We are using Power BI Report server to publish Power BI Reports internally. And being in Australia we use a “sensible” date format of dd/mm/yyyy
However at a recent showcase with some of our end users they commented that our date format was “backwards” ie. mm/dd/yyyy
If you are using US regional settings on your PC you probably have not come across this issue, but for other regions this can be a problem.
Upon getting back to my desk I checked the report in Power BI Desktop and the date format was correctly picking up my local regional settings. I then opened the report in IE (which is what most of our End Users have as a default browser) and the report was still using the Australian format (dd/mm/yyyy):
However when opening the same report in Chrome or Firefox the date was using US regional settings (mm/dd/yyyy):
After doing some google/binging I found that both Chrome and Firefox have their own internal regional settings dialog and they both default to using US settings.
If you go into the Settings menu in Chrome and search for “Language” you will find the following, and it’s not just the default display language that matters the order is also important. Moving “English (Australia)” to the top of the list, then deleting cached images and files fixed this issue.
Clicking on the 3 dots to the right of the language gives you an option to move that language to the top.
Firefox has a very similar language dialog and the same fix works for it too.
Updated Multiple Query Detection to work with // Dax Query in addition to // SQL Query comments
Adding extra checks around QueryEnd timeout in Server Timings
Close the Trace Layout ribbon tab when all documents are closed
Made ‘Add New’ disabled in the Query Builder if the current model has no tables
Fixed #458 added docs and tooltip to explain memory sizes
Fixed #517 updated clipboard bindings to allow for copying from the View Metrics tabs
Fixed #539 error starting traces when using Roles or EffectiveUserName
Fixed bug in retry for ViewMetrics when there is an error reading statistical information.
Added configuration to read statistical data for VertiPaq Analyzer. Disable reading statistical data for legacy versions of SSAS. Added retry logic and log of warning if there is an error reading statistical data.
Fixed #525 F1 and Context Menu to open dax.guide for functions
After doing a fairly extensive round of testing we recently updated our production environment for our Power BI Report Servers to the Jan 2021 release. However unfortunately during the verification testing after the upgrade I found an issue on the production servers that had not occurred on any of our other environments.
The issue was that doing a scheduled refresh of a pbix file linked to an access file was failing with an error that “We’re sorry, an error occurred during evaluation.; Attempted to read or write protected memory” and searching for this error message only brought back hits from 2-3 years ago which were not very helpful.
The error reporting in the Report Server UI is often not very comprehensive, but even checking the RSPowerBI* logs in the Report Server log folder did not help all that much (I’ve included the relevant lines from an example of this error at the end of this post)
Initially I tried running a repair operation by re-running the Power BI Report Server installer, I could see that one of the things it checked was the Access 2016 Engine, but unfortunately even after doing a reboot the issue persisted.
Upon checking in “Add or Remove Programs” I found that the servers had both the Access 2010 and Access 2016 Engine runtimes installed. I thought this was a little odd since the 2016 version should supersede the 2010 version and these servers only run Power BI Report Server so it was not like there was other software that my have had specific requirements for the 2010 engine. So I did wonder if something had gone wrong with the registration of these 2 versions and somehow the server was expecting to run using the 2016 version, but was actually running using the 2010 version.
However upon checking our non-prod environments I found that they all had both versions installed. But by watching the installer I could see that the Jan 2021 release was definitely only installing the Access 2016 runtime. So as a test on one of our non-production environments I tried uninstalling both runtimes then only re-installing the Access 2016 Engine runtime (which I found by searching for “access 2016 engine download“).
I did not get prompted to reboot after doing the re-install of the Access 2016 engine so I simply did a stop and start of the Power BI Report Server using the Report Server Configuration Manager. After doing this refreshing one of my test reports using an Access file data source still worked. So since production was already in a broken state as far as Access refreshes were concerned I tried this same process on the production environment and this fixed our issue so we now have a fully operation install of the Jan 2021 release of Power BI Report Server.
For reference the full error message from the RSPowerBI log files is below:
2021-02-24 18:49:46.7357|ERROR|19|Error Processing Data Model Refresh: SessionId: b3c84c62-2cf0-4df0-b22c-fde90857c4b8, Status: Error Failed to refresh the model, Exception Microsoft.AnalysisServices.OperationException: Failed to save modifications to the server. Error returned: 'We're sorry, an error occurred during evaluation.;Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt. Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt. Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt. Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt. Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt.. The exception was raised by the IDbCommand interface. '. at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Tabular.Model.SaveChangesImpl(SaveOptions options) at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.AsServer.TOMWrapper.RefreshModel(Database database) at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.AsServer.AnalysisServicesServer.RefreshDatabase(String databaseName, IEnumerable1 dataSources, IEnumerable1 parameters, String clientSessionId) at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.WebHost.EventHandler.AnalysisServicesDataRefresh.RefreshDatabase(AsDatabaseInfo asDatabaseInfo) at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.WebHost.EventHandler.DataRefreshScope.<>c__DisplayClass34_0.b__0() at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.WebHost.EventHandler.DataRefreshScope.d__33`1.MoveNext()
If you’ve ever worked with Power BI Report server there is a handy button in the top menu that says “Edit in Power BI Desktop”.
And as you would expect this button will open the report you are currently viewing in Power BI Desktop where you can edit it. All in all a very handy button, particularly when you get sent a link to a report and get asked to help fix something or explain some data issue.
However recently I started seeing the following error stating “Server is not reachable” any time I tried to use this button
This is a bit strange as I’ve used this button many times before. So I tried going another way and using to File > Open in the Report Server version of Power BI Desktop and tried to open the report from the Report Server that way.
However I was again met with the same “Sever is not reachable” error which is not very helpful as I was definitely able to reach that server and view reports on it.
When this first happened I just went back to the tile view in the Report Server portal and chose the download option from the “…” menu on the report, then I was able to open the local copy and sort out the issue I had been asked to look at.
But today it happened to me again and I decided to do some digging to see if I could get to the bottom of this.
An initial solution
Doing some searches turned up a number of people hitting similar issues.
There was this one where the person was trying to connect using the webservice url instead of the portal url. But I knew that was not the issue in my case.
Then I stumbled across this one which suggested adding your credentials to the Windows Credentials section of Credential Manager. This actually worked for me, but I was not overly happy with this approach as in a few month time when my password expires I’d have to remember to come in here again and update my password. The more likely scenario would be that I would forget to do this and a few weeks later I’d realise that the “Edit in Power BI Desktop” button had broken again.
However while I was in the Credential Manager I clicked over to the web credentials and noticed the following interesting entry that started with SsrsSessionResourceKeyPrefix…
I knew that Power BI Report server was built on top of the old SSRS portal and when I expanded the entry it showed that these credentials had been saved by “Power BI”.
The Final Solution
Removing this entry and also removing the entry I just added to the Windows Credentials section fixed the issue properly. Now I don’t have to update a stored password and both the Edit in Power BI Desktop button and the File – Open option are both working as they should.
The following are some of the new features and improvements that you will find in v2.14 of DAX Studio
Blank Canvas Help Text
Help text has been added when the edit control is empty. This is designed to help people that are new to writing DAX queries. There are links to an article with information on writing DAX queries as well as a link to display the query builder. This help text will automatically fade away as soon as you start typing and once you no longer need it you can turn it off.
New Privacy Settings
There are new privacy settings now available in the options. We don’t recommend enabling these for general use, but if you are working with data of a highly sensitive nature and you need to ensure that DAX Studio does not send any information externally you can enable these options.
Note: DAX Studio never sends any data from your model externally.
However if the text of your queries contain sensitive information such as customer names or account numbers and you choose to use the Format DAX option that query text gets sent to daxformatter.com. And if you happen to suffer a fatal crash the crash reporter includes the option to send a screenshot and if you don’t untick the option to include the screenshot there maybe some data visible or some information in the query text.
So you as the user have complete control over any information that is sent externally. But if you work in a highly secure environment and you need to ensure that no accidental information leakage can occur then you can enable some or all of these options.
Enabled Discussions on the Github site
Discussions are a new feature on Github and this now gives us a place where people can ask questions or make suggestions without having to log a formal issue.
Multiple Queries Detected dialog
The “Multiple Queries Detected” dialog will appear when pasting in queries from Power BI Performance Analyzer that came from a Composite model. Such queries will sometimes have 2 queries where the second query is prefixed with a // SQL Query comment. The query after this comment will sometimes be SQL however if your model is a composite model over AzureAS or Power BI it might be in DAX.
New Server Timings Options
There are new options for Server Timings that help make the xmSQL text easier to understand. These new processing options are enabled by default and strip out internal IDs, Aliases and Lineage guids and highlight Formula Engine callback operations to make these events easier to understand
Other Miscellaneous Updates
Help Ribbon updates
Updating link in help ribbon to Analysis Services forum
Adding link to Discussions https://github.com/daxstudio/daxstudio/discussions
Query Builder moved out of preview status
Benchmarking moved out of preview status
Adding Query Builder documentation to daxstudio.org
Updating AdomdClient and TOM references to v19.14
Added retry logic when fetching Database and Model lists
#450 Database Last Updated Datetime is now shown in local time instead of UTC (and the timezone information is displayed)
Added keyboard short cuts in metadata pane to work with Query Builder
Fixed #445 defaulting the selected model to the base model not the first perspective
Fixed an issue with the trace layout options not displaying
Fixed a bug with swap delimiters feature and block comments
Fixed drag/drop of text not working within editor
Fixed #475 proxy auth error when entering AAD credentials
Fixed #485 Swap delimiters incorrectly affecting functions with periods in the name
Fixed #486 Define Measure not using Separator specified in Options
Fixed #497 Define Measures not working when connected to a model with active translations
Fixed #499 “Show Objects that Reference this Column” feature did not include table name.
Fixed #501 avoiding bug with EXCEPT function in Query Builder
Miscellaneous Crash fixes
In addition to the fixes listed above a number of other fixes have been made that should address some issues that came in via crash reports, but the majority of these reports were submitted anonymously. What this means is that for many of them it is impossible to verify that the fix has worked as we have no steps to reproduce the issue and the fix is based on assumptions and best guesses of the root cause of the issue.
If you are experiencing a regular crash or issue I would encourage you to open a bug on github so that I can help resolve your issues.
The next version of DAX Studio has just been released and you can get it from the home page at https://daxstudio.org
This release has actually ended up to be a bit larger than originally planned, but hopefully this means there will be something in here for everyone.
In addition to a number of bug fixes and smaller improvements, this version includes the following major features:
Native Excel output
Clipboard results target
New Options layout
View Metrics improvements
Query Builder improvements
Prompt before refreshing metadata
Export Data improvements
Read on for more detail about each of these.
This is one of the bigger features that hopefully no one will notice. I spent a few days re-architecting the internals of the connection management so that now every tab has it’s own ConnectionManager object and if a connection is broken for any reason the ConnectionManager will automatically attempt to re-connect to the same data source and database. This is particularly an issue for Azure Analysis Services and the XMLA endpoint for Power BI Premium where backend operations like deployments, scaling and model synch operations can cause sessions to be dropped. Whenever the connection is retried for any reason you will see a warning in the Output pane like the following.
If you see one of these warnings while you are doing anything involving performance tuning you should re-try the previous operation because at least part of the time would have been taken up by re-connecting to the data source.
Native Excel Output
As of v2.13 you can now output directly to a static XLSX file from the standalone version of DAX Studio (so no need to launch from the Excel add-in just to output data directly to an XLSX file). The existing csv export format was specifically optimized to work well in Excel, but I have heard that in the past people were sometimes using the Excel addin just to get output into a native Excel file. In addition this should be much more efficient on memory usage as the data gets streamed directly to the file and you do not need have to have Excel running.
To keep in synch with the Excel addin I have also added a “Linked” Excel output. This basically generates an ODC file with an embedded DAX query.
I had previously held off from implementing a native export to Excel as there was no good solution that did not involve generating the Excel file in memory before saving it to disk. But thanks to a new library called LargeXlsx it’s now possible for me to generate potentially huge files while maintaining a low memory footprint.
Although note that Excel files still cannot exceed 1 millions rows. That limitation is built-in to the file format.
Clipboard Output Target
In addition to the new Excel result targets we now also have a Clipboard target. When using this the results of any queries are sent directly to the Windows clipboard where you can paste them into another application.
New Options layout
Over the years I’ve added numerous settings to the options page in DAX Studio, but it’s now at the point where having everything visible on the one page does not work and it’s just too hard to find things. So I’ve re-built the Options page using a new framework that organises the settings into categories which can easily be browsed through and searched
View Metrics Improvements
There have been a number of small improvements to the View Metrics functionality in this release including:
Added a Loading indicator. There was one in the status bar, but the Metrics view has been aligned to show the same sort of “busy” overlay as the other windows do.
Fixed Sorting in View Metrics table view to do a nested sort and to sort Descending on first click
View Metrics – Fixed KB/MB/GB (it was lowercase, which is for bits not bytes)
Added Tooltips to most of the columns
Query Builder Improvements
The original filter patterns used by the query builder were copied from queries generated by Power BI Desktop and were in the form of
The Query Builder now also supports BETWEEN filters for dates and numeric columns and IN and NOT IN lists for text columns.
Prompt before refreshing
There is now an additional option in the automatic metadata refresh where you can ask DAX Studio to prompt before refreshing.
The Data Export feature will now check if the data source supports the TOPNSKIP function and will use that if possible to export data in batches of 1 million rows at a time. This should allow us to export massive data volumes without triggering out of memory errors. I was able to do a test exporting 120 million rows from Power BI Desktop which generated a 20 GB csv file on my laptop (with 16 GB of RAM) and during the export Power BI stayed at around 1 GB of memory usage and DAX Studio hovered around 300 MB of memory usage.
The default file export format has been changed to csv instead of tab delimited since csv is probably a more common format and handles things like embedded line breaks better.
Fixed #400 duplicate New option in customize Quick Access Toolbar
Fixed #401 unable to re-show Power BI Performance window after hiding it
Fixed #405 / #419 incorrectly trying to write external tools file when doing a non-admin install
Fixed crashes when right-clicking on certain tool windows
While I was writing my previous post I sent a question to Daniel who is the author of Tabular Editor, asking if there was a way of getting the connection details when Tabular Editor was launched from the External Tools. The idea was that I should be able to do everything Phil did in his original script from the Tabular Editor Advanced Scripting feature.
Within an hour he actually came back with an even better approach which he had just added to Tabular Editor. As of Tabular Editor 2.12.0 the database object in Tabular Editor now has 3 new helper methods.
void ExecuteCommand(string tmsl)
IDataReader ExecuteReader(string dax)
DataTable ExecuteDax(string dax)
DataSet ExecuteDax(string dax)
object EvaluateDax(string dax)
Update 30 Aug 2020 There was an issue with certain queries and the ExecuteDax method. This has now been fixed and Daniel has extended this method to return a DataSet (which can contain multiple DataTables) and he has also added the EvaluateDax method which can evaluate simple DAX expressions.
Also these methods are also exposed as static methods. What this means is that you can just call ExecuteReader(query) instead of Model.Database.ExecuteReader(query)
These let you run DAX or TSML scripts directly against a connected data model. The advantage of these methods is that you don’t need to do any searching for port numbers or loading additional libraries and they make use of the existing authenticated connection, so there is no need to re-authenticate to the data model.
So with a simple 14 line script and no additional tools or downloads you can generate a set of data driven measures for your model. Simply click run (1) and your new measures appear in your model (2) and once you save them they will appear in Power BI Desktop.
Below is the text version of the advanced script if you want to modify this to work in your environment. This script is just a tweaked copy of the main loop in the original one Phil posted with a few small syntax changes as the Advanced Scripting appears to use a slightly older version of the c# compiler which does not have some of the newer features like interpolated strings.
string query = "EVALUATE VALUES('Product'[Color])";
using (var reader = Model.Database.ExecuteReader(query))
// Create a loop for every row in the resultset
string myColour = reader.GetValue(0).ToString();
string measureName = "Sum of " + myColour + " Sales Amount";
string myExpression = "CALCULATE( SUM('Sales'[Sales Amount]), 'Product'[Color] = \"" + myColour + "\")";
Model.Tables["Sales"].AddMeasure(measureName, myExpression, "AutoMeasures");
If you are interested in more information on what can be done with the Advanced Scripting feature you can check out the documentation and the useful script snippets page. While you are there make sure to have a look at the Custom Actions as these are a great way to trigger generic scripts that you use on a regular basis.
I know a lot of BI developers that have strong skills in DAX, Power Query and SQL, but don’t often use C# and many of them don’t use VS Code and have not heard of nuget. So this made me wonder if there was a another way of doing the same thing with the tools that many BI developers already use like DAX Studio and Tabular Editor
I actually figured out a couple of approaches to achieving the same result as Phil. The first one uses the following 2 pieces of information.
Tabular Editor has a brilliant feature called Advanced Scripting which lets you run little pieces of C# code and is an excellent way of automating changes in your models. And in addition to being able to use the standard properties and methods Daniel has build a series of helpful “helper” methods like AddMeasure which has parameters for <Name>, <Expression> and <Folder>.
When you open DAX Studio from the External Tools menu and run this query you get output that looks like the following and you can selected the “ScriptExpression” column and copy that.
Then you open Tabular Editor from the External Tools menu. Click on the Advanced Scripting tab and paste in the output from the “ScriptExpression” column. Note this may include the “ScriptExpression” column header at the top which you will need to delete.
(note to self, I should add a “copy without headers” option to DAX Studio, there is an option for this, but it would be nice to add it to the right-click menu on the results)
Then when you click “run” (1) on the advance script, you will see a folder with all your new measures appear (2). You can then check that the expression has been entered correctly and click save (3) to make these appear back in Power BI Desktop.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series where I will show another technique for doing this.
I had an interesting request from a Data Scientist in our team recently. He’d been extracting some data from one of our tabular models, however he was having some trouble getting his predictive model working reliably.
We already had a query in the form similar to the following where we had a couple of group by columns, one or two filters and a handful of measures:
Up until this point we had been manually adding measures that we though may influence the behaviour we were trying to predict, but this was a slow, trial and error based process. So the Data Scientist rang me and said “You know what? Why don’t you just give me an extract with all the measures?”. “You do realise we have over 1,000 measures” I said, “because we have lots of time intelligence variations like Current Month, Previous Month, Month over Month variance, etc.” and . “That’s fine he replied, I can always ignore any that I don’t want or that are not significant – you can just do something like a SELECT * right?”.
So if you’ve ever written your own DAX queries you would know that you can do a query like the following to get all the columns in a single table
But that will not get you any measures, you have to list out the measures manually one, by one. At this point I knew that I really did not want to spend hours to hand type a query with over 1,000 measures so I starting thinking what options I might have for generating this query.
I knew I could probably build some sort of foreach loop in Powershell using AMO/TOM. Or I could maybe use the Advanced Scripting in Tabular Editor. But I also knew that I could easily get a list of all the visible measures by querying the $SYSTEM.TMSCHEMA_MEASURES or $SYSTEM.MDSCHEMA_MEASURES DMV’s using DAX Studio
After a bit of experimenting I ended up with the following expression which builds a list of all the visible measures in the model in the "Name", Expression format that is needed for SUMMARIZECOLUMNS
SELECT '"' + [Name] + '", ' as [Caption], '[' + [Name] + '],' as [Name]
WHERE NOT [IsHidden]
ORDER BY [Name]
Then I was simply able to paste in the output from this query after the filters in our existing query and run it – Job done.