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Fast Track to Mdx [Paperback]

Mark Whitehorn
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Sept. 23 2004 --  
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Fast Track to MDX Fast Track to MDX 4.7 out of 5 stars (13)
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Book Description

Sept. 23 2004 1852336811 978-1852336813 2
OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing) is the most powerful business intelligence tool currently available and Microsoft's Analysis Manager makes OLAP cubes incredibly easy to build and deploy. However, the real power of OLAP lies in its ability to help you solve real-life business problems; to release that power you need to use the language that controls the cubes and allows them to be queried. That language is MDX (Multi Dimensional eXpressions). Fast Track to MDX gives you all the necessary background to let you write useful, powerful MDX expressions and introduces the most frequently used MDX functions and constructs. No prior knowledge is assumed and examples are used throughout the book to rapidly develop your MDX skills to the point where you can solve real business problems. Mark Whitehorn, co-author of the best-selling "Inside Relational Databases", is renowned for his enthusiasm towards data handling and for the lucidity of his writing. Robert Zare is a program manager for Analysis Services at Microsoft: his inspiring talks on MDX sowed the seeds from which this book grew. Mosha Pasumansky was one of the authors of the OLEDB for OLAP specification that defined the MDX language and later he was the developer in charge of the first implementation of MDX in the Microsoft OLAP Services 7.0 product. He is currently the development lead of the Analysis Services engine team. A CD-ROM containing examples from within the book, and a time-limited version of ProClarity, is included.


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From the Back Cover

OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing) is the most powerful Business Intelligence tool currently available and Microsoft's Analysis Manager makes OLAP cubes incredibly easy to build and deploy. However the real power of OLAP lies in its ability to help you solve real-life business problems; to release that power you need to use the language that controls the cubes and allows them to be queried. That language is MDX (Multi Dimensional eXpressions).
Fast Track to MDX gives you all the necessary background to let you to write useful, powerful MDX expressions and introduces the most frequently used MDX functions and constructs. No prior knowledge is assumed and examples are used throughout the book to rapidly develop your MDX skills to the point where you can solve real business problems.
Mark Whitehorn, co-author of the best-selling Inside Relational Databases, is renowned for his knowledge of database systems and the lucidity of his writing. Robert Zare is a Program Manager for Analysis Services at Microsoft: his inspiring talks on MDX sowed the seeds from which this book grew. Mosha Pasumansky was one of the authors of the OLEDB for OLAP specification that defined the MDX language and later he was the developer in charge of the first implementation of MDX in the Microsoft OLAP Services 7.0 product. He is currently the development lead of the Analysis Services engine team.
Second Edition – It was the clarity, precision and sheer readability of the first edition that made it a best-seller. With that firmly in mind the authors have left the original 18 chapters intact (apart from minor updates); meaning that the second edition remains the best introduction to MDX that is available. What they have done is to add three brand new chapters. These introduce the topic of recursion in MDX, walk the reader through the process of creating recursive expressions and finally demonstrate how recursion can be used to effectively solve a series of business problems.
Forward by Amir Netz, Product Unit Manager, SQL Server – Analysis Services at Microsoft.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book July 9 2004
Format:Paperback
One question that may be going through your mind as you read these reviews is "Should I buy this book or 'MDX Solutions'?". I know that because that is what went through mine about three months ago as I read them.
In general, Fast Track is seen as the introductory book, Solutions as the expert's book. So I nearly skipped Fast Track and went directly to Solutions; I am so glad I didn't.
Fast Track is certainly the book to buy if you are new to MDX. It does a great job of introducing the language, it is excellently written by a set of true craftspeople - it is highly readable and, heaven help us, at times it is even amusing. This isn't like reading a text book, it is like sitting down with the guys who wrote it and having them tell you how MDX works.
Solutions is much less readable - we are talking about a typically stodgy reference book. But it does have a massive amount of information and that information is accurate and therefore highly useful.
So the easy answer is to buy both books, learn the basics from Fast Track and then use Solutions as a reference. And that is all I was initially going to write as my review. But I glanced back through Fast Track before I did so, looking back at it now as someone who now understands the language. And I was amazed at the amount of information that these guys cover. For example, MDX has about 150 functions in all, and Fast Track covers about 50 of them. Since they have carefully chosen the most commonly used ones, by the end of the book, you are familiar with most of the functions that you will ever need. And even better, you have enough background information to be able to understand the rest by reading the help system.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book does what it says on the cover April 5 2004
By Cath W
Format:Paperback
This book does what it says on the cover. And it does it very well.

It takes you quickly and clearly through the basic concepts of OLAP cubes and the terminology.
It introduces the structure of the MDX language then gets you to
understand the usage through clear examples.

The best thing about the Authors' style is that the examples build up from the question
"what do I want to do?" and end up with the line of code. I like this style. I prefer to learn how to tackle a problem than buying a book with a long list of solutions.

The latter chapters introduce you to the advanced concepts and features, again with good examples.

The book doesn't tell you how to sit down at SQL analysis services or Cognos Transformer and create a cube. It doesn't teach you to be a master of any of the OLAP clients.

It does give you a basic understanding of how OLAP servers and clients work and, if you understand what is under the hood, you can see how to tackle your own problems, start to build your own solutions and get more from your data.

This is not one of those big, every function and every option reference books.
This is a very readable book that will help you understand the subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent author, strong book. Jan. 8 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is just great! I have so far found MDX to be a very difficult language to understand; although I am fluent in SQL. The problem was that I didn't know enough about the basics, so I couldn't get over that initial learning curve.
The huge strength of this book is not that it is the definitive work on MDX; the authors are very clear about this - that is not what they intended to wrote. What they wanted to write was a book that made it easy for people to get started with the language - hence the word 'FastTrack' in the title. And they have succeeded superbly. As I read this book, the whole way in which MDX works seemed to crystallize in my mind; suddenly it all made sense. Now I find it really easy to write MDX expressions, which is making my job so much easier! I totally recommend this book if you have been finding MDX difficult to understand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read & Understand Jan. 30 2004
Format:Paperback
I have read and found "Fast Track to MDX" to be easier to read and understand. There are many charts, diagrams, documentations and pictures to help the reader. I have tried many of the MDX statements in the book with success. The book has explained many things in a very understandable way, including Lead, Lag, Filter, IIF, Distinct Count, Count, Member Properties, Current Member, Previous Member, Syntax usage and more. Also, to my amazement, the CD included is ProClarity v5. ProClarity is a very good tool compared to other viewers and very user friendly and powerful. This book is good for both the beginner and intermediate users.
TC
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intro book Aug. 4 2003
Format:Paperback
This is the perfect book for someone who has read other MDX books but still isn't clear on the difference between a tuple and a set. It isn't as detailed as Spofford's "Inside MDX", but spends most of its time giving detailed descriptions (with plenty of graphics) of the basics of MDX. It solved a host of MDX problems for me where a basic misunderstanding was causing an otherwise-correct statement to fail.
This is not a detailed reference, and you'll also need a more comprehensive book such as Spofford's to go past the basics. But for a "first book" on MDX, this is the right choice.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're new to MDX this is the place to start
I should say, if you really want to understand MDX, this book is the place to start. The author presents the information in a very logical manner, building gradually, and... Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Ignorant author, weak book
This has been written by a technical writer who only has a very vague knowledge of MDX. So it has a chatty tone, but nothing beyond the superficial is covered. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003 by A. Berglas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent MDX Book on MS-AS
This book has excellent coverage on MDX in general, and MS-AS in particular. It's a great book to start with, and the best book I've seen in the market. Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2003 by Che J. Hsu
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good MDX book to get started on MDX.
Fast Track to MDX is a great book to get started in the complex world of MDX. It takes the time to explain the basic elements of MDX through examples and easy to understand... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by "kng1220"
5.0 out of 5 stars My first positive review in years
I've been reading a few MDX books and I must say that this is 'The' book to start with.
Clear and easy to understand. Read more
Published on July 21 2003 by Roberto Botto
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Practical and Useful
The authors do a terrific job in explaining the fundamentals of MDX. I really liked their style explaining how MDX expressions are composed, explaining the differences between... Read more
Published on June 1 2003 by Josef Schiefer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a fantastic book to get you started with MDX. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot. The authors give you the information you need for the most commonly used... Read more
Published on May 18 2003 by Janice J Oliver
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Track to MDX
This is an excellent book for someone who's new to MDX or even at the intermediate level. I've been searching for a book that's to-the-point and focus solely on MDX ... Read more
Published on May 14 2003 by Christina Lan Le
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