At May 2, 2020 I bumped into a LinkedIn post from Alex Powers about a #30DQUERY challenge.
On my road to learn more about Power BI and searching for challenges to learn how to use the tool I was like “lets join this challenge”.
My interest in Power BI and my past track
In the first quarter of 2019 I followed the Microsoft Data Science Track and one of the 11 courses was analysing data with Power BI. That is when I fell in love with the program.
I went looking for more information. I got myself into a weekly online challenge to visualise a given dataset, with www.makeovermonday.co.uk. They were fun and I learned a lot. I went into the direction of how to visualise the data in a dashboard in a nice and need way. #StoryTelling with data, I wanted to know more about.
During visualisation I realised I sometimes needed to change the given dataset. So, I learned how to add columns, measurement and I started to learn DAX from www.sqlbi.com.
When I saw this #30DQUERY challenge on LinkedIn I was like, I know what queries are and I want to do a Power BI based challenge. Get to know people who use the tool, learn from them. So lets jump in.
Since March 2020 I have a new job. This employer is using Business Objects and BI Publisher, two new tools for me. So the interest in Power BI is personal.
The first day’s
Import a dataset via the SQL-server, not all columns are needed, new columns need to be made and filters applied. Use the Power Query Editor to shape the dataset in a way that you want it to load.
Not to difficult with the knowledge I have built up with DAX.
The first 14 days I wrote blog posts about my experience, see www.kiwimaori.nl. After that the challenge became more time consuming, more difficult and I needed to check into other submissions to find out how to use the GUI or to write code.
Questions during the first day’s
- Alex is talking about query folding; I know query and I know what folding is. But what is it when these two words are used a 1 expression?
- Why is the Power Query Editor giving me code’s I don’t know when I start typing DAX-code?
Time to do a google search to find some answers.
Started with the playlist form Alex called An Introduction to Power Query M
Found a You Tube movie from Pragmatic Work about the Power Query Editor and on May 18 there was a live webinar about Query Folding by Nicky van Vroenhoven and dataMinds. This all helped to find my answers.
- I found out that query folding means that the selection of the data happens in the DataBase and not in the engine of Power BI. So, it speeds up the loading of data.
- The Query Editor is not responding to DAX-code, because that language is not used in Power Query. In the back up part of Power BI you need the language M.
Oh why has that not been told in the Analysing with Power BI training. Because in that training, we also have been told how to import and change date with the GUI of the Power Query Editor.
Question about how to load more entities into 1 Query
I kept seeing in the answers that others loaded more than 1 entity into the same Query, while I had not a clue how to do that. So, halfway the challenge, I asked the question in twitter at the rest of the team. Steven Bitaxi gave my explanations and now I know how to do it. I even went back in time to correct some of the solutions, where I had been using merge and the folding had been broken because of that.
May 31, 2020, we had an online team Wrap up meeting organised by Alex. A group of us where online and we shared our experience for almost 2 hours. It was great to see each other and to hear the story’s and backgrounds.
I learned a new language. Power Query #M.
I learned that the more you can do outside Power BI, the faster the engine inside the application stays.
I can use the produced Native Query to build up my SQL skills, that I need during my job.
I met new people who I can talk to whenever I have Power BI questions.
Because I saw solutions in GitHub, I started to become more interested in GitHub and followed a lab GitHub training to see what is possible for me how to start using GitHub
I decide to blog not only on my own website, but post this as an article in LinkedIn.
Tip for trainers who introduce new people to Power BI
Introduce them to visualisation, DAX and to Power Query M. With visualisation people will fall in love with the tool. But with M they really can turn the magic on.
My next step.
I have not mastered all the challenges yet, so I will go back in time and look at each of them again together with the given answers of the #30DQUERY team mates. Thanks guys it was fun working and learning from you. Stay in contact and stay save.
Live long and prosper.