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mkimsey Frequent Visitor
Frequent Visitor

Problem: Changing Data Structure

Hello PBI Team!

 

Thank you very much for creating and supporting the PowerBI product.  I have been able to put together some very useful POC dashboards and reports for our teams, but based on my below experience I'm having trouble understanding how we are expected to update/revise the structure of the data in order to make it a viable enterprise level solution. 

 

What I have come across so far on updating the structure of our data:

 

Related Links:

As a sample scenario

Lets first assume we would like to keep the same naming convention to make things easier for our end users.  We would confuse them if we name things with messy _V1 type suffixes or date naming conventions, so we would like to keep things clean. 

 

We will start by creating our PowerBI_8am.pbix file and Publishing it to create our Dataset1, Report1, and Dashboard1 and creating ContentPack1 to include our newly designed Report1 and Dashboard1

 

From there - one hour later, our end users report back that ColumnA needs to have a better name given to it for the team.  We would go into our PowerBI_8am.pbix file with Date Modified showing 8am, click on Data | Fields, then rename our ColumnA to ColumnB.  When we save the file PowerBI_8am.pbix and lets say date modified was now showing 9am

 

Now that our .pbix file is updated, we can check our OneDrive location and we see that the sync has not taken place yet.  We know this because our local file shows 9am (when we just saved it), and the OneDrive sync location shows 8am when we first created it and hour ago.  So we can import our file into OneDrive and we will see it has been updated to reflect the 9am latest version.  Good!  We now know our OneDrive folder in O365 reflects our change.  We prove this by opening the PowerBI_8am.pbix (reflecting the date modified of 9am) file, and ColumnB clearly lives. 

 

From there we go into the online Power BI application, we click "SCHEDULE REFRESH" or "REFRESH NOW" and...

 

  • Problem # 1 is we do NOT see the revised ColumnB name in the Dataset1
  • Problem #2 all Report and Dashboards are now broken.  Refreshing the browser does not resolve the issue.

 

Considering the above example, can you please help me understand how MS intends for us to manage the structure of the data, without having to re-develop all of the reports/dashboards each time.  I can't imagine that a user asking for a column to be renamed has not come up in the development of this solution, and would appreciate your feedback to help me understand if I am missing something here.  The changes we make upstream seem to break when pushed downstream. 

 

FYI- I have also tested how to rollback changes shown above (should this ever break in a live deployed solution) and have confirmed after the reports/dashboards have broken, I can replace an archived PowerBI_8am.pbix file with Date Modified showing 8am and given this is what the reports/dashboards were designed around, they are all fixed.  The lesson learned - save an archived copy of the .PBIX file into a saved folder location, that way any changes made to the .PBIX file, can be overridden by replacing the newly revised .PBIX file with an older "last known good" version of the .pbix file. This test also leads me to believe the Datasource in the PowerBI application really lives on it's own, and completely separate from the Datasource in the .PBIX file.

 

If MS would like us to avoid making changes to the data structure in the .PBIX file that is Imported, then shouldn't we have functionality to rename columns in the "PowerBI Web App" Dataset, Report, or Dashboard?

 

Thank you very much for your time and help!

 

 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
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Rémi Member
Member

Re: Problem: Changing Data Structure

Hi,

 

Effectively, a column renowned is not updated into the web version. This will probably be corrected in a next version.

At the moment, I advise you to do all of your visualisations into the desktop version. Then you publish your file and if the published version is not updated, you have just to delete the web version (reports and data set) and publish the new version.

After that, you have to pin up again graphics, value or others elements to the same dashboard.

 

As you can't import the file from the web version, I recommend you to do all of your modifications into the desktop version (or a future publish of the file may crush web modifications)

1 REPLY 1
Highlighted
Rémi Member
Member

Re: Problem: Changing Data Structure

Hi,

 

Effectively, a column renowned is not updated into the web version. This will probably be corrected in a next version.

At the moment, I advise you to do all of your visualisations into the desktop version. Then you publish your file and if the published version is not updated, you have just to delete the web version (reports and data set) and publish the new version.

After that, you have to pin up again graphics, value or others elements to the same dashboard.

 

As you can't import the file from the web version, I recommend you to do all of your modifications into the desktop version (or a future publish of the file may crush web modifications)