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Posted May 27, 2003

MDX in Analysis Services: Intermediate Concepts - Part 2

By William Pearson

About the Series ...

This is the third tutorial article of the series, MDX in Analysis Services. The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MDX from the perspective of MS SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services (to which I will refer in most cases as simply "Analysis Services," to save time and space). Our primary focus is the manipulation of multidimensional data sources, using MDX expressions in a variety of scenarios designed to meet real-world business intelligence needs.

For more information on the series, as well as the hardware / software requirements to prepare for the tutorials we will undertake, please see Tutorial 1: MDX Concepts and Navigation.

Note: At the time of writing, Service Pack 3 updates are assumed for MSSQL Server 2000, MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services, and the related Books Online and Samples.

Introduction

In our last tutorial, we took MDX beyond the retrieval of member names and properties, and began to focus on leveraging the capabilities of the language to return values from a multidimensional cube. We created calculated measures whose values were based upon a constant, then upon current members, and explored additional uses of calculated members and measures. We practiced returning values, based upon the specification of dimensions within MDX expressions, to extend the expressions' utility within the context of reporting from an OLAP data source. Moreover, we examined various aspects of the MDX notation system along the way.

In this tutorial, we will expand further the intermediate topics we introduced in our last lesson. We will take on practice examples where we will delve into handling hierarchical relationships in our expressions. We will also discuss a way to identify empty members, and illustrate why this is often important in building expressions.



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