The reaction to this recent post on lineage and Power BI dataflows highlighted how important lineage is for Power BI. Although (as this post shows) there are lineage user experiences in place for dataflows today, and experiences coming for all artifacts in a workspace.
Even with these new experiences, there will still be times when you want or need to use the Power BI API to get insight into all the workspaces in the Power BI tenant for which you are an administrator. This ability isn’t new, but some recent updates to the Power BI admin API have made it easier.
I don’t do a lot of development these days, so when a post titled Avoiding workspace loops by expanding navigation properties in the GetGroupsAsAdmin API showed up on the Power BI blog, I didn’t pay much attention. I should have.
GetGroupsAsAdmin is an API available to Power BI administrators that returns the workspaces for the Power BI tenant. With the information it returns, an admin can then call additional APIs like GetDatasetsInGroupAsAdmin and GetReportsInGroupAsAdmin to list their contents – and better understand and manage the tenant. This is a relatively straightforward pattern… but you do need to call up to four APIs for each workspace.
Now that GetGroupsAsAdmin supports $expand, you can get the full list of users, reports, dashboards, datasets, and dataflows in the workspace without needing to call any additional APIs. Pretty sweet.
With the information that’s returned, you can get a view of the contents of your Power BI tenant and start examining the relationships between the various objects, and now it’s simpler than ever. The API returns the workspace contents as JSON, which is easy enough to ingest and visualize using Power BI Desktop.
The Power BI team is continuing to add more features and experiences focused on governance and lineage, but the nature of oversight and governance is that most companies have specific tools and processes that require customization to one degree or another. Having a simple programmatic way to get workspace contents from your Power BI tenant will continue to be valuable even as these new experiences are delivered.
 As of when I’m writing, this lineage post has received more “first week views” than any other dataflows post I’ve made this year.
 When I wrote the first draft of this post in early July, dataflows were not yet included in the results of this API; they were added a few weeks later. I decided to wait to complete the post, and here it is, almost October. I really should know better by know.
 Take a look at the Power BI roadmap session from MBAS for some big examples, including a preview of the upcoming “lineage view” at around the 23:00 mark.
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