Power BI Desktop September 2019 Feature Summary

You’ll notice one of our exciting updates right away when creating new reports with the September update of Power BI Desktop, a new, modern default theme! Not only do we have a new default theme, but we’ve more than doubled the number of built-in theme options for your report. If you’re a theme author, potentially more exciting are the updates to our theme JSON format which make it much quicker and easier for you to create your own custom themes that significantly change the look and feel of your report. Thanks to an intern project, we’re also releasing a frequently requested modeling feature: custom format strings. And of course, we have plenty of incremental improvements this month, with some performance improvements, more dynamic formatting options, updates to our personalized visualization pane, and more.

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Aggregations for petabyte-scale BI is generally available!

The volume of data is growing at an ever-increasing rate. As it grows, so does the value to the companies that are able to unlock insights from it. Power BI is all about helping organizations embrace a data culture, where every user can make better decisions based on data big and small, no matter where that data is coming from 

Providing users a way to do analysis over large volumes of data has traditionally been challenging. Large volumes require extra compute power and specialized skills to effectively model and analyze. To unblock users, organizations have often relied on transforming big datasets into smaller, more manageable datasets, which can then be analyzed using traditional BI reporting and visualization tools. When data is transformed from big to small, the details of the data tend to get lost as dimensionality is traded away for size and performance. While insights are lost, management complexity and costs grow as development teams work to populate these multiple smaller datasets.

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Power BI Desktop July 2019 Feature Summary

With this month comes the first feature release from our announcements at Microsoft Business Application Summit, Icon sets, which also addresses our current #1 idea on ideas.powerbi.com. On top of this major update, we have incremental improvements for many of our existing features, such as measure support for the Key influencers visual and RLS support for aggregations. To round this out, we are also making several key features, the new filter pane and aggregations, generally available.

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Avoiding workspace loops by expanding navigation properties in the GetGroupsAsAdmin API

As a Power BI service admin, do you frequently need to list all workspaces in your tenant, and all reports, dashboards, and datasets in those workspaces as well? If the answer is yes, you probably had to build your solution such that in a first call, all workspaces had to be retrieved by using the GetGroupsAsAdmin API or the Get-PowerBIWorkspace cmdlet. It was then necessary to loop through the result set to make additional calls to get the reports, datasets and dashboards within each workspace by using the GetReportsInGroupAsAdmin, GetDashboardsInGroupAsAdmin, GetDatasetsInGroupAsAdmin APIs or the Get-PowerBIReport, Get-PowerIBDashboard, and Get-PowerBIDataset cmdlets respectively. Unfortunately, this approach is slow and inefficient. In a large Power BI environment, it is even impractical. There must be a better and more efficient way!

The secret to avoiding these expensive loops is in the OData Expand Query Option ($expand)—and I am proud to announce the recent release of support for $expand in the GetGroupsAsAdmin API!

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