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Practical MDX Queries: For Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2008 [Paperback]

Art Tennick

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Book Description

May 24 2010 0071713360 978-0071713368 1

300+ ready-to-use, powerful MDX queries

This hands-on guide shows you how to use Multi-Dimensional Expressions (MDX) to extract business intelligence from multi-dimensional cubes. Practical MDX Queries contains more than 300 downloadable MDX queries that can be applied across a wide variety of business intelligence-related problems. The use, syntax, and results of each query are described in detail. The book emphasizes MDX for use with SSAS within SSMS, but the techniques and queries also apply to SSRS, SSIS, MDX in SQL, MDX in DMX, MDX in XMLA, WinForms, WebForms, PerformancePoint Server, ProClarity, and many third-party applications.

  • Work with dimensions, hierarchies, levels, and members
  • Navigate both horizontally and vertically across dimensions and hierarchies
  • Sort the results of your queries
  • Access subsets of dimension members and measure values using the Where clause and Filter function
  • Use MDX query calculations
  • Extract and manipulate dates and times
  • Produce totals, subtotals, and changes cross time using aggregate and other functions
  • Create, visualize, and manipulate sets
  • Work with perspectives, subselects, and subcubes
  • Display and hide empty cells
  • Use, modify, format, and create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Deliver MDX query results to end users

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Product Details


Product Description

About the Author

Art Tennick has worked in relational database design and SQL queries for over 20 years, and in MDX queries for 10 years. He has been involved in multi-dimensional database design, cubes, data mining, DMX, and MDX for 10 years. Recently, Art worked with several major retail and banking corporations to implement BI solutions using Microsoft SQL Server, SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, and Excel 2007/2010. His website is www.MrCube.net.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the best entry book to a difficult subject Jan. 13 2011
By Jiang Tang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I am strongly against judging a book by its sample queries only. It's unfair!

If you are trying to learn MDX from the MDX solutions book, you will get lost and frustrated and curse all the time.

Now save yourself from those uncivil moment and enter the wonderful land of "practical mdx queries", which gently guides you through the treacherous land of MDX.

FastTrack MDX is another good book for beginners, but that book is awfully outdated.

The most important thing about learning MDX is that you must get firm understanding of the basics of dimensions, hierarchies, levels and members, which are causally covered by the other books, assuming you have already mastered those concepts.

The other books also use the shorthand notation of members without elaborating it, assuming that you are a genius or magician or someone with a lot of knowledge about MDX already.

Sure, you can't master MDX by just reading one book. But this book will get you to a concrete start without pulling off all your remaining hairs or beating yourself to a pulp.

The best part compared with other MDX book is that it sticks with the AdventureWorks sample while other books invent and re-invent the wheel by their own half-baked database.

Here is a summary of the content:

Chapter 1: Hello World: Easy Yet Effective Queries
This is a short chapter to get you started. It has a few queries so you get a flavor of
the power and elegance of the MDX language.

Chapter 2: Astrophysical: Playing with Dimensions
This chapter shows you how to work with dimensions, hierarchies, levels, and
members. It's quite possibly the most difficult chapter in the whole book--especially
if you are not familiar yet with the concepts of dimensions and hierarchies.
Understanding them is vital if you want to write meaningful and powerful MDX.
Chapter 3: Families and Friends:
Navigating Dimensions
Here we explore moving up, down, and across dimensions and hierarchies. The
general term for doing this is navigation. MDX allows you to navigate both
horizontally and vertically. MDX (unlike SQL) is positionally aware--it knows
where you are in the cube and can help you in your navigation.
Chapter 4: Bringing Order: Sorting Results
This chapter introduces various ways of sorting the results of your queries.
Business intelligence reports often have a requirement to put the information in
some kind of order--whether numeric or alphabetic. This chapter shows you how
to do this.
Chapter 5: Slice, Dice, and Filter:
Using Where and Filter
Often, you will want only a subset of your dimension members and measure
values. This can be achieved by slicing and dicing with a Where clause. An
alternative approach involves using criteria with a Filter function. The MDX Where
clause is not the same as an SQL one--hopefully, by the end of the chapter you will
be proficient at using it in MDX.

Chapter 6: Using the Abacus:
Introduction to Calculations
In general, the measures in your cube are based directly or indirectly on the
columns in your fact table in your star schema. However, it's likely your reports
will need further metrics. These are often based on the existing measures in some
way. One way to devise these new measures is to use MDX query calculations.
Here we explore how to do this. In addition, we take a look at creating nonmeasure
members and creating our own sets of data.
Chapter 7: Is Time a Dimension? Working with
Dates and Times
Nearly every cube in the world has a date or time dimension. MDX provides
many rich features that help you to analyze your data across history. In this
chapter, you are introduced to lots of functions for manipulating dates and times.
These will help you produce brilliant business intelligence reports!
Chapter 8: Clockwork: Calculations Using
Dates and Times
The previous chapter introduces the MDX to extract and manipulate dates. This
chapter combines the MDX you learn there with aggregate and other functions.
Here you get to use these aggregate and other functions to produce totals, subtotals,
and changes across time. This is a big part of business intelligence reporting.
Chapter 9: Venn Diagrams: Visualizing and
Manipulating Sets
Here's a wide-ranging chapter on working with sets and members of sets. By the
end of the chapter, you'll be able to create, visualize, and manipulate sets.

Chapter 10: Views on Cubes: Working with Subcubes
If you are familiar with SQL, you may use views. One use of a view on a relational
table is to present only a part of the table. Often, you will want to work on only a
part of a cube. The SSAS versions of SQL views are called perspectives, subselects,
and subcubes. Here we get to exploit those perspectives, subselects, and subcubes.
Chapter 11: Not All There: Dealing with Empty Cells
Cubes are often pretty big. They contain lots and lots of data. However, there will
also be many gaps. For example, it's unlikely that every customer bought every
product on every single day. There will be missing or null data. Sometimes, you
want to see null values--maybe zero sales are of interest. Sometimes, the null
values are a distraction and you will want to hide them. This chapter concentrates
on displaying and hiding empty cells.
Chapter 12: Smiley Faces: Working with Key
Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a vital part of business intelligence. At a
glance, you can see how well you are doing without having to dig down and analyze
individual metrics. They are a high-level overview of results--and of results against
targets. Here we explore using, modifying, formatting, and creating KPIs in MDX.
Chapter 13: Hodgepodge: A Chapter
of Miscellaneous Techniques
This is a catchall chapter for topics that do not fit easily into earlier chapters.
Formatting and conditional formatting are investigated. There are also queries to
drill through and drill down on the cube.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK FIRST! Oct. 8 2011
By Griller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I learned more practical MDX in an hour with this book than I did struggling for weeks several with other texts and MS BOL. If you need results now, start here. You won't regret it.

Tennick presents concise, clear, usable examples that not only give you a leg up on coding, but also lucidly illustrate some of the more difficult to grasp aspects of MDX queries. Yes, by all means, get a comprehensive text to look up arcane syntax rules, function classes, etc.. However, when it comes to writing queries, this hands down the most useful text I've found, and I searched long and hard. It had examples for almost everything I needed. Relative date ranges? Check. Percent of parent? Check. Hierarchy navigaton? Check. Cumulative sums? Check. Custom sets? Check. Calculated members? Check. Rolling averages? Check. Complex filtering? Check.

When I first opened the box, I was concerned because compared to other texts, this one seemed pretty thin. However, I only had to skim a page or two to develop an appreciation for the author's lean, "cut to the chase" analyses and explanations of functions. His economical presentations are one of the key strengths of the book.

My only minor quibble is his somewhat informal query formatting style, which can make the query text a bit harder to grasp immediately. Still, a perfect starting point for anyone who needs to start writing MDX queries right now. Great work!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Book for Connecting the Dots Feb. 21 2012
By banton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are an "MDX-Hacker"...

someone familiar with SSAS/cubes but relies heavily on google/stackoverflow/SQLforums when it comes to writing custom MDX

...and you wish to become proficient, this book is the perfect FIRST STEP. The clear example/explanation format used by this book to cover all the topics listed in the table of contents allows the reader to zip through at an amazing pace. For me personally, it helped to connect the dots on a few concepts which I had previously struggled with.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. May 21 2014
By iris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is very comprehensive. Gives you just the facts. Good examples from adventure works. Starts out slow but really picks the pace up.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic July 14 2013
By Ahmad Akra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you want to learn MDX, this book is your best bet, from the beginning of the book to the end, there is no unnecessary theory, just down to earth MDX query examples, their results and explanation of how they worked.
You're going to learn MDX in no time.

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