Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Speaking at SQL Saturday Prague 2019

Last weekend I had the great opportunity of speaking at my first SQL Saturday, in the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic. Together with my colleague Jeroen Schalken (B | @JeroenSchalken), we travelled to Prague to deliver our session on implementing Power BI (Premium) at Van Lanschot Kempen.

I also was very active on twitter during the weekend on the hashtag #sqlsatprague, I embedded every first tweet of my daily threads in the blog.


We started Friday morning with our travel to Eindhoven Airport. After a little delay in Eindhoven, we were just in time to drop our bags at the hotel and get ready to be picked up for the speaker's dinner. It was in restaurant Kuchyň, with a beautiful view over the city next to Prague Castle.
We shared some starters on the table and then could pick our own food right from the kitchen, which was very nice. We were very well taken care of by the SQL Saturday Prague team!


I started the SQL Saturday with a short run around the convention center and through the park and after having breakfast in the hotel we headed to the conference.
During the day I attended these sessions:

There was also time for relaxing in the speaker room and taking some fresh air outside. And then finally of course our own session at the end of the day:

Tips and Tricks of a Power BI (Premium) Implementation at a Financial Institute by Jeroen Schalken and me. Because we were the latest slot of the day quite a few people already left, but our audience was very interactive and had lots of questions, so thank you!

We also went to restaurant Na Pekařce for the SQL Saturday after party, where we were joined by the speakers, organisers and also around 40 attendees.


We had this day to enjoy the beautiful city of Prague, together with a few other speakers and Jarda, who was our awesome guide for the day!


Because our flight was at 9.30 AM we started this day very early with a quick breakfast and on to the metro and bus to the check-in and security at the airport. It all went very smoothly so I even had some time to work on this post. At 11 o'clock we were back again on Dutch soil. As a surprise my wife and 2 youngest kids were there to pick me up.

Closing words

All-in all it was a wonderfull weekend and I met many new great friends from the SQL Community. I hope I can some day go back to (SQL Saturday) Prague!
I also made a short video of my adventures during the weekend, so enjoy!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Power User Days Belgium - September 2019 Edition

This weekend I attended the Power User Days in Belgium, organised by the Flemish Power BI User group together with the PowerApps and Flow User Group Belgium. It took place at the Bmatix office in Kontich. I not only attended, but also did 2 sessions on Power BI!

TL;DR - Slides

For those of you that attended my session or the workshop, here are the links to my slides:

Always good to have stickers!

My experience

I had one session planned, my Tips and Tricks of a Power BI (Premium) Implementation at a Financial Institute, that I'm also presenting together with my colleague Jeroen Schalken (B | @JeroenSchalken) at SQL Saturday Prague next weekend. But Jan Mulkens (B | @JanMulkens) (founder of the Flemish Power BI User Group, a.o.) contacted me last Wednesday with the idea of doing a second session in the form of a 1-hour hands-on workshop. Jan quickly setup a demo Power BI tenant for me and I came up with the content of the workshop in the next few days.

I really liked doing the workshop, although it was a last minute change of plans. I like the interactivity you get with and between the attendees. The login and setup stuff took a bit longer then expected so I quickly ran out of time. However, almost everyone decided to stay another 15 minutes to complete the exercise I started, even though lunch was already being served :-)

Altogether I really enjoyed the day, now on to SQL Saturday Prague where I will be (co-) presenting my Tips & Tricks session at the last time slot of the day!
Let me know if you're also going to Prague, otherwise see you at Data Saturday Holland or dataMinds Connect!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The New Power BI Workspace Viewer Role Explained

Back in April of this year Microsoft announced the rollout of a new Viewer role in Power BI workspaces. It is mentioned in the release notes of April of this year: Power BI Planned features

On June 25 the Power BI team announced therollout of the new Viewer role for Power BI workspaces.
This is all part of the newworkspace experience, which in fact is not that new anymore :) It in fact has become the default workspace you create, there will be a plan to migrate old workspaces to the new ones. You can read the docs on howthe new workspaces are different or on workspacefeatures that work differently.

As of now we have 4 roles available in a Power BI workspace. The new Viewer role works quite the same as the classic workspace option "Members can only view Power BI content". It gives a read-only experience to the users.
A few remarks that weren't totally clear for me in the beginning:
  • You can have read-only access to the content in the workspace without publishing an app.
  • The Viewer role does requires a Pro license or your content must reside in Power BI Premium capacity. That way it behaves the same as the published app on a workspace in Premium capacity.
  • Row-level security (RLS) on the datasets in the Power BI workspace is enforced for users who only have the Viewer role.
  • Users can only export summarized data.
  • If you want a user with a Viewer role to Analyze in Excel, they need Build permissions on that dataset.
  • Build permission on a dataset also means they can export the underlying data that's used to build the visual, so you might be careful before granting that access, especially with RLS.

There was an improvement to the export of summarized data with the Build permission. If you're using that or are planning to give users the Build permission, please do read the following blog post by Lukasz Pawlowski: Change to Summarized Data Export behavior with Build permission.

Here is an overview of the capabilities of the four roles: admins, members, contributors, and viewers:

So let's take a look at the experience in the Power BI Service. I tested everything myself to be sure, so these are all pictures from our own tenant.
When granting access to a user you can choose from one of the 4 roles:

In the new workspace you can choose to add individual users or add security group, where the latter is the best practice. That way you can manage the users and their access outside of Power BI.

As a Viewer, you only see the Dashboards, Reports and workbooks, in either view of the workspace. So the Datasets and Dataflows are not visible.

This is the File menu when logged in as a Viewer. So you can't download the pbix-file, as that would give you access to the underlying data.

This is the top level content of the workspace when logged in with the Viewer role.

As an Admin in the same workspace, you not only see the Datasets and Dataflows, you also have a lot more options like Usage Metrics, Settings, Delete, etc.

In a next blog post I will show how the Row-Level Security works together with the Viewer role and the Build permission on a dataset.

I hope this makes it a clear overview of the capabilities of the new Viewer role. If you have any other use cases or anything to add please let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Add a Linked File in a Visual Studio Project: Add As Link

Yesterday I had to add a file into a database project as a link to another file. So not a copy of the file, but a link so I can use the file in multiple database projects and only have to maintain it once. Because I couldn't easily find the solution to this and I was searching on Google but also couldn't find it quick (enough to my opinion :)), I decided to write a short blog post.
I didn't know the exact naming of the property, so the majority of the links I got from Google where Linked Server items, only after changing the search phrase 3 or 4 times I found this entry by Grant Winney.

The normal icon that appears when you add a file is the following (at least when you don't have changes in source control, here TFS). A little blue lock is displayed, letting you know that it is a local file and it is checked-in in source control.

The other available icons would be:
A plus sign for a newly added file, not yet in source control:

A red check mark, for a changed file already in source control.

TL;DR - Solution

The trick to add a file as a link is not in the menu options in Visual Studio itself, that's also where I started searching.
You have to first add an existing item to your desired folder, as shown below.

After selecting the file, don't click Add, but click the dropdown next to the Add button. There you can select Add As Link.

Et voilá, we've got ourselves a linked item, with the new icon that looks like a hyperlink :)

Let me know if you have any remarks and found this post useful in the comments!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

My Power Platform Summit Europe Recap

Last week the Power Platform Summit Europe was held in Amsterdam. I was there together with my colleagues Sander and Pim and next to the learning experience the conference gave me, it was really nice to join them!

Before starting my recap I’d like to point you to the following tool: Microsoft Office Lens, it’s available both on iOS and Android! In every session I was in there were always people taking pictures of the slides. I sometimes do it also, just because I want to make a note next to the slide or because it’s something in a demo I’d like to capture. But the point I’m trying to make here: do it with the Office Lens app, because then your pictures will look like this:

The information/sessions that stood out the most for me:

Line Krogh talked about Brons, Silver and Gold Power BI report templates:

  • Gold: created by BI team on a managed Tabular model
  • Silver: not created by BI team on a managed Tabular model
  • Brons: not created by BI team on non-certified data sources

The Art of Gathering Effective BI requirements by Mico Yuk

  • An interactive session where she also shared her spreadsheet to be used in discussion with end-users

Nikhil Gakwaed showed us some nice improvements in the Power BI Service:

  • Comments on dashboards
  • Organizational branding for Power BI Home

Callum Green did a session where one part about data profiling was interesting in particular:

  • Data profiling in M (Table.profile)
  • He also did some tweaking afterwards to get the profiling on the column and value level

The Value of Self-serve BI in a Large Organisation by Rishi Sapra:

  • What-if scenario builder, which he will explain in-depth at the virtual Power BI Days

Demo of splitting the report and the data model by Just Blindbaek:

  • This will be even better when Shared and Certified datasets are available, hopefully later this month!

Power BI Performance by Kasper de Jonge, David Magar and Bhavik Merchant:

  • Avoid Bi-Di crossfiltering: you will go to hell! (according to Alberto Ferrari)
    • Instead turn crossfiltering on in DAX: CROSSFILTER(Dim, Fact, OneWay/Both)
  • Use variables, especially with IF
  • Don't use IFERROR
  • Use DIVIDE
  • Model Star-schema/Snowflake
  • Filter on Dimensions

A great session on Aggregation Tables by Reza Rad:

  • Import mode, Direct Query and Dual
  • Use DaxStudio to analyse the queries send by DQ

At the end of day 2 we had a nice view of the entrance to the conference:

In the morning I found some time to go running with Sander in the Amstel Parc just across the road from our hotel. Although it was very chilly, it was worth the early wake up!

Let me know if you agree with me or if you think you liked other sessions more at the Summit.

My next post will be a recap of the Power BI User Day 2019 in Utrecht where I also gave a presentation together with Jeroen Schalken.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Power Platform Summit Europe & Power BI UG

Power Platform Summit Europe

This year the Power Platform Summit Europe (formerly Data & BI Summit) will be held in Amsterdam in the RAI, on 27-29 March. They renamed it because the conference is focused on Power BI, Microsoft Flow and PowerApps.
I will again be attending this conference (you can read my blogs about last year about my announcement, the Day 1 keynote and the recap). While it is good to have dedicated time to learn from the sessions at the conference, I always find it very useful to get in touch and network with everybody there.
I hope I also get the time to get some blog posts out during the conference.

The tracks this year are Act, Administrator, Automate, Developer and Measure.

The mobile app for the conference is now also available (for Android and iOS), where you can:
  • Build your personal schedule
  • View session details and presentation materials
  • See who else is coming to the conference
  • Get updates or room changes
  • Give feedback on the sessions
As last year, Microsoft added the Power Series to the conference, some of which I am very interested in. There will be over 15 hours of deep dive and hands on content. A few of the topics covered in the Power Series are:
  • Data Flows
  • Power BI Admin & Performance Tuning Deep Dive
  • Power BI Embedded Deep Dive
  • Debugging DAX and Model performance issues
  • AI in the Power BI Service

Power BI User Group Day 2019

Immediately after the Power BI User Group Day 2019 will be held on Saturday March 30 in Utrecht, where my colleague Jeroen and me will be presenting about our journey of implementing Power BI (Premium) at Van Lanschot Kempen!
I assume a lot of the speakers and attendees of the Summit will also attend this UG. The keynote will for example be provided by Charles Sterling.

I think it will be a great week and it will be good to catch up with friends and make new connections in the community.
If you’re also going to one of the above events, let me know in the comments or on Twitter, I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

19th Power BI UG Netherlands (November 2018)

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for some time now, but I never got to finish it. A little bit late, but here it is!

On November 29, the 19th Power BI User Group was held at our office in Den Bosch. Yes, that’s where the delicious “Bossche bollen” come from. This UG was officially called the Dutch Data Dude farewell tour, because @JeroenterHeerdt has moved to America to join Microsoft in Seattle, as you can read here.

After some delicious sandwiches, snacks and “worstenbroodjes”, Jeroen Schalken and I kicked off the evening with an introduction to data management and the introduction of Power BI at Van Lanschot Kempen.

Michiel Rozema and Henk Vlootman (Quanto) explained how to make financial reports with Power BI. A lot of organizations are used to financial reports in Excel. Readable for the accountant, but less accessible for management. How do you use the strengths of visualization of Power BI to create strategic as well as operational information?

Jeroen ter Heerdt closed the evening and took us on a ride through his world of data visualizations: from pie charts (do NOT use them) to the three roles he thinks are needed for data management:
  • Data Engineer
  • Data Scientist
  • Data Artist.
Making a good data visualization can be difficult. Jeroen showed us the do’s and don’ts to make even better visualizations.

We had a wonderful evening with some great conversations amongst the attendees. Thanks @PBIG_NL for the chance to host this evening!