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Posted Jun 20, 2008

Intrinsic Member Properties: The MEMBER_KEY Property - Page 4

By William Pearson

We will not take the steps, as part of the practice procedures within this article, to construct the picklist apparatus within the reporting layer. However, let’s take a look at one approach to assembling the parts in Reporting Services (or, similarly, in another OLAP reporting application). First, we would transfer the query to Reporting Services’ own Data tab to generate a dataset within the report under consideration. This query, together with the dataset it generates, would look something similar to that which is shown in Illustration 6.


Illustration 6: Query and Dataset in Reporting Services to Support a Parameter Picklist

NOTE: This is only one approach to creating the dataset – perhaps the more obvious of several. Another might be more optimal, depending upon the reporting environment under consideration. Other approaches, the components of which might occupy different layers of the Microsoft integrated business intelligence solution, might include installation of the calculated members at the cube level, and then calling (versus defining and building) them from the reporting layer.

For a step-by-step procedure that demonstrates the construction of such a cube-based solution to support a picklist in Reporting Services, see Create a Cube-Based Hierarchical Picklist in my MDX in Analysis Services series, or Parameterization from Analysis Services – Cascading Picklists in my MSSQL Server Reporting Services series here at Database Journal.

Once we have created the dataset, the next step is to add a parameter to the report. Inside the Report Parameter definition, we would reference the new dataset (in the example I created for my illustrations I named it ProductCategory), as shown, and then select Product Category - MDX Qual Name and Product Category - Full within the Value and Label fields respectively. Illustration 7 presents a view of the way all this would tie together in the Report Parameter dialog inside Reporting Services.


Illustration 7: Pulling It All Together inside the Report Parameter …

At this point all that remains is to return to the primary dataset underneath the report and to insert the parameter placeholder within an axis specification or a slicer, where it acts as a filter (there are examples of this, and all other steps, in the articles I have cited above). Executing the query then triggers the “prompting” action of the new Product Category parameter.

The selection list, displaying the new, concatenated Product Category name, is manifested in the parameter dropdown when we preview or execute the report, as depicted in Illustration 8.


Illustration 8: The Product Category Parameter Selector in Action …

And so we see that our query, using the MEMBER_KEY and MEMBER_NAME properties, and the .UniqueName function, in conjunction with the “relative” .CurrentMember function, among others, to present the Keys, Captions and Unique Names for the Product Categories in side-by-side columns, can be readily used to support a picklist for a parameter within the reporting layer of the business intelligence solution of our client. Having demonstrated the workings of the MEMBER_KEY property in this fashion has helped us to show our client colleagues that we have, within the current dataset query, established support for parameterization based upon underlying cube data.

Our client colleagues express satisfaction with the results, and confirm their understanding of the operation of the MEMBER_KEY property within the contexts we have presented in the practice exercises. We reiterate to the Reporting team that knowing “where to put the intelligence” within the various layers of the Microsoft integrated BI solution can mean centralized maintenance, highly tuned performance and more effective solutions, in general, for consumers throughout our organizations.

10.  Select File -> Exit to leave the SQL Server Management Studio, when ready.

Summary …

In this article, we introduced the MDX MEMBER_KEY property, which can be called upon in activities that range from generating simple lists to supporting parameters in the reporting layer, as well as more sophisticated uses. We introduced the function, commenting upon its operation and touching upon the datasets we can deliver using MEMBER_KEY.

We examined the syntax involved with MEMBER_KEY, and then undertook an illustrative practice exercise showing a business use for the function, generating a query that capitalized on its primary features. Our exercise consisted of an example that drew upon our earlier examination of the MEMBER_CAPTION property, and included the use of the two properties in conjunction with the MDX .UniqueName function, and the “relative” .CurrentMember function, among others, to present the Keys, Captions and Unique Names for the Product Categories in side-by-side columns within a results dataset. We then illustrated using such a dataset to support a parameter picklist in a report that queried an Analysis Services data source. Throughout our practice session, we briefly discussed the results we obtained from each of the steps we progressively completed.

» See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

Discuss this article in the MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services and MDX Topics Forum.



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