Building the Power BI Strava data connector

I love cycling, both watching and doing it myself. One of the cool things is that is very data driven sport and thanks to Strava much of this becomes available to anyone, not just the elite athletes. Of course I would love to do more and get this data into Power BI. Thanks to Strava’s API’s and the new Power BI custom data connector SDK this is now possible!

I started building this connector the day the SDK became available but unfortunately got stuck a bit and I wasn’t happy with the code I wrote, I knew this could be done easier but I am a DAX guy not an M guy at the same level as DAX :). But thanks to the new amazing examples Matt has created I was able to finish the connector!

To start, the connector I wrote is fully available on GitHub: https://github.com/Kjonge/PowerBIStravaConnector. It is mostly based on the samples provided by the data connector team so I won’t go too much into the actual building of the connector itself. I added many comments to the code and point to the samples I stole them from Smile. But honestly it is pretty straightforward copy and paste from the samples when your service uses REST API’s with OAuth 2 and JSON payloads.

So let’s look at how to get it running yourself before we look at using it:

  • First make sure you have the latest version of Power BI desktop
  • Second make sure you have Visual Studio (2015 or 2017) installed so you can download and set up the Power Query SDK from here: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=Dakahn.PowerQuerySDK
  • Next you need to get the code from my project from GitHub, just go to https://github.com/Kjonge/PowerBIStravaConnector and click on download and open in Visual Studio:
    image
  • This now opens it in Visual Studio where you can “clone” the code to your local HD
    image
  • This opens the project where I can double click the solution
    image
  • Now this will open the solution that we need:
    image
  • As you might notice two files are missing, these are the files that are needed to authenticate with Strava using OAuth, a Client ID and Client Secret. In the current version of the Connector SDK this information is needed locally to be able to connect. There is an item on the road map (before it goes RTM) to move this into a cloud based solution so you can distribute connectors without having to add the client id and secret into the code itself.  But for now during the preview we need to add them locally, so I add these files for now.
  • To get the Client ID and Secret I need to create an app with Strava, so I go to https://www.strava.com/settings/api to create the app. This will allow me to interact with strava information on a users behalf. I go to my profile and “API application”
    image
    As you can see (well I deleted my Client ID and secret) but now you can get the client ID and Secret
  • Also important is to set the right redirect URL, in this case OAuth.PowerBI.com, this used in the OAuth Authentication flow:
    image
  • I use that information to add two files to my solution called client_id and client_secret that contain just those 2 values that you can copy from the app you just created in the Strava site.
  • Now you will notice two new icons next to the files, this means these files are excluded from github so you will never accidentally publish the client id and secret when making updates to the connector (feel free to :))
    image
    Also it is important that both these files are set to Compile so that they will be included in the build (they should be automatically but it is worth double checking)
  • Now we are ready to build the connector and load it into Power BI desktop. Just Build the solution and you should get a compiled mez file in your debug folder (it doesn’t matter if you do a release or debug build)
    image
  • This file I copy to a folder that the Power BI desktop will look at “C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\Documents\Power BI Desktop\Custom Connectors”
  • Next I have to make sure I turn on the Preview feature in Power BI desktop (note: this feature is no longer in preview so this is not needed anymore):
    image
  • Now that the custom connectors are released you need to change data extension security settings to allow extensions without validation. Go to Power BI Desktop select File > Options and Settings > Options > Security. 
  • Now get the Strava connector available in Power BI dekstop.

Now that we have the connector available, let’s look at using it:

  • I now have a Strava connector in my Power BI desktop
    image
  • When I select it I get asked to sign in:
    image
  • Clicking sign allows me to sign in to Strava and Connect
  • After connecting it shows me the Navigator where the real magic happens:
    image
  • Here you see 2 tables that are exposed, 1 with Activities and another with Athlete information, I select both. Clicking on them gives me a preview:
    image
  • After pressing Load the data gets loaded into Power BI desktop. Done!
  • This now gives me a ton of data for all my tracked activities in Strava:
    image
  • That I can now use to analyze:
    image
  • And build a report on:
    image

70 Replies to “Building the Power BI Strava data connector

  1. Congratz, Kasper! really happy to see you finishing that custom connector. I know that you were working on it for a long time. How much time did you spend reading the API documentation vs actually writing code on Visual Studio?

  2. Great job Kasper!
    This is really something that will be truly useful!

    But there seems to be something strange when I try to use the connector. I cant sign in to Strava from Power BI Desktop, when clicking sign in I only get a http 400 error.
    I read something in the readme file about IE issues but that shouldn’t be the case when trying to sign in from Power BI Desktop, right?
    Any idea what might be causing this?

    1. Did you make sure you set oauth.powerbi.com as the redirect domain in Strava? You can always run fiddler to see the actual error message.

  3. Stumbled on this when trying to see how data connectors work… I followed the steps but I get “The webpage can not be found”-error when clicking “Sign In”… Any ideas? Thnx.

      1. Ha. I had filled that one in. But it is case sensitive! so ‘OAuth.PowerBI.com’ does not work. ‘oauth.powerbi.com’ does work.

  4. Kasper, I built a similar report using the REST API calls to Strava’s API and mashed up with data form Peloton, this certainly makes connection to Strava easier, thanks for the post!

  5. Hi Kasper – awesome solution, just what I’ve been looking for! I’m having authentication trouble. After signing in to Strava I get the following:
    Unexpected Error.
    Exception of type ‘Microsoft.Mashup.Engine.Interface.ResourceAccessAuthorizationException’ was thrown.

    Any ideas?

  6. Hello Kasper, is it possible to parameterize this connector ? right now only for our own accounts we can use this connector, it would be great if you can expand this with parameters and in that way we can use for our friends as well.

  7. This is great, thanks so much for doing this! I have very little experience with Power BI and Visual Studio but I was able to follow this and make it work.

  8. I just noticed that I can’t schedule an automatic refresh, and I can’t even refresh from the Power BI portal. I have to refresh from Power BI desktop and then re-publish. Am I doing something wrong?

  9. Hi Kasper, nice work! One question about formatting:
    The data I get in PowerBI has some strange formatting. For example the speed is not in km/u but in a low number like 10,6 in stead of 38.2km/u.
    Is there a formula for the actual speed? Same for distance.

    I would like to compare my bikes in average speed on the same (commuter) traject.

  10. Have Strava made a change to their API? This has been working beautifully for me since November (thanks again BTW!) but it stopped working last week.

  11. Hi Kasper,
    I’m unable to load the solution in VS2017 – getting an error while loading the Strava.mproj file.

    Please any thoughts?

    Many thanks in advance!

  12. Same here. Additional, since I upgraded to the Version: 2.60.5169.3201 64-bit (Juli 2018) I’m unable to see custom connectors (such as Strava) in the list of data sources (Get Data). However, the preview feature is still activaited and my custom connector is still located under My Documents\Microsoft Power BI Desktop\Custom Connectors. Any idea, Kasper?

  13. Same here. Additional, I’m unable to select a custom connector (Get Data) since I’ve upgraded to Version: 2.60.5169.3201 64-bit (Juli 2018). The Strava Connector vanished from the list even though the preview feature is still active and the mez-file is still in My Documents\Microsoft Power BI Desktop\Custom Connectors. Any idea, Kasper?

  14. Kasper,

    Not sure where I’m going wrong, when I try and run the connector from Power BY desktop I get a series of script errors, ignoring these will eventually get me to a Strava login, a further series of script errors on logging in takes me to the authentication page but the authentication button is not responsive (presumably due to the script errors). I’ve tried re-compiling a couple of time but feel like I’m missing something basic!

    Any ideas?

    1. Hi Gary,

      I tried it but I don’t get these script errors. In general we have seen OAuth errors for particular versions of IE (generally when PBI desktop is running on an older version of windows), which the target site has decided to stop supporting. Might that be the case?

      Thanks,
      Kasper

      1. Hi Kasper,

        I’m having the same errors as explained by Gary. I updated Power Bi to the latest version and I’m running on Windows 10 (10.0.16299). Lastly, I also updated the registry keys as explained by Ian Chivers.
        However, the authentication button remains not responsive (to authorise the app.)

        Any help?

        Thanks

  15. Hello Kasper,

    There are my very first attempts to work with Visual Studio & PowerBI. Thanks for the very clear information!
    I run into this problem: in the sheet “Strava.mproj” on the first line there is a link http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003 but this link seems not to be working anymore. Error message: “The resource you are looking for has been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.”

    Any idea whether it’s me or the link/code?

    Thanks,
    Kwinten

  16. Hello,

    Earlier I had a question about an error message. I managed to solve it by installing the .NET package in Visual Studio.
    Now I have been able to have all the data in power BI. But I’m wondering, can I get all my GPX files in power BI in a similar way? I would like to make some heatmaps for example.

    Regards,
    Kwinten

  17. If you get javascript errors when signing into Strava, edit the following registry keys to update the version of embedded IE control PowerBI uses:

    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_BEHAVIORS
    Add key PBIDesktop.exe value 0

    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION
    Add key PBIDesktop.exe value 11001

    1. Confirming that this approach solves the Strava login issue due to the embedded IE control that PowerBI uses. You still will see two or three javascript errors, but the authentication works. Thanks Ian!

  18. Hm, I am new to PBI and this is driving me crazy. I have a machine at work, where I have scripting issues and I dont have the permissions to edit the registry (like described in Ian’s post).
    And my machine at home does not have the folder to copy the strava.mez connector to. I only have “C:\Users\[current_user]\Microsoft\Power BI Desktop Store App”. Also the options dont have the custom connector feature preview anymore.

    Google did not help (or maybe I am unable to come up with the right search). Any idea how to get the connector into my PowerBI?

    1. Hi Volker, thanks for dropping by..
      It looks like the folder got updated, it should be: “C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\Documents\Power BI Desktop\Custom Connectors”
      I updated the blog post. Also the connector is no longer a preview feature so you don’t need to check it anymore. (I updated the blog as well).

      All you should have to do is drop the mez file in the folder I just mentioned and it should work.

      Kasper

      1. Is there a method to get PowerBi to open chrome for the sign-in authentication?
        The browser window that opens gets to the authorization screen and will not progress further.

          1. Having tested this again. I uninstalled Power BI Desktop and downloaded the latest x64 version. In the latest version still pop-us up some script errors but fewer, and it does now allow authentication.
            I think I may previously have been using the x86 version of Power BI not x64.

      2. Now it works. Had to create the folder manually, since the MS Store App does not create it on installation. Thank you and happy holidays!
        😉

  19. Great work Kasper,
    The Strava connector works great and is very useful. I am having trouble creating a second connector so I can download a friend’s data from Strava. Power Bi does not recognize 2 Strava connectors. How can I create a second one they both show up as custom connectors?

    Thanks,
    Kyle

    1. The only way I can think is to rename the connector to Strava2 and use both. It might work but I am not sure as PQ looks at the domain name and ties the credentials to that… Make sure the names are unique, also inside the code.

  20. Awesome Kasper! I have a working Strava connector and have created a nice Power BI analysis report based on my own Strava data with awesome visuals.
    I have 2 questions for now :

    1. Is it possible to have a url / id for each activity available, to provide / generate a link to the activity on Strava in Power BI?

    2. Is it possible to retrieve data from all Strava members of my cycling club “TC De Windmolens”, so that Power BI can be used to do some analysis for the cycling club? This would be very useful since now we have to manage manually in an Excel sheet who has been joined on a particular club ride. We could replace this by an extraction from Strava.

    Thanks,
    André

    1. You can extend the connector to add both easily I think. The first one can easily by extending the current data, currently that is discarded. I’ll see if I can add it.

      The 2nd one should be possible but can probably take a long time. You can get the activities for your club through this API: https://developers.strava.com/docs/reference/#api-Clubs-getClubActivitiesById
      and then you can iterate over that dataset and get the activity:
      https://developers.strava.com/docs/reference/#api-Activities-getActivityById
      and all the riders at that activity:
      https://developers.strava.com/docs/reference/#api-Activities-getLoggedInAthleteActivities
      So you need 3 separate calls but should be doable as you probably don’t have hundreds of activities.

  21. Hi Kasper,

    I really like your post, found it very useful 🙂 I’m trying to run it within Power BI Service in Power BI Portal. I have already done the part described here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-query/samples/trippin/9-testconnection/readme but I cannot refresh the dataset anyway.

    When I’m trying to refresh Strava DS I receive information that credentials are invalid (what can’t be true) and below error:
    Activity ID: 422d9a2f-c449-4c32-b555-6506c8e337a0
    Request ID: 4674eaaf-776a-e77d-a9be-18ca00807392
    Status code: 500
    Time: Sun Dec 30 2018 17:57:54 GMT+0100 (Central European Standard Time)
    Version: 13.0.7683.237
    Cluster URI: https://wabi-north-europe-redirect.analysis.windows.net

    Have you tried / managed to do that with your code?

    Cheers,
    Pawel

  22. Hi Kasper. I don’t understand the part with the client id. Where do I have to paste the client id in visual studio?

    1. you have to create a file called client_id in Visual Studio in the same folder as the PQ file and past the clientID in there.

  23. I get this error message when trying to sign in via Power BI: [Expression.Error] We couldn’t find the file ‘client_id’.

    any idea of what I could have done wrong?

    1. you have to create a file called client_id in Visual Studio in the same folder as the PQ file and past the clientID in there.

      1. I am having the same error and have created 2 files , client_id and client_secret . Each file has no file extension and just the strava data values . Is there something else required?

  24. Thanks for this guide!
    The API gives back public activities only. Is this correct? Is it possible to retrieve non public activities as well? As the authentication happens on my Strava account those should be available to the interface.

    Thanks
    Peter

  25. Hi Kasper,

    I used to have it all worked on my old system.
    I now have everything set-up on my new system, with the .mez file in de custom connector folder. But for some reason the connector is not showing up in the ‘Get Data’ list. Do you have any idea what’s the reason and how can I solve this?

  26. Hello Kaspar,

    I have the same issue like Gery: “Not sure where I’m going wrong, when I try and run the connector from Power BY desktop I get a series of script errors, ignoring these will eventually get me to a Strava login, a further series of script errors on logging in takes me to the authentication page but the authentication button is not responsive (presumably due to the script errors).”

    what might be the solution for that?

    Matthias

  27. Hi Kaspar,

    I’m having the same issues as mentioned by Li & Matthias.
    Updated to the latest version of Power BI & running on an up-to date version of Windows 10.
    Any guidance on how to resolve this?

    Laurens

  28. HI Kaspar,

    Great work ! Thank you.

    I’m looking into retrieving the GPX file and appending the data into a table using the same connector. Have you made any attempts on that?

    1. No GPX is a very different beast and you would have to write a binary parser.. It can be done but not by me 🙂

  29. Is there any way to enable automatic refresh on the dataset once it’s in Power BI? The Automatic Refresh tab tells me it isn’t supported on this dataset.

  30. Hi Kasper,

    I was hoping you could help as I’m having some issues getting the connector to work (not at all proficient with this kind of stuff so apologies in advance).

    When opening the solution I get thrown the following error:
    The imported project “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Community\MSBuild\15.0\Bin\Roslyn\Microsoft.CSharp.Core.targets” was not found

    Which I bypass by simply deleting the line that looks for it from the .mproj
    Next when trying to build I get thrown:
    No destination specified for Copy. Please supply either “DestinationFiles” or “DestinationFolder”

    Which I can once again bypass by adding some static directories on lines 116 through 118 on the .mproj

    Eventually it builds and I get a .mez file (although it has no name). Unfortunately the .mez file is not recognized by PowerBI so I’m pretty sure me messing with the code must have ruined something.

    I get the feeling I’m missing some software prerequisites? Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you.

  31. Hi Kasper,
    not working. i get the error that i can’t connect to strava because i use a old internet Explorer (my software are all actually).
    I don’t know what i do wrong.

  32. Great post. Really helpful and after a long attemp myself this got me setup with Strava / PowerBi very quickly.

    May I ask for some more details on how you can get the gear information? I see in your snapshot you have the gear labeled correctly. In my link, all my gear is given random names.

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