What's going on here?

What's the point of this site? I just started dabbling in PowerBI. I have an extensive background in analytics and with the traditional BI platforms. PowerBI seems like a breath of fresh air. Its very well designed; highly customizable and MicroSoft seems to be going about it the right way with their frequent releases while involving the community. 

I want to focus on understanding the platform better and see how I can leverage it for our next solution. Along the way I'd like to document my experience and share whatever I learn in the hope that it might benefit others.

See you around.


Tricky bits in the PowerBI custom visualization implementation

Rather than write about the whole process of building the visualization, which Microsoft has already a good job of on Github pages and in their video, I wanted to just highlight a couple of items that I had trouble finding information for.

1. Getting to the DevTools interface for deploying : This was quite frustrating because I didn't see any documented ways of getting to a 'dev enabled' powerBI UI. Finally I had to glean this from the demo video. Look at the URL around the 8 minute mark. It includes a query parameter called DevToolsEnabled=True. This is the magic setting to turn on dev tools so you can compile your viz online and try it with datasets.

2. SelectionManager : This is the entity dealing with selections on any of the visualizations and communicates the same to the rest. While the sample code in AsterPlot referred to a utility.SelectionManager, this code wouldn't compile. I eventually came upon this discussion that made it clear that the public service and github projects were not in sync.

Other than this, my challenges were around not knowing TypeScript at all. That took some getting used to but was not too painful. I quite enjoyed the typed use of scripting.

PowerBI Visualization Contest

Fisheye Selector

Here's my entry for the contest. It's a fisheye selector. Its a fun little view of a list of category elements that act a selector for other containers on the report/dashboard.

Here's a short demo of the visualization.

The visualization can easily be extended to work with as a gallery of images from which to select; something that nytimes has done well.

Building it was (largely) fun but for some of the undocumented features of the visualization library and the online tools. In a subsequent post I will write up all the details of what it took to build it.