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Posted Dec 11, 2006

Actions in Analysis Services 2005: The URL Action - Page 4

By William Pearson

Having set up the axes as desired, we are ready to take a look at two primary considerations for our new URL Action, availability and operation. First, let’s examine for which members of the Product Categories hierarchy the Action is available, and for which it is “disabled,” to ascertain that its behavior is in accordance with the client business requirements we have defined.

14.  In the row axis, occupied by the Product Categories, right-click the row labeled Clothing.

The context menu that appears contains two Actions, one of which is the URL Action we have added in preceding steps, named General Search for Product Category: Clothing, as depicted in Illustration 11.

Illustration 11: The Newly Added URL Action Appears for the Clothing Category ...

Next, we will repeat the same test for the Accessories Category, for which we have restricted selection as a Target for the new URL Action.

15.  In the row axis, occupied by the Product Categories, right-click the row labeled Accessories (the top row in the axis).

The context menu that appears contains only a single Action. This is the one of the Actions that pre-existed in the AdventureWorks sample, and not the URL Action that we added in the steps of our exercise. The context menu appears as shown in Illustration 12.

Illustration 12: The URL Action is Appropriately Absent (and Unavailable) for Accessories ...

The fact that we do not see our new URL Action in the context menu for Accessories provides instant confirmation that our Condition within the Action definition is effective. Recall that the purpose of the Condition was to render the URL Action unavailable for the Accessories Product Category. We imposed this Condition in response to the expressed business requirement of our client colleagues to “disable” the new URL Action for the Accessories Category.

We will next verify that the newly added URL Action is operational, by taking the following steps.

16.  In the axis row, once again, right-click the row labeled Bikes.

The context menu that appears this time contains our new URL Action. The name is context sensitive once again: General Search for Product Category: Bikes, as depicted in Illustration 13.

Illustration 13: The New URL Action is Available for the Bikes Product Category ...

17.  Click General Search for Product Category: Bikes on the context menu.

Our click initiates the URL Action, based upon the Bikes Product Category, and launches an instance of the web browser (Internet Explorer 7.0, in my case). It then enacts a general Google search, based upon the term “Bikes,” as we specified (via the MDX expression we provided) in our definition of the Action in the steps above. The browser appears similar to that shown in Illustration 14.

Illustration 14: The URL Launched Search in Internet Explorer 7.0

We verify, therefore, that our efforts to meet the requirements of our client colleagues have been successful.

18.  Close the web browser, when ready.

19.  Further inspect the availability and operation of the URL Action, performing additional browses, as desired.

20.  Within the Business Intelligence Development Studio, select File -> Save All from the main menu, to save our work through this point, as depicted in Illustration 15.

Illustration 15: Saving All Work from Our Session

21.  Select File -> Exit, when ready, to leave the Business Intelligence Development Studio.


In this article, we explored URL Actions, another mechanism by which information consumers can extend their efforts beyond the Analysis Services 2005 UDM structure for analysis and exploration. Our focus upon the URL Action included a brief introduction to its features, capabilities and possible uses. We then obtained some hands-on exposure to this standard Action type, creating a URL Action within the sample AdventureWorks development environment that can be installed with MSSQL Server 2005.

As a part of our practical examination of the URL Action, after an overview of its uses and the data it presents, we focused upon the use of an MDX Condition expression to restrict its availability within the Cube Browser, and, by extension, within client applications which a URL Action might be created to support. Having concluded an examination of the settings involved in creating our working URL Action, we verified, within the Cube Browser, the effectiveness of the new URL Action, from the tandem perspectives of availability of the Action and operation of the Action, in meeting the business requirements of a hypothetical client.

» 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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