The October Power BI update in review

24 October 2022

The October Power BI update in review

This month Microsoft have released update 2.110.341.0 to Power BI. Including a wide range of features, this update promises to improve both the accessibility and performance of Power BI. We are particularly excited about the deployment history feature which will support development in Power BI.

Read on to discover the latest additions in this update, and our teams’ thoughts on their impact.

What’s new

Reverse stack order for stacked column charts

Summary: This new feature enables users to reverse the order in which the segments are rendered in stacked column and bar charts.
Column segments are usually drawn from the zero-line upwards, but the categories in legends are listed from left to right or top to bottom, which leads to the feeling that the order is “reversed.”

Our thoughts: This feature will be especially useful in helping users match the category groupings against vertically aligned legends.

Power BI Metrics – Roll ups

Summary: In this release of current and target roll ups, users now have the capability to set an aggregation of their submetrics to show in their parent metric. There are multiple aggregation types to choose from: sum, average, minimum and maximum values.

Roll ups will also work on connected values, provided that the submetrics are connected to data, the aggregations of the values will be taken and shown in the parent metric.

Our thoughts: This is a much-needed tool to avoid complex work arounds that were required up until now, and we expect that this will make it easier to manage any manual parent metrics.

Quick measure suggestions – experimental feature

Summary: This new experimental feature is a new way to help the creation of DAX measures using natural language rather than using templates or writing DAX from scratch.

After describing the measure you want to create, multiple DAX measure suggestions are generated and if one of the suggestions meets your needs you can add the measure to your model.

Our thoughts: This will be an excellent feature to help users create DAX measures when the specific DAX is unknown. It is worth noting, however, that this feature is still in the experimental preview stage, so the design and functionality may significantly change.

Relationship editing in the properties pane – Preview

Summary: You can now quickly edit relationships in the properties pane. This new feature sends minimal queries by having no data preview, and validating only when you apply changes. Additionally, multiple relationships can be edited at the same time by holding down CTRL to select multiple relationships and make changes.

Our thoughts: This will be a more streamlined experience when editing relationships and will particularly benefit big data models, especially in DirectQuery storage.

Deployment History

Summary: This new feature enables you to review all of your recent months’ deployments, and provides many critical details. This might include the target environment, the person who ran the deployment and the deployed items.

Our thoughts: Viewing the deployment history is a great new feature and will be particularly useful in helping users to track a pipeline’s deployment executions.

What’s changed

Pushing Top N filter to DirectQuery sources

Summary: Previously, when the TOPN function or a top N filter on a column from a DirectQuery source was used, all values of the columns would be retrieved and then the top N filter would be applied withing the DAX engine. In this release, top N filters are pushed to DirectQuery sources when possible.

Our thoughts: By changing the behaviour of this useful feature, we expect to see an overall improvement in performance, and these queries will run more efficiently.

Downloading a PBIX is now available for more scenarios

Summary: There are now multiple options available to download a report’s .pbix file. You can choose between downloading the report including the data, or downloading the report without data but with a live data connection instead.

Custom visuals API

The customs visual API has been updated; highlights include:

  • The ability to define modern format pane cards, sub-categories and new properties on custom visuals using the new API ‘getFormattingModel’.
  • New Identity filter API allows developers to create visuals that can filter categorical data.
  • The subtotal API has a new option which allows the visual to fetch the subtotal on top, before the rest of the data, or bottom, after all the data is fetched.
  • New custom sorting option for Power BI custom visuals. Before there were only two sorting options – default and implicit, but now the custom option gives developers more control.

Our closing comments

The changes introduced for October 2022 brings improvements for both users and developers, and the items discussed here are only the beginning of what’s in this release. Microsoft’s introduction of Deployment History will greatly support development, and the changes to the behaviour of top N filter will optimise performance and improve the experience for all.

We look forward to seeing how the current experimental and preview features develop in future updates.

Read more of our specialist Power BI insights

Get In Touch

We’re here to help. For any questions or enquiries you may have, get in touch with us here and one of our industry experts will respond as soon as possible.

Or call us direct on +44 (0) 20 3633 4510