Within this blog post more about the information I have heard/seen about the tool PowerView at PASS SUMMIT 2011.
During the keynote of Day 1 at PASS SUMMIT 2011 Amir Netz has shown us a nice demo about movie analysis with the tool Powerview. A cool browser based interactive tool for the end user. The demo even contained a changing and moving background based on the selected movie data. This corresponds nicely to the idea of the creators which say that it is not just a tool it is an “Experience”. The demo also included the compatibility with mobile touch enabled devices like phones and tablets, it even included the fruity ones on stage (demo shown on Windows phone, android, IOS and windows 8). So I think “PowerView” is an impressive and promising reporting tool for the BI environment.
The first thing I would like to let you know is something that is mentioned multiple times during the presentations of PowerView and that is….. that it will not replace another reporting tool. PowerView will extend the current Business Intelligence reporting toolset. This is told because rumors arose about the possibility that PowerView would be there to replace Reportbuilder but this is as told definitely not the case.
The following image shows us how Microsoft positions PowerView and as you can see it extends the current reporting toolset and it is positioned as a real End User tool.
But enough about the rumors and positioning of the tool let’s take a look at the design decisions which are very important especially since it is for the end user and can also be run on touch enabled devices. After that I will describe a bit about the software requirements and a cool feature shown in a demo during the session of PowerView.
Design/Development and Presentation environment
The design/development part of the tool is executed in an office like environment with a ribbon and a canvas. When you open the design/development environment it immediately has a familiar look and feel. (More information on the Design/Development environment can be found here)
The presentation to the end user is in a style that we will in the near future see a lot more of and that is the Metro look and feel (chrome-less and friction-less).
The presentation view looks lean and mean and very easy to learn and to use. It also looks like the functionality is at this point limited but the functionality provided works nicely (Less is more). During the sessions about PowerView they told us that this is because they created the “Crescent UX Design Tenets” as shown in the image below.
Especially the first rule I found very interesting because in the current more technical development tools there are a lot of possibilities for doing the same task. This is of course not desirable especially for the business users. So this and the other rules are really focused on the end user. It looks like they are really going for a so called Natural User Interface (NUI).
Definition of NUI:
|User interface that is effectively invisible, or becomes invisible with successive learned interactions, to its users. The word natural is used because most computer interfaces use artificial control devices whose operation has to be learned. A NUI relies on a user being able to quickly transition from novice to expert. While the interface requires learning, that learning is eased through design which gives the user the feeling that they are instantly and continuously successful. This can be aided by technology which allows users to carry out relatively natural motions, movements or gestures that they quickly discover control the computer application or manipulate the on-screen content. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_user_interface)
Software Requirements (known at this moment)
SharePoint Server 2010(SP1 is recommended)
Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint
Microsoft Silverlight 4 for the client
SQL Server 2012 (or Denali CTP3 for now)
What was not mentioned during the session I participated is the information about the possible datasources that can be used while building a PowerView experience. But thanks to a colleague and the online available presentations I now know that the possible datasources are “PowerPivot Workbook”, “BISM file” and a “RSDS file”. (As shown in the image below)
Cool Feature of PowerView
Very cool and Powerful feature of PowerView and very useful for the end users is the export to PowerPoint (as you can see Power is the keyword here 🙂 ). This feature enables you the possibility to export the build powerviews to PowerPoint with keeping the ability to slice and dice the visualizations on the actual data during your presentation.
More information about PowerView can be found here: