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Posted Sep 12, 2008

Intrinsic Member Properties: The MEMBER_VALUE Property - Page 6

By William Pearson

Overview: Extending the Solution to the Reporting Layer

We will not take the steps, within this article (which occur inside the reporting layer), to construct the picklist apparatus. However, let’s take a look at one approach to assembling the parts in Reporting Services (or, similarly, in another OLAP reporting application). First, we would transfer the query to Reporting Services’ own Data tab to generate a dataset within the report under consideration. This query, together with the dataset it generates, would look something similar to that which is depicted in Illustration 21.

Illustration 21:  Constructing a Dataset in Reporting Services to Support a Parameter Picklist
Illustration 21: Constructing a Dataset in Reporting Services to Support a Parameter Picklist

NOTE: This is only one approach to creating the dataset – perhaps the more obvious of several. Another might be more optimal, depending upon the reporting environment under consideration. Other options, the components of which might occupy different layers of the Microsoft integrated business intelligence solution, might include installation of the calculated members at the cube level, and then calling (versus defining and building) them from the reporting layer.

For a step-by-step procedure that demonstrates the construction of such a cube-based solution to support a picklist in Reporting Services, see Create a Cube-Based Hierarchical Picklist in my MDX in Analysis Services series, or Parameterization from Analysis Services – Cascading Picklists in my MSSQL Server Reporting Services series, both here at Database Journal.

Once we have created the dataset, the next step is to add a parameter to the report. Inside the Report Parameter definition, we would reference the new dataset (in the example I created for my illustrations (I named it PostalCode_Param), and then select Customer_Postal_Code__MDX_Qual_Name and Customer_Postal_Code__Postal_Code within the Value and Label fields respectively. Illustration 22 presents a view of the way all this would tie together in the Report Parameter dialog inside Reporting Services.

Illustration 22:  Pulling It All Together inside the Report Parameter ...
Illustration 22: Pulling It All Together inside the Report Parameter ...

At this point all that remains is to return to the primary dataset underneath the report and to insert the parameter variable within an axis specification or a slicer, where it acts as a filter (there are examples of this, and all other steps, in the Reporting Services articles I have cited above). Executing the query then triggers the “prompting” action of the new Postal Code parameter.

The selection list, displaying the regular Postal Code value, is manifested in the parameter dropdown when we preview or execute the report, as partially shown in Illustration 23.

Illustration 23:  The Postal Code Parameter Selector in Action ...
Illustration 23: The Postal Code Parameter Selector in Action ...

And so we see that our query, using the MEMBER_VALUE and MEMBER_UNIQUE_NAME intrinsic member properties - in conjunction with the “relative” .CurrentMember function - to present the Postal Code values and Unique Names for Customers in two side-by-side columns, can be readily used to support a picklist for a parameter within the reporting layer of the business intelligence solution of our client. Having demonstrated the workings of the MEMBER_VALUE and MEMBER_UNIQUE_NAME properties in this fashion has helped us to show our client colleagues that we have, within the current dataset query, established support for parameterization based upon underlying cube data.

Our client colleagues express satisfaction with the results, and confirm their understanding of the operation of the MEMBER_VALUE property within the contexts we have presented in the practice exercises. We reiterate to the Reporting team that knowing “where to put the intelligence” within the various layers of the Microsoft integrated BI solution can mean highly tuned performance and effective solutions for consumers throughout our organizations.

6.  Select File -> Exit to leave the SQL Server Management Studio, when ready.

Summary ...

In this article, we introduced the MDX MEMBER_VALUE property, which can be called upon in activities that range from generating simple lists to supporting parameters in the reporting layer, as well as more sophisticated uses. We introduced the function, commenting upon its operation and touching upon the datasets we can deliver using MEMBER_ VALUE.

We examined the syntax involved with MEMBER_VALUE, and then, after preparing the sample database to support our training needs, undertook a couple of illustrative practice examples of business uses for the function, generating queries that capitalized on its primary features. Our exercises included examples that drew upon our earlier examinations of the MEMBER_NAME (in Intrinsic Member Properties: The MEMBER_NAME Property) and MEMBER_UNIQUE_NAME (in Intrinsic Member Properties: The MEMBER_UNIQUE_NAME Property ) properties, which we used in combination with other MDX functions to create a results dataset. We then illustrated the use of a similar dataset to support a parameter picklist in a report that queried an Analysis Services data source. Throughout our practice session, we briefly discussed the results datasets we obtained from each of the queries we constructed.

» 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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