Here at Sontai we have been having a little fun, creating a Power BI dashboard to automatically update and visualise the results from Euro 2020.
Okay, we may need to get out more.
Our 'fun' does have a serious note though, what we have tried to do is showcase some great features of Power BI that we don't always shout about.
Let's see what we have done...
Using a web API
Let's start with the data, and where it comes from. We are using an API to programmatically pull in the results from https://www.api-football.com/ using the Web Contents source in Power BI.
So, how do you pull in data from an API?
Below you can see the settings set out with the API URL. These parts tell the program which records to return, and fortunately the API-Football documentation details the additional parameters that can be applied to the query.
If we work down there, there is:
The main API URL (https:v3.football.api-sports.io/)
The Endpoint that we want to query (fixtures)
The League that we want (League 4, which is the European Championships)
The season that we want to pull (Season 2020)
And the dates that we want matches see matches for (from and to - not visible above).
Additional to this we have also added the API-Key to the header as this is required to make a successful pull.
Once we have connected to the data we can start modelling the data to pull the various fields that we wanted, and create a star schema so that Power BI can work optimally with the data.
As the data is coming from an API, we know that it is being updated regularly at source, so we too can update regularly to ensure that what is being shown on the dashboard is as current as possible.
We have set this up using Scheduled Refresh in the Power BI Service meaning that now we have published the report, it will continually update with the latest data without us having to lift a finger.
We have applied several custom formatting elements to the report to show how these reports can be made to look as individual as the data.
Created in Power Point, just to make it easy, we made the background and saved it as an an image, which is then added to the report page. The background itself has elements like the Euro 2020 logo, the Sontai Logo and the white space for the scores. All of the Power BI elements are then overlaid onto this.
In order to have the right fonts and colours we have used a custom theme. Available in the 'View' ribbon of Power BI desktop we amended the standard theme to use the fonts and colours that we wanted.
This meant that every visual we loaded onto the page was using the right font, the right font size and the right colour without any additional manipulation.
One of the nicest features on the report are the dynamic flag images. These images are pulling directly from EUFA and update automatically based on the team selections that are being made.
In reality these images could be anything, and if we were to take this report further we would look at player images to enhance the overall look of the report.
One of the nice touches for user experience are the use of buttons to take you to other relevant information. At the bottom of the report we have used a button to navigate to a second, hidden, page which is a table of all the results.
Whilst creating this has been a little bit of fun for us, it does allow us to showcase some of the nice features in Power BI that make data come to life in a more exciting and interesting way.