PQL - Pronounced Peequel - Excelerator BI

PQL – Pronounced Peequel

Back in February 2016, I was tweeting with some others about the need for a new name for the Power Query Formula Language.  I came up with the name PQL, pronounced Peequel and made a suggestion to this effect at ideas.powerbi.com.  This post today is to explain why a name change is required, and to seek support for renaming the language to PQL.

A Background on the Current Name(s)

The official name for the language used in Power Query is the Power Query Formula Language.    The “unofficial” name is “M”.  The reason this is the unofficial name is because the Power Query Formula Language was derived and built from a language called “M” – so this name stuck.

The Problems With These Two Names

There are two problems with the name Power Query Formula LanguageThis name is a mouthful and hence hard to say quickly, and secondly it doesn’t abbreviate well (PQFL is not a great abbreviation and certainly not pronounceable).

The trouble with “M” as a language name is exactly the opposite of the Power Query Formula Language.  M abbreviates too well and is far to short for common use. 


Matt: “Do you know how to write any M?”
Other Person: “What is eniem?”

Even worse, when you try to do a search on the Internet for “M”, it is very hard to find what you need because you simply get everything back.

Enter PQL as a Better Name

My suggestion of PQL, which is short for Power Query Language of course, is (I think) a great replacement name.  The reasons this name works include:

  • It is a TLA – you can’t have too many TLAs!
  • It is pronounceable (Peequel).  A good TLA is pronounceable!
  • It sounds like SQL (Seequel), which is the name of the universal database Structured Query Language.  In a way SQL is a cousin of PQL and hence users will just “get it”.
  • It will be easy to search on Google (even though it is used already for some other languages). It is certainly no worse than DAX – Data Analysis Expressions DAX which is also used by the German Stock Exchange.

Please Vote for This Idea

If you agree with my logic and the need for a new name, please vote for this idea at ideas.powerbi.com.  Please make sure you leave a comment in the comment section stating that you think PQL is the best name, as the idea doesn’t specify what the new name should be.

21 thoughts on “PQL – Pronounced Peequel”

  1. Hi.
    Love the solution. However, it is very slow when you dealing with rows more than 100K. Is there a solution to that problem?

  2. Hi Matt,
    I appreciate your web site and blog. I’ve learned lots here. But seriously ?! I agree with Anthony, it gives my bladder a push but you have my support. 🙂

  3. Like Ken, I’ve been complaining to the dev team about this for a long while. It’s crazy we don’t have an official name yet. It’s equally crazy that the Power Query name is de-emphasised now too (although all MS people I talk to still refer to it as Power Query) because you end up having to explain at great length that Power Query in Excel 2013 is Get & Transform in Excel 2016 is Get Data in Power BI…

    1. I remember reading one of your posts on this exact topic, and that was what first alerted me to the fundamental problem. I agree that the change to “get and transform” is the biggest mistake of all. But then again MS reversed the name “calculated fields” after the disastrous change from Measures, so maybe there is a glimmer of hope.

      1. I hate Get and Transform – I gives me shivers that may be the UI Astronauts will make
        Power Pivot ->>”Compress and Crunch”
        Power Map has any way become “Tours” in O365
        and you are left with Power View – which could become “See and Smile”

  4. Great idea Matt. Another name could be DQL for Data Query Language. I would support all the above suggestions. Thank you.

  5. I like the abbreviation PQL, and have used it sometimes, but Transformation (TQL) is a better descriptor.
    A thought, should the language indicate that it is translated into SQL ? Like M-SQL. Something tells me, no.

  6. Matt, just a heads up. I went at the team over this issue many times in the past, and they seemed pretty disinterested. When they started to de-brand Power Query as a product name, it became even more important.

    I’d suggest TQL (Transformation Query Language), MQL (Manipulation Query Language) and others, but nothing seemed to get their interest.

    I hope that with enough votes that they’ll get the message this time, and I’ll definitely support it.

    1. I like TQL and MQL – both great candidates. Maybe TQL is a bit too close to T-SQL, but still a lot better than Power Query Formula Language (informally known as “M”). What a mouthful. Maybe you could reach out to your readers too.

  7. It’s a great idea but fear it might be stopped in its tracks just purely due to the ‘pee’ element, lol
    I’d welcome a merging of DAX and M into one common language or wrapper along the lines of ‘PDX’ = power data expressions.
    I’ve flagged up the idea that Excel should now officially become ‘Power Excel’ to truly distinguish it from old Excel. Office 2017 containing Word, Outlook, Access, Power Excel. I think it works

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