Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

coffee talk 1 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

Welcome to the latest PowerPivotPro Coffee Talk, where members of the community discuss various topics related to Power BI, Power Pivot, and Analytics/BI in general. These conversations take place during the week on a Slack channel, and are then lightly edited for publication. In this installment of our Coffee Talk series, we’ll be chatting with DAX heavy hitters: Austin Senseman, Matt Allington, Kasper de Jonge, and Marco Russo. Let’s introduce everyone.

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Kasper de Jonge, Program Manager at the Power BI team at Microsoft and passionate BI practitioner with deep knowledge of the Business intelligence market, specializing in Microsoft BI, Cortana Analytics and Azure data stack.  As an active member of the Microsoft BI community he shares his findings and knowledge on Power BI through his blog https://www.kasperonbi.com, several white papers and sessions at conferences like SQLPass, SQLBits, Ignite and many other events around the world.

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Marco Russo, Founder at SQLBI, Business Intelligence consultant and mentor.  His main activities are related to data warehouse relational and multidimensional design, but he is also involved in the complete development lifecycle of a BI solution.   Marco is also an author and, in addition to his many BI-related publications, has authored books about .NET programming. He is also a speaker at international conferences such as TechEd, PASS Summit, SQLRally, and SQLBits.

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Matt Allington,  BI Professional with over 30 years’ experience in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry, Principal Consultant here at PowerPivotPro, owner of the company Excelerator BI and author of “Learn to Write DAX – A Practical Guide to Learning Power Pivot for Excel and Power BI” and “Supercharge Power BI – Power BI is Better When You Learn to Write DAX”.

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Austin Senseman, VP Operations here at PowerPivotPro, trying to keep this company running like a well-oiled machine

Welcome and Introductions

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2017-09-07 10:01
Hello everybody!

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2017-09-07 10:01

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2017-09-07 10:02
how are you Austin?

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2017-09-07 10:03
Doing well – it’s the season of pumpkin spice latte and football here in the US. That’s all exciting.

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2017-09-07 10:03
How have you been?

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2017-09-07 10:04
Oh this is the channel

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2017-09-07 10:04
Never used Slack sorry

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2017-09-07 10:04
Hi Marco, welcome!

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2017-09-07 10:04
Hello guys

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We’ll give Kasper a few minutes to join us

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Are we going to use the chat or voice?

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we’re just going to chat, so I don’t have to transcribe later.

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I’m here.

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2017-09-07 10:08
Hi Kasper, Marco

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2017-09-07 10:08
sorry, lots going on here in Oz

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2017-09-07 10:08
watching the Aussie Rules Football

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my team is in the finals

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support calls to my family for PCs

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2017-09-07 10:09
How is Europe? Are you in Eurpoe?

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2017-09-07 10:09
End of summer, start to cool down in Southern Europe and rain as always in the North.

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winter is coming ..

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Next week I have 28, 29, 23 for Mon – Wed

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2017-09-07 10:10
come on summer!

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It’s supposed to be winter there..

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2017-09-07 10:10
just finished last week

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2017-09-07 10:11
Alright first question, where are you located right now and what time is it?

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2017-09-07 10:12
Sydney, Aus 8:10pm

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Utrecht, Netherlands 12 AM

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Turin, Italy, 12:12pm

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2017-09-07 10:12
(Kasper I think it’s 12pm also there :))

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I think I have been there Kasper

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Montgomery, AL, USA 5:10AM

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Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:13
Good morning!

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Really Austin?

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Need coffee.

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You are up early.

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That’s dedication.

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Look it was hard enough to get all three of you together at one time and this is what worked.

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2017-09-07 10:14
Different time zones are challenging.

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2017-09-07 10:14
Marco, I have a question for you.

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2017-09-07 10:14
Of course.

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2017-09-07 10:14
I notice on your email mail outs

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2017-09-07 10:14
you seem to have a lot of training courses

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are you doing more

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than in the past?

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ie have things picked up?

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2017-09-07 10:15
Marco, how about you introduce yourself as well, and then we’ll each do an introduction

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2017-09-07 10:17
Let’s start with the introduction. I’m Marco Russo, I have been working in BI since before Microsoft launched OLAP Services in SQL Server 7, and I always followed this market, regardless of the name (BI, BA, ML, DSS, whatever…). I have my roots as a developer (C++, Delphi, C#, Win32, .NET). I wrote several books about DAX and Tabular.

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2017-09-07 10:18
@matt: we delivered more courses in 2017 because we started to cover US, but overall the total number of courses in 2017 will be slightly more than 2016

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I have noticed a pickup in interest in training in 2017

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lots more people interested

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Introductions!

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2017-09-07 10:19
My name is Kasper de Jonge, I am a Principal Program Manager at the Power BI team working in the customer success team and have also worked on a lot of the different products like Power Pivot, PBI desktop and ofcourse the AS engine. Before that I was a BI consultant building MOLAP cubes and SSRS reports.

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owned DAX for a while as well

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2017-09-07 10:20
@matt: An explanation is that Power BI is growing very quickly and this generates demand for training, too.

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And I am Matt Allington, independent Power BI Consultant based in Sydney Australia. I do freelance consulting and training for anyone that wants to learn about Power BI.

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2017-09-07 10:21
@marco I agree. The interest in PowerBI as a product (as opposed to Power Pivot) is what is driving it

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All of those introductions are so humble, which I appreciate, but I think everyone reading this will recognize that you guys are at the top of your field when it comes to this stuff.

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2017-09-07 10:23
You know one thing that I notice in this field is that the more you do, the better you get

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2017-09-07 10:23
not everyone gets the luxury to spend so much time with the tools

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We do get that luxury

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yes that is why I keep up my blog

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2017-09-07 10:24
It is hard enough keeping up with the new features

New DAX features (as of Sep. 2017)

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2017-09-07 10:24
let’s talk about new features, since ppl will find that exciting – what new stuff this year has got you excited – specifically about DAX

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2017-09-07 10:25
variables I think is the best for me

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2017-09-07 10:25
Uhm, this year I didn’t see much news about DAX (variables are old – 2015 thing!). the IN operator in 2017 is the best new feature, probably

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2017-09-07 10:25
I love the stuff you can do with them, although that is nothing you couldn’t really do before

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2017-09-07 10:26
Little things excite me

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2017-09-07 10:26
Kasper, I disagree

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like Measures on Rows

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2017-09-07 10:26
Variables enable you constructs that are almost “impossible” without them

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2017-09-07 10:26
I guess measures on rows is not really DAX

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2017-09-07 10:26
Power BI feature – and PivotTables had that for a while.

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2017-09-07 10:26
yes there are some cool things you can do now, but interestingly enough I am not seeing that too often yet

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2017-09-07 10:27
Frankly most of the new DAX I don’t use. I find that it already does most of what I need

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Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:27
impossible to write it without variables

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but sometimes new features like GENERATESERIES and SELECTEDVALUE make stuff easier

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2017-09-07 10:28
yes that is why I like variables it makes it easier, much easier

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2017-09-07 10:28
More important, variables are fundamental for optimization

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2017-09-07 10:28
agreed there as well

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2017-09-07 10:28
The engine too often recalculates measures that could reuse

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2017-09-07 10:28
Ok, so variables. This is one i really like – is it completely new? no. Completely awesome, yes. @marco How would you describe what a variable does to someone who’s not using them yet?

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2017-09-07 10:29

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2017-09-07 10:29
just saw your date table

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Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:29
Variables are a way to split a calculation in smaller steps. Just as you would do with multiple calculated columns, but without having to store them and with a much more powerful expressivity.

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2017-09-07 10:29
Very nice! Yes I can’t see you doing that in a single line text editor

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2017-09-07 10:30
BTW, did you use SSMS or DAX STudio?

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2017-09-07 10:30
Thanks – feedback for date table is very welcome, in particular if you can provide me the settings for the weekly fiscal calendar commonly used in Australia it would be very useful

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2017-09-07 10:30
DAX Studio

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2017-09-07 10:31
SSMS is not ready (my point of view)

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2017-09-07 10:31
Aussies, typically have 30 June as last day of year

Old vs New DAX

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2017-09-07 10:31
I want to pick up on a comment Matt made “Frankly most of the new DAX I don’t use. I find that it already does most of what I need” – I find that to be true as well.

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2017-09-07 10:31
This is a good thing for us teachers right?

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2017-09-07 10:32
The DAX of 2010 isn’t all that different from 2017

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2017-09-07 10:32
Maybe some of the harder stuff is just not something my customers need

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2017-09-07 10:32
Well, first of all the variables are not used because there are not many examples around

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2017-09-07 10:33
The thing I would like the most in Excel is actually New Table

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I love that thing

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I love materializing tables so I can “see” what is happening

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2017-09-07 10:33
ha, @matt yes that’s a nice feature

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2017-09-07 10:33
Most of the new features of DAX come to life due to UI features getting added to Power BI or variables for performance reasons

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2017-09-07 10:33
I and Alberto Ferrari are committed to use them heavily in all the future books and articles – we actually started this a few months ago

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2017-09-07 10:33
Take SelectedColumns

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or what ever it is called

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2017-09-07 10:33
I see Marco’s posts about it

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2017-09-07 10:34
and I have started to read it a few times

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2017-09-07 10:34
but I keep going back to SUMMARIZE and ADDCOLUMNS

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2017-09-07 10:34
maybe I am confusing the new DAX formula, but that highlights the point

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I have something that works

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and I like it

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it takes a bit to change what I know works

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2017-09-07 10:35
I think we have two generations of DAX

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2017-09-07 10:35
oh, go on …

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Before SuperDAX and After SuperDAX

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haha i like it

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2017-09-07 10:35
We worked for years without SuperDAX and most of the examples around are using it

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2017-09-07 10:36
SUMMARIZECOLUMNS

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2017-09-07 10:36
When SuperDAX arrived, it wasn’t supported widely, so we had to wait for Excel 2016 + SSAS 2016 + Power BI to be adopted enough before starting to use them

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2017-09-07 10:36
is what I was thinking of, not selected columns

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:36
So now it’s that time, and we are starting using it. But as humans, it’s normal to be stuck to old habits.

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2017-09-07 10:36
So what was the defining moment for SuperDAX?

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2017-09-07 10:37
Not a precise moment, but I would say after SP1 for SSAS 2016 and after 12/18 months after release of Excel 2016

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2017-09-07 10:37
I think new functions like SELECTEDVALUE can add a lot of value

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:37
SuperDAX actually was here since first versions of Power BI

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2017-09-07 10:38
Superdax introduces a slew of new DAX functions to improve performance between Power BI and the AS engine inlcuding things like variables

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2017-09-07 10:38
It is pretty hard to explain to someone why they need IF(HASONEVALUE(table[Column]),VALUES(Table[Column])).

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:38
We included it in The Definitive Guide to DAX book – but we didn’t use it so much, otherwise the book would have been useless to all the readers not using older versions.

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2017-09-07 10:38
I taught a class today using SELECTEDVALUES and GENERATESERIES for the first time.

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2017-09-07 10:38
So much easier.

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2017-09-07 10:38
They all got it immediately.

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2017-09-07 10:39
I think the main problem today is still the core concepts, I had to point to a post from 2010 today. It is not so much around the functions themselves.

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2017-09-07 10:39
@kasper, so var makes things more efficient?

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2017-09-07 10:39
I realise it is easier to read

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2017-09-07 10:39
and write.

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2017-09-07 10:39
@matt yes instead of executing it multiple times you can store the result in a variable.

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2017-09-07 10:40
but for example

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2017-09-07 10:40
filter(table, yada)

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2017-09-07 10:40
this is storage engine

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2017-09-07 10:40
and if repeated, it should be cached, right/

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2017-09-07 10:40

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2017-09-07 10:41
this is a good example
Measurename = VAR var1 = EXPRESSION
VAR var2 = EXPRESSION
VAR var3 = IF(var1 > 10, var1 / var2, var2)RETURN var3

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:41
The entire thing of DAX is the following: it has concepts that don’t exists in *any* other language. So developers and business users who already learnt something (VBA, R, C, SQL, …) try to apply their existing knowledge to something that works in a different way. And they don’t understand why a function doesn’t work as they expect. They assume they know how the DAX language should work, when they never worried about checking whether it’s different or not.

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2017-09-07 10:41

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:41

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:41
if you would have written everything out fully Var1 would have been executed twice

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:41
This is what keeps me in a job!

Common Student Struggles

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:42
What are the handful of concepts that students struggle with the most, let’s just list some

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:42

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:42
The funny thing is that also MDX was different. But because it has a completely different syntax (thinking to SCOPE) people realized there was something to study. DAX tried to resemble Excel formulas, and here is where the issue started.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:42
interesting

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43
what about the multiple IF thing

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43
I seem to remember Marco teaching me that every leg of a switch gets evaluated

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43
filter context and context transition.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43
even if only 1 leg is returned

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43
@matt that has been fixed

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43
just in SuperDAX?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:43

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:44
@kasper I would not swear that it always works by the way!

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:44
Most of the time, yes

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:44
@matt SSAS 2016 and Power BI and I also believe Excel 2016

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:45
I think Marco covered the list.. it seems like a small list but it is hard to grasp

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:45
you mean re: hard topics for students?

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2017-09-07 10:46
for everyone

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:46

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:46
I actually do like var, and I don’t use it enough

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:46
to me I get excited with VAR when there are nested Row Contexts

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:46
to eliminate EARLIER

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:46
death to EARLIER!

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:46
matt: every time you see a function calling another function, you might consider splitting the calculation using variables and documenting in this way what you are doing

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:46
I think many complain about the lack of a decent editor window

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2017-09-07 10:47
but honestly the goal of the Power BI team is for folks to have to write less DAX for the cookie cutter cases

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:47
@marco I agree I should do this

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:47
like you said, bad habits

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:47

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:48
I’m really trying to get students to consider that they are now programmers and they need to develop some good habits, ppl coming from the Excel world aren’t thinking this way

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:48
Kasper, as a consultant I’m happy about what MS is doing, but I think that strategically that is not the right thing to do.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:48
@marco why do you say that?

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:48
yes, go on

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:49
I don’t like it either

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:49
but couldn’t claim to have a strategic reason why it shouldn’t do so

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:50
Personally I prefer a UI driven supportive framework

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:50
like with M

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:50
Well, you can try to create some candy functions that solve specific problems, but usually there functions hide some complexity and might introduce some unexpected behavior that requires more work to be solved for an unexperienced user. Providing more examples to users would work better, and MS would save money by investing there rather than in new functions that have to be supported later.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:50
Let the UI do the work, but don’t preclude those that want to dig deeper

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:50
I think we are saying similar things Marco

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:50
I think help is good, but I like to see what is happening

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:51
I agree with you, Matt, but the key to leverage the community is to enable smart templates to be included in the product. The Quick Gallery doesn’t work well for this.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:51
this is why I don’t like drag and aggregate columns

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:51
Nothing about the M _language_ excites me, but that’s another coffee talk …

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:51
ohhh, nooo

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:51

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:51
I have learn’t to love it

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:51
the only thing wrong with M is the lack of intellisense

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:52
If Miguel ever fixes that puppy

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:52
M will be off and running

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:52
A big reason for some customers to not even look at PBI is that they HAVE to write DAX for everything. Now they don’t have to anymore.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:52
It is just not practical for the average Excel person to learn this language without intellisense

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:52
I agree I would like more debugging capabilities as well but that will come in time

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:52
I have seen the intellisense

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53
can you ask Miguel where it is?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53
he said it was “coming soon”

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53
in May 2016

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53
No more M talk, haha

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53
Quick Gallery could work much better – this is what I meant. Today it’s a small toy.

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2017-09-07 10:53
Marco one step at the time.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53
I don’t like the inbuilt date tables

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53
I hate them

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53
with a passion

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:53

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:54
I just hate them

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:54
Matt: this is why I started the DaxTemplate project. I want to start any new project with that template. The auto date/time is disabled, I have a single Date and I can use it

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:54
and that [Date].[Date] thingy too

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:54
yes, agree @marco

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55
I measured the time lost to fix the date table in any new project

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55
15-20 minutes

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55
So I made the decision

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55
Kasper, why?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55
What is the thinking?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55
just to try to make it seamless?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55
for all users

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:55
who don’t know how to use a date table?

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:56
yes or even create a date table

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:56
But why creating one table for every date?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:56
I kind of get it, but I don’t think creating a calendar table is any harder than any other table of data

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:56
It works only if you have one table

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:56
WIth multiple tables, it creates more issues

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:58
it is designed for the simple scenario where a user is forced to create a date table to use a year or month

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 10:58
Yes, but polluting the model with tens of date table is not a good idea.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:00
Don’t start me about defaults!

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:00
e.g. create a single global one instead of one for each date

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:00
give me a setting

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:00
I also don’t like default auto detect relationships

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:00
Can we pause for a second and agree that DAX may be one of the best things that Microsoft has ever produced

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:00
I don’t want any software developer interfering with my relationships!!

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:01
Oh, yeah – there is that @austin

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:01
Well MS produced many nice things

DAX Love

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:01
I love DAX

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:01
I tell you why I love DAX

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:01
but I also love MDX and I had a long story with .NET

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:01
and also why so may people I meet love DAX

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02
is because it was written for people like me

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02
(sorry, you too Marco)

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02
but for me

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02
I have always been a business data guy

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02
but the really powerful tools were very complex

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02
fine if your name is Marco or Kasper

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02
but not if your a business guy that loves data

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:02
DAX is not like that

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:03
I can learn it

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:03
I can do it

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:03
myself without the need for IT help

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:03

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:03
There is a learning curve though with DAX, i don’t think it’s fair to call it EASY but it is ACCESSIBLE

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:03
Definitely

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:03
that is why I have a job teaching people

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:04
because of the learning curve

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:04
Most people I teach don’t come from an IT background

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2017-09-07 11:04
Excel formula’s are not easy either

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:04
and they don’t understand tables of data

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:04
they only understand formulas and cells

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:05
Excel people live in a 2 dimensional world

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:05
rows and columns

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:05
cell by cell

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:05
as soon as you introduce a virtual table (FILTER)

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:05
I love it when Excel folks start to get there are relationships and you see the light go on!

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:05
a lot of people get lost

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:05
I find myself saying this A LOT to Excel ppl, “This DAX stuff is long-term EASIER than what you’re doing now (7 level nested if statement all crammed on one line in Excel), but it’s going to feel harder because it’s NEW.”

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:05
@kasper – agree

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:06
I say “these 4 relationships is the same as writing a VLOOKUP on every single column in every table

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:06
they are impressed

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:07
regarding things I like about MS at the moment

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2017-09-07 11:07
but I think the harder part is getting them to even start looking at new ways of doing things

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:07
specifically

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:07
@kasper who are the personas in the MS world RE: DAX?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:07
is the user voice

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:07
the fact that MS is taking feedback onboard

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:07
I think it is great

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:08
I remember Marco drove the feedback about bidrectional relationships – should not be default

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:08
and now it is changed

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:08
this type of thing makes a big difference

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:08

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:08
this blog will really blow you mind

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:09
… everyone is scrolling through the blog right now …

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2017-09-07 11:10
Marco knows about it

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:10

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:11
I have previously subscribed

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:11
but I don’t get any notification of new articles

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:11
and hence I have missed all this.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:11
I will have to try another way

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:11
life is so much easier when I can get an email telling me about a new article

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:11
as I mentioned earlier there is not much active development in DAX as a language at the moment, It is more adding new functions to support new UI features, like IN. Some exceptions are around things like selectedvalues that a dev just decided to do.

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:12
In the past with SuperDAX we had many PM’s and devs developing big parts of the language now a little less

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:13
for example in the query generation part of Power BI to help build report level measures

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:13
Matt: use feedburner for that

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:13
So let’s move toward wrapping up.

Wrapping Up

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:14
Yes, but where does feedburner go?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:14
I never got the RSS thing

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:14
One at a time, starting with Marco, if you had 10,000 people in a room that were POTENTIAL DAX users what would you tell them in a few sentences to get them interested in DAX?

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:17
I’m not a marketing guy so I would say them that DAX is powerful, you can express your business calculation in a few lines, but you need to spend some time to understand concepts that are unique to this language. Otherwise, you will use it as you use Excel, but you will not be able to get the most out of it, because you don’t have the same flexibility of writing numbers around as you have in Excel…

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:18
fair, that was sort of a marketing question. @marco what would you say to the people who’ve been doing DAX for a while, what should they focus on?

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:19

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:21
@marco, this is jeff?

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:21
If you use DAX but sometime you cannot write what you want, or the result is not what you expect, review the basics: row context, filter context, and context transition. If you know them, simplify your code using variables

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:21
@matt Yes it’s a mail subscription of the feed

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:21

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:21
@matt what would you say to the room of 10k potential DAX users in a few sentences?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:21
I don’t think you can say anything to convince people. I don’t think it is “sayable”. You need to show them. Often people contact me asking for help to get Power BI going in their business. I just say, don’t waste your time trying to convince other people. Just start using the tools in your job and share what you learn. Sooner or later someone will look over your shoulder and say “How did you do that?”

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22
i love that

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22
people know what the limitations are

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22
real people that use Excel

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22
the limits

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22
yeah seeing is believing

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22
when they see you doing it easy, they will say “wow”

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22
I am still amazed

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:22
in my training

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:23
I train 1.5 days on DAX

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:23
and then I train Power Query and show UNPIVOT

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:23
and people always go WOW

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:23
because they know how hard it is

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:24
@kasper how would you describe DAX to someone that wasn’t all that technical, for example what if you had to describe to my mom what Austin did for a living?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:25
I would say “Not a lot”

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:25

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:25
that is the hardest question :slightly_smiling_face: but something like DAX is a language that will allow you to analyse data and express business logic in a simple expression, it is based on Excel functions and uses some similar concepts so it is in reach for every excel user.

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:26
but often examples are the best like it can solve issues like comparing sales of red bikes against all other bikes or year over year sales easily

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:27
yep, showing is really powerful, for the record, my mom tells people that i do “computers” for a living

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:28
This has been a great hour of my life, even if it is SUPER early. Thanks to each of you for jumping on and sharing.

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:28
DAX has been around for 7 years, but we’re just getting started.

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:29
Closing comments?

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:29
For someone who has been using DAX for a while I would recommend two things: 1 start using variables 2 take a look at the queries that are generated by Power BI and learn from it.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:31
@kasper, how to look at the queries? Using DAX STudio?

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:31
I would add: follow coding rules, keep your code readable. A column reference should always have the table name, a measure reference shouldn’t. Queries generated by Power BI will be visible in an easy way with the next version of DAX Studio (eheheh) but they use a table name before measure reference, which is not something that I would suggest to users to do.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:31
like I learnt from Marco?

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:31
@matt: DAX Studio 2.7 will make it *much* easier

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:31
Do you mean the SQL queries?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:31
@marco, oh, good

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:31
@matt turn on tracing in diagnostic under the options menu

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:32

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:32
I didn’t know about that

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:32
now that I see marco’s tip I would like to add start using comments as well

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:33
@kasper, are the traces readable?

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:33
it generates a profile trace that can be read with SQL Server profiler

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:33
Comments is the #1 thing I’m pushing on our clients that are already using DAX – “Here’s a great way to spend less money with consultants, document your DAX”

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:33
@matt I can provide you a beta release of DAX Studio 2.7 so you avoid this pain

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:33
So I can’t read it myself?

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:34
I don’t know how to use profiler

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:34
I’m just an excel guy

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:34
That would be great Marco

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:34

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:34
just double click and it opens it.

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:34
OK, I will take a look

62532670500 bef90a8385687e039629 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:35
Alright, good afternoon, good evening. I’ve got to go make some coffee. Everyone have a wonderful day.

headshot smaller thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:35
same to you! cya all

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:35
@matt mail sent. For SQL Profiler you need to install SSMS 17.2 that includes SQL Profiler

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:35
(it’s free)

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:35
See you guys

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:35
Bye Austin

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:36
Bye Kasper and bye Matt

Marco thumbnail thumb Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:36
I have to go

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:36
Bye all, nice chatting

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:36
My team is 50 points in front

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:37
3rd quarter

173926111396 a13d4b8f9bb999c04a4c 72 Coffee Talk: DAX Pros

2017-09-07 11:37
Looking good

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The data-oriented challenges facing your business require BOTH a nimble toolset like Power BI AND a nimble mindset to go with it. And as Val Kilmer / Doc Holladay once said, we’re your huckleberry.

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