Overview of the Attribute
As we noted in previous
articles of this subseries, Analysis Services exposes many properties
that determine how dimensions and dimension attributes
function. We will continue what we began in Dimension Attributes: Introduction and Overview, Part I, and further examine the properties for our
selected attribute, Geography Key, within our sample UDM, by taking the following steps.
Within the Attributes
pane of the Dimension Structure tab, right-click the Geography
on the context menu that appears, as depicted in Illustration 5.
5: Select Properties from the Context Menu ...
pane appears for the Geography Key attribute. (The Properties
pane likely appeared when we selected the Product dimension within
the Dimensions pane, by default, below the Solution Explorer.
The design environment can, of course, be customized in many ways to
accommodate your local environment and development needs.)
at this stage, see the thirty DimensionAttribute properties for
the Geography Key attribute within the Properties pane. We examined the first eleven properties,
the members of the Advanced properties group, in Dimension Attributes: Introduction and
Overview, Part I. We noted that
these properties include the following:
Basic properties, appearing underneath the Advanced
properties group, include the following:
group comes next, and includes the following four properties:
the Misc group in the Properties pane lies the Parent-Child
group, which includes the following five properties:
the five Source properties, appearing underneath the Parent-Child
properties group, include the following:
pane for the Geography Key attribute, with the Basic properties
group (which we will examine in the practice session that follows) expanded,
appears as shown in Illustration
6: The Properties Pane for the Geography Key Attribute (Basic Properties
take a look at each of the individual attribute properties in the
sections that follow.
Examine Attribute Properties:
will continue the examination of attribute properties that we began in Dimension Attributes: Introduction and
Overview, Part I,
with the Basic properties group. As we did with the members of the Advanced
properties group in the previous article, we will discuss the purpose of each
property, and examine or discuss, in most cases, possible settings with
which we can come into contact within the context of the property.
property affords us a place to place a free-text description of the attribute.
The ID property specifies the unique
identifier of the dimension.
The Name property contains
the user-friendly name of the attribute.
Basic Property: Type
The value of the Type
property for an attribute determines the attribute type and specifies the type of
information contained by - that attribute. Within Analysis Services 2005, attribute
types help to classify an attribute based upon its business utility
or functionality. Analysis Services offers many attribute types
within the propertys dropdown selector, a portion of which (including the
default selection, Regular) are depicted in
7: Partial View of the Attribute Types Available for Selection ...
Many of the available options represent types which are
used by client applications to display or support an attribute. However,
some attribute types also have specific meaning to Analysis Services.
As in illustration, some attribute types identify attributes that
represent time periods in various calendars for time dimensions.
types for dimensions or attributes are set via the associated
wizard that we use when defining these objects. Attribute types can also be set when
we employ wizards, such as the Business Intelligence Wizard, to add
functionality to dimensions within Analysis Services. A good
example is the application of various attribute types to attributes
in a dimension when we use the Business Intelligence Wizard to
add Account Intelligence to a given dimension: the wizard applies
several attribute types to attributes in the affected dimension,
for example, to identify attributes that contain the names,
codes, numbers, and structure of accounts within the dimension.
Attribute types in Analysis Services fall in into five categorized
groups. These attribute type groups include:
Associated with each of the attribute
type category groups listed above are multiple possible attribute type
values. (These are the values partially represented in Illustration
7 above). We will examine many of these values within other articles
of my Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis
where they will arise within an examination of respective objects and related
subject matter in general.
Basic Property: Usage
allows us to
specify how an attribute
is used. Among selection options are the default value of Regular, as
well as the values Key and Parent. (The setting for the attribute
we have chosen for our practice example, Geography Key, is Key.)
Click the downward
arrow selector button that appears to the immediate right of the
Usage property label, to expose the three options for selection, as shown
in Illustration 8.
Illustration 8: Usage
Property Value Selection Options
completed our review of the Basic attribute properties, we will conclude
this part of our examination of attribute properties. We will extend our
introductory examination of dimension
attributes, specifically continuing our discussion with the Misc, Parent-Child
and Source groups of properties, within subsequent parts of
NOTE: Please consider saving the
project we have created to this point for use in subsequent related articles of
this subseries, so as to avoid the need to repeat the preparation process we
have undertaken initially, to provide a practice environment.
---> Save All to save our work, up to this
point, within the originally chosen location, where it can be easily accessed
for our activities within subsequent articles of this subseries.
---> Exit to leave the design environment,
when ready, and to close the Business Intelligence Development Studio.
the second part of a multi-part article introducing dimension attributes,
we continued our current subseries focusing upon dimensional model
components, with an objective of discussing the associated concepts, and of
providing hands-on exposure to the properties supporting each. We
reviewed our initial introduction to the dimensional model and
summarized its role in meeting the primary objectives of business
intelligence. Next, we provided a brief overview of dimension attributes
We overviewed many of the general characteristics and
purposes of attributes, including their names, and the names of the
groups within which each is classified. We then continued our focus upon the properties
underlying them, based upon the examination of a representative attribute within
our sample cube. In this article, we extended our discussion beyond the Advanced
group of properties, which we began in Part I, and examined the attribute properties belonging to the Basic
group, including what they define and
support, and how we can manage them. We will continue our examination of attribute properties, this time for those that
constitute the membership of the Misc
properties group, in the next part of this article.
See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III
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