It’s been awhile that lots of us were waiting for this feature. And some of us like me just tried to build it in our way. I spent some time to develop something similar using OData in combination with IIS and Basic Authentication features. Well, it was sort of successful and unsuccessful simultaneously! I mean, I was able to refresh SQL Server data remotely, but, when it came down to refreshing the dataset uploaded into the cloud Power BI it just failed. It was mainly because of the method that Power BI uses to refresh data.
By the way, I’m glad to see that we are finally able to refresh an on-premises SQL Server database from Power BI website. Refreshing data is very crucial for every report and dashboard which is working on top of frequently changing database. So we need to be able to schedule a data refresh on the cloud. Yesterday Microsoft announced a new gateway specially designed for supporting data refresh for on-premises data sources as below:
SQL Analysis Services Tabular model (uploaded data, not live connections)
File (CSV, XML, Text, Excel, Access)
Custom SQL/Native SQ
As you see SQL Server is not the only one.
Installing Power BI Personal Gateway
It’s easy to install the Gateway. Just make sure that meet the following requirements:
The machine that you’re going to install the Gateway on it should be always up and running
You can NOT install the Gateway on the same machine as a Power BI Analysis Services Connector
It’s been awhile that we are waiting for a sensible improvements in Microsoft self-service BI. The good news is that finally there will be some cool new features added to the next version of Excel which is Excel 2016. By some, I mean, well, there not a lot new BI features, but, some. Something is better than nothing, not too bad though!
Integrating BI features with Excel:
Power View and Power Map:
As you know, Power Pivot was integrated as a built-it feature to Excel 2013. Now I’m really happy that the same thing happened to Power View and Power Map. So you don’t need to install them separately. You can now turn these features on from:
File–> Options–> Advanced-> (scroll down the page) Data-> Enable Data Analysis Add-ins: Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Map
In this post I would like to explain more details about Power BI Designer features. In the previous post you learnt how to create some very simple reports. However, those reports were just for testing general features of the tool. For instance we didn’t even play with very simple features like renaming the dimension or fact tables and members to user friendly names. In this article not only do I explain some of the simple ones, but also I’ll go through some of the more advanced ones.
Again, as per my previous post, I’m using AdventureWorksDW2012 as a source database. We imported “Internet Sales” into the designer and we created some reports and one new page and we saved the reports on disc. So we have all the requirements on hand. Let’s go…
Making names more user friendly:
Open the *.pbix report file in Power BI Designer
Double click on “DimCurrency” to rename it to “Currency”. We need to do the same for all other objects
We also need to do the same for the fields which are getting used on the reports
First of all I would like to briefly explain Microsoft Power BI Designer. Then we’ll see how easy we can create a report using designer. I will use Adventure Works DW database as the source database.
Microsoft Power BI Designer is basically an integration of Power Query and Power View. Saying that the tool is still a preview version and it’s NOT actually a released product we’ll expect to see more features when it’s released. Some features like PowerPivot models expected to be available to the release version. At the moment PowerPivot models are not available in the designer, but, hopefully Microsoft will add it to the tool. So I added an idea into BI in SQL vNext as I believe it would be great to have PowerPivot functionalities included in the release version of the product. We’ll see what happens.
Let’s have a look at the tool. At the first look, I would like to say it’s an amazing tool integrating lots of awesome features all together with ease of use. It’s so fun to use the tool to create very effective and flashy reports in a short amount of time. First of all you need to download the designer from here. Install the designer and open it. I’ll use AdventureWorksDW2012 as the source database.
Open the Microsoft Power BI Designer Preview. If you want to get more familiar with the tool click on the videos on the startup screen.
·To connect to SQL Server click on “Get Data” or “New Source”
In this post I want to share my experience with refreshing data in Power Query and the way it affects loaded data to an Excel worksheet. I was loading sales data from SQL Server and I noticed that there is no easy way to define a 1000 separator in Power Query. So I decided to do use the power of cell formatting in Excel. So I loaded the data to an Excel worksheet and I spent some time to do some cell formatting including thousand separation and currency formatting and so on. But, as soon as I refreshed the data source from Power Query all of the defined formatting were gone. I also spent some time to do some special formatting like 1000 separator or dollar sign directly in Power Query, but, it seems Power Query team in Microsoft didn’t consider formatting as a priority yet. Even with setting up locale and language settings in Power Query you cannot define the 1000 separator formatting directly in Power Query. As I needed the formatting features included in the solution I should have resoled the problem anyhow.
Let’s start with loading some simple data from SQL Server using AdventureWorks2012 database into Power Query. I’ve used “Production.Product” table to show you how Power Query treats a column with “Money” data type.
·Open Microsoft Excel and go to Power Query tab
·Click on From Database-> From SQL Server Database
Today I want to explain how you can pass parameters to a SQL Server stored procedure. I myself was looking for a way to pass parameters to a SQL Server stored proc from Power Query. I spent a lot of time to search for a good article over the internet that explains how I could pass parameters to a stored proc from Power Query and show the results in Excel. But, I couldn’t find that much information around this as I expected. So, I decided to do some work around and you can read the results in this post. To simplify the solution, I’m going to use uspGetBillOfMaterials stored procedure in AdventureWorks 2012 database. The stored procedure accepts an integer number as ProductID and a date as CheckDate. So we need to pass two parameters to uspGetBillOfMaterials to get the results.