Power BI Now Supports Custom Visualizations!

Microsoft has just announced that you can incorporate your own custom visualizations into reports.  These custom visualizations can be completely private to your own organization or you can publish them out to the community through the new Power BI Visuals Gallery.

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Visualizations are built using TypeScript using D3.JS as the core visualization framework.  The Power BI visualization framework has gone completely open source and is available on GitHub.  Here is a video to explain how to build a visualization.

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Power BI Designer Now Supports Data Refresh

Microsoft has just announced an update to Power BI Designer that now supports scheduled or ad hoc data refreshes through the Power BI service.

The following data sources are supported for refresh:

  • Azure SQL Database.
  • Azure Blob Storage.
  • Azure Table Storage.
  • Azure HDInsight.
  • Azure Marketplace.
  • Dynamics CRM Online.
  • Facebook.
  • Google Analytics.
  • Salesforce Objects/Reports.
  • OData feeds.
  • Web (HTML & Web APIs).

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Power BI Designer Updated with Two Important Features from Power Pivot

Microsoft has just released a new version of Power BI Designer with some great new features borrowed from Power Pivot.

Calculated Columns

In Power Pivot, you can create a “calculated column” based on existing data in your table.  This is a great way to format dates, create profit calculations from existing raw data or to transform your data.  This is now supported in Power BI Designer – huge improvement!

Sort by Another Column

When working with dates, you might have a column for “Month” that has the values January, February, March, etc.  If you try to sort them, they’ll sort by default in alphabetical order instead of in date order. 

In Power Pivot, you can take column like this and have the sort order driven by another column.  In this scenario, you have a separate column that has the date representation of the month (e.g. January = 01/01/2015, February=01/02/2015, March=01/03/2015, etc.) and you can specify that your month column should be sorted not by its own natural sort order but by your date column which is sorted in date order.  This is a key requirement for any plotting of graphs based on dates.

This is now also available in Power BI Designer!

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