whether by opening up APIs or creating an explicit extensions marketplace (like we see in Azure Data Studio and Visual Studio Code). If they go and take the best bits of these third party products, then that third party marketplace dries up quickly. On the other side of the coin, depending on third parties can’t always cut it. For example, Azure Data Studio used to have an awful execution plan viewer and the answer was “use SentryOne Plan Explorer instead.” That wasn’t a great solution either for Azure Data Studio (and today, I don’t know if the extension is even still around), so the pushback was firm: a good execution plan reader needs to be a core part of any first-class SQL Server developer tool from Microsoft.

Chris has plenty to say on the topic as well.