Power BI Versus Power BI Report Server

Lars Bouwens contrasts the normal Power BI service with Power BI Report Server:

The differences between Power BI Service and Power BI Report Server are well documented in the Planning a Power BI Enterprise Deployment whitepaper and the online documentation. The whitepaper by Chris Webb and Melissa Coates also includes a comparison between Power BI Service and Power BI Report Server (Jun 2017 version). Because this is a lot of information, I’ve summarized the most important topics.

Power BI Report Server – two options
Power BI Report Server is the Power BI on-premises alternative to the cloud-based Power BI Service. There are two ways of acquiring Power BI Report Server: 1) Purchase a Power BI Premium Subscription or 2) by making use of your SQL Server Enterprise Software Assurance license.

I use Power BI Report Server.  It’s not perfect, but it does what I need it to do and it doesn’t cost the company anything extra (due to Enterprise Edition + Software Assurance).

Building A URL With DAX

Kasper de Jonge shows us how to generate a hyperlink in DAX based on filters in a report:

Thanks to two recent Power BI features it now possible to generate a link on the fly using DAX to go to a new report and pass in any filters. (Alsop imagine linking to your favorite SSRS report !)

In this blog post we will create a DAX formula that generate a hyperlink based on the filters in the report. The measure contains 2 parts, the first part is generating the right url to the target report using DAX and the second part is passing the filters to that report.

We will be using variables a lot in these expressions, more on variables in DAX can be found here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/query-bi/dax/var-dax

Read on for an example.

Power BI Helper 4.0 Released

Reza Rad has introduced a new version of Power BI Helper:

Power BI Helper is getting new features every time, and this time, we got some exciting features; You can now get your M (Power Query script) code beautified and colorful with version 4.0 of Power BI Helper. We also get the row-level security information exposed through the Helper application. Both information above will be now available when you export the model information to a document. If you like to learn more about Power BI Helper, read this page.

Looks good.

Reading Power BI Log Files

Kellyn Pot’vin-Gorman shows us where we can find Power BI logs and what they look like when we load them into Power BI:

Second one is  inspecting the Reporting Server Portal log, (RSPortal**.log) that resides in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Power BI Report Server\PBIRS\LogFiles

We again load this log file via Get Data –> Text/CSV and then choose to view all files, as it won’t see the .log extension otherwise.  Choose the file and click on Edit.

The M query displays the changes I performed to format the data into something that can easily be worked with.  Because of the stagnated output of the data lines, this will format the error and warning messages, with the rest of the rows only having the Information Message fulfilled, the rest of the columns will be null:

Read the whole thing.

Power Platform Licensing And Pricing

Wolfgang Strasser explains how you can get started with the Microsoft Power Platform:

This blog post is part of my Power Platform blog series.

Maybe you’ve already heard about the Microsoft Power Platform (which consists three tools Power BI, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow) and now is the time to start testing it?

The first questions that arise are: What do I need? Do I need to pay if I only want to try it out?

Licensing can get tricky, so it’s good to get a clear explanation of pricing and what you can do with the products.

A Map Per Row In Power BI

Chris Webb shows an example of including a map per row in a Power BI table:

Since my post last week on using the Google Image Charts API to create sparklines and small multiples in Power BI has proved very popular, I thought I would do a follow-up showing how to use the Azure Maps API to create map small multiples. Here’s an example of what’s possible, a table from a sample report I built that displays crimes committed in London (sourced from here) in June 2018 with one row for each crime and a map column displaying the location of the crime:

Be sure to read Prateek Raina’s warning in the comments, though.

KPIs In A Table With Power BI

Kasper de Jonge shows us how to embed SVGs into a Power BI table or matrix to show visual forms of KPIs:

Got a question today on how we can do KPI’s in the matrix or table with Power BI, just like we can with PowerPivot through the KPI functionality there.

This is where the great SVG trick from David Eldersveld comes into play, you can read all about it here in his blog posts: https://dataveld.com/2018/01/13/use-svg-images-in-power-bi-part-1 and this post by Chris Webb with even more cool examples.

In this case I am using his trick and a post I found on the community site to add a KPI to my table.

Read on for an example.

NFL Player Stats In Power BI

Dustin Ryan shares his NFL player stats and analysis Power BI desktop file:

I’ve had a lot of people ask me for this over the past few months and its finally (mostly) ready! There are still a few things I’d like to do with the data models and reports but I wanted to go ahead and get the content shared out since I know many people use this for the Fantasy Football drafts which generally happen during the third week of the NFL preseason.

So here it is. I’ve spent a decent amount of time scraping the data from a few different websites in order to put something together I thought would be useful and fun, so please take a look and enjoy it!

Click through for the file and a YouTube video with more info.

Including R Visuals In Power BI Dashboards

Kevin Feasel


Power BI, R

Parker Stevens shows how to include R visuals in a Power BI dashboard:

Let’s finish up this post with a quick example of how to code the elusive line chart with two y-axes. This always seems to be asked in the forums and it’s pretty easy to implement.

Follow the same steps as shown above to bring in a new R visual. Since we need a column to pass into the visual and open up the editor, let’s just throw in the Angle field that we made previously. With the code editor available we can start writing the R script. In this example, we are going to need some data that is available in a specific R package, called “ggplot2.” Go ahead and install the package by typing the following code the same way we installed scatterplot3d:


There are two interesting examples here, including one which accepts an external parameter.

Deploying To Power BI Report Server Using Powershell

Rob Sewell shows us how to automate Power BI Report Server deployments:

But I dont want to have to do this each time and there will be multiple pbix files, so I wanted to automate the solution. The end result was a VSTS or TFS release process so that I could simply drop the pbix into a git repository, commit my changes, sync them and have the system deploy them automatically.

As with all good ideas, I started with a google and found this post by Bill Anton which gave me a good start ( I could not get the connection string change to work in my test environment but this was not required so I didnt really examine why)

I wrote a function that I can use via TFS or VSTS by embedding it in a PowerShell script.

Click through for the script.


October 2018
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