If you use a streaming dataset in Power BI, you cannot download the Power BI file, and you cannot open it using Power BI Desktop. This means that you are limited not to use calculations in a streaming dataset. However, there is a small trick which you can use and can be helpful. I will show you that in this article and video.
What is a streaming dataset?
In Power BI, you can have a dataset with Imported data, DirectQuery, Live Connection, or Composite mode. You can build all of those types of Power BI datasets in the Power BI Desktop. However, there is a single type of dataset, which you can only build through the service, called the Streaming dataset.
A streaming dataset is for building reports with real-time response time. For example, if you want to build a Power BI dashboard that shows the room temperature as soon as captured by a temperature sensor. For this type of dataset, you send the data rows using Power BI REST API, which can be called using a custom C# application, or PowerShell scripts, or even from a Power Automate flow process.
Streaming dataset can be only created using Power BI service.
The fields in an streaming dataset will be defined in the service too. And all of the fields will be under one table.
This is not a post about how to create a streaming dataset, You can read more about it here.
No Power BI Desktop
The big development problem with the streaming dataset is that you don’t have a PBIX file. You cannot open this solution in Power BI Desktop. And as a result, you will loose the ability to bring other datasets, modify and edit the data using Power Query, and write calculations using DAX.
The download option is not even available from the dataset.
Although, you cannot write calculations. You can use Q&A. Q&A in Power BI is a very useful way of analyzing the data and even building some visualizations by just asking questions. The Q&A is not only giving you the existing field’s list but also understands some calculations. So you can actually use it to create calculations in a streaming dataset.
As you can see in below, I can subtract the two fields “Salary” and “Salary pre-COVID-19” and add some more criteria in my visual. This would create the calculation and use it in that visual.
When I convert that visual to a normal visual using the button below;
The standard visual will have the calculation in it;
This, will not of course support all types of calculation. I believe many complex scenarios are not supported. However, still, the ability to do a simple calculation in a streaming dataset (that otherwise there was no other way to do it) is great.
If the calculation that you are after is too complex for the Q&A, then your other method is to do the calculation before sending the data row to the streaming dataset.
I hope this quick tip helps you to develop better real-time streaming solutions using Power BI. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.