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Posted Mar 13, 2006

Mastering Enterprise BI: Extend the Data Source with Named Calculations, Pt. I - Page 3

By William Pearson

Hands-On Procedure

We will begin by creating a new project within the Business Intelligence Development Studio, wherein we will create a Data Source pointed to a database sample provided with MSSQL Server 2005. This way, anyone with access to the installed application set and its samples can complete the steps in the practice session.

Preparation

Create a New Analysis Services Project

We begin our preparation within Business Intelligence Development Studio, where we will create a new Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services (SSAS) Project. As we have noted in other articles, those of us who have worked within earlier versions of Reporting Services, or within the Visual Studio development environment under other circumstances, will recognize the general look and feel of the Studio. Under this new style of development for Analysis Services, to which much of the documentation refers as "project mode," we create an Analysis Services Project, which houses a set of Analysis Services objects. The object set can include Data Sources, Data Source Views, Dimensions, Cubes, and other components.

Using an Analysis Services Project template affords us many benefits, such as helping us to organize and manage the items that are required to build, debug, and deploy an Analysis Services database. The development of an Analysis Services cube, which is our objective within this lesson, as well as one of the most common tasks in Analysis Services, can be accelerated though the use of the Analysis Services 2005 Cube Wizard, which both guides and simplifies the process, as is the way of wizards. IntelliCube technology, which can detect the relationships between attributes, dimensions, and facts, makes the wizard more effective than the wizard that was available in Analysis Services 2000.

While we will not go into the processes and structures that underlie our immediate topic, building a basic cube from scratch, let's make a mental note that all objects that we create and store within a given project are defined as files (using an XML representation) that eventually are deployed to an Analysis Services database.

1.  Click the Start button.

2.  Select Microsoft SQL Server 2005 within the Program group of the menu.

3.  Click SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio, as depicted in Illustration 1.


Illustration 1: Opening SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio

The Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 development environment opens, beginning with the Start page, as shown in Illustration 2.


Illustration 2: The Start Page, Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Development Environment (Compressed View)

4.  Close the Start Page tab.

5.  Select File --> New on the Visual Studio main menu.

6.  Select Project from the cascading menu, as depicted in Illustration 3.


Illustration 3: Beginning a New Project ...

The New Project dialog appears.

7.  Select Business Intelligence Projects in the Project types pane of the dialog.

8.  Select Analysis Services Project in the Templates pane, as shown in Illustration 4.


Illustration 4: Select Analysis Services Project

NOTE: The templates that appear in your template pane may differ, depending upon which SQL Server 2005 components are installed in your environment, as well as whether additional templates (for Business Intelligence Projects or other types of projects that can be created) have been defined in Visual Studio.

9.  Change the project Name (currently displaying a default) to the following:

ANSYS045 Named Calculations

The Solution Name changes to match the project Name by default.

10.  Navigate to a convenient location to store the Project and Solution files, modifying the Location box accordingly (Visual Studio will create a directory based upon our input here).

The New Project dialog appears similar to that depicted in Illustration 5.


Illustration 5: The New Project Dialog, with our Input

11.  Click OK to accept our input and to create the new Analysis Services Project.

The New Project dialog closes, as Visual Studio creates the project, and solution ANSYS045 Named Calculations appears in the Solution Explorer as shown in Illustration 6.


Illustration 6: The New Analysis Services Project Appears

Solution Explorer presents a tree view of the objects contained in the solution, the primary management unit within the Business Intelligence Development Studio, which can contain multiple projects. Individual projects, such as the one we have created, themselves contain folders for the objects that can be defined for projects of a similar type. It is, after all, the purpose of an Analysis Services Project to group related files containing the XML code behind the objects in a given Analysis Services database.

As we can see in the present instance, the Analysis Services Project template, upon which our ANSYS045 Named Calculations project was based, contains the following folders:

  • Data Sources
  • Data Source Views
  • Cubes
  • Dimensions
  • Mining Structures
  • Roles
  • Assemblies
  • Miscellaneous

Anytime we create a new Analysis Services Project, the Solution Explorer and the Properties window are visible and docked, as we see them in the present case. The following windows are hidden and docked, initially, and appear on the right, bottom, or left side of the development environment, depending upon where they are docked:

  • Server Explorer
  • Toolbox
  • Task List
  • Error List

Viewing any of the hidden windows is as simple as positioning the pointer over it – its mouseover behavior is to reappear. We can also click the Auto Hide button (depicted for the Solution Explorer in Illustration 7) to hide or unhide a window.


Illustration 7: The Auto Hide Button – Solution Explorer

Finally, we can always open a closed window by selecting it from the View menu atop the development environment, as shown in Illustration 8.


Illustration 8: Reopen Closed Windows from the View Menu ...

Having created a new Analysis Services Project, we are ready to define a Data Source and Data Source View.



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