Power BI Desktop on the Mac

Power Bi is one of the neatest tools that Microsoft has built for data professionals. It allows anyone to build fantastic interactive visualizations that can help tell a story and help someone make decisions. There have been some amazing demo visualizations from Microsoft customers. I’ve seen a predictive maintenance visualization for airplanes, one for diabetes trends and a fun basketball visual. There are also a fantastic set of custom visual controls, quite a few of which are described in Devin Knights blog series.

If you don’t know anything about Power BI, there are lots of resources, including some amazing tips from the Guy in a Cube. Adam Saxton has an amazing channel and puts together some impressive videos with Patrick LeBlanc. They might be one of the best sources for learning to work with the tools. You might want to spend some time playing with Power BI as I can almost guarantee that you’ll build better reports with this tool than you would otherwise. You’ll impress your customers, clients, and boss with your design work.

Plenty of people have Mac laptops, especially business people, and for quite some time they’ve had to deal with a lack of native tooling. Certainly there are lots of software ports, and no shortage of web software, but there are always places where a lack of a native solution is problematic. I don’t know that we’ll get lots of software ported to a new OS, but there is a better solution. Containerization can help smooth the way.

A few years back I met the Kenji Obata, founder of Turbo.net. He was doing some interesting work with containers, and I was fascinated by their work. Since then, they’ve grown and refined their technology, and now they have Power BI for Mac available. As soon as I saw their walk-through video, I wanted to share the experience. It’s pretty amazing, and if I were still running OSX, I’d be looking to use some of the Microsoft tools I want on the native desktop.

This isn’t really native, but the experience feels native. The use of containerization technology might be debatable for databases, but for client applications, it’s amazing. The way that Turbo.net packages up applications is incredible. I like Turbo, and if you need to use Microsoft client applications on a Mac, you might give them a try. It’s not free, but it’s way better than virtualization and has some really cool features as well. I’m sure lots of non-technical people, especially management, that might build reports would love the experience of running Power Bi Desktop on their Mac.

They even have SSMS available as a turbo container for the Mac, if you’re interested.

Steve Jones

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