Wise Owl blogs written by Andy Brown (page 1 of 13)

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The most important changes made for the May 2017 Power BI Desktop update

Posted by Andy Brown on 17 May 2017

The May 2017 Power BI Update brings in a couple of nice new query transforms and some new chart features, but the big changes are still in preview mode.

A list of the updates made in the April 2017 update to Power BI Desktop

Posted by Andy Brown on 28 April 2017

This update includes some nice new features - for example, creating columns by example and changing chart axis titles. Read this blog for a full list!

This blog shows a clever way to annotate expression constraints in SSIS

Posted by Andy Brown on 27 April 2017

If you've added an expression constraint to control flow in a package in Integration Services, this blog will show you how to display what the constraint does automatically.

Tags:   SSIS | Control flow tasks

How to loop over the worksheets in an Excel workbook using Integration Services

Posted by Andy Brown on 21 April 2017

Follow this blog to learn how to use an SSIS package to loop over the worksheets in an Excel XLSX workbook, importing the contents of each.

Tags:   SSIS | Data flow

The main new features in the March 2017 update of Power BI Desktop

Posted by Andy Brown on 24 March 2017

This is a small update, although the new matrix tool which is currently in preview mode will be a big change.

Speed comparison of temporary tables against table variables

Posted by Andy Brown on 02 March 2017

When you're programming in SQL, you often have the choice of using table variables or temporary tables. This blog considers whether one method is substantially quicker than the other (spoiler alert: not really).

Tags:   SQL | Programming tables

Combine all the files in a folder into a single table using Power Query

Posted by Andy Brown on 21 February 2017

Sure, you can use Power Query (or Get & Analyze, as it's now called) to load and transform data, but did you know you can loop over all of the files in a folder, combining their data into a single set of results? This blog explains how to do this for CSV files, and gives a lead for how to proceed with Excel ones.

The new functions in Excel 2016, including IFS, SWITCH and TEXTJOIN

Posted by Andy Brown on 18 February 2017

Excel 2016 has a few interesting new functions! TEXTJOIN allows you to concatenate all the cells in a range, and IFS and SWITCH provide other ways to make choices.

Tags:   Excel | Formulae

Updates made in February 2017 to Power BI Desktop.

Posted by Andy Brown on 16 February 2017

A summary of the most important changes for Power BI Desktop users in the February 2017 update.

Power BI Desktop - January 2017 update

Posted by Andy Brown on 08 February 2017

A summary of the (small) changes in Microsoft's January 2017 Power BI Desktop update.

A list of one owl's 5 favourite system stored procedures in SQL!

Posted by Andy Brown on 03 February 2017

Everyone has a favourite system stored procedure (you do, don't you?). But five? That's the subject of this blog, anyway.

Tags:   SQL | Stored procedures

Wise Owl coding standards for T-SQL (the SQL dialect used in SQL Server)

Posted by Andy Brown on 01 February 2017

A blog setting out an approach to coding in SQL to ensure consistently high standards across your organisation.

Tags:   SQL | General

Want to be get at the file path for an Excel workbook easily? Here's how!

Posted by Andy Brown on 26 January 2017

This short blog explains how you can customise your quick access toolbar to display the path of the file that you are currently working on.

Tags:   Excel | General

Is the new(ish) FORMAT function in SQL Server slow?

Posted by Andy Brown on 16 January 2017

SQL Server 2012 saw the introduction of the T-SQL FORMAT function, making it easier to present dates nicely (no more remembering CONVERT arguments such as 103!). But is it too slow to be really useful? This blog aims to test this scientifically.

Tags:   SQL | Calculations

A summary of the Power BI Desktop Updates going back to November 2016

Posted by Andy Brown on 19 December 2016

This blog differs from the Microsoft update summary in two ways: it omits preview and obscure changes, but goes into more detail (and gives practical examples) on mainstream updates.

The main new features for BI workers in the November 2016 Power BI update

Posted by Andy Brown on 19 December 2016

A summary of the new features in the November 2016 Power BI Update, omitting things which are still only in preview.

How to create running totals or cumulative figures in Power BI Desktop

Posted by Andy Brown on 19 December 2016

There are a host of date-based functions in Power BI Desktop for producing cumulative figures, but how do you get running totals for non-date columns? This blog explains!

Passing parameters to SQL stored procedures in Power BI Desktop

Posted by Andy Brown on 30 November 2016

This blog summarises how to run SQL statements in a Power BI Desktop query, using dynamic SQL to pass in parameter values

How to pick out the first and last dates for a given group using DAX

Posted by Andy Brown on 06 October 2016

It's often challenging working out how to use DAX to solve specific problems. This blog shows how to produce a pivot table showing the first and last instances of any category.

Tags:   Excel | PowerPivot    |    Power BI - Excel 2013 | PowerPivot

How to use the FOR XML keywords in SQL to concatenate ids

Posted by Andy Brown on 27 September 2016

If you want to group items in a SQL query, showing a comma-delimited list of ids for each, generating an XML file is not the obvious place to start - but it should be.

Tags:   SQL | General
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