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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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Chris on 10 Jul 2020 17:20:53

RE: Power BI Designer API

I'd like this feature too. I'd use the API to create metadata templates for the files we need to analyse in migration and data transfer projects. I currently achieve this using bespoke code that converts Excel based record layouts into machine readable templates that then need yet more code to analyse.

It would also be acceptable to have PowerBI templates in a format that can be created pragmatically; such as XML, JSON format and then imported to PowerBI.

I won't be able to use PowerBI efficiently until a feature such as this is provided. My organisation is getting really interested in what PowerBi can do; but this gap in the feature set is holding things back.

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Bruno on 06 Jul 2020 00:15:57

RE: Power BI Designer API

Very sad that PBI product team is completely ignoring this requirement. At least you can publish the files specs and let other smart developers to develop their own sdk libraries on top of it. This is a stop blocker for third party applications to integrate with PBI. Maybe Tableau should take all these opportunities! When you guys want to step up your game just give a buzz and maybe we'll reconsider you.

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Power BI User on 06 Jul 2020 00:13:27

RE: Power BI Designer API

5 year and this post ist still under "review" ??
I'm really asking me if that ideas corner really brings anything. According to the number of views and vote, it is a core feature that a lot of us are missing, not only in powerbi service, also in powerbi for reporting services.

Enough review ! please do something about it !

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Robert Manna on 06 Jul 2020 00:11:51

RE: Power BI Designer API

Would love to see Microsoft put their weight behind APIs that fully support 3rd party "niche" tools like Dax Studio or Tabular Editor. I won't even consider myself an "Advanced" user but have already found both tools useful in developing my models in Power BI, something as simple as "Find/Replace" in Tabular editor for working with Measures in bulk is a huge win!

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Marco Zamora on 06 Jul 2020 00:11:23

RE: Power BI Designer API

Bump...

Can we start by allowing the creation, modification, and formatting of measures programmatically?

This would speed up the development process *at least* x20. Entering measure formulas and applying formats while waiting for the UI to update takes 80% of the build time (I have the timesheets to prove it). If we could do so in bulk, I could save 40 hours on the dashboard I'm building *right now*, and allow me time to apply more advanced analysis rather than waiting on the point-and-click UI.

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Andrew MacKinnon on 06 Jul 2020 00:09:38

RE: Power BI Designer API

We desperately need functionality like this. I am working to create a Power BI report based on web survey data and there are several dozen questions. There is a page for each question and each page is essentially the same except for the variables shown, but each page requires creating dozens of (very similar) measures for each question and then displaying graphics. We need an API that can automatically generate a report with dozens (or hundreds or thousands) of very similar pages, so I don't have to create measures and edit each page manually. Without this functionality Power BI is not a suitable replacement for SSRS for certain projects which require creating hundreds of very similar pages. Also this would make it a lot easier if we want to implement a change (e.g. modify layout or styling) on every page, we can just modify the layout once and regenerate the report instead of manually editing dozens of pages individually.

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Arend on 06 Jul 2020 00:05:06

RE: Power BI Designer API

'With some effort it is possible to read the definition *from* a PBIX file, but programmatically setting elements *to* a PBIX file is not possible due to it's unknown hash.

Any way that enables writing to PBIX gives the benefit to automate and professionalize creation and deployment of PBIX files or published reports/dashboards/datasets etc.

The outcome of this would be a win-win to further automate standard things ánd when needed still manually work with PBIX files with pragmatism.

Examples:
- setting custom displaynames eg. different languages, creating
- datamodel elements automatically for eg. workflows, like datepoints, steps, durations, calculations, kpi's in the form of columns, calculated columns or measures.

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Power BI User on 06 Jul 2020 00:03:23

RE: Power BI Designer API

This is critical for an upcoming project. We need an API to create something like

Set oApp = New PBIApp ()
Set oReport = PBIApp.Reorts.Add ()
Set oMatrix = oReport.Visualization.Add("MS.Matrix")
oMatrix.X = 0
oMatrix.Y = 0
oMatrix.Width = 200
oMatrix.Height = 200
oMatrix.Columns.Add(DataModel.Table.FieldName)
etc... etc..

Please make it happen.

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Olivier Schmitt on 06 Jul 2020 00:01:44

RE: Power BI Designer API

Any progress here ?

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Dmitri L Kuznetsov on 06 Jul 2020 00:01:37

RE: Power BI Designer API

Hello,
this is a final missing step for automating Power BI Reports deployment and this feature is highly desirable. Please add as soon as possible. Thank you

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