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JimKingPowerBI
Advocate II
Advocate II

Limitations of Power BI on Report Server... Be Advised...

I’ve realized a lot of limitations of using Power BI on Microsoft's Report Server, and I want others to be aware of the following challenges:

 

  • Can’t create reports in the browser
  • There are no dashboards
  • There are no datasets, so no sharing between reports
  • Can’t create content packs
  • Can’t analyze in Excel
  • Can't have many-to-many relationships
  • No quick insights
  • No data alerts
  • No full-screen mode
  • No R visuals
  • No preview features
  • Less updates and improvements
  • Some custom visuals from the Microsoft Power BI Community do not work

It really seems as though Microsoft Report Server was designed for SRSS, and Power BI is only an afterthought. It’s so bad that I may recommend that we don’t use it and we continue with the cloud service. Yes, even with the Power BI Pro license requirements for consumers of private content.

 

Hopefully Microsoft is listening and will integrate Power BI into Report Server to a level that it is useful and sustainable. (not holding my breath) Until then, please, be advised to responsibly evaluate your investment into this makeshift solution. I've spent a considerable amount of time learning this valuable lesson.

10 REPLIES 10
Jarrod
Frequent Visitor

Is there a list of supported custom visuals? Seems to just be trial and error at this point.


@Jarrod wrote:

Is there a list of supported custom visuals? Seems to just be trial and error at this point.


No, custom visuals are developed by third parties. What you should find documented is the max version of the Custom Visual API. If you check the change log for PBIRS it says that the May 2021 release supports v3.5.0 of the Custom Visual API. Therefore any visuals built for that version or earlier should work. 

 

The only problem at the moment is that I believe there was a recent update to the custom visual API in the cloud version of desktop so a lot of the recent releases of custom visuals may not work with Report Server if they have been updated to that. So trying an older version of any visuals that do not work might be an idea.

 

Worst case when they do the Sept release of Report Server they should update to the current custom visual API level and the existing visuals should start working.

Jarrod
Frequent Visitor

Thanks @d_gosbell. Apologies for silly question. Could you please advise where I can find the API version for the visuals? Is it possible to find older versions of visuals? I have tried a number already and although they say succesfully imported into Power BI desktop, none actually show up.

 

Cheers


@Jarrod wrote:

Thanks @d_gosbell. Apologies for silly question. Could you please advise where I can find the API version for the visuals? Is it possible to find older versions of visuals?


No need to appologise, this is not a silly question. Unfortunately because most of the producers of custom visuals are targetting the cloud version of Power BI  they don't consistently publish the API version they are targetting. Some do, some don't and sometimes you might find a mention in their release notes about "updating to apiVersion x.x.x" 

 

The one way to know for sure is to download the .pbiviz file to your machine. Then if you rename it to a .zip file you can open it up and there should be a folder that has a .pbiviz.json file in it. This is just a text file, if you open it in a text editor like Notepad or Visual Studio Code then search for the text "apiVersion" you will find the api version that the visual was developed against.

 

The following screenshot is from the HTML Content custom visual which is targetting 3.5.0

d_gosbell_0-1627688833027.png

 

Getting hold of older versions is also dependent on the publisher as I believe AppSource only shows the latest release.

 

To continue with the HTML content example from the AppSource listing for the visual I went to the Details + Support tab

 

d_gosbell_1-1627689090316.png

This took me to a webpage setup by the publisher of the visual and on that page they had a link to the github repo for that specific visual that had a Releases link on the right hand side where you could download older releases

 

d_gosbell_2-1627689232416.png

 

Other publishers like OKViz for example have a Versions link on the page for each custom visual. (see their Smart Filter Pro example below)

 

d_gosbell_3-1627689340008.png

 

Note I'm also assuming that the apiVersion is the issue here as I have seen this behaviour with the new Charticulator visual where it says it's been added but it does not appear. But it's also possible that you may be seeing a different issue.

 

We have setup a folder on our report server at work with a set of custom visuals that work with the version of Report Server that we are using so our users know there is a curated set of visuals that they know will work. We've also created a demo report with all of those in there so that they can see what each of them does.

Jarrod
Frequent Visitor

Great suggestion thankyou. Will definitely re-use the idea of report displaying all of the useable ones. I managed to get a couple of them to display after a while but they seem to have disappeared again. Could be a bug but I'll keep trying.

 

Thanks!

SmithaKMurthy
Frequent Visitor

Is the subreport feature supported in the on-premises solution?  


@SmithaKMurthy wrote:

Is the subreport feature supported in the on-premises solution?  


Yes it is. As is linked reports

Could you please provide some guidance or links on how this can be achieved? In SSRS, I was able to choose the subreport from the dropdown. However, in Power BI Report Builder, the browse option only takes me to Power BI Service.


@SmithaKMurthy wrote:

Could you please provide some guidance or links on how this can be achieved? In SSRS, I was able to choose the subreport from the dropdown. However, in Power BI Report Builder, the browse option only takes me to Power BI Service.


I would suggest using SSDT if you want to use subreports. Report Builder does not have the concept of a report project and it makes it harder to work with subreports and report actions.

d_gosbell
Super User
Super User


@JimKingPowerBI wrote:

.. I may recommend that we don’t use it and we continue with the cloud service. 

 


Power BI Report Server is never going to be as feature rich as the cloud service. If you can use the cloud service you definitely should stick with that.  

 

All of those limitations are pretty well covered in the documentation https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/report-server/compare-report-server-service I'm hoping that over time we will see some items removed from that list over time, but I would not expect PBIRS to ever reach feature equality with the cloud service.

 

 

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