Power BI Visualization Goes Open Source, Uses JavaScript, HTML 5 and D3.JS

Power BI Visualizations are going Open Source!  Microsoft has published and will maintain all its code for the visualization layer of Power BI on GitHub

We’re enabling developers to easily add custom visuals into Power BI for use in dashboard, reports and content packs. To help you get started, we’ve published the code for all of our visualizations to GitHub. Along with the visualization framework, we’ve provided our test suite and tooling to help the community build high quality custom visuals for Power BI. All of this is available as an open source project on GitHub.

This means that developers will be able to contribute customizations back into the repository as well as potentially extend their local implementations using custom visualizations. 

It’s not quite clear how these extensions or customizations will be enabled within a client implementation – for example, can you build your own “Power BI Apps” that extend the framework?  Can you deploy customizations to your own Power BI tenant?  Could you create visualizations that are distributed through some kind of app store?  These are all options in the Office 365 world that don’t really exist yet in the Power BI world but look like interesting future possibilities.

The other key shift is the use of open source JavaScript frameworks.  All of Power BI’s visualizations are apparently built on top of D3.js which is an open source visualization framework that uses JavaScript for rendering visualizations within the browser.  There are some really neat D3 visualizations out there in the world that could be re-purposed within the Power BI context.