Power BI wrap up

2 months have passed by since i last wrote a post about Power BI. Even when bering in mind the weekly release cycle i was surprised but the rapid development which the product has undergone. Therefore i decided to do a wrap up of the main changes.

Below i will go through the following topics

Refresh for Power BI Designer files

For me the biggest released feature is the possibility to click “Refresh Now” and schedule a refresh of Power BI Designer files uploaded to the Power BI site. This means that refreshing data, reports & dashboards is now possible.

Most of the sources available off-premise is now able to be scheduled or refreshed. This is great if you have moved all data to the cloud or if you are surveilling a online-source.It is also promised that refresh support for on-prem data sources are also promised to be released very soon

New data sources

With the releases there have been added quite a lot of different sources and content packs which can be used out of the box. This is great for everyone who just want a plain and simple overview of their data. This also means that you don’t have to spend time in Excel or the Power BI Designer to invent the wheel.

Together with all the new sources there have also been released a new layout for selecting and adding data on the Power BI site. The sources has been split into four categories with a great overview of services available.

PowerBI services

Data sources

  • Azure SQL Databases
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse

Content Packs

  • Azure SQL Database Audit
  • MailChimp
  • Twilio
  • QuickBooks Online
  • appFigures
  • SweetIQ

Power BI Designer

When looking at the Power BI Designer there has really happened a lot. When looking at all these new features it is possible to categorise these into either totally new features or already know and basic features which have been available in Power Pivot and SSAS Tabular for quite som time. Of course it’s great that they are appearing – but it’s not really news.

New Features

  • New “ODBC Tables” connector
  • Improvements to the DAX Formula editor
  • Enhanced Privacy Levels dialog
  • New Text Filters for columns
  • Categorisation of data
  • Improved Excel Workbook connector

Expected Features

  • Sort by another column
  • Calculated columns

Power BI API

In general the API is also referred to as Power BI developer experience. The Power BI REST API will enable you to programmatically access certain Power BI resources and update data.

In previous Power BI versions it was only possible to pull data on a schedule in order to see new data. Now you will be able to update your model and data by using the Power BI REST API. The great thing about this is that lag related to pull model is removed and it ensures that data is up to date all the time.

  • List tables
  • Update existing schema
  • Create a datase
  • Add rows to a dataset

To learn more about the Power BI API visit the documentation.

Bent Pedersen
Member since November 20, 2016

I am a Senior Business Analytics Architect at Kapacity A/S, where I have been working with enterprise customers on solutions with SSAS Tabular, Datazen and SQL for the last three years. During the past year, he concentrated on working with devOps, Automation, testing and simplifying development processes for Microsoft BI.


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