Microsoft announce Power BI general availability coming July 24

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Microsoft has announced that its Power BI tool will be generally available to businesses on July 24. New updates will continue to be added to the current Power BI preview over the course of the month, ending with the general rollout of the software.

Power BI Desktop – currently known in preview as the Power BI Designer – is a powerful new visual data exploration and interactive reporting tool available for free at PowerBI.com. It provides a free-form canvas for drag-and-drop exploration of your data and an extensive library of interactive visualizations, while streamlining report creation and publishing to the Power BI service.

The Power BI Desktop will be enhanced to include:

  • New visualizations including matrix, area, waterfall, and donut charts.
  • New visualization formatting such as color setting, titles, labels, and legends.
  • New data source support has also been extended to include Zendesk, Intuit Quickbooks Online, AppFigures, GitHub, Twilio, and SweetIQ.
  • Direct connection to SQL Server Analysis Services tabular models for data exploration. These and other new features will be available later this month.

The Power BI service has been enhanced with increased web-based authoring capability making it easier to create and format visualizations for dashboards and reports though the browser.

Power BI visuals open source project

Customers are no longer limited by the visualizations provided by their software vendor. Microsoft is opening its commercial grade visualization framework and visuals built on D3.js, enabling customers and partners to easily extend and build custom visuals. Along with the visualization framework we are also delivering a test suite and tooling. All of this is available today as an open source project on GitHub at https://github.com/Microsoft/PowerBI-visuals. In the future, customers will be able to bring these custom visuals into Power BI for use in their dashboards, reports and content packs.

New Power BI mobile app for Android

A Power BI mobile app for Android phone is now available, adding to the existing mobile support for iPhone, iPad, and Windows devices.

The full list of updates rolled out since preview and to be added before general availability includes:

  • Globally available and localized to 44 languages
  • New visuals – Tree Map, Combo Chart, Funnel, Gauges, Area Map, Waterfall, Donut, Area Chart, Matrix and others.
  • Significantly enhanced Power BI Desktop (renamed from Designer)
  • Native touch optimized mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows
  • Rich control over visual coloring, including conditional formatting in Reports
  • Visual formatting and customization  in Reports (Title, Background Color, Legend, Data Labels, and X/Y axis for Cartesian charts)
  • Support for Hyperlinks in Reports and report tables
  • Report publishing directly from Power BI Desktop to the PowerBI.com service
  • New styling, look and feel
  • Simple and categorized Get Data Experience
  • A dozen ISVs delivered content packs for Power BI, providing rich, out-of-the-box reports and dashboards for a variety of popular business services (Acumatica, appFigures, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, QuickBooks Online, SQL Server Database Auditing, SweetIQ, Twilio, UserVoice, Visual Studio Online)
  • Four direct query sources enabling users to build Power BI reports and dashboards without the need to move data (Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, SQL Server Analysis Services, Spark on Azure HDInsight)
  • Easy import of CSV files
  • Support for connecting and refreshing from on-Premises data sources
  • Enhanced data modeling in Power BI Desktop  (Calculated Columns, Data Categorization, Smart DAX Formula Editor, 12 new DAX functions)
  • Enhanced data transformation and mashup capabilities in Power BI Desktop with ten new transformation functions
  • Direct report exploration over Analysis Services tabular model from Power BI Desktop
  • Building and publishing Organizational content packs
  • Power BI Groups to enable collaboration on a jointly owned set of datasets, reports and dashboards
  • Browser rendered Excel reports in Power BI
  • Power BI REST API
  • Support for real time dashboards over massive data streams through Azure Stream Analytics
  • Open source Power BI visualization stack to enable Developers to starting building custom visuals
  • Developer samples and test bed for getting started quickly using the REST API
  • New community forum site at community.powerbi.com
  • Many, many more small but impactful enhancements sprinkled all across the product

You can find out more details on the Power BI preview and release here.

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