Power BI – Deployment Pipeline Quick Tips – Setting dataflow Environment sources and Publishing (Direct Query) Datasets containing multiple Datasets

You need Premium or Premium Per user to work with Deployment Pipelines

This happens right at the beginning of the Deployment Pipeline process when you have just added Dev to the Pipeline and you need to deploy Test and Prod

Tip – Changing Data source Rules for Dataflow

You now need to deploy your dev dataflow which is connected to the dev database into Test. You cant change the data source rule until you have a data source to work with.

After deploy, the test dataflow is still against the dev data source (Azure SQL database)

Click Test Deployment Settings

Deployment Rules – Click on your dataflow

Data Source Rules – Change This (Your Dev Details) to this (Select and choose your Test SQL Server and Database)

And Save

The tip here is to then deploy your dataflow Dev to Test again. Only then will it use the new settings.

To check go back to the workspace and go to settings for the dataflow

Deploying Datasets that contain multiple data sets

This is specific to setting up Power BI With the Following Option

With this option set you can create smaller data sets, probably based on a star schema. Then if required you can connect to another data set. And then connect to more data sets and data. Without this option you can only connect to one data set.

This has changed from a Direct Query Connection (The standard way. 1 Data Set Only) to Live Query Connection (Analysis Services and Multiple data sets)

Tip- Move your hybrid data set after the original data sets

So here, what we can do is move the dataflows, and datasets A B and C at the same time.

Once completed move Star A B and C so it goes after the schemas its based on

Then do the report.

If you try and do them all together you will get errors.

So these are just a couple of tips to look out for when setting up your Pipelines for the first time. And if you use the setting that allows you to connect to multiple data sets.

Power BI – App Viewers can’t see the data in the report

We recently had an issue where a shared dataset (pbix) had been set up over a SQL Database.

This was then published to Power BI

A new pbix was created.

Power Platform – Power BI datasets was chosen and the shared dataset was selected. Then reports were created and published to Service.

An App was set up and a user was added to view the report.

However when they came to view the report, they would see the report but not the data. All they had was messages about not having access to the data.

At first we struggled to understand what the problem was and then it started to add up.

Previously we had worked on a project with dataflows and multiple datasets being used for one report. So we have the following ticked

This worked great for this specific project. We were in Premium. There were dataflows.

However, this project is just a test report, not set up in Premium and without dataflows.

The above setting is a blanket setting that sets every pbix to you create from Live Query to Direct Query

Live Query is where it live connects to just one data set only and then when you publish your report over the data set it uses that initial shared dataset and doesn’t create a new data set because the DAX, model etc. is all set up in that specific data set.

Direct Query is a slight change. You Direct Query the data source (the data set) and crucially you can also direct Query other data sets, even other data sources like data bases and flat files all together. But that Shared Data set is also direct querying its data source.

Direct query is a good one for real time analysis from a transactional database. But many DAX expressions aren’t available over Direct Query straight over a database. For example, time based intelligence DAX. So the reports are much simpler in Power BI. And more complex to set up at the database end for the users.

In this instance, the reason we have issues is because there is no dataflow at the start of the Power BI process. 

If you are using Direct Query over a dataflow, the data is imported into Power BI into the dataflow. The dataset Direct Queries the Dataflow.  Your users are then added to the workspace App and they can see the data because they have access to the dataflow.

Without the dataflow, your data set is calling data directly as Direct Query.  Which is essentially where Power BI always calls from the data base and not from the Power BI Columnar data store.

So the users were opening up the App, and trying to access data straight from the database because there is no dataflow holding the data. Because the user doesn’t have access to the database, there is no data to be seen.

So the issue here I think is that Power BI should be allowing us to switch this option on and off, depending up the choices we make on set up. Not just have it as a blanket option over ever single report like it does now. 

Without dataflows you want to Live connect to the shared dataset. Not Direct Query right down to the datasource.

With a dataflow its fine to Direct Query because the users have access to the dataflow data in the workspace

Power BI Datamarts (New May 2022)

Difference between dataflows, datamarts and datasets

Datasets

Lets have a quick look at the history of the data set

Here we see everything in one pbix file. Only one person can work with the file at any one time. We cant reuse anything or work on anything separately. Our dataset is in the one pbix file. dependent upon Import or Direct query the dataset is in the Power BI Columnar Data storage.

the only use case for this now would be if you were simply working on your own small projects outside of a working team environment in Pro or even Power BI Free license.

Here we can see that the dataset is now separate from the dataflow (the data transformation) and the actual reporting pbix files. the Dataset is the model and the measures.

This is currently the use case that we use. However our main transformations are outside of this within the SQL database.

Dataflows

Dataflows are packaged ETL Type transformations. We are packaging up into a dataflow to be reused. these are really good for reusable dimensions. Like Dates. Locations, etc.

They are for individual datasets that you bring together later on in the process

Dataflow data sits in a data lake so you can use them for machine learning tasks really easily. this is one of the big wins for dataflows.

But can you do all of your transformations in them?

Some of the Power Query transformations can be really time consuming and memory intensive. Especially when you are trying to create a star schema from transactional tables and lots of separate data sources.

You also need to think about Premium or Pro because there are certain things that you can’t do in Pro within the dataflow because it needs Premium In Lake compute (Append and duplicate for example)

If you do all this in your Pbix file this can easily grind the file to a halt. Moving it to a dataflow means that this can be done at a different time and you refresh your pbix file with work that has already been done.

However even this can be too much. Imagine you are developing, you have to go to the dataflow and refresh. Power BI has to grind through all the steps and the steps are really complicated.

You can go wrong. Backtrack by creating more steps and leave the incorrect steps in very easily. Making a great number of activities. All the activities have to be refreshed. Even the wrong ones.

It is still recommended to do the heavy processing work outside of Power BI. say with Azure (Data Factory and SQL Database)

Then when Developing in the dataflow you can do things quickly and they can be transferred to the SQL Database at another time. Still allowing the user to develop quickly.

Datamarts

The new Premium Feature announced at Microsoft Build May 2022

The Self Service Database. it doesn’t replace the data warehouse.

Datamarts allow you to combine and work with data from all sources in a single place.

Datamarts replace the step we would call the shared dataset previously.

We would have a pbix file where we would bring in the dataflow (Which is used over the SQL datamart and we do all the friendly naming in the dataflow)

The Shared Data set contains the model and measures (I don’t use calculated columns as they can bloat the model)

The pbix file would be published to service. Then report pbix files are created over the top of the published dataset. In this example there are two pbix files.

Datamarts allow you to just have the one report pbix file instead.

Premium or PPU Only So as a user you have to understand that with Power BI Pro this isn’t a feature we can use.

Datamarts are about self service data analytics. Bridging the gap between business users and IT. How do we create the data warehouse without having to go to central IT?

No Code Low Code

But does it mean you don’t have to create your database and ELT inside Azure?

There is still the need to create full Enterprise solutions and SQL Datamarts and wearehouses.

Just like with the dataflows, transforming to an OLAP schema from OLTP (Or datasources that aren’t even OTLP sources but just scattered data sources) can be very memory and processing intensive.

Creating a data mart with better control and governance should still be done pre Power BI for large more complex based projects.

So what other use cases and plus points are there for the datamart?

Data Refresh

Another good example of a use case for the datamart is that datamarts Refresh the data flow then then dataset. No need to use APIs to run the datasets straight after the dataflows. Or setting up refreshes on Power BI for both, guessing the amount of time it will take to run the dataflow

Our Datamart users

This is a great options is for people who use macs and can’t use Desktop. It enables a SQL Endpoint for you

Datamarts are geared towards Self Service. the Citizen Data Analyst.

a person who creates or generates models that leverage predictive or prescriptive analytics but whose primary job function is outside of the field of statistics and analytics.”

Gartner

Would you use the Datamart in an Enterprise setting?

In an enterprise setting you have Data Engineers and developers. You will have a BI team as well as analysts. There is a place for the data mart for the self service bronze approach. Still with the aim to move to the more governed approach of having the logic set in a SQL Database centrally.

Our analysts creating self service probably aren’t creating star schemas and fully attempting to transform within the dataflow. This will still need to be done by the BI Devs.

However its probably that without the datamart, all the relationships and measures were created inside one pbix file and there may not be a SQL Database layer. Just datasets created from files etc.

The datamart allows for a better governed blended approach

Would a Developer or a data engineer use a datamart?

The BI Developers and Data Engineers are probably working outside of Power BI in the SQL Database and with Data factory or other ETL packages. however they can now leverage the datamart features if they want to quickly look at the data for this project.

The Datamart model

So how does this change out datasets and dataflow models above?

We can see how the Datamart unifies the dataflow and the dataset that is usually created in the shared pbix files. It also raises lots of questions.

  • Do we still create dataflows separately?
  • What is this new layer. the SQL Database?
  • If we have our Datamart in SQL do we need to use the datamart in Power BI?

The Datamart SQL Database layer

Dataflows stores the data in a datalake

Datamarts are stored in an Azure SQL Database. You will hear this being called the data warehouse . When we think of the DW we think in terms of The Star Schemas.

If your logic is complex and the data sets are large its always best to use technologies outside of Power BI (Data factory, SQL Database)

The data warehouse that is being spoken about here is simply data storage, like your staging layer in the Azure SQL database. Our users here are probably not users that understand how to create OLAP schemas. So you can see this as your staging layer

Then you have the dataset layer with the relationships, calculations, so the SQL layer is the middle layer between the dataflow and the data set.

But what can you do with the SQL Layer and what can’t you do?

You cant write DDL (ALTER, CREATE) or DML (INSERT UPDATE, DELETE etc) Queries. Just DQL (SELECT).

So you can’t write stored procedures or do any real transformations within SQL. This still has to be done in the dataflow. You can only query it.

The SQL Database is not part of the transform layer

How to set up the Datamart in Power BI service

New DataMart

At the moment you can set this in Admin tenant settings. You either allow the whole organisation to use datasets or no one. Hopefully they will change this soon so you can allow a small group of users to test the functionality.

I will do another example post soon but basically, you can create the model (really great for Mac users who can’t use Desktop)

And you can also write measures in DAX. My main concern here is that simple base measures are fine but for complex ones. I always test them against a visual and you don’t have the ability to do this here.

Also, you cant create calculate columns or calculated tables. This is a good thing. you don’t want to be creating these anyway as they bloat your model due to none compression..

Behind the scenes Managed SQL Server is running the SQL layer and you still have the Power BI Columnar data store layer for the data set.

Row level security can also be done here. At SQL Layer and the dataset layer. (Two layers are created by applying security on the data set as you would usually do, but in service, not in desktop)

Ad Hoc Analysis can be done in Power Query by the user on the SQL layer, and if you know SQL you can write T SQL too within Power Query

You can also take your SQL Endpoint into SSMS for example (Read Only)

You can manage Roles in the Datamart and Assign Internal and External Users to the Role. Or Share the Endpoint with them if XMLA endpoints are on.

This is a really exciting new development for the Self Service side of Power BI. We now need to understand where it sits. Who our users are and how we can apply it to projects?

Questions

If you create reporting in Power BI service at the moment you cant publish to other workspaces or tenants. That’s where a pbix file comes in that is separate to Service and you can re publish to other tenants. How will the datamart help with this kind of functionality?

What are the future developments of the datamart going to be? for example Slowly changing dimensions, monitoring, version control?

Will this cost any more money over having a Preview license?

Will the SQL Layer ever become part of the transform functionality

Power BI February 2022 Updates Dynamic M Query Parameters

Now supports SQL Server and more data sources

But what are Dynamic M Query Parameters and what does this mean?

It feels like they have been upgraded to use with direct query data sources so you can restrict the amount of data being asked for at the lowest level.

Lets have a look at a simple example using Taxi data from a Microsoft learning path.

First of all you need to open Power BI – Options and Settings – Options

Its in Preview so make sure that is ticked before continuing

Get Data Azure SQL Database (The guidance mentions SQL Server but it seems that both can be used for this test)

Load

Then go to Transform data.

Right Click on trip fares to get to advanced editor

let    
Source = Sql.Database("dataengineering-sqlserv.database.windows.net", "taxi-data-db"),    dbo_TripFares = Source{[Schema="dbo",Item="TripFares"]}[Data]
in   
 dbo_TripFares

Its currently bound to a table but we need to bind it to a query for this process.

Click the cog against source.

Go into Advanced Options and add the SQL Statement

SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares

And then go back and look at advanced editor

let   
Source = Sql.Database("dataengineering-sqlserv.database.windows.net", "taxi-data-db", [Query="SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares"]),    
dbo_TripFares = Source{[Schema="dbo",Item="TripFares"]}[Data]
in    
dbo_TripFares

So now, its nearly bound to a query but you will note that it looks like the table is erroring.

You can go back to Advanced Editor and change to

let
Source = Sql.Database("dataengineering-sqlserv.database.windows.net", "taxi-data-db", 
[Query="SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares"])in   
 Source

 We only need the query and not dbo_TripFares

Now we can add the  Dynamic M Query parameters. I will go for an easy one first as a demo.

And then I change the advanced code again

let 
Source = Sql.Database("dataengineering-sqlserv.database.windows.net", "taxi-data-db", [Query="SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares Where payment_type = '" & paramPaymentType & "'"])
in    
#"Source"

Note the new WHERE Clause that concatenates the value in our parameter

It will read in SQL SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares Where payment_type = ‘CRD’

When it runs the first time you are asked to approve and you can actually see the SQL its going to use which is good. (Note I had to change to CSH to get the message up but I am running with CRD)

When it comes through its restricting to the selected payment type

We are going to change the code again

let    
filterQueryPaymentType = "SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares Where payment_type = '" & paramPaymentType & "'",    
Source = Sql.Database("dataengineering-sqlserv.database.windows.net", "taxi-data-db", 
[Query=filterQueryPaymentType])
in  
#"Source"

This sets the SQL command first and we pass the Filter query into the data source

Now we know that the query works. Lets use it in Power BI Reporting and Assign to table.

This will need a lookup table of all the payment types to work

I am going to simply create the reference table in M

let
Source = Sql.Database("dataengineering-sqlserv.database.windows.net", "taxi-data-db", 
[Query="SELECT DISTINCT payment_Type FROM dbo.TripFares"])
in    #"Source"

Close and Apply

Now bind the table to the parameter in Modelling tab

Click on Payment_Type column. Advanced. Bind to parameter

Click Continue

A multi select is not going to be used for this demo

I have added a quick table. the metrics have come through as strings and there will be lots of things you need to test in direct query mode but I will ignore for the time being.

I dragged in Payment type from the Payment Type lookup into a slicer.

Click the slicer and see your data change. every time you click the slicer a direct query will happen but only for the payment type selected, hopefully making things much quicker.

And there you go. You have set up a restricted direct query. This will help with any direct query reports you need to create based on real time data.

You are still hitting the SQL DB though a lot so this would need thinking out.

And remember, Direct query doesnt give you the full Power BI reporting suite so your reports may be more basic. And usually I like to work with Star schemas but here we have the extra complexity of lookup tables to work with the parameters.

I will be looking at a date time example soon hopefully. This is clearly an extremely important piece of the Direct query real time puzzle.

Power BI Admin APIs to return a list of email subscriptions

Get Dashboard Subscriptions brings back a list of everyone who has subscribed to a dashboard

What is a Power BI Subscription?

Subscriptions are a great way to assign yourself and other users to get emails regarding report content.

There are certain governance rules we follow.

  1. Report viewers views content via an app. We don’t want report viewers coming into the App workspace. we want them to see carefully selected and brought together content.
  2. If we use Subscriptions we want to push though a really nice screen shot of a report that changes and gets the users wanting to come and see more content within that app. therefore we always have a report or dashboard with visuals that don’t need scroll bars to engage the viewer so they want to see more.
  3. because of this, we want to be able to subscribe people to App content

Go to an App. Note you can add your Subscription here which is a link to the dashboard

for this example, the App dashboard is subscribed to

then we go to try it out from the Microsoft API Page

Dashboard Subscriptions

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/rest/api/power-bi/admin/dashboards-get-dashboard-subscriptions-as-admin

and try the API

Add the Dashboard ID to parameters

But this is where logic is not quite working (the hope is that this will resolve fairly quickly). The above API doesn’t give you information back if you subscribe via the app. Only when you subscribe to the actual Dashboard in the workspace.

We want all our report viewers accessing the pre built app so this is where the information is most required.

When the user is added to a dashboard subscription in the workspace. The API is tested again.

What this can show us is anyone in the workspaces that has subscribed to the actual dashboard.  We want all viewers with App access.

Get report Subscriptions as Admin

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/rest/api/power-bi/admin/reports-get-report-subscriptions-as-admin

This is the same as above but with reports

Get user Subscriptions as Admin

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/rest/api/power-bi/admin/users-get-user-subscriptions-as-admin

I get my user ID from Azure Active Directory

And see what I’m subscribed too but again, only workspace content

Logically, I feel like our viewers should be subscribing through the apps

this is really good stuff but I feel like they need to resolve the issue with Apps. Apps are the go to areas for users to view content so this is where we want people to subscribe too.

If you look at the information coming back. Here we can see the artifact type is report but there is no where that mentions if the report is in an App or in the workspace and I feel like this is actually important information. I only know because I have tested against both the App and the workspace.

If this could be resolved these APIs would be really useful to help us understand the subscription uptake.

Power BI Sparklines

Sparklines are small charts you can add to a table or Matrix and are new for the start of 2022.

Above we have a Matrix showing Products by country and I would like to also see this measure on a timeline.

Select the metric Value : Add a Sparkline Button

Here we choose the measure Total Sales which has already been summarised. The Date will be used as the X Axis so we can see the trend across time.

Rename to Sparkline if you want (double click the value to highlight as editable) and now you can see the trends

And you can also format the spark line (Right at the bottom of formatting)

So Sparklines are great for adding you your tabular information, I think the line charts are pretty good.

Current restrictions

Only supports 5 per visual so if you have more categories that wont work.

Apparently Date hierarchies don’t work at the moment but they will in the future

It would be good to assign conditional formatting to the colours. So going up could be green. Staying around the same amber and going down red.

they really do bring tables to life though and are are really great addition to power BI

Power BI DAX – Create a percentage across days of week (ALLEXCEPT. ALL. DIVIDE)

We just looked at the following request

We have sold specific quantities of products. Can we look at a week for a year in a slicer and see the percentage of items sold for each day. Which days do we sell the most products overall?

We have the following model (Just the parts that will be required for this exercise

And thanks to the Power BI Forums for giving me some help on figuring this out.

What we want to end up with is:

  • A year Slicer
  • Product category on rows of a matrix
  • The Day Name from Date on the Columns of the Matrix
  • And % Quantity for that day based on all the days of the week as the value

Power Query Editor

At first I believed that I needed to add some kind of Ranking order for the DAX to use and as this will be a column its better to do in Power Query Editor (Or in the Sort DB)

To speed things up I created a Year Week Column in SQL DB consisting of the following examples

  • 202101
  • 202102
  • 202135

So the weeks 1 to 9 was padded out with a zero. I then formatted this to a number field and called it Year Week. Every seven rows within that week in the date table will have the same Year Week Number Applied

Measure

I can now create the measure. Lets have a look at it in a bit more detail

Order Quantity by Week % = Var varOrderQtyWeek = CALCULATE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), FILTER(ALL(DimDate), DimDate[Year Week]))
RETURN DIVIDE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), varOrderQtyWeek)

And this measure is then set as a percentage.

First of all we create a variable. It gets the Sum of Order Quantity and it filters by using an ALL on the column Year Week we just created in the Date Table

“ALL Returns all the rows in a table, or all the values in a column, ignoring any filters that might have been applied (On Year Week).”

And we return the sum of order Quantity (Which in the context is just for, for example Friday and Accessories by the Sum of Order Quantity

This appears to work

We have Implicitly filtered by Product Category and Day Name of Week.

the question here is, did we even need to set ALL on Year Week column in date. Could we have just said use the entire date

Order Quantity by Week % = Var 
varOrderQtyWeek = CALCULATE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), ALL(DimDate)) 

RETURN DIVIDE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), varOrderQtyWeek)

This is working in the same way and makes sense to me. We are using all the dates in the date table. And removing the Filter will create a faster DAX query.

Its looking at the entire data set and we can see that everything totals to 100%. So for us, taking into account all years Thursdays look like a good day especially for accessories.

However we don’t want to analyse the full data set and when we add in a year slicer the logic fails

As you can see, the story is still true but its telling the wrong story. Now for Accessories we have 31% of sales happening in 2021, attributing to smaller percentages across the days.

So we want to change the DAX to accept the Year Slicer

Order Quantity by Week % = 

Var VarALLEXCEPT = CALCULATE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), ALLEXCEPT(DimDate,DimDate[CalendarYear]))

RETURN 
DIVIDE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), VarALLEXCEPT)

And this appears to now work just taking the year 2012 into consideration because we are using ALLEXCEPT

Thursday is definitely a good day.

“ELLEXCEPT Removes all context filters in the table except filters that have been applied to the specified columns.”

So we create a variable to get the Sum or Order Quantity with ALLEXCEPT our Date Slicer which in this case is the calendar year slicer

So we are using 2012 from the date Dimension in the slicer. And Bikes from Product and Thursday as the Week Name from date in the Matrix

We Divide the Sum of Quantity which has all the filters applied. Bikes. Thursday. 2021

By the Sum Of Quantity with all, Except we do apply the Calendar Year.

  • DIVIDE(50/100)
  • 50 is Bikes on a Thursday in 2012
  • 100 is Bikes in 2012

DAX is something I do struggle with a little. You think you understand it. Turn your head from the screen and its gone again.

But hopefully this goes a little way to understanding how this DAX in this specific context has been approached

Power BI AI Visual Smart Narratives

Power BI has given us the following AI visuals:

  • Key influencers
  • Q&A Visualisation
  • Decomposition Tree

And now we also have smart narratives to work with. Many companies want to create report that includes text in regards to the report they are looking at to help the user understand the key takeaways. This usually involves someone manually adding in text to the reports.

Not great for interactive reports that update on a regular basis. this is where smart narratives come in. Smart narratives create the text in an interactive way for you.

If its good, it should eliminate the need to add in information manually for your users, which is a huge win.

Lets have a look at it in action on the Adventureworks Report

At the most basic level you can simply drag smart narratives into your report

Smart narratives describes your data to you. This is all really good information. what happens when I select a data point on the report like select 2011 in Sales amount and order quantity

The narrative updates to tell you about just 2011 so our smart narrative is even better, It updates with every click the user makes.

For my Top 10 Products table, I want a smart narrative that just gives me information on this visual and not every visual on the page so I right click on the visual and choose Summarize

And again, we are getting good information for that specific visual. You need to think whether the visual can tell this story on its own or if narrative would help. I tend to see smart narratives as something that sits on a page to tell a story across all the visuals.

Changing the Summary

This is great but there will be times when you do want specific information in your smart narrative. I am going to remove the smart narrative for the visual, and replace with one for the entire products report page.

Click on the smart narrative and then +Value to add a value

I want it to tell me how many items have been sold of top value products. the red line tells me that it doesn’t know what sold means and we need to define this item .

Click on Sold and then Define Sold

Here I go to Field Synonyms in the Q&A Setup to define a new synonym for order quantity because order quantity can be expressed as quantity sold. I have added quantity sold as this is what has been searched for.

Back in Teach Q&A I ask the question again

And this time it understands what I mean. I submit this to train the Q&A. and this time we find this specific query because its in Q&A. I can now format the question to get an answer for the smart narrative

After saving, the number simply appears in the smart narrative. I deleted it and moved the cursor to the beginning on the smart narrative. then I wrote.

The quantity sold of top value products is:

And then clicked review, found the item and + to insert item to place it exactly where I want it

from this I can see that I can use the Q&A tool to format questions that I can then add into the smart narrative, adding synonyms where necessary to create even more easy to understand questions.

Smart narratives and Q&A work perfectly together.

Power BI October 21 Updates GetUserArtifactAccessAsAdmin API through to PowerShell

There have been some new API updates (September October Power BI 2021) and I thought I would see what they were all about and how you can use them starting with the API mentioned in the October updates.

I haven’t used these APIs before and I thought it would be interesting to see how the documentation holds up.

So the first start at https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-october-2021-feature-summary/#post-17563-_Toc84518701

And this links you you to https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/rest/api/power-bi/admin/users-get-user-artifact-access-as-admin

So this API returns all the artifacts for a given user which I imagine would be really useful when someone leaves the company and you need to assess the objects that they may own.

To use the API you need to be Power BI admin or Global Admin. I have the Power BI admin so I am good to go.

Delegated permissions are supported. I imagine this needs a lot more investigation as to why and how you would set this up.

There are some limitations, For example you can only make 200 requests per hour. You can click on Try it to try out the API from this URL by logging into your account

But this API’s need you to get the userGraphId. my first question is, What is a userGraphID and how can I get it?

It is mentioned in the documentation. ‘The graph ID of user’

And to be honest that is unhelpful. I have no idea how to get this information to run the API. Its just assumed. I have also asked on the forums and no one else seems to know either.

So to just get an idea of how you would use these APIs, I’m working with one that doesn’t need the userGraphIDhttps://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/power-bi/admin/groups-get-groups-as-admin#code-try-0

This will get me out all the objects in power BI and for the time being I just want the top 10.

I added the $expand name and value by creating the name and value and hitting the +

Then hit Run to make sure it works

So where do we use it? Open up Windows Powershell

We can run the commands via Windows Powershell. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/scripting/overview?view=powershell-7.1 ISE (Integration Scripting Environment)

powershell_ise.exe

And type in

 login-PowerBI

And now you can create your code

I simply added the URL from the Try it above (Without the Authorisation Line)

Value[0] Simply means give me the first element inside this command and run.

I can go even further an parameterise the URL by doing the following

Param(
[string]$url = 'https://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/admin/groups?%24top=10&%24expand=users%2Creports%2Cdashboards%2Cdatasets'
)
login-PowerBI
$result = Invoke-PowerBIRestMethod -Url $url -Method Get 
$workspaceContents = $result | convertFrom-Json
$firstworkspace = $workspacecontents.value[1]
$firstworkspace

This is great

  • But what if I want to automate this and, for example create a json file from it once a month?
  • And what if I don’t want to have to run it as the Power BI Admin?

Back to the original question regarding userGraphId

It seems that many other people have asked this question. I got a possible answer on the Power BI Issues forum saying that the userGraphID is the users Object ID that you can find in azure Active Directory – Users.

So I went into Azure – Azure Active Directory – Users and took my Object ID

I added the Object ID and got the results back that I was hoping for.

Great. This gives all the artifacts that I own. Can I now do this in Powershell like the previous API? Open Powershell again.

powershell_ise.exe

Can I reuse the Previous Script.

Open my previous Script. InvokePowerBIRESTMethos.ps1

 Param(
    #commented out the other API
    #[string]$url = 'https://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/admin/groups?           %24top=10&%24expand=users%2Creports%2Cdashboards%2Cdatasets' 

    [string]$url = 'https://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/admin/users/objectID/artifactAccess'

   )

login-PowerBI


$result = Invoke-PowerBIRestMethod -Url $url -Method Get 

$workspaceContents = $result | convertFrom-Json

$firstworkspace = $workspacecontents.value[1]
$firstworkspace 

And this works. I get back all my objects

So this is just the initial investigation. To do

  • How to Delegate Permissions for this API?
  • How to Automate the Powershell script and create a dataset to work with?

And even further research

  • can we automate checking between a list of users from Yesterday and today to see who has gone to automate the process even further?
  • Is it possible that Azure can handle use cases where we know the user is leaving and have assigned a leave date in Azure Active Directory?
  • Then Feed this loop into the API to generate this list so we know what reports need to have their ownership taken over
  • Automate the handling of take over accounts

Tabular Editor and the Best Practice Analyser for Power BI

Finally I get a chance to have a look at the Best Practice Analyse in Tabular Editor

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-ca/blog/best-practice-rules-to-improve-your-models-performance/

I am so excited about this because we are looking at ways to improve and speed up the reviewing process on all the datasets being created.

Currently our Power BI Power Users go in to review and take a lot of time checking out the models, processing time, DAX Measures, etc etc.

This is great but if there are ways to speed up that process so we can review even more models then I am in.

So lets get started.

DAX Studio

I always go to DAX Studio connected to my model to get a look at the model Summary before I do any updates. Advanced Tab – View Metrics

Tabular Editor

With a dataset open in Power BI Desktop I open up Tabular Editor from External Tools

And then go to Advanced Scripting

And now I am ready to load in the Best Practice Rules from GitHub.

https://github.com/microsoft/Analysis-Services/tree/master/BestPracticeRules

I go for the Automated Set up approach and run the following code

I believe that these rules get updated so when you run it again your rules will get updated.

Then after running the code I create a custom action over the code by clicking the green + Button

And you now have it in Samples

I can then Close and Open tabular Editor again. (I am doing it with a model already open but you can open it separately and connect to a model.

Then I go to Tools and Best Practice Analyser

And here is where it gets interesting. It brings up a list of Best practice rules that have been worked on by Microsoft experts for a long time. I really want to get a good look at where they are at at 15/10/2021

At this point its fair to say that this has been incredibly easy to do and very useful so far.

Of course the rules come up very specific to my model. 172 objects are in violation of 17 best practice rules. Lets have a look at some of them

[Performance] Do not use Floating Point data Type

My Latitude and Longitude are in Violation here so I should be going back to the model and checking that I cant change these items and not get issues

Some fixes can be taken from best practice analyser.

In this case I am selecting generate fix Script

And pasting to Advanced Scripting window to have a look at it

I can run this and it will immediately update my data model. However it should be said that Tabular Editor requires the XMLA endpoint to allow both read/write access. This setting is controlled by your capacity admin.

In the Power BI Admin Portal

If you don’t have this enabled you need to check with your Admin. At worst you can gather all these recommendations and implement them manually in Power BI.

If you can use XMLA endpoints you can also simply choose apply fix but I prefer to see the fix before implementing.

[Performance] Set isAvailableInMDX to false on None-Attribute columns (6 Objects)

I wasn’t aware of this and all my Keys within the dimensions are flagged as issues here. Lets have a look at that in more detail.

This is rather more specific to Analysis Services. You can stop attribute hierarchies from being build on columns that don’t need them.

Basically all attributes have this set to on. It allows a column on a table to be used on a row or column axis of a visual so it can for example filter a measure. the important thing to note here is that these are structures only used queries tabular models (Analysis Services) IN MDX. Power BI always runs DAX queries so its not really specific to out Power BI Model. We can ignore this rule

And hit Show ignored if you want them back

[DAX Expressions] No two measures should have the same definitions

I have two measures in my DAX. I can right click on each to go to object. and I can then look at the expression

CALCULATE(DISTINCTCOUNT(fact[AccountID]),
FILTER(Accounts, Accounts[Name]<>"NA"))
CALCULATE(DISTINCTCOUNT(fact[AccountID]),
FILTER(Accounts, Accounts[Name]<>"NA"))

It goes to show that these things do happen. You can’t apply a fix script here. Its a case of finding out what uses these two items and ensuring we only use one. So the Question is here, is there an easy way of answering this question?

[DAX Expressions] Use the DIVIDE Function for Division

5 of my objects aren’t using the DIVIDE Function created especially for this. I clearly need to remember that I have a habit of doing this.

There is no fix script for this but I can go to object and to the Expression Editor

I have recreated as a proper DAX Function and you can simply hit the tick to update the code in your model.

[DAX Expressions] Filter Column Values with the Correct Syntax

I am unsure what this means so go to Manage Best Practice Rules in the top corner of the screen

Hit Edit Rule

And you can get to a description of the rule

Instead of using this pattern FILTER(‘Table’,’Table'[Column]=”Value”) for the filter parameters of a CALCULATE or CALCULATETABLE function, use one of the options below. As far as whether to use the KEEPFILTERS function, see the second reference link below.

Option 1: KEEPFILTERS(‘Table'[Column]=”Value”)
Option 2: ‘Table'[Column]=”Value”

Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/power-bi/guidance/dax-avoid-avoid-filter-as-filter-argument
Reference: https://www.sqlbi.com/articles/using-keepfilters-in-dax/

This is fantastic. I can even go to the document reference to get more information. When I go to the object I can see that I have done this

CALCULATE([Number of Records],FILTER(Records, RecordType[Type]="Test"))

And immediately its clearly to me. CALCULATE is supposed to be fast for one implicit Filter. you use FILTER when its a little more complex and is slower. Although this works I have absolutely no need to use the filter.

CALCULATE([Number of Records],Records[Type]="Test")

And there you go. A faster bit of DAX. Current opinion of this tool. I am really quite taken with this. Its a bit of a gamechanger.

[Maintenance] Visible objects with no description

I have lots of these and absolutely. Each one should have a good description against it. I hadn’t even thought of that.

There are quite a few more rules that I have violated. I wont go through them all here but I am really excited to see how I can do so much more to streamline my model. this is absolutely fantastic.

Additional Script Rules

Note that there are several rules which require running an additional script. And these steps are specific to the Vertipaq Analyser which was added to DAX Studio. We can use the Vertipaq analyser combined with the best practice analyser

https://www.elegantbi.com/post/vertipaqintabulareditor

After reading the documentation above I took the script and ran it in Advanced Editor. I also saved it as a sample just in case.

This should create Annotations that you can see in Tabular Editor when you look at the objects but I cant see anything in my model. this was because you need to go to File – Preferences and Allow Unsupported Power BI features.

Now I can see Annotations

We are basically saying here that in Power BI desktop you can’t create Annotations. This can only be done within the external tool so there is a possibility that this could cause issues. From the documentation it does seem that this is fine to do, but you could now do other things that could cause problems in future. One to think about.

So, We have run report that basically creates the same stats as the Vertipaq Analyser in DAX Studio. How do we use it with Best Practice Analyser?

Avoid bi-directional relationships against high-cardinality columns

We need to create the rule over the script

Add a New rule. I’m simply Following the documentation at this point so lets get to the end of the rule creation

Its important to set the Applies to

If you don’t specify the Applies to you will get an error message (See image below)

I save the new Rule into the Rules for the Local user. But a question here is that, If I rerun the Advanced Scripting Code Sample again to get any new changes, will this wipe of the item created?

To test I go back to Power BI and Change a join to bi directional

And then go back to Tabular Editor and Update the Change Rerun the Best Practice Analyser and I am shown my one bi directional join as a best practice violation. this allows the user to say if its valid

Or if I should do something about it. I will do this in Power BI and rerun

Large tables should be partitioned

When you run the script for Avoid Bi Directional Relationships you also Create the Vertipaq rule for this best practice.

Frustratingly the documentation gets a little confusing at this point. the only rule that has a screen shot to show how to create it is Bi Directional functionality.

I’m making the assumption then that you don’t need to set up the rule and It should automatically appear. However my model isn’t big enough for this to be violated.

Is it a rule then? Got to ToolsManage PBA Rules .

Yes, there it is, I’m just not violating it. I was asked to look at this documentation for more information at this point but I am finding it a little confusing.

https://github.com/microsoft/Analysis-Services/tree/master/BestPracticeRules

Reduce usage of long-length columns with high cardinality

Again for this one, When you run the script for Avoid Bi Directional Relationships you also Create the Vertipaq rule for this best practice.

But you also have to run another script (again I saved as a sample)

Is this a rule then? Got to ToolsManage PBA Rules

This is good, the rule is there but I am not causing any violations to happen

Split date and time

In the above gitHub information you are told to run another script for this which I saved as a sample.

Best Practice Analyser was run again and it appears as a violation. However it is erroring

I know Split date and time is incredibly important to keep the models as speedy as possible so I would like to resolve this problem.

Rerunning the Scripts

Its been some time and we want to review another model. We also think it might be a good idea to rerun the original script in case the rules have changed.

Open another model in Desktop. then open Tabular Editor. Because I have enabled experimental Power BI features I get this warning.

Because we have already run the code we can simply open up best practice analyser to get the results. But what if we want to update for possible changes?

It would actually be good to have a way to know if there have been changes made to the rules?

Rerun the script. close and reopen like last time

Tools – Manage BPA Rules – Rules for the Local User

The additional rules are still there which is great. Lets run the analyser. 367 objects are in violation of 22 best practice rules.

Lots more to do then and all to make the model better and more efficient.

Conclusion

The First section of this just works and I’m incredibly pleased with it and I think it will really help.

The Vertipaq Analyser against Best Practice Analyser references are more difficult to follow but it seems to be that there are three extra scripts to run and one of the rules actually needs to be set up. the other rules are automatically created.

Obviously you have to allow for XMLA Endpoints in order to update your model using Tabular Editor so there are some things to think about here.

Having to set Allow Unsupported Power BI features is a worry for the Vertipac Analyser rules. Having gone through the process to try and figure out how it would sit in our review process I think you could do the following

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