Picasso is the umbrella project to develop tooling for creating standard Oxford Economics charts flexibly and easily. This may improve user productivity when working with Oxford Economics forecast data sets drawn from different channels and in large variety of use cases. The Picasso project has two key deliverables, Custom Power BI Visuals and Charts Web Service, which are described below.
Custom Power BI Visuals
In this deliverable, custom visuals for Power BI are developed to embed the rich information that Oxford Economics data have, directly in the visual (like sources, forecast lines etc). Also, the Oxford Economics standard chart guidelines are used to create, by default, charts with the appropriate style. However, a huge variety of customization options is available to modify the style of any element, if needed, to support even more options.
Currently, a line and a column chart have been implemented and released. You can download the latest versions of each chart from Picasso website and import them in Power BI application. Both charts are interactive and are designed to identify the most important data (and metadata) of Oxford Economics data series and utilize them in the chart. However, if any of these metadata information is not required, you can easily disable it.
Please visit Custom Power BI Visuals blog post for detailed presentation of the custom charts.
Charts Web Service
As depicted in the figure above, the Charts Web Service Exposes an API to receive the HTTP requests from any client application and responds with a chart (in the format requested by the client app). When receiving the request, after validating the correct format of the request and if you have access to the service, it contacts the Data Provider service to identify the data source.
If data source is an external one, like Global Data Workstation, it contacts the corresponding API to collect the data directly from the data source. The collected data and the data provided by you that have a specific data source format, go to Data Converter microservice to get re-shaped with respect to the targeted chart type. In contrast, if you provide data directly in the chart type format, they are just validated.
After collecting and, if needed, converting the data to the correct format, the Picasso service sends the data to the Chart Renderer micro-service to create the visual, while also applying the customization options defined in your request. The visual is generated and sent to you, in the format you requested. Note that even if any error occurs (e.g. you don't have access to this service), the server will respond with an error image, in the format you requested.
A detailed guide for the Charts Web Service API is provided in the Picasso API Guide blog post.
Adelina Madhja is a Software Developer at Oxford Economics.
Arvindra Sehmi is Chief Information Officer and Director of IT at Oxford Economics.