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Power BI Designer API

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Marco Russo on 27 Mar 2015 16:20:23

Power BI Designer saves a local PBIX file, which can be a file to export data and data model – in other words, it’s a format that contains a complete semantic model. All the applications that today export data in several formats (CSV, Excel, XML), might provide a richer semantic model exporting a PBIX file.

Many ISV/SI that have OLTP and other applications that stores data in some database, usually struggle to offer a compelling BI story to their customers. The smaller they are, the more they feel this pressure because probably the effort they can put in their custom software is minimal.

Today these ISV/SI integrate their solution with external vendor technologies (QlikView is a common choice here). However, the cost of such a solution for the end user is not always appealing, and for this reason the MS partner ecosystem always look for components (charts and pivot tables) to integrate in their solutions.

Providing them an easy and inexpensive way to produce PBIX files “ready to use” straight from their product/solution would provide several benefits:

- Customers would have something ready to be uploaded to Power BI service

- ISV/SI would be able to provide a BI solution integrated with MS ecosystem

- ISV/SI can implement solutions like “send a PBIX file via mail every week to all the agents including only the data of their prospects/customers” - Today they already do that using the .CUB format, which can be consumed by both Excel and custom applications

- Microsoft would increase the number of Power BI users very quickly - Small ISV/SI would be able to implement such integration very fast

What I propose to do is, in descending order of importance:

1) Support Power BI Designer as a local engine with an API that can be used by anyone and officially support local connections by other programs (starting from Excel)

- The API should provide the ability to create a data model and to populate it with data by just using API, without any manual interaction

- Providing the ability to connect from other clients (today it is possible but not officially supported) would increase the adoption.

2) Document and “open” the PBIX file, so that it can be generated by anyone

- I think that this is easy for the data model, but not for the data.

- But without the data, this model would be not so useful, requiring a manual refresh to be populated.

3) Open source the Power BI Designer

- Not really a priority in my opinion, but if the first two wouldn’t be possible, this one could be ok

Administrator on 21 Oct 2022 02:41:46

Update 10/17: This is now in our upcoming roadmap and we will share more details in the coming months. Mo (Note: this item is similar to the GIT item)

Hi everyone. There are some really interesting ideas in this thread, thanks for your vocal support about it! We'll consider it for the future along with other suggestions and plans. Thanks!

Comments (97)
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Karish Gadol on 05 Jul 2020 22:26:58

RE: Power BI Designer API

We have a web app (runs on a Linux system) and we want to auto-generate a PBIX with a DirectQuery connection to a specific database. We do this with Tableau (auto-generate a TDS file) and with Qlik Sense (using the WebSocket API). It would be great if you could make PBIX an open format (some text format) or publish the binary spec.

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Power BI User on 05 Jul 2020 22:24:11

RE: Power BI Designer API

This would be an awesome feature

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Jorge on 05 Jul 2020 22:22:01

RE: Power BI Designer API

Absolutely agree, We are ISV and We think that is necessary to do a API for PowerBI Desktop. And the first feature should be able to change the connection data to the data model.

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Power BI User on 05 Jul 2020 22:21:44

RE: Power BI Designer API

We are a Microsoft partner that provides COTS software to government agencies. We would love the ability to have our setup application create/modify the "data model" and even the published reports/dashboards each time the software is updated.

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Raymond Wong on 05 Jul 2020 22:21:31

RE: Power BI Designer API

There are a number of suggestion spread around related to Marco's idea. If the other suggestions are consolidated into this one, it will be over 2000 votes. PowerBI desktop becomes mostly a sink hole. Data can only be extracted manually (from reports) for further data processing. If PowerBI desktop has an IO api, PowerBI Desktop can become part of data processing providing data of different granularity and dimension. Instead of creating multiple PBIX files because of different granularity, I could create one PBIX, programmatically extract multiple data sets with different granularity, then feed each data set to PowerQuery for data enrichment or ETL. The current option is to create multiple PBIX file for different level of granularity from the same data sources or adopt a snowflake data model which is confusing to end user and difficult to maintain.

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sylvanexit on 05 Jul 2020 22:18:25

RE: Power BI Designer API

Yes, a game changer for supporting multiple customers. And as Marco Abergo commented, include the option to "change the data source connection with the API. Usually every ISV has a great number of customers and each of them as a specific istance of DB (ex. SQL Server)".

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Julian Payne on 05 Jul 2020 22:16:59

RE: Power BI Designer API

This is a brilliant idea.

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Marc Solomon on 05 Jul 2020 22:10:35

RE: Power BI Designer API

It's a "3 Vote" story for me. I would like to add more than just 3 of my votes to be honest! This feature is going to catapult Power BI Desktop onto millions of desktops as ISV's lead clients to adopt this amazing tool.

Note for admin's: I believe this is a duplicate backlog item with

Can you close and reassign votes here?

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nicola mondinelli on 05 Jul 2020 22:06:49

RE: Power BI Designer API

Yes. I'm a small business Microsoft Partner and my problems are perfectly described here: i cannot sell POWER BI SOLUTIONS because customers wants excel (for semplicity, usability and becouse they are used to) as frontend, they love Pivots, but i cannot use pbix as source or import the DATA MODEL and POWERQUERY queries .

PowerBi is very beautiful but for now is relegated for make impact presentation or dashboards. BI project are more of that.

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Chris Moore on 05 Jul 2020 22:06:14

RE: Power BI Designer API

Yes. Yes. Yes. 1000x Yes. I'm really having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this has to even be a feature request. Having an SDK to manipulate the file format is such an obvious thing...

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