Intrinsic Member Properties: The MEMBER_VALUE Property - Page 2

September 12, 2008

Practice

Preparation

Preparation within Analysis Services – Business Intelligence Development Studio

To make our practice exercise more meaningful, we will make a minor modification to the Adventure Works database sample – a sample that is available to anyone who installs Analysis Services 2005. We will perform our modification within the SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio, in the steps that follow.

1.  Click Start.

2.  Navigate to, and click, the SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio, as appropriate.

We briefly see a splash page that lists the components installed on the PC, and then Visual Studio .NET 2005 opens at the Start page.

3.  Close the Start page, if desired.

4.  Select File -> Open from the main menu.

5.  Click Analysis Services Database ... from the cascading menu, as depicted in Illustration 1.

Illustration 1:  Opening the Analysis Services Database ...
Illustration 1: Opening the Analysis Services Database ...

The Connect to Database dialog appears.

6.  Ensuring that the Connect to existing database radio button is selected, type the Analysis Server name into the Server input box atop the dialog.

7.  Using the selector just beneath, labeled Database, select Adventure Works DW, as shown in Illustration 2.

Illustration 2:  Selecting the Sample Analysis Services Database ...
Illustration 2: Selecting the Sample Analysis Services Database ...

8.  Leaving other settings on the dialog at default, click OK.

SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio briefly reads the database from the Analysis Server, and then we see the Solution Explorer populated with the database objects, as depicted in Illustration 3.

Illustration 3:  The Adventure Works DW Database Objects within the Solution Explorer
Illustration 3: The Adventure Works DW Database Objects within the Solution Explorer

As we have noted in the introduction, the ValueColumn property of a dimension attribute allows us to specify the column within the underlying data source from which Analysis Services derives the value of the attribute. ValueColumn is similar to the NameColumn property (we get some hands-on exposure to these and other Source property settings in my article Dimension Attributes: Introduction and Overview, Part V), in that it offers a downward arrow selector button that appears to the immediate right of the property label.

Let’s use the selector to replace the default selection of “(none) with a column within the underlying data. For the purposes of illustration, we will say that, in addition to specific reporting needs that they outline below, representatives of our hypothetical client, the Adventure Works organization, have informed us that they wish to be able to report Postal Code values , along with City (already the NameColumn setting for the City attribute), within the Customer dimension of the Adventure Works UDM.

To access these settings for the targeted attribute (City) within the containing dimension (Customer), we will need to open that dimension within the Dimension Designer first. We will accomplish this using the Dimension Designer.

9.  Within the Solution Explorer, right-click the Customer dimension (expand the Dimensions folder as necessary).

10.  Click Open on the context menu that appears, as shown in Illustration 4.

Illustration 4:  Opening the Dimension via the Dimension Designer ...
Illustration 4: Opening the Dimension via the Dimension Designer ...

The tabs of the Dimension Designer open.

11.  Click the Dimension Structure tab, if we have not already arrived there by default.

12.  Examine the member attributes that appear within the Attributes pane of the Dimension Structure tab.

The attributes belonging to the Customer dimension appear as depicted in Illustration 5.

Illustration 5:  The Member Attributes, Customer Dimension
Illustration 5: The Member Attributes, Customer Dimension

We note that twenty-one attributes appear within the Attributes pane. At this stage, we can move to the City attribute to make the simple modification necessary to support the practice session that follows.








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