The Public Preview of Data Explorer (which some of you know I’ve been following for a while, since it first appeared in SQL Azure Labs), is now available for download. You can get it here:
There’s also a good video overview here:
In a nutshell, Data Explorer is self-service ETL for the Excel power user – it is to SSIS what PowerPivot is to SSAS. In my opinion it is just as important as PowerPivot for Microsoft’s self-service BI strategy.
I’ll be blogging about it in detail over the coming days (and also giving a quick demo in my PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter session tomorrow), but for now here’s a brief list of things it gives you over Excel’s native functionality for importing data:
- It supports a much wider range of data sources, including Active Directory, Facebook, Wikipedia, Hive, and tables already in Excel
- It has better functionality for data sources that are currently supported, such as the Azure Marketplace and web pages
- It can merge data from multiple files that have the same structure in the same folder
- It supports different types of authentication and the storing of credentials
- It has a user-friendly, step-by-step approach to transforming, aggregating and filtering data until it’s in the form you want
- It can load data into the worksheet or direct into the Excel model
There’s a lot to it, so download it and have a play! It’s supported on Excel 2013 and Excel 2010 SP1.
UPDATE: Check out the following blogs/links for Data Explorer: