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New Contributor
Posts: 450
Registered: ‎08-25-2016
Accepted Solution

calculate "around" a variable

I am attempting to use variables within a measure, but not getting the desired results.  I've looked around at all kinds of DAX reference material and can't figure out why this doesn't work.  I know there are other ways to accomplish why I'm trying to do, but I'd like to know specifically why this doesn't work.

 

Basically, I'm setting a variable and then trying to recalculate that variable within the same measure.  The recalculation doesn't work.

 

Data (table name is PD):

 

DtValue
1/1/2018100
1/2/2018200
1/3/2018250
1/4/2018300
1/5/2018

400

 

Dt has a relationship to a Date table (DateTab)

 

Creating a measure that finds the difference in Value from the previous day:

 

Delta = 
  var __TodayVal = SUM(PD[Value])
  var __PrevVal = CALCULATE(__TodayVal, PREVIOUSDAY(DateTab[Date]))
  var __Delta = __TodayVal -__PrevVal

return __Delta

Here is what I would expect

 

DtValueDelta
1/1/2018100 
1/2/2018200100
1/3/201825050
1/4/201830050
1/5/2018400100

 

But this is what I get

 

2018-12-19 11_44_01-new scratchpad - Power BI Desktop.png

I'm sure it has something to do with evaluation context inside the measure, but I'm wracking my brain to be able to explain it. I know I can work around it by creating multiple measures, but I'd like to know a concrete reason for why this can't be done in a single measure.

 

Thanks,

David


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AlB Super Contributor
Super Contributor
Posts: 1,166
Registered: ‎11-12-2018

Re: calculate "around" a variable

Hi @dedelman_clng

A variable in DAX is actually a constant. Unlike variables in other programming languages, once you declare a variable in DAX by assigning it a value, that value is immutable. Your variable __TodayVal in the CALCULATE for __PrevVal will not be affected at all by the filter argument.

   

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AlB Super Contributor
Super Contributor
Posts: 1,166
Registered: ‎11-12-2018

Re: calculate "around" a variable

Hi @dedelman_clng

A variable in DAX is actually a constant. Unlike variables in other programming languages, once you declare a variable in DAX by assigning it a value, that value is immutable. Your variable __TodayVal in the CALCULATE for __PrevVal will not be affected at all by the filter argument.

   

AlB Super Contributor
Super Contributor
Posts: 1,166
Registered: ‎11-12-2018

Re: calculate "around" a variable

@dedelman_clng

That is why you get the zero

__TodayVal and __PrevVal are exactly the same 

New Contributor
Posts: 450
Registered: ‎08-25-2016

Re: calculate "around" a variable

Hi @AlB - so what you are saying is that once __TodayVal is evaluated it is the value itself, not the code that populated it.  And applying a different filter context to a constant does nothing.

 

Thanks!

David

 

 

Super User
Posts: 2,205
Registered: ‎09-19-2016

Re: calculate "around" a variable

Hi @dedelman_clng,

 

In order to make this work you need to have your variable to be based on the context so it will move accordingly to your value in each line for this you should use redo your measure to this:

 

Delta =
VAR first_date =
    CALCULATE ( MIN ( Table1[Dt] ); ALL ( Table1[Dt] ) )


VAR date_selection =
    CALCULATE (
        MAX ( Table1[Dt] );
        FILTER ( ALL ( Table1[Dt] ); Table1[Dt] < MAX ( Table1[Dt] ) )
    )


RETURN
    IF (
        MIN ( Table1[Dt] ) = first_date;
        BLANK ();
        SUM ( Table1[Value] )
            - CALCULATE (
                SUM ( Table1[Value] );
                FILTER ( ALL ( Table1[Dt] ); Table1[Dt] = date_selection )
            )
    )

Explanation

First_Date = Used only to return blank on the first row, if place only the last part of the measure on the first row value of Delta will be the same as on the column value

 

Date_selection = This is a variable that calculates the maximum date for all dates below the row context so for january the second this measure give january first, and so on

 

After the return what I'm calculating is the sum for the current date (row context) and then picking up the Date Selection variable and get that specific day.

 

Having the measure like this will give you a variable based on row context and not a constant value, since I'm changing the context of the variable within itself.

 

The measure is also created in this way allows you to have leaps on your dates in order to always get the latest number and not have some lines with 0 or blanks and others with the full value, As you can see I go from january 5th to February 20 and the delta is calculated so if you have weekends or not continuous dates it will always return delta value for previous row.

 

dt.png

 

@dedelman_clng and @AlB sorry for entering in this discussion but the context of a measure can be change at different levels not only in the visuals, and the variables within the measures can themselve have a change in context based on the way you create them so the variables are not constants depends on the way you build them.

 

Regards,

MFelix

 

 



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AlB Super Contributor
Super Contributor
Posts: 1,166
Registered: ‎11-12-2018

Re: calculate "around" a variable

[ Edited ]

@dedelman_clng wrote:

Hi @AlB - so what you are saying is that once __TodayVal is evaluated it is the value itself, not the code that populated it.  And applying a different filter context to a constant does nothing.

 

Thanks!

David

 

 


@dedelman_clng

Yep. Exactly

You would need a measure instead for what you were trying to do.

AlB Super Contributor
Super Contributor
Posts: 1,166
Registered: ‎11-12-2018

Re: calculate "around" a variable

@MFelix
Good point. I guess it comes down to nomenclature, to what exactly your definition of a constant entails.
What I said, or meant to say, is that once the variable is assigned a value (at creation) its contents are immutable. I am referring here to each execution instance of a variable. An instance of that variable exists between the point where it is created/assigned a value (which happens simultaneously) and the point where it is "used up" through RETURN. 

When in a calculated column we have something like:

VAR CurrentID = 'Table'[ID]
RETURN
    CALCULATE (
        SUM ( 'Table'[Sales] );
        FILTER ( 'Table'; 'Table'[ID] < CurrentID )
    )



we'll have, for each row, a different instance of the variable CurrentID. I am limiting my definition of constant to what happens within a row, which is the effective existence of each instance of CurrentID. And I emphasized that aspect because it was the culprit
in the issue presented by @dedelman_clng   
 
You are extending the definition to encompass all execution instances. If you consider it so, it is true that each instance will (possibly) be created with a different value. But that value will be immutable during a particular instance's life.

Super User
Posts: 2,205
Registered: ‎09-19-2016

Re: calculate "around" a variable

[ Edited ]

Hi @AlB,

 

I agree with you and what you say, but one of the good things in DAX is that we can make changes of context within the measures themselves and not only considering the row context but also the table context, or any other, and you can create your own context that is different from the model or the visual you are using.

 

This make it's very dynamic and more flexible. But good remarks.

 

Regards,

MFelix



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AlB Super Contributor
Super Contributor
Posts: 1,166
Registered: ‎11-12-2018

Re: calculate "around" a variable

@MFelix

Cool. Thanks for making that point, as using the term constant might indeed lead to misinterpretation.  

Cheers

New Contributor
Posts: 450
Registered: ‎08-25-2016

Re: calculate "around" a variable

Thanks @MFelix - this makes sense. 

 

Looking at your code and explanation, it still looks like you're not "recalculating" the variable in a different context within the same call, which is what I was trying to accomplish. The solution you provide is very elegant and definitely much more flexible than assuming a continuum of days.

 

David