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Category: Power BI

Contrasting Power BI Import and DirectQuery Modes

Jason Cockington digs into the two modes:

Over the last few months, I have received a number of very similar questions at either one of our Live Training courses or from a student attending one of our Ask Anything Power BI Q&A sessions.  These questions all revolved around DirectQuery and were often specifically about performance issues or complexity of DAX calculations being written on the Power BI reports.  This prompted me to write this post, as it became abundantly clear that most students were opting for DirectQuery when they should have been selecting Import.  If you are not sure if DirectQuery is right for you, then read on, as we explore further.

Jason includes some Real Talk from Chris Webb, fairly eviscerating DirectQuery mode in the majority of cases.

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Microsoft Fabric for the Power BI Practitioner

Kurt Buhler provides a nice graphic:

I’m just writing this quick article to share a visual overview I made of the newly announced Power BI-related features. I hope it helps you get an at-a-glance overview of some of the big changes relevant to Power BI. More importantly, I hope it doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed! For more information, check out the documentation and learning paths.

There is a lot in store for the platform, but you can already see a slew of new changes and opportunities for Power BI developers.

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Contrasting Two Visuals: Stacked Column Charts and Line Charts

Steve Jones performs a comparison:

I ran across an interesting post from Rita Fainshtein that looked at the different types of graphs for a set of data. I thought that was interesting, so I ran my own experiment. I found for my data, a line graph was better, but let me know what you think.

My data set was simple, a few players across a few events and their number of kills. I coach volleyball and I’m always trying to present stats in a useful way. Here was the small set I picked.

Something to keep note of is that line charts generally imply time series data: you are looking at some periodic activity and analyzing changes between periods.

The stacked column (or bar) chart tells you two things: the total and the first event. It’s really hard to discern any other events from a stacked chart comparison, as Steve points out.

If you don’t have periodic data or if you’re more focused on general trends than what happened at a specific event, the Cleveland dot plot (available in custom visuals) could plot each of the events, with the Y axis representing player names and the X axis representing number of kills, and each dot being a specific game. This saves a lot of real estate and gives you an idea of how points cluster, especially if you look at a larger number of games or players.

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Reusable Power BI Deployment Pipelines

Richard Swinbank re-uses a pipeline:

Implementation of one pipeline per report makes additional demands of a developer when creating a new report. To make this easier to manage, in this post I look how to make pipeline creation as simple as possible, by building each pipeline from a set of reusable components.

Click through to see how this works in Azure DevOps. I’d expect the process to be reasonably similar for GitHub Actions as well.

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Against Keys in Fact Tables

Marc Lelijveld searches for keys under the lamppost:

Another blog post based on recent client experiences. Last week, I visited a client where we had extensive discussions on data model optimization. As you might know, data modeling in Power BI is one of my favorite topics, so I had an excellent day. It’s also not the first time that I blog about anything data modeling and optimization. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend reading my previous blog on this topic.

This blog will focus on the need of keys in your tables and primarily your fact tables in your data model. I keep running into data models at customers which are flooded with keys in all tables. For each of them you should ask, do I really need this and could I save it in a different data type for further optimization. In this blog, I will further elaborate on keys in your data model, typical use cases and how these cases can be solved in different manners.

Read the whole thing. The really short version is classic Kimball-style advice: keys for dimensions, not for facts. And in Power BI, removing a unique column from a fact table can speed things up by shrinking the compressed fact table size.

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Migrating Multiple SSRS Reports to Power BI Paginated Reports

Olivier Van Steenlandt doesn’t do things one at a time:

A few weeks ago I released a blog post about migrating SSRS Reports to Power BI Paginated Reports. At that point in time, I wasn’t aware of any way to migrate multiple SSRS Reports in one go.

Meanwhile, I have done some research and experimented a bit. In this blog post, I will be going through 2 different ways to migrate multiple SSRS Reports at once to Power BI.

Click through for Olivier’s findings and how you can migrate en masse.

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Rounded Corners in Power BI Error Bars

Mara Pereira trims off the edges:

If you’ve been following my posts, you probably know by now that one of the things that really annoys me in Power BI is not being able to build bar charts with rounded corners, unless you use a custom visual.

However, recently I found out about a trick to make this happen without needing to use custom visuals (special shout out to Federico Pastor who shared this trick with me!).

Read on to see how you can do this. It’s definitely not ideal, but if you absolutely need rounded corners for your bar chart, you can get them this way.

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Testing a Power BI Theme on Existing Reports

Erik Svensen does a wardrobe upgrade:

But I want to see how my new theme might look on some old report where I might have used another theme or perhaps some reports other users have created where they have done some individual formatting instead of using the theme.

And did you know – we can do it and see the result for existing report in your workspaces – and we can directly modify the theme and see if we should change a color or a font size or a….

Read on for the process. This is a clever use of the embedding service, that’s for sure.

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