Build a Nutritional Power BI Dashboard in a few minutes

Most websites that offer Nutrition Facts and Food data lookup functionality seem to offer a top down, food driven search function. First you select or search for a food and they return the nutrition facts for your selection. I was looking for the opposite and I couldn’t find it. Thanks to Power BI, I was able to build one in minutes, here’s how I did it…

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Using Power BI to replace a legacy desktop application

GrainSelectorTool

Over a decade ago I had the pleasure to create a small desktop application for Chammas Cutters, this was the Grain Selector tool pictured above, and it helped their clients quickly determine how much gas-generating grain to use in the application of their chemical cutter tool.

While pretty basic (and written in it) the desktop application served a good purpose for the past 10 or so years. Prior to the desktop application, clients would have to resort to a rather bulky and complicated spreadsheet-type catalog tables, which can be more time confusing and can lead to human error.

Now that it needed to be improved or rewritten, I decided to replace it with a Power BI report that took just a few hours to create. Here’s why I chose that path:

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We ❤ Power BI so much we created a custom visual

About a year ago (March 2020) We needed a line chart that can do the following:

  • Allow the viewer of the report to change the Y axis scale on the fly
  • Allow the X axis to be placed near the top of the chart
  • Have the ability to invert the Y axis*

When we started, we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we searched first but couldn’t find a chart on the App Source marketplace that could do all of these thing I listed above*. So we started creating our first custom Power BI Chart Visual: CHARTURO

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Power BI Small Multiples Preview Feature

A new Small Multiples visualization feature has been released for public preview in Power BI. I was thrilled to see this first announced on the roadmap and am looking forward to putting it through its paces now that it is out in preview.

“Small Multiples” use multiple similar views to show different partitions of a dataset. Small multiples are sometimes called trellis or grid charts and until now, you have had to use custom visuals or some SVG tricks to get the functionality in Power BI. Continue reading “Power BI Small Multiples Preview Feature”

Use Power BI to Monitor Your Oil Storage Capacity with DAX Moving Averages Excluding Zeros

Productioneer has an extensive paginated report library for our customers to utilize. We have everything from simple data exports to paginated reports that highlight variances and trends.

One of the reports we have had in our library for quite a while, is the Tank Stock report. The user selects a day and the report returns the tank stock and tank production for each tank in the organization for the selected day. It aggregates the stock and production at the tank, battery, field, and organization level and provides the tank strappings (feet and inches) for each tank.  It is a standard and widely used report and I know it has not had any significant changes requested to it for at least 3 years.

Suddenly, without any warning, drastic changes in the market caused everyone to take a closer look at their storage capacity. We were receiving requests from multiple clients to add more analytics to the Tank Stock report. Continue reading “Use Power BI to Monitor Your Oil Storage Capacity with DAX Moving Averages Excluding Zeros”

Power BI Line Chart with interactive log & linear scales

As an end-user of a Power BI report, a chart that looked great at first might look not so great once you start applying filters or using slicers. Very large values in the data might throw off the scales and now your line chart might be suddenly all squeezed at the top or the bottom. Does any of the above sound familiar?

EDIT: There is a newer version of this custom visual chart, which is now called CHARTURO and is published to the Power BI AppSource Marketplace, you can read about it here and get it from the Marketplace here

Usually it’s the report designer who has all the power, this article is about giving more power to Power BI end users…

End users’ ability to change the scale, appearance or formatting of that chart is limited. That’s why I started creating the Mi4 Line Chart Power BI custom visual that lets you switch scales on the fly, and eventually have more overall control of the visual without having to edit the report.

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Processing the RRC Data in the Cloud with Azure Functions

As we wrote about earlier this month, the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) released a treasure trove of data freely available to the public on their site. It was like Christmas in the Mi4 office. After we sang some carols and drank some hot chocolate, we realized that there was so much data. We didn’t know where to start.

Christmas in September

As my colleague @Talal wrote last week, we decided to get Lat/Long coordinates for every Texas well. In his post, he explained, there are many use cases for this data, so it seemed like an excellent place to start.

In this post I will go over my contribution to the exercise: creating a serverless function to process data in blob storage. Continue reading “Processing the RRC Data in the Cloud with Azure Functions”

TX RRC OData Feed – Intro

In this series of articles we will take the RRC data from the SQL database and serve it via an OData REST API and show how we did it.

The series will consist of 3 parts:

  • Part 1: Creating the OData REST API in Visual Studio using Entity Framework Core and C#
  • Part 2: Setup Continuous Integration and Delivery for automated build and release pipelines to publish to Azure using Azure DevOps
  • Part 3: Offering the API to the public via a secured Azure API Management gateway and developer portal

Sounds like a lot…I know, so if you want to fast forward to the end and start testing the API and the data just continue reading…you should be up and running in under 5 minutes.

Continue reading “TX RRC OData Feed – Intro”