Source Property: NameColumn
Much like the KeyColumns property, which we
examined in Attribute Member
Keys Pt I: Introduction and Simple Keys, and Attribute Member
Keys Pt II: Composite Keys, the value we select for the NameColumn property
specifies a column or
columns within the underlying data source. The NameColumn property specifies the column(s)
containing the attribute member Name.
Click the box
to the immediate right of the NameColumn label, just beneath the KeyColumns label, within the expanded Source properties group of the Properties
note that the setting box currently contains DimTime.MonthName,
indicating that the setting is pointed to a column within the dimension table
that was likely designed for the purpose of populating the attribute Name.
Click the selector
(the downward pointing arrow) button that appears on the right edge
of the NameColumn
as depicted in Illustration 8.
Illustration 8: Click the Selector Button, then Select (new) ...
The Object Binding dialog appears, with highlighted Column binding
defaulted to the top column in the Source column list, TimeKey as shown in Illustration 9.
Illustration 9: The Object Binding Dialog Appears
we have noted in other articles of this series, the Object Binding dialog is used throughout the Business
Intelligence Development Studio to edit / add the column binding of
data items associated with properties of various Analysis Services
objects. The Object Binding dialog is typically made available
for single column selection options, where selection is made by simply clicking
the appropriate column within the Source column list.
Click the Cancel
button on the dialog to dismiss it without making changes to the column
Expand the Source
properties group in the Properties pane, atop the list that appears
under the NameColumn group that we expanded above, by clicking the +
sign that appears to the immediate left of the Source label.
The TableID and ColumnID settings appear, as depicted in Illustration 10.
Illustration 10: The Expanded Source Properties Appear
we can see, the first of the displayed DimTime.CalendarYear DataItem
properties, Source, expands to make available the TableID and the
ColumnID boxes, where we can also specify the location of the Name
within the underlying database. If we click on the Source label, or on
the box to its right, an ellipses (...) button becomes enabled. This affords
us another access point to the Object Binding dialog we saw earlier,
where we can, once again, select the Table and Column that we
Click the box
to the immediate right of the TableID label, just beneath the expanded Source
group label, to enable the downward-pointing selector button.
downward arrow selector button, to expose the tables for
selection, as partially shown in Illustration 11.
Illustration 11: Source - TableID Property Value Selection Options (Partial View)
we have selected the TableID, we can select from a context-sensitive
list of columns via the ColumnID selector, immediately underneath the TableID
selector, as partially depicted in Illustration 12.
Illustration 12: Source - ColumnID Property Value Selection Options (Partial View)
Leaving both Source
subproperties at their previously established settings, click the box to the
immediate right of the DataType label, just beneath the expanded Source
ColumnID property, once again to enable the downward-pointing selector
downward arrow selector button, to expose the types for
selection, as partially shown in Illustration 13.
Illustration 13: DataType Property Value Selection Options (Partial View)
We have mentioned
in several other articles of this series that the data type options
within Analysis Services 2005 have been expanded over those of previous
versions. The DataType property allows us to convert the data types
from those applicable to the data within the underlying relational database to
different data types that we might require for the corresponding member data
within Analysis Services. Unlike the data types we observed for the attribute
Key in Attribute Member Keys Pt I:
Introduction and Simple Keys, and
Member Keys Pt II: Composite Keys,
however, only a text data type (or a type that can be converted to text)
can be assigned for an attribute Name. We are therefore still afforded a
degree of versatility between these two layers of the integrated business
Leaving the DataType property at its previously established
setting, click the DataSize label, just beneath the DataType property label, simply to rest it
DataSize property allows us to specify (for either binary or text data) a size
(in bytes and characters, respectively). The setting we see in our example is
15. (The default is 255 characters anytime we do
not specify size.)
dictate we keep the following considerations in mind as we specify attribute member
We should keep
attribute member Names as short as is practical: the longer the Names,
the more resources required for retrieval and storage (therefore system
performance can be negatively impacted (the loading of long Names into
memory can cause significant degradation with regard to system speed, and can
be costly with regard to disk space).
We should avoid
using special characters and spaces in attribute member Names. These
characters and spaces can make the use of member Names cumbersome with
regard to resources, ordering and so forth.
Leaving the DataSize property at its previously established
setting, click the box to the immediate right of the NullProcessing
label, just beneath the DataSize property, once again to enable the associated
downward-pointing selector button.
selector button, to expose the five options for NullProcessing
selection, as depicted in Illustration 14.
Illustration 14: NullProcessing Selection Options
we can select a value to dictate the manner in which Analysis Services
processes null attribute member data. These values are explained in
detail in Table 1.
Table 1: Options for
NullProcessing Rule Selection
preserves the null
NOTE: This selection dictates the expenditure of additional
resources in the storage and processing of null data.
Server displays an error message, because the null value is
Server associates the null value with an unknown member
(which dictates that the value is to be treated in accordance with
established unknown member rules).
converts the null value to a blank (when the data type is a string)
or to a zero (when the data type is other than a string).
Server selects the value based upon its determination of context.
Leaving the NullProcessing property at its previously established
setting, click the box to the immediate right of the Collation label,
just beneath the NullProcessing property,
this time to enable the ellipses (...) button to its right.
ellipses (...) button, to expose the Define Collation dialog, which
appears as shown in Illustration 15.
Illustration 15: The Define Collation Dialog