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Archive for the ‘Power BI’ Category

Power BI Preview–The Designer

Posted by denglishbi on April 9, 2015

We will continue exploring the ‘new’ Power BI Preview and in this post we will look at the Power BI Designer.  The Power BI Designer is the new download tool that you can get (for FREE) that provides the ability to get data, transform it, add calculated columns, merge, etc. (Power Query) and create reports (like Power View – but the Silverlight is gone! but features not completely identical yet, few more visualizations added though).

NOTE: The Power BI capabilities that have been added to Excel over the years with the add-ins and some are becoming native, are now transitioning into the designer to allow for more rapid releases and one tool versus the different add-in components.  And did I mention…it is FREE?!?

To get started you will first need to download and install the designer.  You can check out one of my previous posts on the walkthrough of installing and highlighting the features – Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience.  You can download the designer from the downloads location on the Power BI site.  In this example I have the latest build that was made available at end of March 2015 – version 2.21.3975.261.

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Once you have this downloaded and installed you will then launch the tool to get started.

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On first launch you have the ability to access forums, the team blog, tutorials, and videos.  The team has done an outstanding job on creating lots of great content right out of the gate!

If you are familiar with Power Query then you will be very comfortable with the get data portion and creating the queries that can then be used to load the model to be used for report creation.

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In this screenshot you will see that there has been a recent update and a new source is available for Google Analytics!  This was recently announced in the blog here – 7 New Updates to the Power BI Designer Preview (March 2015).

In this example I will go back to a previous one I did when I first covered Power Query (previously known as Data Explorer) – Installing Data Explorer Preview & Demo with IMDB Data.  I will try and recreate this solution with the new designer and you can see the comparison.  At the end I will note a few of the differences that I have come across so far.

First I will get the data, this time around I am going to get the core data from the IMDB website like I did previously, but then I will use a function to do a call and retrieve JSON from http://omdbapi.com.

Original site view on IMDB (click image to go to the actual site)

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Initial query results getting data from the web

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Function created that will then provide additional information about the movie such as genre, actors, awards, runtime, rating, plot, votes, poster url, etc.  In my initial example I did I used VBA code and parsed XML data, this time around I am doing this all with Power Query functionality.

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Now combining this function call into a calculated column in the first query we end up with our complete data set.

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We can then create our reports.

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If you compare this to my original post from the Data Explorer you will notice that they are a tad different.

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So some of the items that I came across in the new designer are the following (as of 4/9/2015):

– No image support in data model, not able to access the model yet to complete this setup, plus not able to include or embed images

– No ability to control the formatting of the numeric values as far as number of decimals, to include commas, currency

– No data card title support, this goes back to not being able to access the model and complete the setup

– Not able to resize columns and easily resize items such as data cards

– Not able to add data labels to visuals

– Not able to remove a sort on a table once it has been triggered (I accidently did this a couple of times, clicked on a column)

– No textbox at all which is possibly the #1 item used today in Power View

– No play axis support in scatter charts

– No color, styles, or theme support options to control color options

– Limited filter options (need to drag-and-drop to filters), no pinned filters, and just multi select checkboxes (so hope you don’t have a long list, numeric values do have some extra options)

Some of the things that you will see that have been added are the following:

– easily change visuals when item selected

– new visuals that were added such as – treemap, filled map, radial gauge, funnel, and combo charts (require same axis if you combine them)

– new relationship options to provide support out-of-the-box for many-to-many

Now once you have your data and reports created the next step is to save your file (pbix extension) and then if you go back to the Power BI site in the Get Data section you can upload your file to a dashboard (make sure you are in the dashboard you want this added or create a new one first).

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Once you have the file uploaded you will see your reports and dataset as well. In the next post we will take a look at adding items to the dashboard and exploring the Q&A capabilities.

For a recap of previous posts check out the following:

Getting Started with the Power BI Preview

Power BI Preview Layout Overview

Power BI Preview–Getting the Data

If you liked the example and want to check out the file you can download it from here http://1drv.ms/1JqmwaF

NOTE: I have set the File Settings in this file to ignore Privacy levels, otherwise I was being prompted for each call to the web to get the images for the move posters that are being pulled into the model (ready for when the support for images and accessing the data model is available – thanks to Kasper for his help on this – Loading an image into the Model using Power Query).

Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will be able to expand on this example once we can access the data model, can’t wait!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Power BI Preview–Getting the Data

Posted by denglishbi on April 1, 2015

In the first two posts we looked at Getting Started with Power BI Preview and then Power BI Preview Layout Overview.  The next item that you will want to do now that you are somewhat familiar with the “new” Power BI is getting data to create datasets, reports, and dashboards!

Power BI Preview is known as a SaaS (software as a service) – a web-based service that you can leverage to deliver your solutions.  As mentioned in the first post there is a free as well as subscription based offering ($9.99 per user/month) . There are also canned built-in solutions that you can leverage right out-of-the-box.  So if you are using or have any of the following services or functionality the time it will take for you to getting insights is greatly reduced, you can get a kick start to your reporting with just a few clicks:

– Excel workbooks: leverage existing Excel files; could contain tables, charts, data models, Power View reports; these would be uploaded to the Power BI Preview site

– Power BI Designer File: we will cover this more in the next post, but if you download the designer and then load data, create reports, and save the file you can upload this into the Power BI Preview site

– SQL Server Analysis Services: with the downloadable connector that was mentioned in the second post for the layout overview you have the ability to query on-premise tabular SSAS databases

– Online services: if you are using GitHub, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, SendGrid, or Zendesk you can connect using your credentials and there are pre-built templates that will be created for you with dashboard, reports, and dataset to jump start and get quick insights to the service and your usage

– Retail Analysis Sample: the initial sample that gets displayed and you see in the first two posts; sample file you can get familiar with to see functionality and test drive

To get started simply click on the Get Data (item #2 in the Layout Overview post).

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Now you will see the list of the options you have to get started to work with data.

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As an example let’s take a look at the GitHub option we will go to GitHub –> Connect.

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For this example I am going to connect to the d3 repository (d3 is a JavaScript visualization library for HTML and SVG).

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You will then be prompted for authorization and I am already signed into GitHub. This is using oAuth.

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This will now create a new dataset, reports, and dashboard. It will connect and begin to import the data that will populate the dashboard and you will be able to immediately get some insights!

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And if you look at the reports that were added you can see there is additional information that you can review and add to the dashboard and you can also create more reports and enhance the out-of-the-box template that was provided.

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Pretty amazing, and this is all free!

In the next post we will take a look at using the Power BI Designer to create our own dataset and reports that we can then use to load into the Power BI web site.

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Power BI Preview Layout Overview

Posted by denglishbi on March 26, 2015

In the first post, Getting Started with Power BI Preview, I discussed briefly the “new” Power BI and went over how to get access to this service.  Now that you have access I want to go over the layout of the land and show the different items you have access to on the Power BI Preview site.

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1. Microsoft Power BI Public Preview – this is your landing / home page. If you access other areas such as getting data, reports, datasets, etc. you can click on the top right to return to the home page to view your currently selected dashboard.

2. Get Data – using the Power BI Preview web site interface this is the area where you will be able to bring in your data to create datasets, reports, and eventually dashboards.  In the next post of this series we will explore this area in more detail.

3. Content Pane – you have the ability to search and filter the existing content you have available in the datasets, reports, and dashboards.  These areas expand and collapse and the plus sign next to the datasets will send you to Get Data and the one next to Dashboards will allow you to create a new dashboard.  Once you create a new dashboard you can then get data, create reports, and pin items to it.

4. Dashboard Title & Share – the current dashboard title you are viewing and a link that allows to to invite others to view as well as possibly share your dashboard you have created along with the data.

5. Q&A – this is the natural query language capability, the same one that is provided in the current Power BI in Office 365.  You have the ability to ask questions of your data just like asking questions on Bing or Google to get results.

6. Dashboard content – this is the content that has been selected from the reports that were developed on the dataset as well as results possibly from Q&A that have been pinned.  These items (tiles) can be resized and rearranged once they have been pinned. This reminds me of the Windows 8 and Windows Phone start screen – live tiles.

7. Support, Help, and Feedback menu – just grouping these last remaining items together that are in the top-right.

  • The first icon which looks like the typical settings / configuration icon we are used to is actually the download area and will provide access to the Power BI for iOS app, Power BI Designer Preview, and the Analysis Services Connector Preview.
  • The second icon is the Support / Help icon which gives you access to Getting Started material, Contact Support (email the team), What Should We Build Next (forum and voting area), Help Topics, Power BI for Developers (yes there is a developer area and API information), About Power BI (version number information).
  • The third icon is simply the feedback one to rate and let the team know what you think of the Power BI Preview.
  • The final icon is your account and provides option to sign out.

Next up, we will go over creating your first dashboard, dataset, and reports.  Stay tuned for more!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Getting Started with the Power BI Preview

Posted by denglishbi on March 24, 2015

Last year Microsoft began working on a “new” Power BI version / capability.  This was released to a limited group of users for feedback and then last December was released within the U.S. and I posted this first post – Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience.  Now this past week it is available in over 140 countries – Power BI Preview now available worldwide.image

So what it so special about this new experience?

Well first of all to get started using Power BI you no longer need to use Excel.  Excel has been the main driver of Power BI capabilities and the container where data and reports would be created to then share with others through SharePoint and/or Power BI in Office 365.  Now the data can be collected using either the new Power BI Designer or directly through the new browser based Power BI preview experience.

The next item that makes this interesting / attractive is the price.  Yes, how much does this end up costing you?  Well to get started all you need is to create an account and the rest is actually free.  Yes, that is correct, free.  Of course the “Free” version does come with some limitations, but for the most part you have the same capabilities as the version that is the paid Pro service of $9.99 user/month.  And that is price cut from the previous Power BI online experience of $40/month.  Here is more information about the new pricing and feature comparison between the Free and Pro paid versions – Power BI Preview Pricing.

In order to get started you simply need to do the following:

1. Go to the following web site – http://powerbi.com

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2. Next sign up by entering your business or educational email address

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3. Complete the Microsoft Power BI sign up process by following the link in the email you receive

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4. Once you enter in the information and click start you will get a confirmation and depending on the current usage you might have to wait 15 minutes or so for everything to get spun up and ready for you to begin

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5. Sign In to the Power BI site specifying that you are using a work or school account

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Now in my case this is actually a personal Microsoft account and not provided by my organization, I am simply using my work email for my Microsoft account.  I will now switch over and login with my organization provided email, I just wanted to show what the process would look like to get started with the process.

6. Once you are logged in you will now be able to access the Microsoft Power BI Public Preview site

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That is all it takes, so in less than 15 minutes or so you can be logged in and ready to roll.  Next up, we will go over a quick tour of the layout of the site.  Stay tuned!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Installing Power BI Designer Preview Experience

Posted by denglishbi on December 18, 2014

Today Microsoft announced the new Power BI features including the new Power BI Designer tool that provides a separate downloadable standalone application that can be used for Power BI features such as Power Query and Power View!  This is completely separate from Excel – now users can connect to data, relate data, create reports, and also import them to Power BI dashboards to share!

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So in this example I was able to connect to an existing Excel file I had with some preloaded data (Customer and Geography tables), relate the data (queries) together, create a report (as you can see there are new visualizations available such as treemap, gauge, filled map, funnel, combo chart, etc.), and save the file locally (pibx file extension).

Now that I have a Power BI file with a report I can go to the Power BI Dashboard site and upload this file to share the content.

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Once you get the report loaded you can then continue your design experience, pin items to a dashboard, and share (within your own organization for now)!  All of this is done in HTML5, so no worries about Silverlight.

Quite a few of the new visualizations are not supported to be pinned yet, but at some point they will, so hold on.

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Very cool, a whole new user and sharing experience!

There is also a ton of great help and support documentation, videos, and walkthroughs available as well

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Enjoy and thanks to the Power BI team!

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

IMDb Analysis with Microsoft Power BI

Posted by denglishbi on January 15, 2014

The Microsoft Power BI Contest entry submission ended today and this morning I worked on my video and got my entry posted.  For my entry I ended up going with the Top 250 rated movies on IMDb.  Last year when I was testing out “Data Explorer” (now called Power Query) I did a blog posting that highlighted this set of data along with some Power View reports here – Installing Data Explorer Preview Demo with IMDb Data

Since that post, which was back in March 2013, the data on the web page has changed (ratings of course, but the data available).  Like now the vote counts were not included in the table on the web page.  Also, I was using an external site to get some XML data to reference for additional information about the movies, well that changed to, so I did get to freshen up the demo a bit.  I also had to prepare some additional items for the Office 365, Power BI, Q&A, and I did setup a Windows 8 Power BI demo.

For our entries we were limited to only 10 minutes, so by no means are these going to be an end-to-end instruction guide.  I didn’t go into a deep analysis of the data, what I was trying to demonstrate was the ability to go from a basic web page of data to a fully decked out analysis tool.  I used Excel 2013, Power Query, Power Pivot, Pivot Charts and Tables, Power View, Office 365, Power BI, and the latest Q&A, so I was trying to show off as much as I could and stay within the timeframe provided.  I also had a demo to show off the Windows 8 Power BI app, but I wasn’t sure the Camtasia video capture software would capture the app demo since it was running on my desktop (will need to test that).

Here is the entry on Facebook (view in full screen to get better resolution – also turn the volume up) – IMDb Analysis with Microsoft Power BI.

PowerBI Facebook Demo

Action Item (please help and vote – Jan 20 thru 30)

Starting next week on Monday, January 20 the entries will be open for public voting.  I would appreciate all of the support you could provide (please vote, and pass it on to co-workers, family, relatives, family, etc.).  The voting will run through Thursday, January 30.  Then 10 out of the 61 entries will move on the semi-finals!  So I need all of the support you can provide.  Thanks so much!

Posted in Data Explorer, Power BI, Power Query | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »