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Trying to publish data - a bit of a rant....

Sorry PowerBI team but I have to say the experience is atrocious and this is going to be a bit of a rant.....  I'm just spent the last 5 hours fighting to try and do something which should be simple.... publish a report and then periodically update the data from a script running on my local machine.



  •  the "new look" UI doesn't seem to actually notice gateways until you refresh the entire page.
  •  the "new look" UI Test Connection button doesn't actually do anything
  •  the "scheduled refresh dialog" confusing claims that I don't have a personal gateway, and despite setting up a folder datasource seems to want to get permissions for individual files within that folder then promptly throws a useless "sorry Dave I can't do that" error when I try to connect to them.


Ok so then I give up on gateways and decide to just use OneDrive (Business)...

  •  PowerBi desktop seems too dumb to realise that if I get data from a csv in a local onedrive folder, it should really be using a onedrive URL
  •  so then I use "Web" datasource and and run into the issue where Desktop just claims it can't get access. (Fixed eventually after finding a *years-old* problem report that suggest I can go to Edit-queries and fiddle the data source to ask me to enter my credentials again) Here's a suggestion... the web version has an idiot-proof "datasource from OneDrive" button.  Did it not occur to you to add one in the Desktop app to match it? 😞

Hooray - now I can create a report and publish it.  This bit actually works.  Now to test that data sync works....

  •  Fire up excel, open the synced version of the csv , make a few changes, save again (after suffering Excel's incessant complaints that it really doesn't like CSVs)
  •  Wait a bit... hmm no sync.... find the "refresh now" button in datasets and hit it.  Wait some more.... no sync.
  •  Eventually come across this link (amongst what seems like a dozen similar but subtly different takes on PowerBi data synchronisation...)   which contains this gem...



Be cautious in how you handle file management on OneDrive.
When you set a OneDrive file as the data source, Power BI references the item ID of the file when it performs the refresh,
which can cause issues in some scenarios. Consider the scenario where you have a master file A and a production
copy of that file B, and you configure OneDrive refresh for file B. If you then copy file A over file B, the copy
operation deletes the old file B and creates a new file B with a different item ID, which breaks OneDrive refresh.
You should instead upload and replace file B, which keeps the same item ID.



 So basically, any time I copy over my locally synced file or simply recreate it using a script, I'm actually getting a new file with a different ID and PowerBi can't cope with that.  Seriously.... wth?  Did you stop to ask yourself how that was supposed to work for people rebuilding their spreadsheets from scratch and xcopying them across to OneDrive?  Here's another suggestion .... by all means use the ID but if you can't resolve that, look for a file with the same path as the one that disappeared!  That really can't be too hard right? 😉 


... edit after further investigation...


Hurrah - it appears this is wrong but the fact it isn't is obscured by the fact that the "Refresh Now" action besides the dataset doesn't actually refresh immediately but instead has a lag of around 5 minutes between the time that my PC thinks the file has synced and the time that changes reach the web app..    So in summary, a "normal" file operation to rewrite/copy over the file in your local OneDrive folder _is_ effective but you need to be patient to see the changes....


So at this stage I've pretty much given up for the day (though will come back tomorrow to figure out how I might copy new data to the file without trashing the ID) but I'll just say you managed to convert someone who was initially excited about the possibility of using PowerBi shared reports to someone who regards the whole experience as thoroughly unpleasant. 


One final suggestion (a serious one) ....  PowerBI is an application I want to love - it can really do some impressive stuff  (I generally use it for local data exploration) but so much of the experience is an exercise in frustration - probably more so than any other MS product I've used.   I'd genuinely urge you to conduct some user-studies and watch people trying to use this thing for real to perform tasks they don't already know how to do.  I think you might find it eye-opening....



Status: New
Community Support

Hi @neilmacmullen


I would suggest you create a support ticket to let engineers look into the issue on your side. 


Support Ticket.gif


Best Regards,
Qiuyun Yu

Frequent Visitor

Hi Qiunyn.  I'm not sure a support ticket is really appropriate here - all the issues are "resolved" in the sense that I've worked through them.  The general "problem" is that poor usability which I wanted to highlight to the PowerBi team.  Whether they read this forum is unknown to me but the "Feedback" link on the web app points here so it seems to be the sensible place to post! 🙂