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Posted Nov 6, 2002

MDX at First Glance: Introduction to SQL Server MDX Essentials - Page 3

By William Pearson

The Basic MDX Query

Let's begin by creating a rudimentary query using the MDX Sample Application. The Sample Application is installed with Analysis Services and allows us to create an MDX statement, execute it, and see the results in a grid-like results pane. We'll start the application and proceed, taking the following steps:

  1. Go to the Start button on the PC, and then navigate to Microsoft SQL Server -> Analysis Services, then to the MDX Sample Application.
  2. We are initially greeted by the Connect dialog, shown in Illustration 1 below.

Illustration 1: The Connect Dialog for the MDX Sample Application (Enlarge)

The illustration above depicts the name of one of my servers, RAPHAEL, and properly indicates that we will be connecting via the MSOLAP provider (the default).

  1. Click OK.

(We might also choose to cancel the dialog box and connect later by clicking Connect on the File menu.)

The MDX Sample Application window appears.

  1. Clear the top area (the Query pane) of any remnants of queries that might appear.
  2. Ensure that FoodMart 2000 is selected as the database name in the DB box of the toolbar.
  3. Select the Warehouse cube in the Cube drop-down list box.

The MDX Sample Application window should resemble that shown below, complete with the information from the Warehouse cube displaying in the Metadata tree (in the left section of the Metadata pane between the Query pane at the top of the application window and the Results pane at the bottom.).

Illustration 2: The MDX Sample Application Window (Compressed)

We type our MDX statements into the Query pane, as we shall see. Above the Query pane are the menu bar and toolbar. The Metadata pane allows us to visually inspect structural information about the selected cube. Syntax examples on the right side of this middle pane assist us in the creation of our statements. The Results pane at the bottom of the application window presents the output of our MDX queries. We will discuss various attributes of the MDX Sample Application where they are relevant to the exercises we undertake, but it is highly useful to explore the Books Online for a wealth of detail about the application.

We will begin with an example: We are asked by an information consumer to provide the total sales and total cost amounts for the years 1997 and 1998 individually for all USA-based stores (including all products). We are asked, moreover, to provide the information in a two-dimensional grid, with the sales and cost amounts (called measures in our data warehouse) in the rows and the years (1997 and 1998) in the columns.

  1. Type the following query into the Query pane:

    --MDX01-1:  Basic Query
    {[Time].[1997],[Time].[1998]}ON COLUMNS,
    {[Measures].[Warehouse Sales],[Measures].[Warehouse Cost]}  ON ROWS
    FROM Warehouse
    WHERE  ([Store].[All Stores].[USA])

The diagram below labels the various parts of the query:

Illustration 3: Labeled Parts of a Basic MDX Query

Page 4: General Discussion Items for MDX Queries

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