Backing up and using version control systems are real things we should consider to save us from that next crash that is likely to occur
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote this almost 6 years ago and it was last updated almost 6 years ago.
PowerBI and Power Query are becoming powerful tools I use for everyday data analysis and is quickly replacing Excel. Previously I would spend almost all my time in Excel/VBA performing my data analysis. Particularly with tools including Pivot Tables, PowerPivot and Structured Table Referenced summation.
M-lang has revolutionised this with it's modern take on structured data analysis.
And with modern languages and modern applications such as PowerBI and Power Query you should be safe to assume there would be modern tooling. You would be wrong. With a focus on end user consumption of information, PowerBI and it's M-Lang fall short of giving the developers a modern IDE, any form of version control and a weak copy/paste system if you want to share queries across workbooks or perform backups.
So below is my workflow for filling these gaps and the frustrations I experience when doing this.
For my version control system I use Git
For my cloud repository I use Github
For my Windows based command line I use GitBash
For my Text Editor I use Github's Atom (running on ElectronJS)
I make sure to have my Git configuration file in place as GitFlow is unavailable on Windows (or at least I haven't figured it out)
I'll be sure to create a new directory for each project and initialise Git within that directory. I'll add to that directory a .pbix or .xlsm (if I am using PowerQuery) and then structure the directory as follows:
I'll also create this directory structure inside the Query Editor of my PowerBI or Power Query file.
Life then becomes a matter of:
Copy from Explorer and Paste into Query Editor
Make Changes in the PowerBI Query Editor
Copy from the Query Editor and Paste into Explorer
git add . git commit -m "Made change x" git push origin master
By following this pattern I am sure to avoid a few issues including:
.pbixtemplate files in a directory I call
git checkout master, open the file, refresh, publish, save,
git checkout developand go back to working on improvements)
Things that would make this easier:
I know a lot of changes are in the works and I am very happy with the monthly release cycle. I don't believe many people in the community are using modern version control systems, no one supports the ideas on the UserVoice site or they already have a better way than I do to do all of this.
I'd be interested to hear from others if you are using a version control system (even if it is a timestamp copy of the file) or if you have any advice on management of queries across workbooks. Really struggling to hit a state of flow in my PowerBI development workflow.