Next in Our Series...

In this, the third article of the Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services series, we recreated the calendar time dimension that we built in our first lesson, this time focusing on the process through which the Dimension wizard converts existing time/date fields to a time dimension, with its hierarchy of levels and members. We discussed considerations surrounding the sources of time dimension data, detailing the reasons that a separate dimension table is, in most cases, the best approach to take, given control over the selection process. Next, we exposed ways to customize the predefined time-related properties that the wizard establishes in building the time dimension, suggesting options for customization of these properties to enhance the cube from the often intersecting perspectives of user-friendliness and the reporting needs of the organization.

We examined the setpoints of the time--related properties, as generated by the Dimension Wizard, as part of the dimension build process, exploring the expressions that the Dimension Wizard puts into place to create hierarchical levels from a date/time column. We then practiced making modifications to the dimension properties to facilitate ease of use by Information Consumers, as well as to customize various reporting attributes to fit the business environment more closely.

Finally, we created an example of an "alternate" time dimension for fiscal time reporting, and then we discussed some considerations relevant to the simultaneous housing of both hierarchies, within the same Time dimension, inside our OLAP cube structure.

style='color:windowtext'>In our next lesson, we will explore the intricacies of Parent-Child dimensions, and discuss the considerations and options that surround them in such areas as recursive column sources for their population, differences between Parent-Child dimensions and standard dimensions, and various actions that must be handled differently in their creation and maintenance.

Our ongoing examples will continue through the next lesson, Parent-Child Dimensions, after which we will arrive at the fifth lesson, Working with the Cube Editor. In Lesson Five we will pull together the components that we have constructed in Lessons Two through Four, to assemble a cube similar to, but more sophisticated than, the cube we generated in our first lesson.

See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

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