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Microsoft’s Power BI has been doing a great job of interactive data visualization so far, with the release of some new features just last week. Now the company has released a new Power BI JavaScript API, allowing for bidirectional communication between reports and applications.

The API allows users to embed reports into apps and programmatically interact with them for better integration of the two. It also gives more advanced control over report filtering and page navigation.

How it Works

Currently, Power BI embedding is done within an iframe, which is hosted as part of an app. It acts as a border between Power BI and the application. This means that the report can’t interact with it, and vice versa.

This makes the embedding process much easier, says Josh Caplan, Power BI’s Program Manager. However, it also makes it feel like the reports aren’t part of the application.

Power-BI-JavaScript-API-Diagram

That’s where the API comes in. Customers can now write code that can pass through the boundary securely. The application can perform an action in the reports, and look out for events users make within them. Naturally, this opens up more capabilities.

New Capabilities

Caplan has provided a list of the new management opportunities the JavaScript API creates:

  • “Embed a specific Power BI Report securely in your application, set access token
  • Configure the report with the following settings:
    1. Enable and disable the filter pane and page navigation pane
    2. Set defaults for pages and filters
  • Enter and exit full screen mode
  • Discover all pages in a report and to set the current page.
  • Basic and advanced filtering capabilities for embedded reports and report pages
  • In addition to sending information into the iframe, your application can also receive information on the following events:
    • Embed:¬†loaded, error
    • Reports:¬†PageChanged, dataSelected (coming soon)

You can read the full list of changes on the Power BI blog, as well as access several live demos.