MDX Member Functions: The “Family” Functions

About the Series …

This is the fifth article of the
series, MDX Essentials. The primary focus of this series is an
introduction to the MDX language. The series is designed to provide hands-on
application of the fundamentals of the Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) language,
with each tutorial progressively adding features designed to meet specific
real-world needs.

For more information about the series in general, as well as
the software and systems requirements needed for getting the most out of the lessons
included, please see the first article, MDX at
First Glance: Introduction to MDX Essentials

Note: Beginning with this lesson, Service
Pack 3
updates are assumed for MSSQL Server 2000, MSSQL Server
2000 Analysis Services
, and the related Books Online and Samples.

What We Accomplished in our Last Article

In the fourth
article of the series, MDX
Members: Introducing Members and Member Functions
, we introduced the concept of members, and discussed
their pervasive significance within MDX. In an article that served to launch
the series’ first discreet group of articles, Member Functions, we began our exploration of the powerful .Members operator. Our exposure of this robust and highly
useful operator included a discussion of the syntax within which we can best
employ it; we then illustrated some of its uses within MDX expressions through
practice exercises.

In this lesson, we
continue the multiple-article Member Functions segment that
focuses upon the member functions (and operators, as appropriate) one at
a time, contrasting the uses and effects of each. Specifically, we will expose
the .Parent, .Children and Ancestor() functions,
discussing the information they return, together with syntactical points
surrounding their use. We will illustrate further how to take advantage of
these useful functions by performing practice exercises, and commenting on the
result datasets we obtain.

William Pearson
William Pearson
Bill has been working with computers since before becoming a "big eight" CPA, after which he carried his growing information systems knowledge into management accounting, internal auditing, and various capacities of controllership. Bill entered the world of databases and financial systems when he became a consultant for CODA-Financials, a U.K. - based software company that hired only CPA's as application consultants to implement and maintain its integrated financial database - one of the most conceptually powerful, even in his current assessment, to have emerged. At CODA Bill deployed financial databases and business intelligence systems for many global clients. Working with SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase and Informix, and focusing on MSSQL Server, Bill created Island Technologies Inc. in 1997, and has developed a large and diverse customer base over the years since. Bill's background as a CPA, Internal Auditor and Management Accountant enable him to provide value to clients as a liaison between Accounting / Finance and Information Services. Moreover, as a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) - a Certified Public Accountant recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies - Bill offers his clients the CPA's perspective and ability to understand the complicated business implications and risks associated with technology. From this perspective, he helps them to effectively manage information while ensuring the data's reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. Bill has implemented enterprise business intelligence systems over the years for many Fortune 500 companies, focusing his practice (since the advent of MSSQL Server 2000) upon the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution. He leverages his years of experience with other enterprise OLAP and reporting applications (Cognos, Business Objects, Crystal, and others) in regular conversions of these once-dominant applications to the Microsoft BI stack. Bill believes it is easier to teach technical skills to people with non-technical training than vice-versa, and he constantly seeks ways to graft new technology into the Accounting and Finance arenas. Bill was awarded Microsoft SQL Server MVP in 2009. Hobbies include advanced literature studies and occasional lectures, with recent concentration upon the works of William Faulkner, Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Honoré de Balzac, and Charles Dickens. Other long-time interests have included the exploration of generative music sourced from database architecture.

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