Power BI Desktop Developer Mode: Revolutionizing BI Systems

Power BI Desktop Developer Mode is set to revolutionize the world of Business Intelligence (BI) systems by introducing advanced features that enhance collaboration, automation, and scalability. Microsoft’s Power BI Desktop now offers Pro BI developer experiences right within PowerBI Desktop. In this article, we will explore the features, benefits, and capabilities of Power BI Desktop Developer Mode.

Introducing Power BI Desktop Developer Mode

The mode enables developers to save their work as a Power BI Project (PBIP), storing report and dataset artifact definitions as individual plain text files in a simple, intuitive folder structure.

It is important to note that Power BI Desktop Developer Mode is currently in the preview phase, with ongoing development and improvements being made by Microsoft. To start using the Power BI Project file-saving feature, users can navigate to File > Options and settings > Options > Preview features and enable the “Power BI Project (.pbip) save option.”

By storing dataset and report metadata as text files, Power BI Desktop allows for various capabilities that enhance the developer experience and facilitate collaboration.

Power BI Desktop Project Report Folder Structure

To fully understand the capabilities and structure of Power BI Desktop Developer Mode, let’s explore the files and subfolders that make up a Power BI Desktop project’s report folder.

  • <project_name>.Dataset: It’s a collection of files and folders which represent a dataset.
  • <project_name>.Report: It’s a collection of files and folders which represent a report.
  • .gitIgnore: Specifies intentionally untracked files Git should ignore.
  • <project_name>.pbip: It’s a pointer to the report, opening it will open the targeted report and model.

Changes outside the Power BI Desktop:

After saving a file as a project report you can make changes in the report and dataset outside the PowerBI desktop. You can use tools such as VS Code, open-source community tools like Tabular Editor or notepad to make changes.

Benefits of Power BI Desktop Developer Mode

  • Developers can now track version history, compare different revisions (diff), and revert to previous versions, all within the familiar source control environment.
  • Power BI Desktop Developer Mode empowers organizations to set up robust Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) systems.
  • Developers can now use code editors like Visual Studio Code for more productive authoring.
  • You can create scripts using simple and popular Tabular model scripting language.


  • To reflect any changes made externally, it’s required to restart the file.
  • Changes in the automatically created date table within the powerBI desktop are not possible using external tools.
  • Sensitivity labels aren’t supported with powerBI projects.
  • Downloading PBIX file isn’t supported for workspaces with Git integration.

What’s Ahead:

Git integration:- It enables Pro BI developers working with Power BI Desktop projects to streamline development processes, source control, and collaboration with Git repositories.

With Git integration, you can:

  • Backup and version your work.
  • Revert to previous states.
  • Collaborate with other team members using Git branches.
  • Use the capabilities of source control tools, like Azure DevOps.

Co-development with Azure DevOps:

This update enables developers to collaborate with other team members by connecting the local Git repo to a remote Git host like azure devops.


In conclusion, with Power BI Desktop Developer Mode, developers can unlock a whole new world of possibilities in the realm of Business Intelligence. By embracing these groundbreaking features and elevating the development journey, organizations can establish robust BI systems that drive data-driven decision-making and deliver actionable insights.

Anmol Malviya

Data Analyst

Addend Analytics is a Microsoft Gold Partner based in Mumbai, India, and a branch office in the U.S.

Addend has successfully implemented 100+ Microsoft Power BI and Business Central projects for 100+ clients across sectors like Financial Services, Banking, Insurance, Retail, Sales, Manufacturing, Real estate, Logistics, and Healthcare in countries like the US, Europe, Switzerland, and Australia.

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