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Configuring BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2008 to work with Database & Business Intelligence Projects and Team Foundation Server (TFS)

Working with the SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence projects along with Database projects in the same Visual Studio 2008 development environment can be challenging as there is no clear documentation how to enable both set of projects.  Database projects are supported by Visual Studio 2008 Developer, Professional and Team System Database Editions. The  SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence projects are supported by the Visual Studio 2008 shell that comes with SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2.

If you have BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 installed by itlself and you try to open a database project you get an error saying that this type of project is not supported. You get the same error if you have Visual Studio 2008 installed by itself and try to open one of the Business Intelligence projects. The reason behind these errors is that BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 does not come with the database project template and Visual Studio 2008 does not come with the SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence project templates.

So how do you get both set of templates in a single development environment?

In order to get both set of templates in the same development environment, you need to install both Visual Studio 2008 and BIDS in the right order as described in the following steps:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    - Visual Studio 2008
    - BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    - Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media

At this point should have a working Visual Studio environment with both set of projects.  A quick way to verify that the installation was successful, is to take a look at the Visual Studio version in the Help|About page. It will show as Version 9.0.30729.4462 QFE as shown in the picture below. QFE stands for Quick Fix Engineering.

VS2008QFE

When you launch Visual Studio 2008 or BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 you will be prompted to select the default environment settings. Since I work with the Business Intelligence projects most of the time, I select the Business Intelligence environment. This is an option presented only the first time you open Visual Studio. To change this setting, use the Import and Export Settings wizard, which is available on the Tools menu. For more information on choosing and changing the environment settings go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/6k364a7k(v=vs.90).aspx.

Connecting to TFS 2005 and 2008

To connect to TFS 2005 and 2008 you will need to download and install Team Explorer 2008 from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338.

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2005 or TFS 20008 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    - Visual Studio 2008
    - BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    - Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5.  Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338.

Connecting to TFS 2010

In some cases, the solutions & projects are 2008 / 2008 R2 projects but the repository is TFS 2010 or TFS 2012. Even if you installed Team Explorer 2008 you will get an error when trying to connect to a TFS 2010 or TFS 2012 server. The reason for this is due to the fact that Team Explorer 2008 does not support full URL paths (i.e. https://myservername/mytfs/mycollection) in the TFS server name section.

To fix this issue you will need to download and install the Forward Compatibility Update Team Explorer 2008 SP1 for Team Foundation Server 2010 (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10834).

Notice that this update can only be applied to Team Explorer 2008 SP1 (Service Pack 1). The curve ball here is that there is no Team Explorer 2008 SP1 available  as a download. In order to turn Team Explorer 2008 into Team Explorer 2008 SP1 is to apply the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 to it. This means that if you followed steps 1 to 4 above, you will need to repeat Step 3 (Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1).

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2010 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    - Visual Studio 2008
    - BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    - Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5. Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338
  6. Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1
  7. Install the forward compatibility update for Team Explorer 2008 SP1 for Team Foundation Server 2010
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10834

Connecting to TFS 2012

To connect to TFS 2012 the following update is required :

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Compatibility GDR for Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Server and Team Foundation Service Preview (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29983).

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2012 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    - Visual Studio 2008
    - BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    - Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5. Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338
  6. Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1
  7. Install Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Compatibility GDR for Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Server and Team Foundation Service Preview
    (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29983

Hopefully this post helps you get your environment all squared away.

.Net Code Camp Orlando 2013

CodeCamp

This past Saturday March 16th, I had the opportunity to speak once again the .Net Orlando Code Camp.  I presented a session under the SQL Server track titled “Change Data Capture, a developer’s best unknown friend”.  I had better than expected turn-out with about 20 attendees and overall very good participation.

I was glad to hear from more than one attendee that they were planning to use Change Data Capture in their environment and best of all to get rid of triggers!

I had the opportunity to catch-up with some of my friends and fellow SQL-ers from PASS. Also, met some new folks from the App/Dev community. These type of events are always great to expand your network, share your knowledge and learn something new!

Thanks to the organizers, sponsors, volunteers and attendees to make this event a success and for having me once more.

You can download my PowerPoint presentation and demo files at: http://sdrv.ms/15UUX64

Windows 8 Activation Error: DNS name does not exist Error Code: 0x8007232B

The Windows 8 Activation may fail while using the online activation process. You may receive an error screen similar to this:

Image

This issue was documented in this Microsoft Support article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929826 for previous versions of Windows but also applies to Windows 8. The cause according to this article is:

As the support article explains, the issue has to do with the default behavior of the activation wizard in certain installation media. Depending on where the installation media was obtained from (for example MSDN or TechNet subscription download) the activation wizard  by default will look for a Key Management Service (KMS) host on your internal network. It will not try to activate using the internet to reach Microsoft Activation servers.

In my case, I downloaded the Windows 8 Pro ISO file from my MSDN subscription. The installation binaries from the MSDN ISO file uses a temporary / default key to install as I was not prompted for an installation key. This installation key is apparently a temporary key that tells the Windows 8 activation wizard to look for a KMS host on the local network only and not try Microsoft’s activation servers online.

The solution is to manually change the product key to a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) most likely provided with your MSDN or TechNet subscription. To change the product key, use the slmgr.vbs script included with your Windows installation. The steps to manually change the product key are as follows:

1. Open an elevated Command Prompt (CMD) in Windows 8. Elevated means, Command Prompt needs to be run as an administrator. To do this, go to Windows 8 Start (click on the Windows key), locate the Command Prompt shortcut on your tiles (or search for it on your Apps) and righ-click on it.

2. The option to Run as Administrator appears on the bottom toolbar as shown in the following screenshot:

3. Once the elevated Command Prompt opens type the following command and press ENTER:slmgr.vbs /ipk “Your 5×5 Product Key”

For example:

4. After you press ENTER you will receive the following confirmation message within 10 seconds:

5. Once you receive this confirmation message you may proceed to activate Windows 8 using Microsoft’s activation servers online.

Top 3 Reasons Why Evernote is worth $1 billion to me

Everyone heard about Facebook’s recent purchase of Instagram for $1 billion dollars. No one can imagine how they came with such price tag for a bunch (a big bunch) of pictures with special filters added. I never used Instagram and I don’t think I will ever. I’m happy with my regular’ol Flickr, Twitpic and Picasa.

One free application that is really worth $1 billion is Evernote. Why? Well, it’s way more than just another online organizer to me. And it’s even better than the Trapper Keeper I carry around.

Reason #1: No more emailing back and forth
One of the best reasons why Evernote is so valuable is the fact that I can write notes or take pictures of a whiteboard with my smartphone and they will auto-magically synchronize with my laptop and iPad or vice-versa. No more emailing back and forth so that I can download them. The notes and pictures go right into my user-defined notebooks I saved the notes under and show up wherever I have Evernote configured.

Reason #2: No more wallet full of receipts.
As a consultant I travel a lot and taming my receipts monster for my T&E reports is not an easy task. At the end of a week-long trip my wallet looks somewhat like a juicy double-decker burger. With Evernote, I can take a picture of the receipt with my smartphone, tag it and upload it to my expenses notebook. I can do it right there at the restaurant when the waiter or waitress brings the check and add notes related to the expense.

Reason #3: Share & Grab
Another reason why Evernote is so valuable is the fact that I can share my notebooks and notes with other people. Imagine how cool it is to brainstorm and whiteboard and be able to share those notes, pictures, videos, links, etc with your teammates. Awesome, right! Well, it doesn’t stop there, you can even use third-party extensions and applications like ifttt.com to save content to an Evernote notebook from Tweeter, Facebook, email and other channels based on the criteria that you define. Make sure to check-out the Evernote Trunk section for a complete list of apps.

Just wanted to share this as I find it very useful and believe that applications such as Evernote should be the next billion dollar company. Please comment with other ways you use Evernote for: Recipes? CRM? Reminder? Your own private Facebook? sa password vault?

Master Data Services Error: Resolving from a long-running stucked Staging Batch with Status “Queued to Clear” or “Not Running”

In some ocassions,  you may run into a runaway, long-running or stucked staging batch with Master Data Services in SQL Server 2008 R2. The issue happens most frequently when a fairly large batch of rows are being processed for update or deletion.

The issue has to do with Service Broker, either due to a timeout or notifications not being received or received incomplete.  You can confirm the issue when you query the queue [mdm].[microsoft/mdm/queue/stagingbatch]. You will see one or more messages in this queue. After searching through a couple of forum threads I found the solution to be fairly simple: rollback transactions an re-enable Service Broker. The steps are as follows:

  1. Set the MDS database in single user mode and rollback uncommitted transactions.
    ALTER DATABASE [MDS] SET  SINGLE_USER WITH ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE;
  2. Re-enable Service Broker on the MDS database.
    ALTER DATABASE [MDS] SET  ENABLE_BROKER WITH NO_WAIT;
  3. Set the MDS database back in to “regular” multi-user mode.
    ALTER DATABASE [MDS] SET  MULTI_USER WITH ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE;

Once the MDS database is brought back online, all queued messages should be cleared out and MDS database will be able to communicate normally with Service Broker.

You can check Books on Line for more information on the difference between “NO WAIT” and “WITH ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE” options when issuing the ALTER DATABASE command here. Pinal Dave has a good post about the difference between these two options as well here.

Hope this post has helped you. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Todo lo que debes saber sobre SSIS en 1 hora!

Gracias a lo asistentes de mi charla Todo lo que debes saber sobre SSIS en 1 hora! en el evento 24HOP LATAM. La verdad me agrado mucho presentar en espanol. Aun cuando mi primera lengua es espanol, todas las presentaciones tecnicas en el pasado las he realizado en ingles.

Si deseas ver la presentacion PowerPoint puedes bajarla dando click en la imagen a continuacion.

Tambien puedes bajar el proyecto que utilize en mi presentacion dando click en la imagen a continuacion. Nota: Solo podras utilizar la base de datos y proyecto en SQL Server Denali, no servira en SQL Server 2008 o 2005.

Download all SQL Server DENALI CTP3 Demo VHD 36 files at once

Microsoft has made available for download the SQL Server DENALI CTP3 Demo VHD several weeks ago at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=27740. The SQL Server DENALI CTP3 Demo VHD is a fully configured HyperV image of SQL Server Denali CTP3  and SharePoint 2010 good for 180 days. The following software is configured on the virtual machine:

  • SQL Server “Denali” CTP3
  • SharePoint 2010
  • Office 2010

You may want to download this pre-built image to test and play with all the new features available in SQL Server Denali CTP3 and SharePoint 2010 without going through the hassle of building the environment yourself.

The vhd file has been broken down into 36 compressed (RAR) files of 700MB each. You can avoid the pain of downloading each file one by one using a download manager such as the Download Accelerator Plus (DAP).

DAP is my favorite download manager for 3 simple reasons:

  1. It’s free
  2. It’s fast
  3. The “Download all with DAP” option

For those of you not familiar with DAP, you can download it for free at http://www.speedbit.com. After downloading and installing DAP, you will notice that one of the options now available when you right-click on a webpage is the “Download all with DAP” as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Download all with DAP option

By default, it will display a list of all downloadable items from the webpage. To filter the file types to download, click on the More button. An additional section displays at the bottom with a button to Filter. Click on the Filter button, and check Custom. Type RAR EXE with a single space in between the two words as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Filter option

Click OK. Only the downloadable items with extension RAR and EXE are selected and ready for download. To start downloading click on the Download Now button. By default only 4 items will download in parallel, the rest will be queued and start downloading when one of the first 4 items complete as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. DAP queue

Using Unary Operators to control Analysis Services hierarchy aggregations

Analysis Services hierarchy aggregations can be easily controlled using unary operators. For example, in accounting there are GL accounts that are grouped in major GL account groups and used in different financial statements like Profit & Loss Statement, Income Statement, Trial Balance, and Balance Sheet. These GL accounts may affect the balances of the major GL account groups and  financial documents differently, adding  or subtracting to the balance.

A simpler example, might involve sales quotas for a Sales Department. For example, in some organizations the Sales Department is broken down into sales teams with salespeople assigned to those teams. The overall Sales Department quota is broken down into smaller quotas among these sales teams and the sales team’s quota is then broken down into quotas assigned to the team members. In some organizations, Sales Managers often assign these quotas evenly throughout the sales teams and sales team members. Others, in order to guarantee a fat bonus check decide to raise the bar and assign sales quotas that are higher to the overall department’s sales quota. Figure 1 below shows an organizational structure chart of our sample Sales Department with sales quotas that don’t sum up evenly.

Figure 1. Sales Department organizational structure chart and sales quotas

As can be seen in Figure 1, the total Sales Department quota is $150,000. The Sales Manager in this case decided to push their teams harder and assigned a sales quota of $60,000 to each team. In a perfect scenario, if all sales teams meet their sales quota, the total sales for the Sales Department would be $180,000, which is $30,000 more than the department’s sales quota. Accordingly, each team, in order to impress their Sales Manager and win a free meal and margaritas at the local Mexican joint, decided to exceed the team’s sales quota by assigning higher personal sale quotas.

In our BI solution, we are required to create an Analysis Services cube in which the Sales Manager can track these sales quotas at each level of the Sales Department organizational chart as seen in Figure1. But, we cannot simply sum up the sales quotas, because the totals would not match up. We could approach these several ways, but our requirement is to replicate Figure 1 with a single “SalesQuota” measure with no MDX or additional measures involved.

The Solution

In order to achieve the requirement imposed above we can make use of a special attribute property in Analysis Services called UnaryOperatorColumn to control how level members of our hierarchy contribute to the aggregated value of the level parent.

In a regular scenario, the parent’s sales quota at each level would be equal to the sum of its children’s sales quota. That would have been the case if the Sales Manager in our example had decided to distribute the overall Sales Department quota equally among each sales team and the individual sales team members would have done the same for their personal sales quota. In other words, each sales team’s quota would have been $50,000 each ($150,000 / 3). For Sales Team A, for example, each sales person’s quota would have been $16,66.67 each ($50,000 / 3).

But in our scenario, the parent’s sales quota at each level should not be equal to the sum of its children’s sales quota. The only solution then, is to create an “artificial” child at each level that holds the parent’s sales quota and specify this “artificial” child to be the only child contributing to the parent’s total. This is possible through the UnaryOperatorColumn attribute property in the Dimension designer in BIDS. In Figure 2 you can see the available Unary Operators that can be used in this property along with the resulting behavior as described in Books On Line (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms175417.aspx).

Figure 2. Unary Operators.

The UnaryOperatorColumn attribute property value, as the name implies, is a pointer to a table column that holds one of the Unary Operators listed in Figure 2. For our Sales Department quotas example, we would need a column that holds the unary operator for each level member in our Sales Department dimension. The Sales Department dimension source table would look as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Sales Department dimension source table

Notice that this table is a naturalized Parent Child table. Also, notice that an “artificial” child was created with the same name as its parent. This “artificial” child is the child that will hold the parent’s sales quota value and is the only value that will be used in the parent aggregation. The way we control this aggregation, is by assigning to this artificial child the ‘”+” Unary Operator and the rest of the children the “~” Unary Operator.

At the lower level in our hierarchy all the way to the right in Figure 3, each sales person is assigned a “~” as its Unary Operator  in the SalesPersonUnaryOperatorColumn and only the “artificial” child receives a “+” as its Unary Operator. The same applies for the Sales Team level in our hierarchy, only the “artificial” child is assigned the “+” Unary Operator.

The FactSalesQuota table that holds the sales quotas would look as shown in Figure 4:

Figure 4 FactSalesQuota fact table

The Analysis Services project

Once we have defined our underlying table structure, we can take a look at the Analysis Services project. Figure 5 shows the basic project definition with the Sales Department Dimension and Sales Quota measure.

Figure 5. Analysis Services project definition

The Sales Quota Measure

The sales quota measure is a straightforward column based measure. It is based on the Fact Sales Quota table and is a simple SUM aggregation. Figure 6 shows the sales quota measure definition.

Figure 6. Sales Quota measure

The Sales Department Dimension

The Sales Department dimension is a simple dimension with the necessary attributes needed to design a drilldown hierarchy. Figure 7 and 8 show the Sales Department dimension definition, user hierarchy and attribute relationships.

Figure 7 Sales Department definition

Figure 8 Sales Department attribute relationships

A very important step in any user hierarchy definition is to specify the key columns at each level. In this case, the only attribute that needs a composite key column definition is the Sales Team attribute. The key column definition is shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9 Sales Team attribute key columns

The deployed cube with the Sales Department definition provided so far would look as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Deployed cube

Notice that the “artificial” children show up and that the children’s sales quotas are being added to the parent’s aggregated amount. To fix the aggregation issue we need to define the UnaryOperatorColumn attribute properties for the children level members. We can hide the “artificial” children by changing the HideMemberIf user hierarchy level property to Parent.

Figure 11 and 12 show the values for the UnaryOperatorColumn property for the Sales Person and Sales Team attributes.

Figure 11. Sales Person UnaryOperatorColumn value

Figure 12. Sales Team UnaryOperatorColumn value

Figure 13 and 14 show the user hierarchy level property HideMemberIf

Figure 13 Sales Person user hierarchy level HideMemberIf property

Figure 14 Sales Team user hierarchy level HideMemberIf property

The Results

Once these properties have been changed the resulting deployed cube should look exactly as required. Figure 15 shows the exact aggregation behavior as in Figure 1.

Figure 15 Final results

Conclusion and Considerations

The solution presented above provides the exact results as dictated by our requirements and is meant as a means to exemplify and understand how unary operator can be used to control aggregation behaviors in user hierarchies.

There are other options to provide the same results, but this solution requires no calculated members or MDX at all. While this solution works, you need to keep in mind that there are some performance consideration regarding unary operators and parent child hierarchies. The key is always to TEST! TEST! TEST!

Sample Files

You can download the project files used in this post here.

SSAS errors: DefaultMember(Measures,Measures) (1, 1) The ‘[xxx]‘ member was not found in the cube when the string, [Measures].[xxx], was parsed.

When attempting to browse an Analysis Services cube you may be presented with the following error message:

DefaultMember(Measures,Measures) (1, 1) The ‘[xxx]‘ member was not found in the cube when the string, [Measures].[xxx], was parsed.

The error message is self-explanatory. There is a Default Member being referenced and was not found. But, pinpointing where this “DefaultMember” is being referenced may me a bit challenging.

The Root Cause

The root cause of this issue is quite simple: a deleted or renamed measure is still being referenced by its original name. Some of the areas where this deleted or renamed default measure could still be referenced by its original name include:

  1. Cube DefaultMeasure property
  2. Perspective DefaultMeasure property
  3. Calculations

The fix

The fix may involve adding the measure back or renaming the measure to its original name or digging through several areas of the cube where the deleted or renamed measure is still being referenced by its original name. Here are your options:

1. Add or rename the measure back to its original name.
This may not be the desired option, but it could be the easiest and quickest way to fix the issue.

2. Modify each Perspective’s DefaultMeausure property
Unfortunately, deleting or renaming a measure does not “trickle-down” where it is being referenced in a perspective. The original measure’s name will remain.

3. Change the cube DefaulMeasure property to the new measure name.
Similar to Perspectives, deleting or renaming a measure does not “trickle-down” its new name to the cube’s DefaultMeasure property. You will need to select a new measure in the DefaultMeasure property.

4. Modify the cube XML code
This option may be a little daunting to some, but in the end it is the quickest way to make sure the original measure’s name is replaced by the new measure’s name. To do this, in Solution Explorer right click on the Cube’s name and select View Code. The XMLA definition will open. At this point, press CTRL+H or click on Edit->Find and Replace->Quick Replace.The Quick Replace window will open. Type the original measure’s name in the “Find what” textbox and type the new measure’s name in the “Replace with:” textbox.

Dynamically generate current Year, Month or Date member with MDX

MDX can be extended with Visual Basic functions like the FORMAT() and NOW() functions to dynamically generate the current year, month or date member. For example, it can be used as part of a named set to generate current year budget and actuals. It can also be used as part of a filter in a Performance Point dashboard.

First, a little review of VB NOW() and FORMAT() function:

NOW()

The NOW() VB function returns the current system date and time. It is similar to the T-SQL GETDATE() function.

FORMAT()

The FORMAT() VB function returns a string formatted according to instructions contained in a format String expression.
Source: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/59bz1f0h(v=vs.90).aspx

There is an extensive list of characters you can use to create your own date and time formats. You can see the complete list here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/73ctwf33(v=vs.90).aspx

For example, you can extract the year portion of your date in the following formats:

y: Displays the year number (0-9) without leading zeros. Use %y if this is the only character in your user-defined numeric format.
Example: FORMAT(NOW(), “y”)
Result: 1 (for any date in 2011)

yy: Displays the year in two-digit numeric format with a leading zero, if applicable.
Example: FORMAT(NOW(), “yy”)
Result: 11 (for any date in 2011)

yyy or yyyy: Displays the year in four-digit numeric format.
Example: FORMAT(NOW(), “yyy”) or FORMAT(NOW(),”yyyy”)
Result: 2011 (for any date in 2011)

FORMAT() and NOW() with MDX

The following MDX example uses the Adventure Works 2008R2 Analysis Services OLAP cube. Suppose we need to return all Internet Sales for the year 2011. The MDX script would look something like this:

SELECT [Measures].[Internet Sales Amount] ON COLUMNS
FROM [Adventure Works]
WHERE [Date].[Calendar Year].&[2011]

This works just fine and will return the aggregated sales of 2011. (Note: the Adventure Works 2008R2 does not contain sample sales data for 2011, result will be an Empty dataset).

But what if instead of a specific year, you are asked to return the Internet Sales amount for the current year? You have 3 options:

  1. On January 1st at 12:01 AM every year you need to change your MDX script to the new current year.
    CONS: You might be passed out from celebrating New Year’s Eve and most probably you will not get to it until a few days out into the new current year.
  2. You could use some MDX functions like LasNonEmpty and LastChild to figure out the last amounts recorded by the most recent date.
    CONS: You may have forecast data or simply bad data with transactions occurring on dates out into the future. (Trust me, I’ve seen it)
  3. You can build a dynamic MDX script that will return the current year based on the system datetime.
    CONS: It may be too sexy for your cube.

The trick is to construct the Date dimension member using the STRTOMEMBER MDX function. The STRTOMEMBER MDX function stands for “String to Member” and as the name implies, it will convert a string to a dimension member. In this case, we want to generate the [Date].[Calendar Year].&[2011] dimension member from a string using the Year portion of the system datetime.

The dynamic string will look like this:

StrToMember(“[Date].[Calendar Year].&["+FORMAT(NOW(), "yyyy")+"]“)

Now we can use it in our MDX script:

SELECT [Measures].[Internet Sales Amount] ON COLUMNS
FROM [Adventure Works]
WHERE StrToMember(“[Date].[Calendar Year].&["+Format(now(), "yyyy")+"]“)

The same applies if you want to select or filter data for the current month. In the following example I’m be using the Month level from the Calendar Hierarchy and specifying the month of July (7) for the year 2011:

SELECT [Measures].[Internet Sales Amount] ON COLUMNS
FROM [Adventure Works]
WHERE [Date].[Calendar].[Month].&[2011]&[7]

We can generate the current month member as follows:

SELECT [Measures].[Internet Sales Amount] ON COLUMNS FROM [Adventure Works] WHERE StrToMember(“[Date].[Calendar].[Month].&["+Format(now(), "yyyy")+"]&["+Format(now(), "M")+"]“)

Note that to specify the Month portion we use CAPITAL letter M because it is case-sensitive. Smallcase letter m stands for minute. The complete list of characters can be viewed here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/73ctwf33(v=vs.90).aspx

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