One of the great new features of the July release was the ability to now get all of the Power BI Custom Visuals from within Power BI. I had a bookmark to get the visuals from the Office Store, but it always seemed kind of a kludgy solution. Personally, I liked the visuals better when they were on the Power BI website prior to March of 2017. The filters worked better and they also included a sample file. Now I have a different and more technical reason to not like the visuals in the Office Store, some of the Power BI Custom Visuals are not there.
Some Power BI Visuals Are Not in the Office Store
This week I decided to do a demo using the Aquarium custom visual. As readers of my blog know, I have used the custom visual before, but it has been a while and I have changed PCs since then. No worries I can always go download the visual from the store, right? Wrong. The aquarium visual is not available on the new store. Neither is Image Viewer, if one is looking to add that into your latest Power BI report it is not available. What happened?
So Long and Thanks for All of the Fish
I found out from Adam Saxton b | t that moving Power BI custom visuals was not the simple cut and paste process that I had always assumed that it was. The people who write custom visuals had to re-write them. What’s more unlike when the custom visuals were housed on the Power BI Website, custom visual creators also had to pay $25 to register or $99 for their company. This means that some custom visuals may never appear in the store as the people who created them aren’t willing to pay money to give them away.
If you have the custom visuals, or as in my case you know someone who can give you a copy of a Power BI custom visual which was published prior to the move over to the Office Store, the visual will still work when you upload it to the service. I have also been told that Microsoft is working on adding the aquarium visual to the Office Store so at some point it will again be available for download. For those who have noticed that the Box and Whisker custom visual is not the same as the previous version, I doubt they will be able to download the old one. If they can find someone to give it to them, it will still work.
If I do find out when the Aquarium visual will be available from the store again, I will update this post. Until then, if there is a visual you want, I would try asking on Twitter, as that worked for me.
****UPDATE: On August 4, 2017 the Enlighten Aquarium is now available again! Here’s a link to the Office Store.
Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur
Microsoft has in the past few months increased the support for R Visuals in Power BI. In the July release, Power BI Service started displaying interactive visuals and in October, six R visuals were made
available in Power BI which do not require any knowledge of R. Six visuals is a far step away from the wide number of visuals available in R. According to the Comprehensive R [CRAN] as of today there are 9557 packages available for R, and that does not count all of the packages on GitHub.
R Packages Supported in the Power BI Service
According to a September 8th post on the Power BI Blog, there are currently 352 R packages supported in the Power BI Service. For those of you wondering if your favorite R library is included (yes dplyr, ggplot2 and cluster are there) I have included the list of packages here.
I hope that some day that this list becomes much longer, but it is a good start. If your company has lots R visuals and you wish to migrate them to Power BI, chances are some of the libraries you are using are not here. If you are interested in having your library added to the list of 352, go to the Ideas page of Power BI and request that your library be added, as Microsoft I know looks at this page to determine what to release in the future. Someone has requested that igraph be added, and since it hasn’t received a lot of votes yet (hint) it is probably low on the priority list.
Release Plans for Additional R Library Support in Power BI
In reviewing the Power BI documentation online, it is not known what Microsoft’s plans are for future R packages. Does Microsoft plan on adding a lot more in the future? Will new libraries be added as part of upcoming releases? All questions where the web presently does not provide answers.
The current package support in Power BI does provide the R developer with a method to more securely and widely distribute R visualizations. In my upcoming posts I will review how to use the six R visualizations which do not require R and also how to use R with Power BI.
Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur
*UPDATE* The Power BI Update team has resolved this problem. To read about how Power BI Works now, check out my blog post Time to Use Custom Visualizations in Power BI.
After looking at some of the neat custom visualizations with Power BI, like the fish or something like the synoptic panel, I was sold. Time to start using these neat visualizations in my reports in Power BI. I rather regret the decision. Why? I’ve provided my reasons here.
Warning Messages Every Time the Power BI Report is Viewed
Neither I nor the client is interested in seeing a message which looks like something sketchy is in the report. Reports are supposed to answer questions not leave people wondering what is wrong every time they look at the report. The message looks like some kind of a legal cover just in case the code is really bad. Worse the report is broken as the visualization will not show until the yellow button is clicked. Yes I can click on the button and the message will go away and look like the first report image shown above with the fish, but not for long. Like this meme, the message will never go away forever, but appear every time I or someone else opens the report.
Good Luck Getting Rid of the Custom Visualization in Power BI
If you were smart enough to add the custom visualization to the Power BI using the Power BI Desktop, you are in luck. I don’t have that kind of luck. I loaded it to the web application. Why does it matter where you loaded the visualization? Because you can’t get rid of it in the web version. Check out this link from Microsoft and scroll down to this part “Once you import a custom visual you cannot remove it from the report.” Even when I got rid of any use in the report to the custom visualization the link to the custom visualization is still there. The warning message never goes away. If you added the custom visualization to Power BI Desktop, you are in luck as Teo Latchev has posted instructions for you to get rid of the visualization in Power BI Desktop. It’s not a straight-forward process, but at least there it is possible.
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
Until I have the ability to change my mind with design issues, which I though was sort of a prerogative, I’ll be staying away from custom visualizations. If I can’t turn the warning message off, I probably will never use custom visualizations. Hopefully you will read this before you had to do what I did, deleted the report and started over.
Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur