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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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Andreas Munch, Skill AS on 05 Jul 2020 21:59:41

RE: Power BI Designer API

Good idea!

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Henson Sturgill on 05 Jul 2020 21:59:40

RE: Power BI Designer API

We're also stuck in that gray area of, "I know we should be using Power BI, but the Enterprise isn't ready to move to hosted yet." So I can play in the preview, but have difficulty sharing. I especially love suggests #2 and #3 because of this.

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Mohamed Kabiruddin on 05 Jul 2020 21:59:40

RE: Power BI Designer API

Definitely worth a vote

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Clayton Groom on 05 Jul 2020 21:59:39

RE: Power BI Designer API

You got my votes!

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Christian on 05 Jul 2020 21:59:36

RE: Power BI Designer API

We are looking exactly for something like that.

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Steve Novoselac on 05 Jul 2020 21:59:27

RE: Power BI Designer API

Great idea!

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Scott Senkeresty on 05 Jul 2020 21:59:26

RE: Power BI Designer API

Export to Excel/CSV is already the most important feature in so many products... this is a completely natural extension. Instead of exporting dumb data, export awesomeness.

I track my billing hours in Harvest. I waste time exporting to CSV, importing into power pivot, adding a date table, relating it, then building charts to show billable hours by week. If harvest could instead just... give me that? Value add for them, value add for the Power BI platform, win for everybody.

The more you can bring developers and 3rd party products/functionality into the ecosystem, the faster the platform gains critical mass.

I should note that I won't cry if the programmability extends to plugin creation in Designer. Marco can offer his DaxFormatter as a plugin. I can tell you that as a consultant... it's non-fun to look at the crazy un-formatted dax my clients write... :)

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