Archive for July, 2011

Having difficulties choosing the right representation for your data ? Try the “Chart suggestions” method …

So you want to propose convincing data representations ? Maybe have you sometimes difficulties choosing between all the form of existing charts the one that will best fit your needs ?

Some times ago, I was asked to discuss with a client involved in our dashboard design workshops, why to choose one kind of chart rather than another. Even if I knew well “instinctively” the different representations you can use for graphing trends or distributions for example, I was searching something formal and exhaustive to share with him, something that can guide him … even without me being around.

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Analysis Services : How to break distinct count measures into separate measure groups ?

Having blogged last week here about the advantages of the new storage file format found in the Denali’s CTP3 for those kind of measures when they are of the string data type, remember me that maybe this little feature may need a post. This is no rocket science, just a little tip that every one would solve after spending 5 minutes on it. I even think that most of you may already know about it….

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[SQLServer 2012] Analysis Services New Feature : Scalable String Storage

As you may know, both dimension’s attributes and distinct count measures can be of string data type. During processing, Analysis Services reads data and put them into individual stores organized by attributes in case of dimensions or by measures groups/partitions for cubes.

The file format of those stores differ to adapt to the type of the data located inside. By default, until now, string stores couldn’t exceed the 4GB file size limit.

Starting with the CTP3, a new feature names “Scalable String Storage” allow to go beyond this limit. A new property named “StringStoresCompatibilityLevel” is available at different places to activate it.

I’ll review in this post how to set up this new feature in your SSAS solution and what we can expect from it…

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Do you like infographics ? Visual.ly is here for you

As business intelligence professionals, we all realize, sooner or later, and sooner is better :), that data is hardly actionable if not turned into information and that in the process of digesting info, data presentation and how it tells you the story does count a lot.

So I’m always interested when I come across a presentation that goes straight to the goal.

If like me you’re interested in infographics and more widely in data visualizations, here’s a great place to start with !!

Visual.ly‘s web site defines itself as “The world’s largest community for exploring, sharing, creating, and promoting data visualizations.”

It helps you to find and browse visualizations and infographics found on the web and to promote your own work.

One last feature should be the corner-stone of what this website will have to offer in the future. It’s a service that will allow you to craft your own infographics. It claims that it will not request any extensive habilities other than knowing what’s the story to tell. You can sign for an early access here.

As a bonus, here’s a short list of some of my favourites :

The tale of early tech rival

Difference between Humans and Animals

The student loan scheme

And you ? What are your favorite ones ?

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Analysis Services Feature Suggestion : Managing Measure Group visibility

The most commonly used reporting tool by the users to query Analysis Services may surely be Excel. As professionals, while testing SSAS solutions, we also add BIDS and SSMS to the list.

One of the great but little known feature of those SSAS reporting tool, is their ability to hide the multiple measure groups complexity by selecting one of them and only displaying the measures and dimensions that belongs to it.

Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a screenshot :

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[Denali CTP3] Management Studio : No support for extensibility

So it’s official now, there won’t be support for SSMS extensibility in the next version of SQL server.

It does not mean it will not be technically possible, it is “just” not supported by MS, including no forward/backward compatibility support, no documentation, etc…

Having developed myself several tools to enhance my SSAS experience, I must say that this was on top of my most anticipated feature for years now.

You can find the official info in the BOL here : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms174219(v=SQL.110).aspx

You can also review the feature suggestion on connect here : https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/details/265567/ssms-allow-support-for-addins-as-in-visual-studio.

This one was opened back in 2007, I’ve voted for it last year and it was finally classified “Will not be solved” today…

Considering the great expectations a lot of us had for this one, I just didn’t anticipated it would end this way…

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SQL Server DENALI CTP3 out now !

It appears that the SQL Server DENALI CTP3 is out now and available at the following place :

https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/pd/SQLDCTP3CTA/enus/default.aspx

The feature pack is also available :

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=26726

I’ll review it as soon as possible.

Enjoy 🙂

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