I Bet You Think This is a Picture, Don’t You?

Yeah, this is the place in most posts where you will find a picture…  but aha!  It is anything BUT!

That’s not a picture, it’s a fully interactive Power BI dashboard embedded into this page!
(Click, zoom/pan, hover – try it out)

(And check Back EVERY HOUR for the latest stats – it updates automatically!)

(If you’re looking at this in email and can’t see it, try this link instead.)

Can you see yourself on the map?  You will in an hour!

Yeah, that’s a DAX-powered, Power BI dashboard, right here in our website – a website that runs on WordPress, which is Linux for crying out loud.  Don’t know what Linux is?  No worries, just translate it as “there’s zero Microsoft software behind PowerPivotPro.com, and yet – BAM!  Power BI, right here!”

And the dashboard in question is a near-real-time view of the traffic on this very site!  Check back in an hour and you will be able to “see” yourself on the map (especially easy if you use one of the “rarer” browsers.)

How Does it Work?  Via Three VERY Cool Things.

1 – PowerBI.com now supports embedding anywhere!

Well first of all, this is powered by a brand-new feature of PowerBI.com, one that was unveiled yesterday in fact, thus immediately hijacking the topic of today’s post.  Yeah normally I am slow to jump on new things, but no, not this time.  THIS is something else altogether.  Live, interactive embedding in our site has been the Holy Grail for a very long time, and it just materialized yesterday out of thin air!  It was a drop-everything moment.

You just publish from PowerBI Desktop:

Power BI Desktop

And remember, PowerBI Desktop is 100% free, you can download it right now, and the version of PowerBI.com that I am using here is also 100% free.  That’s right, I’m not paying a dime for any of this.

2 – The Google Analytics Connector, and Good Old DAX (Power Pivot) Formulas!

In order to build the dashboard in question, I merely launched Power BI Desktop and imported data from Google Analytics for our site:

Power BI Connects to Google Analytics!

This is Awesome.  (Yes, it then prompts me for my Google Password, and it’s super-clear after that)

And then I added some DAX formulas, just like I would in Power Pivot – because remember, Power BI Desktop is Power Pivot under the hood!

Power BI Calc Column is in the same language (DAX) as Power Pivot

Power BI Measure is in the same language (DAX) as Power Pivot

A DAX Calculated Column (Top), and Measure (Bottom), Just like in Power Pivot

If you’d like a closer look at the Power BI Desktop file that I built for this, you can download it here.  (No, it won’t refresh, cuz you don’t have my Google password, but you can inspect the DAX, the visuals, the query, etc.)

3 – Power Update refreshes it every hour!

Power Update: Auto Refresh and Re-Publish Power BI Dashboards at No Charge Power Update: Auto Refresh and Re-Publish Power BI Dashboards at No Charge

Power Update: Auto Refresh and Re-Publish Power BI Dashboards at No Charge Power Update: Auto Refresh and Re-Publish Power BI Dashboards at No Charge

Power Update is Pretty Self-Explanatory, I Think Smile

Quick notes here:

  1. I’m running the perpetually free version of Power Update, so there’s again zero cost for any of this.  (You can get it here or here or here).
  2. I set the refresh to run every 15 minutes, even though the embedded view feature only updates every hour, just because I can.
  3. In this case, I have Power Update running on a spare computer – I do this when I’m running a Power BI desktop workbook, but when I’m automatically refreshing an Excel Power Pivot (and/or Power Query) workbook, I just run that on my main computer.  (PBI desktop lacks programming interfaces, so Power Update has to “drive” the UI by grabbing the mouse and keyboard temporarily – this is not the case with Excel/Power Pivot files.)
  4. PowerBI.com does charge you for auto-refresh if you exceed once per day, but with Power Update, PowerBI.com is not running the refresh, so we don’t tax their servers, and we stay in the 100% free zone – and no need to worry about the 10K rows per hour limit of the free version of PowerBI either.
  5. Power Update remains free as long as you’re only automating the refresh of one workbook/dashboard, which is true here.

 

Culmination of MUCH Progress

There’s a lot going on here.  A lot of things have been building up for a LONG time in order for this to become so simple and inexpensive.  BIG kudos to Microsoft for their persistence and hard work, and a hat tip to the folks over at Power Planner (who make Power Update).  I can’t stop smiling.

Questions?  Thoughts?

Even more than usual, we’d love to hear what you think about all of this.  Curious about PowerBI desktop?  Or PowerBI.com?  Or Power Update?  Or…  none of the above?  Confused?  Irritated?  Hungry?  Let us know Smile with tongue out

(I’ll be monitoring comments closely today just in case).

And don’t forget to come back and refresh this page during the day to see the stats change – they will update automatically every hour.