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A Roundup of Cool new Power BI Visuals Pre January 2020 release

There have been so many awesome new visuals come out that we need to take a moment to have a look at a few using Adventureworks as the example data set.

Advanced Gauge by OKViz

Looking at Year to date and Last Year to Date Measures of Internet Sales and Quantity of Products Bought

We have some DAX to create the following measures for this year to date and Last Year Year to Date

YTD Internet Sales = TOTALYTD(SUM(FactInternetSales[SalesAmount]),DimDate[FullDateAlternateKey].[Date])
YTD Quantity = TOTALYTD(SUM(FactInternetSales[OrderQuantity]),DimDate[FullDateAlternateKey].[Date])
LY YTD Quantity = CALCULATE([YTD Quantity],SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR(DimDate[FullDateAlternateKey].[Date]))
LY YTD Internet Sales = CALCULATE([YTD Internet Sales],SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR(DimDate[FullDateAlternateKey].[Date]))

These would look great in a KPI or two gauges. However, the Advanced Gauge allows you to view them together

Download the visual from the market place.

First of all I’m going to add a Filter for year to the report

The Actual and Target Values for your primary measure is the outer ring and your secondary measures for quantity make up the central ring

You could also add Minimum and Maximum measures if you had them.

This is a really nice visual but at a glance, without the table info it can be quite hard to read and I find the tooltips a little confusing

Once you get a handle on it its clear that we sold more in 2012 than 2011 but we made less money

Straight away, that leaves you wanting to set up analytics to find out why that happened.

Some of the reviews of this visual say it doesn’t work with percentages though which is disappointing

XViz Hierarchy Tree

This is another custom visual to show off your hierarchies

This is very similar to the decomposition tree which is maybe preferable in terms of look and usability. You cant choose the next step down in the tree like you can with the decomposition tree for example

You need ALOT of space for this one

There is already a nice hierarchy for Location data set up. Add Product category to this and analyse by Sales Amount

We are interested in the 20 items against North America so I can click on the end of the node to find out more.

You can see why you need space for this one. There is a bar to allow you to move in and out but its quite hard to control where your visual will end up on the page. I couldn’t get it looking any better than the above visual.

Still, Users will love this because it gives them the ability to interact with the data. Would I choose this over the decomposition tree? Probably not.

It doesn’t look to good when you bring the visual down to size. You would need a full page for this one

X Viz Hierarchical Filter

This visual is a similar one to an old hierarchical filter

This is the new version

And this is the old version

The findings are that if you have multiple hierarchy items in the new version, this visual takes up much more room than the original Hierarchy filter. The preferred choice may be the original one for taking up less space on a page.

And don’t forget, Hierarchical filtering is now available on the Slicer visual that comes with power BI

XViz Bullet Chart

This bullet chart was developed as a replacement for gauges and meters. It saves space and can be either horizontal or vertical.

We have three measures I want to look at by Product Sub Category and I want to be able to slice by Product Category so I can see, for example all the Bikes

YTD Revenue = TOTALYTD(SUM(FactResellerSalesXL_CCI[Sales Amount]),DimDate[FullDateAlternateKey].[Date])
LY YTD Revenue = CALCULATE([YTD Sales],SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR(DimDate[FullDateAlternateKey].[Date]))
2 Years ago YTD Revenue = CALCULATE([YTD Sales],PARALLELPERIOD(DimDate[FullDateAlternateKey].[Date],-24,MONTH))

We wanted to add Year to date for the same period two years ago and for this the PARALLELPRERIOD function can be used. In this case, its looking at 24 months previous to the Date.

Bands have been set within the format, rather than using data

Straight away we can see Jerseys are producing high sales and last year there seemed to be a dip in sales. We are doing much better in the current year

X VIZ Parallel Coordinates

this visual allows you to compare series on a set of numeric variables

Using the previous visuals measures as an example

This immediately shows us that there are 6 product categories leading the way and we are doing much better in the current year than in the last two years.

This visual tells us that we are selling more road frames than road bikes, however we make a lot more money with Road bikes


In one of our Reporting projects we have a GANTT Chart by MAQ Software

This gives a really nice timeline overview of incidents per location and what the impact is, along with the stage of the incident. This has already been well received, so the question is, how will XVIZ GANTT chart compare?

The MAQ Software visualisation was created by the following fields

Essentially, the MAQ GANTT chart has been re-purposed here for something other than tracking of a project. A brief look at the XVIZ GANTT chart and it would seem like you use it specifically for project tracking.

Therefore you need data items like;

AssignedTo, CompletedDateTime, CreatedDateTime, DueDateTime, PercentCompleted, StartDateTime, TaskName, TaskStatus,TaskOwner etc.

This looks good and if you want to track projects within Power BI over the top of a data source this may be the way to go. However we use Azure DevOps Boards or Jira. the MAQ Software GANTT Chart gives you more options to use the visual for other reasons which is a really good reason to add it to your reports.

Zebra BI Charts

These are really great looking reports. As soon as you try and add any more detail like Category into Group, which would split you report into reports by Group

Annoyingly, you get pointed towards a free trial but I cant find anywhere that openly states what the costs are. Its not even mentioned in the frequently asked questions.

Personally, if there is a cost attached I like the company to be more open about it. Therefore I’m not comfortable with trying the free try. this is a shame and I think Zebra should state the costs before the trial.

Market Place visuals are created by External companies. Always check with your organisational policies that you are happy to use these visuals


Power BI 2020 Updates Incremental Processing for Power BI Pro from (Source) Azure SQL Database (Bug)

This is really the most exciting update for probably all of us working with Power BI. Currently we already have a backlog or reports in Pro that have required Incremental loading for some time so its great to be able to finally get the chance to try it

Our Project, to view Tweets with sentiments etc in a Power BI Report involves the following Services:

Logic Apps

A Logic app that is triggered when a new tweet is posted regarding a specific company

Content Moderator – Logic Apps uses the content moderator to check for profanity

Cognitive Services – Logic apps uses the Cognitive Service to add a sentiment score and to find key phrases

There is also a second Logic App that uses the same logic for Tweets posted by the company.

Azure Storage Account – Tabular Data Storage

  • The Logic Apps loads the tweet information into a Tweets Table
  • The Keyphrases into a Keyphrases table that connects to the tweets table
  • The Media items into a Media table that connects to the tweets table

Data Factory

Data Factory is used to load the information from the Tabular Data Storage into a SQL Server Data base staging area incrementally

The logic is fairly straight forward in that data items are inserted. Nothing is updated or deleted

There is a Pipeline for each single table

The SQL For the Lookup for the data set Mentions

SELECT MAX(WatermarkValue) AS WatermarkValue From [staging].[watermarktable]
WHERE WatermarkValue IS NOT NULL
AND TableName = 'staging.mentions'

the Watermark is a table in SQL that is updated with the Max Date at the end of the process

The query for the Source

CreatedAt gt '@{activity('LookupWatermarkOld').output.firstRow.WaterMarkValue}'

Basically brings through records greater that the value in the lookup table

I have a pipeline over each separate pipeline to run them all sequentially

Next comes a pipeline to run all the stored Procedures to move data from staging to dims and facts in SQL

At the end of these stored procedures we move the date on to the max date in the watermark table (And at the beginning in case there is an error in the SQL pipeline)

Doing this means that Data Factory only loads new records and doesn’t have to reload the staging area ever time

The Top level pipeline runs all the incremental Copy pipelines and then the Stored Procedures

Lets have a look at our watermark table before and then after a load

And a look at our last import of tweets in the audit table.

There are more audit tables to help find any issues. This is after the run on the 13th March (Test 2)

Data Factory Trigger

Because its not in full use at the moment the data set is loaded once a week on a Sunday at 12:50 and until this is being retested its being set to off

Azure SQL Database

In here we have the Watermark Table. All the audit tables, the staging tables and dimensions and facsts

the Fact and Dimensions are currently created via Stored procedures but the hope is to try and change to data flows.

Power BI

the Data is imported into Power BI Pro (Full Process) so the model is dropped and recreated.

Azure Data Studio

Is there any way we can have a look at what is going on when we load. Yes, by using Azure Data Studio

Once installed, connect to the SQL Database that is your data source

So long as you have the profiler extention installed you can Launch Profiler

If you don’t have it, you can download the extension

Once Launched Start a Profiler Session

Now we need sometime to Profile. go into Power BI service, Datasets.

click on refresh now and then go to data Studio to see whats happening

From Logon to Logout during the run, it took 20 minutes because the entire model is refreshed. obviously it would be really good if we could get the time down using incremental refresh

Before you set up Incremental processing, ensure that the services preceding the Power BI Load have been well tested and signed off.

Incremental Processing in Power BI Pro

In Power BI desktop. Incremental refresh is now out of preview so no need to go to Options and Settings to turn it on anymore.

Define your Incremental refresh policy

If the system are acting as they should and there are no bugs or issues

  • New rows are added into the data set
  • No historical data is updated or deleted
  • Incremental loading can be added to every table apart from media tables because there are that many records. they can be left as full upload

Set up incremental refresh in Desktop. Create Parameters

It isn’t practical to hold all your data when you are working in desktop if you are working with a Large model.

Go to Power Query Editor

Select Manage Parameters

The two parameters that need setting up for incremental loading are RangeStart, RangeEnd

These are pre defined parameter names only available in Premium for Incremental processing

Range Start and Range End are set in the background when you run power BI. They partition the data

You need to be aware of Query folding here. This is when, you write lots of steps in M Query to transform the data and where possible they are applied at source. So RangeStart and RangeEnd will be pushed to the source system. Its not recommended to run incremental processing on data sources that cant query fold (flat files, web feeds) You do get a warning message if you cant fold the query

The suggested values are simply ones you add that get amended later during processing.

this start date was chosen because at present, the data only started to get collected in 2019 so there is only around a year of data

Filter the data in the model

Still in Power Query Editor, all the tables that require incremental load need to have the rangeStart and RangeEnd paramters adding to the filtered date column

Incremental refresh isn’t designed to support cases where the filtered date column is updated in the source system.

With this in mind, imagine you have a sales table with an Orderdate and an UpdateDate. the OrderDate is static. The UpdateDate will be updated if there are any changes to the record.

Order date would need to be chosen as its static, so lets go through the tweet tables and set the filters. Click on the Column header icon to get to the filters

In power BI you don’t need so much data to do the testing, so this is great to keep the data smaller in desktop. At the moment, its using the default settings we provided.

  • dim.mentionsKeyphrases Twittertimestamp
  • dim. mentionsTweet CreatedAtDateTime
  • dim.BusinessKeyphrases TwitterTimeStamp2
  • dim.BusinessTweets CreatedAt
  • dim.BusinessReplies CreatedAt
  • fact.Mentions Date (For this, date was created from the date time Key in Power BI Query Editor)

Close and Apply

Define your Incremental Refresh Policy in Power BI Pro

go to your first table and choose incremental refresh

Storing everything  for 5 years. its set to months so the partitions are smaller

If this is running every single day then you would only need to refresh rows in the last 1 day. However as a just in case 1 month has been used, in case for any reason the job is suspended or doesnt run.

Detect Data Changes has been used. The months data will only be refreshed if the ImportDate for this record is changed (Or there are new records)

No records are deleted so we don’t need to worry about this

Publish the new Power BI Report and Data Flow

You might be thinking at this point, but I dont want the filters that I have set for Desktop to be applied in Service. I want to see all my data in Service

Dont worry, in Service RangeStart and RangeEnd don’t keep the dates specified for the filters in Desktop.

they are set via your incremental refresh policy. So they are set as the partitions for our 60 months (Instead of setting it to 5 years, meaning there is one RangeStart and OneRangeEnd, you get RangeStart for Month one, RangeEnd for Month 1, RangeStart for Month2, RangeEnd for Month2 etc, breaking your 5 years down into much smaller partitions to work with,

You need to set up the Incremental Refresh policy for every table that has been filtered with RangeStart and RangeEnd

Test the Process

I have a visual for Number of Tweets

Today so far there are 11 Tweets

I also have an audit report

  1. The Logic App has been processing tweets realtime into Table Storage
  2. Run Data Factory (2 new records)
  3. Reprocess Power BI Pro data Error Resource name and Location need to match
  4. If there hadn’t been an error we would move to Azure Data Studio Check. Note that it now takes a second to run
  5. Check the Visual

Error Resource name and Location need to match

The data set now has a warning sign. after speaking to Microsoft this is a Known issue and should be fixed in April. it is believed to be something to do with detect Data Changes So basically…… to be continued

Power BI Switching Tenants and User Accounts (Emails) but can only see Dataflows from previous tenant

Recently we did a training course with two developers in our own tenant under two training accounts. the training was done on their own computers but they logged into our tenant with our training details.

Then they moved back to their own tenant in Power BI Pro with their own details to start creating a data flow.

They have an App workspace and are both Admins in the workspace

Developer 1 Created Workflows within this App Workspace.  Developer 1 can open these data flows but Developer 2 doesn’t have access because they are not the owner which seems like the correct logic. they should only be able to use them in Desktop.

However, when both Developer 1 and developer 2 both go into Power BI desktop and attempt to connect to the data flow (Both Desktop and Service is connected to the company account)  they see a dataflow that was created our tenant when we were doing the training course. the new data flows cant be seen by either Developer.

They have both tried to refresh the view (Above) but this didn’t work. This does seem to be something that happens with the users log out and use a different account in a different tenant

How to resolve the Issue

Use Files Options and settingsData source Settings

then find Power BI Dataflows in Global Permission, then Clear Permissions of it.

When you Connect to the Power BI Dataflows again you have to sign in. Sign in as the current user, then you can see the Dataflows of your current account.

So if ever you are working in more that one tenant, remember this fix if you can only see the dataflows from the previous account