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A Long Time Ago, On A Power BI Dashboard Far, Far Away…

If you’ve opened a browser at any point today, you will undoubtedly have been made aware that it’s May the 4th today which is, as you most certainly already know, Star Wars Day!

If I weren’t personally already a huge fan of the series, being a designated accountant working in the tech sector would have professionally compelled me to geek out today to celebrate what is arguably the most influential space opera of all time.

While I debated whether to write a blog post about who shot first (hint: it was Han) or how the new trailer for The Last of the Jedi hints towards bringing the grey or balanced Jedi into the new canon, I decided to channel my midi-chlorians (I know, I’m sorry) towards a Star Wars-themed Power BI Dashboard exercise.

Episode IV: A New Data Source

As Qui-Gon Jinn had said: “Your focus determines your reality.” So as a starting point, I needed to find data to focus on. Star Wars data. Instead of amassing and compiling my own data on the series, I stumbled upon SWAPI – the Star Wars API – an online open data source that houses all the rich contextual data from the Star Wars universe, formatted in software-consumable form. Thankfully, Power BI and Excel natively support consuming JSON data sources, so adding in the data was as simple as building queries against the data source.

Star Wars Power BI Dashboard Query Editor

The end result: one denormalized query of films, characters, vehicles, and starships, along with any necessary linking queries.

Episode VII: The Power BI Dashboard Awakens

Now that we have our queries, I threw in a Star Wars dashboard – populated with different metrics around what the species and gender distribution is per episodic movie. To up my geek game, I also Photoshopped a background image to make it all the more legit.

Power BI Dashboard - Star Wars Jedi Report

Episode II: Attack of the Droids

Because one page of visualizations never seems enough, I opted to throw in a second page dedicated to ranking just the named droids and their appearances in the movies.

This one was a little more involved, since I decided to use custom vector chart elements of the droids themselves. Google found me BB8, C3PO, and R2D2 vector images, but IG-88 and R5-D4 were less readily available. For those latter two, I ended up tracing higher-contrast raster images to vector paths. Finally, I had to spin out SVGs of all these vector files and then optimize them for consumption by the chart.

Star Wars Power BI Dashboard in Dynamics 365

Episode VIII: The Last BI

Finally, I published by Power BI report from the desktop app onto – and then published a shareable link for anyone to view:

Star Power BI Dashboard in Dynamics 365 Financials

Take your Power BI Dashboard to Lightspeed

As your organization begins its journey to searching insights into your data and upping your Power BI Dashboard game, always keep in mind the words of Master Yoda: “The Danger is not to know the truth.”

Hope you enjoyed this post! May the 4th be with you!

Star Wars Power BI Dashboard - May the 4th be with you

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