Custom Visualizations for Power BI

When it comes to enterprise data visualization, Power BI?has been leading from the front. It not only allows you to create great visualizations from your datasets, transforming the way you spot trends and make decisions to move forward, it also provides a platform for developers to extend its capabilities. The Power BI REST API?has been available for a while now. You can use it to retrieve datasets stored in Microsoft Azure and then create visualizations that suit your needs. You can also add the visualizations to your ASP.NET web application hosted in Azure, making the visualizations available to a bigger group of your target audience. The Power BI team has taken a leap forward with the announcement of the availability of extensions in the form of Power BI Visuals.

The Power BI visuals project provides a set of visualizations that you can use to extend the capabilities of Power BI. The 20-odd out-of-the-box visualizations are ready to use with default capabilities of Power BI such as selection and filtering. The visuals are built using D3.js, but you also have the choice of leveraging Web GL, SVG, and other graphical technologies. The project also provides the framework for you to build and test the visualizations. Everything is compiled down to JavaScript running on all modern browsers. The project also contains a playground?to demonstrate the capabilities. You can run the project using Node.js, however you would also need Visual Studio 2013 (or above) and TypeScript 1.4 for Visual Studio to execute the sample solution.

Once you have cloned the repository from GitHub, you can use the npm install? command to install the development dependencies. If you also want to test the visualizations you would need the Chutzpah?JavaScript test runner and Jasmine-JQuery?to be placed in the srcclientsexternals hirdpartyjasminejquery? folder inside the repository. You can then use the npm test? command to test.

The PowerBI visualization lifecycle includes three methods on the IVisual? interface that the project provides.

  1. init?method when the PowerBI visual is first created.
  2. update?method, whenever the host has an update for the visual.
  3. destroy?method, whenever the visual is about to be disposed.

A cheer meter implementation has been provided here?as an example to demonstrate the Power BI visual extensions.

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