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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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Power BI Ideas Admin on 05 Jul 2020 23:43:49

RE: Power BI Designer API

I don't get why the MS Power BI Team don't make this dev a top priority! It would greatly benefit Microsoft, greatly benefit current Power BI users, and be extremely tempting to all those SMBs, the backbone of our economies, who can't afford Premium PBI. It's a win, win, win situation! Come on Microsoft!

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William Schmidt on 05 Jul 2020 23:43:05

RE: Power BI Designer API

2015 was a long time ago. This would be a great capability. Right now if you want to generate anything you have to move to Tabular SSAS and use AMO, but that lacks the portability of a Power BI file. Please allow API-based automation soon!

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Lance on 05 Jul 2020 23:39:18

RE: Power BI Designer API

Is there a way to unpackage the pbix file to get to the XML?

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Michael Sanders on 05 Jul 2020 23:34:27

RE: Power BI Designer API

I agree with all the previous comments. At a minimum, i need to the ability to read pbix files to scan for data elements, etc that might be needed for any e-discovery or legal hold perspective.

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Yemoku on 05 Jul 2020 23:29:16

RE: Power BI Designer API

This functionality is a higher priority than the Python/R support that has been rolled into power BI. This is because it would enable the developers that already wrote the corporate legacy systems to provide the normalized/denormalized pbix models that the analysts are actually writing the Python/R scripts to create

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Power BI User on 05 Jul 2020 23:27:46

RE: Power BI Designer API

Yes, good idea! Let's make it happen!

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Michael on 05 Jul 2020 23:25:13

RE: Power BI Designer API

Please make this happen. The future of PBI depends on it.

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Olivier Schmitt on 05 Jul 2020 23:24:43

RE: Power BI Designer API

Yes, an SDK to read/modify the PBIX file format would be very useful.

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Power BI User on 05 Jul 2020 23:23:31

RE: Power BI Designer API

Still no commitment of the team on developing this nor ETA? Thanks for pushing this, Marco. Hope it comes soon, meanwhile enterprise solutions will need messy workarounds and rework.

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C. Augusto Proiete on 05 Jul 2020 23:19:19

RE: Power BI Designer API

Please open-source the PBIX format, and let the community build an SDK for it!

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