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«February 2016»

Power BI Publish to Web for Anonymous Access is Here

Earlier this week on Wednesday the Microsoft Power BI made an incredibly exciting announcement and released Power BI “publish to web” as a preview feature. This is HUUUUGE news! This was probably the top requested feature and its finally here thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Microsoft Power BI team!

Read Getting Started with R Visuals in Power BI

Power BI “publish to web” allows you to easily expose a Power BI report to the world through an iframe that can be embedded wherever you like.

To publish your Power BI report to the web, log into your Power BI site.

Find the report that you want to share and click File in the top left.
Power BI publish to web

You’ll see a message pop up box similar to below. Click the yellow button to create the embed code.
Power BI publish to web preview

This is where you’ll see a very important warning!
WARNING: Reports that you expose through the “publish to web” feature will be visible to everyone on the internet! This means NO AUTHENTICATION is required to view the report that is embedded in your application.
warning 2

Once you do that, you’ll receive an embed code that you can then use to expose your Power BI report within your blog as seen below!

As you can see the report maintains all the interactivity features of Power BI. And as your Power BI report updates and changes, those changes will be reflected in your embedded Power BI reports!

Pretty awesome!

Additional Resources

Read the Power BI “publish to web” announcement here.

Read the Power BI “publish to web” documentation here.


Let me know what you think of this feature or if you have any questions. Leave a comment down below.

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Non Empty vs NonEmpty

Hey everyone, in this blog I want to address a very common MDX Question. What is the difference between the NON EMPTY keyword and NONEMPTY function? To take it a step further which one should you use?

Non Empty keyword VS NONEMPTY Function.

The big difference between the NON EMPTY keyword and the NONEMPTY function is when the evaluation occurs in the MDX. The NON EMPTY keyword is the last thing that is evaluated, in other words after all axes have been evaluated then the NON EMPTY keyword is executed to remove any empty space from the final result set. The NONEMPTY function is evaluated when the specific axis is evaluated.

Should I use NON EMPTY keyword or NONEMPTY function?

Ok Mitchell, so you told me when each of these are evaluated but really you haven’t told me anything up until this point. Can you tell me which one I should use already? Well, unfortunately, it depends. Let’s walk through an example of each using the BOTTOMCOUNT function.


In this example I’m returning the bottom ten selling products for internet sales. Notice that I have returned all products that have no internet sales, this is not necessarily a bad thing, maybe you want to return products that don’t have sales.


However if you don’t want to return these products then we can try using the NON EMPTY keyword. In the below example you can see the results when I add NON EMPTY to the ROWS axis.


WHOOOAAA, what happened?? A lot of people would have expected the results here to show the bottom ten products that DID have sales. However, that is not the case, remember that I said the NON EMPTY keyword is evaluated LAST after all axes have been evaluated. This means that first the bottom ten selling products which have $0 in sales are first returned and then the NON EMPTY keyword removes all that empty space from the final result.

BOTTOMCOUNT function with NONEMPTY function.

So let’s try this again, if you want to return the bottom ten products that had sales then we must first remove the empty space before using the BottomCount function. Take a look at the code below:


In this code we first remove the empty space before using the BOTTOMCOUNT function. The result is we return the bottom ten products that had internet sales. Once again neither one is right or wrong here it just depends on what you want in your final result.

NON EMPTY Keyword vs. NONEMPTY Function – Performance

There is a very common misconception that the NONEM

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Answers to Advanced SSIS Interview Question

  • 7 November 2009
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 57540

Last week I wrote a set of Advanced SSIS Interview Questions.  Here are the answers I came up for these.  Of course you may have some variation of what I have and I would love to hear how you would answer these.  Feel free to email me how you would answer them. 

I’ll skip the demonstrate/whiteboard part of the questions.

1. Demonstrate or whiteboard how you would suggest using configuration files in packages.  Would you consider it a best practice to create a configuration file for each connection manager or one for the entire package?

There should be a single configuration file for each connection manager in your packages that stores their connection string information.  So if you have 6 connection managers then you have 6 config files.  You can use the same config file across all your packages that use the same connections. 

If you have a single config file that stores all your connection managers then all your packages must have contain the connection managers that are stored in that config file.  This means you may have to put connection managers in your package that you don’t even need.

2. Demonstrate or whiteboard how checkpoints work in a package.

When checkpoints are enabled on a package if the package fails it will save the point at which the package fails.  This way you can correct the problem then rerun from the point that it failed instead of rerunning the entire package.  The obvious benefit to this is if you load a million record file just before the package fails you don’t have to load it again.

3. Demonstrate or whiteboard using a loop in a package so each file in a directory with the .txt extension is loaded into a table.  Before demonstrating this tell which task/container accomplishes this and which enumerator will be used.  (Big hint on which task/container to use is that it requires and enumerator)

This would require a Foreach Loop using the Foreach File Enumerator.  Inside the Foreach Loop Editor you need to set a variable to store the directory of the files that will be looped through.  Next select the connection manager used to load the files and add an expression to the connection string property that uses the variable created in the Foreach Loop.

4. Demonstrate or whiteboard how transactions work in a package.

If transactions are enabled on your package and tasks then when the package fails it will rollback everything that occurred during the package. First make sure MSDTC (Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator) is enabled in the Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Component Services. Transactions must be enabled not only on the package level but also on each task you want included as part of the transaction. To have the entire package in a transaction set TransactionOption at the package level to Required and each task to Supported.

5. If you have a package that runs fine in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) but fails when running from a SQL Agent Job what would be your first guess on what the problem is?

The account that runs SQL Agent Jobs likely doesn’t have the needed permissions for one of the connections in your package. Either elevate the account permissions or create a proxy account.

To create a proxy account you need to first create new credentials with the appropriate permissions. Next assign those credentials to a proxy account. When you run the job now you will select Run As the newly created proxy account.

6. What techniques would you consider to add auditing to your packages?  You’re required to log when a package fails and how many rows were extracted and loaded in your sources and destinations.

I like to create a database that is designated for package auditing. Track row counts coming from a source and which actually make it to a destination. Row counts and package execution should be all in one location and then optionally report off that database.

There are also third party tools that can accomplish this for you (Pragmatic Works BI xPress).

7. What techniques would you consider to add notification to your packages?  You’re required to send emails to essential staff members immediately after a package fails.

This could either be set in the SQL Agent when the package runs or actually inside the package you could add a Send Mail Task in the Event Handlers to notify when a package fails.

There are also third party tools that can accomplish this for you (Pragmatic Works BI xPress).

8. Demonstrate or whiteboard techniques you would use to for CDC (Change Data Capture)?  Tell how you would write a package that loads data but first detects if the data already exists, exists but has changes, or is brand new data for a destination.

If for some reason you’ve avoided using a whiteboard to show your ideas to this point then make sure you start on this question! For small amounts of data I may use the Slowly Changing Dimension.

More often than not the data is too large to use in such a slow transform. I prefer to do a lookup on the key of the target table and rows that don’t match are obviously new rows that can be inserted. If they do match it’s possible they are updates or duplicates. Determine this by using a conditional split comparing rows from the target to incoming rows. Send updates to a staging table that can then be updated in an Execute SQL Task.

Explain that putting updates in a staging table instead of updating using the OLE DB Command is much better for performance because the Execute SQL Task performs a bulk operation.

9. Explain what breakpoints are and how you would use them.

Breakpoints put pauses in your package. It’s a great tool for debugging a package because you can place a breakpoint on a task and it will pause the package based on execution events.

A reason in which I have used breakpoints is when I have a looping container and I want to see how my variables are changed by the loop. I would place a watch window on the package and type the variable name in. Set a break point on the container the stop after each iteration of the loop.

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