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Power BI Projects: Deploy and Develop Reports with Git Integration


October 20, 2023


March 19th, 2024

The world of business intelligence has been revolutionized by Power BI projects, enabling organizations to gain valuable insights from their data. However, managing and maintaining these projects can be complex and time-consuming. This is where Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) comes into play.

As Power BI releases a new way for handing reports files as Power BI Project .pbip, it enables streamlining and managing Power BI files in a very effective manner and enables CI/CD integration with Azure DevOps. This new update of Power BI can be a game changer in terms of development as well as management of Power BI projects.


What is Power BI Project (.pbip)?

Power BI Introduces a new way of storing report files as a project with .pbip extension which consists of report and dataset artifact definitions are saved as individual plain text files in a simple, intuitive folder structure.

Current Status: Currently the feature is in preview mode we can enable it from the below step

To enable, in Power BI Desktop > File > Options and settings > Options > Preview features, select the checkbox for Power BI Project (.pbip) save option.

How to save Power BI Report as .pbip?

File -> Save As -> <name of power bi report>.pbip (Select .pbip Power BI project files from the drop-down


pbip Folder Structure


The dataset contains all model-related components and metadata information about the Power BI report such as Name and table names along with its properties

Developers can easily change properties such as parallel loading from config file and publish changes without a pbix file.

Good Read: Power BI Dashboard vs Reports – A Vivid And In-Depth Comparison


Model.bim file which includes the entire data model object collection with all its properties and settings. This is the same definition standard used by Visual Studio and Tabular Editor to create SSAS Tabular models.



The report folder contains the report, pages, and report visual information. Each file contains clear text that can be edited with a standard text editor like Notepad++ or VS Code. Most definition files are stored in JSON format.


It contains all visuals, resources, and theme-related in JSON format.


Power BI with Azure and Git Integration:

This new way of storing power bi report files as .pbip led us to have smoother integration with Git as well as CI/CD also with Azure DevOps.

Architecture: As per the below diagram developer can create a git repository and save the Power BI Report as a .pbip folder structure.

One git repo is available then they can easily configure it with AzureDevOps for CI/CD Pipelines using extensions to perform actions.

Good Read: Power BI Import vs Direct Query: Which One to Use?

Developer can save their changes and relevant files are modified as per properties and they can easily track changes, commit changes, and deploy files without refreshing the model on service.

In this manner, Git and Azure DevOps integration can provide a continuous integration workflow and even using the same approach multiple developers can work on the same files seamlessly.

Power-BI-with-Azure-and -Git-Integration

Benefits and Usages:

  • Version Control:

Power BI artifact definitions can be securely stored within a source control system, typically Git. This enables developers to keep track of version histories, compare different iterations (diff), and revert to prior versions if necessary. Utilizing source control also promotes collaborative efforts in Power BI Desktop by utilizing familiar collaboration methods to resolve conflicting changes (merge) and review modifications (pull requests).

  • Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD):

Users have the option to configure systems wherein developers submit proposed changes to the CI/CD system. The system then subjects these changes to a sequence of quality checks before applying them to the production environment. Quality assessments can encompass peer reviews by other developers (code review) and automated testing.

  • Support for Text Editors:

To enhance productivity and facilitate batch editing, artifact definition files for datasets and reports are designed as text files. These files are publicly documented and readily comprehensible by humans. This allows developers to employ code editors, such as Visual Studio Code.

  • Programmatic Creation and Modification of Artifact Definitions:

Developers have the capability to script or develop applications for making alterations to the definitions of various artifacts. These applications can be based on publicly available documentation for artifact definitions and/or Microsoft-provided libraries.

  • Flexible way and time-saving than traditional way:

Developers can easily change relevant files only and commit files without refreshing the complete model and they can manage and compare identical reports such as template-based reports in an accurate manner using external tools.

Power BI projects can be used to develop and deploy any type of Power BI report, including:

  • Simple reports:

PBIP files can be used to develop simple reports, such as sales reports, marketing reports, and financial reports.

  • Complex reports:

PBIP files can also be used to develop complex reports, such as interactive dashboards and reports that use data from multiple sources.

  • Enterprise reports:

PBIP files can be used to develop enterprise reports, such as reports that are used by large organizations to track their performance.

Overall, Power BI projects are a powerful tool for developing and deploying Power BI reports. They offer several benefits over the traditional way of developing and deploying reports, including version control, collaboration, deployment, text editor support, modularity, and testability.

If you are developing new Power BI reports, I encourage you to consider using PBIP files. They are the future of Power BI development.

Considerations and Limitations:

  • Power BI Desktop isn’t aware of changes made with other tools or applications. Changes made by using external tools require you to restart Power BI Desktop before those changes are shown.
  • Sensitivity labels aren’t supported with Power BI projects.
  • Download PBIX isn’t supported for workspaces with Git integration.
  • The diagram view is ignored when editing models in the Service.
  • When saving as a Power BI Project, the maximum length of the project files path is 260 characters.
  • In Power BI Desktop, you can’t save as a PBIP directly to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint.
  • When editing PBIP files outside of Power BI Desktop, they should be saved using UTF-8 without BOM encoding.
  • Report Linguistic Schema is not supported with Power BI projects.
  • Power BI Desktop uses CRLF as an end-of-line. To avoid problems in your diffs, configure Git to handle line endings by enabling autocrlf.

Power BI Projects: The End Note

Utilizing source control for Power BI projects through Git, combined with the seamless integration of Azure DevOps and Git Integration, provides substantial benefits in the realms of collaborative efforts, version management, and development streamlining.

This harmonious integration facilitates cohesive teamwork, ensures seamless synchronization of alterations between Power BI Desktop and the Service, and harnesses the capabilities of Azure DevOps for optimized project administration.


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