Wednesday, February 23, 2022

My Favorite Power BI Desktop February 2022 New Features

Last week it was that time of the month again! No not that time.
I mean time for the Power BI February 2022 Feature Summary blog post by Jeroen ter Heerdt of course.

Dynamic M Query Parameters

The new thing is that dynamic M Query Parameters now supports SQL Server (and more data sources). There are several use cases that come to mind and a few people have already blogged about this:

The high level steps to dynamic M query parameters are:
  • The source (SP/TVF) has to be in DirectQuery mode
  • Create a parameter(s) in PQ
  • In the model view, bind that parameter(s) to the column in your datamodel
  • And then use the parameter(s) in your source in PQ
If you want to read up on all the features, supported datasources, limitations and risks, go read the documentation on how to use dynamic M query parameters.

New mobile formatting options

If you're into mobile formatting for Power BI, you're going to love this update. There's a lot more you can configure, now also independently from the web version.
To enable the new mobile formatting pane, the blog post says you'll have to enable the preview feature under Options, but after my installation of the February update it was already enabled:

And more...

Of course there's a lot more in the February update, to mention a few:

If you haven't started using Goals, there are more updates to it, including:
  • Teams notifications integration,
  • Multiple owners for a single goal and 
  • The ability to create scorecards in My Workspace
Deployment Pipelines enhancements: there's a (fairly) new Azure DevOps extension and multiple pipelines working together, for example for disconnected reports and datasets

Download .pbix improvements: starting with this release you can download a .pbix file in more scenario's. Specifically, if a report is connected to a dataset that is configured for large models, incremental refresh or has been modified using the XMLA endpoint, you are now able to download that (connected) report, so not the dataset itself 😉
      Read up on all the gotcha's and limitations of this export to PBIX.

      Now go download that new update and check it out ourself! 😀

      Thursday, February 10, 2022

      Book Review: Expert Data Modeling with Power BI

      Somewhere last year I started reading this book on Power BI. It actually took me quite a while to finish it, because of [reasons]. 😀
      But now that I finally finished it, I thought it would be good to write a short review on my thougths about the book, so you know if it is worth your time and money.

      The book is from fellow-MVP Soheil Bakhshi (@biinsightnz | B) called Expert Data Modeling with Power BI


      Yes, it is definitely worth it! 😁

      The long version

      I think the combination of good, practical examples and in-depth coverage of (Power BI) features is the best about this book. You can also follow along with the step-by-step examples, as I think going hands-on is the best way of learning things. With reading you can only pick up so much knowledge, while putting it in practice right away enriches the learning experience much more.
      Next to that, the book is also filled with best practices for data preparation as well as data modeling.

      Soheil is not afraid of touching upon and explaining more advanced and complex topics, like:

      • Incremental refresh
      • Calculation groups
      • Aggregations
      • The new composite models
      • Slowly changing dimensions

      One point of critique if you will: sometimes I felt that adding color to an image in the book, could get the message across better. But I also get that this makes the pages more crowded, and probably also more expensive, and is not the way Packt publishes their books 😀

      All in all I very much enjoyed reading this book! And I definitely learned a lot.
      I think I knew, or at least have heard of, all the features that were explained in the book. But if you've never used/implemented RLS you don't really know what you're up against. The same goes for aggregations or calculation groups for example. So reading up on those features with good examples has definitely enriched my knowledge.

      I've already started reading my next book, so stay tuned for another review!

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