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Power BI Designer API

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

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Marco Russo shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    We need a scripting pane, to create more than one measure at a time, so arduous if you are creating many measures

  • Adam Tappis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Guys what's the hold up? I need to automate the generation of several hundred reports based on a template and publish them as offline pbix files in the file system. No PowerBI service, no PowerBI server, just standalone files for PowerBI desktop. I assumed such an API should exist but it it would appear that you just wish to force everyone to use the PowerBI Service

  • Chance@redlionconsultancy.com commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    We really could do with something that allows us to create custom connectors to legacy systems as it would prevent the current need for FTP transfer of flat file extracts, which is error-prone and labour intensive.

  • [Deleted User] commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    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!

  • William Schmidt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    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!

  • Michael Sanders commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    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.

  • Yemoku commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    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

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    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.

  • StaggeringScot commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    So PBIX is clearly some sort extension of Office file formats, it is surprising that it is not documented.

  • Xuesong Gao commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    We need to convert hundreds (or thousands if counting multiple clients) of legacy BI reports into Power BI, but this looks impossible without designer API or make .pbix in XML format.

  • TEEGEE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Don't think it was covered in the 3 items posted in this request, but I would love to have an API to create and modify dashboard reports, visuals, so I could have a base PBIX and then scripted modifications to add/remove elements before sending out to a customer.

  • Mark Gelderblom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Come in, I want to be able to do my Prototyping in Power bi then move my Model to an enterprise Tabular Server. Why have you made Power bi sich a closed system?

  • Sagi Carni commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Great idea.
    When using the "Import" option, I would like to be able to publish the model to my on-prem SSAS Tabular Server while the metadata is being uploaded to the cloud.

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