SQL Server 2005 : Basic OLAP - Building Your First Cube (part 2) - Adding a Data Source View

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Adding a Data Source View

What we’ve done so far is akin to creating a database connection; we still need to specify what objects from the Northwind database we wish to use in order to build our cube. To specify this information, we need to add a data source view to our project. To do this, right-click the Data Source Views folder in Solution Explorer and select New Data Source View... from the shortcut menu. This brings up the Data Source View Wizard.

Click Next on the Welcome page, and click Next again on the Select A Data Source page, making sure that the Northwind data source you just created is selected. On the Select Tables And Views page, select (that is, move from the Available Objects list to the Included Objects list) the tables tblFact and tblTime (tables are listed first in the Included Objects list) and the views vwShippers, vwProducts, vwGeography, vwEmployees, and vwSuppliers (which appear toward the bottom of the Included Objects list). Figure 3 shows how the lists should appear at this point.

Figure 3. In the Data Source View Wizard, you can select fact tables and dimension tables (which can also include views) for your data source view and, eventually, your cube.

When you’re building data source views, don’t panic if you’re not sure which tables to select. You can bring back this page later as the standalone Add/Remove Tables dialog box in the Data Source View designer when you’re done with the wizard.

You can type a wildcard filter expression in the Filter text box to limit the tables and views that appear in the Available Objects list. For example, typing vw and then either pressing the Enter key on your keyboard or clicking the funnel icon button to the right of the text box filters the list to display only tables and views that begin with the letters vw.

Once you’ve moved at least one table into the Included Objects list, you can select a table (or multiple tables) and click the Add Related Tables button to instantly select all tables related to it (or them).


This can be a great shortcut: If you include the fact table first and then click Add Related Tables, you can often move over all the dimension tables at once, depending on the design of your star schema database. Because we’re using views and an unrelated table for our dimension tables, this shortcut will not work in our particular case.

When you’re done selecting your tables, click Next. On the Complete the Wizard page, accept the default name of “Northwind” assigned to your data source view and then click Finish.

After a brief pause, the wizard disappears and your data source view automatically opens in its designer. The tables in the data source view might need to be manually arranged so that they are all visible simultaneously with the fact table in the center (Figure 4).

Figure 4. The data source view generated by the wizard after some layout tidying has been done

The designer is divided into three panes: On the upper left is the Diagram Organizer pane, on the bottom left is the Tables pane, and on the right is the diagram pane. The All Tables diagram that is displayed in the diagram pane shows all the tables you selected in the Wizard. It is possible to add additional diagrams to the data source view that contain only a subset of the tables/views in the data source view by selecting the Data Source View/New Diagram main menu option, right-clicking within the Diagram Organizer pane and selecting New Diagram from the shortcut menu, or clicking the New Diagram toolbar button (third from left). After taking any of these three actions, you can type a diagram name and then drag tables and views from the Tables pane onto the design surface in the diagram pane. If you accidentally drag a table or view that you don’t want into the diagram, simply right-click it and choose Delete Table From DSV.

The set of tables and views that the data source view is based on, which you first specified in the Select Tables And Views page of the Data Source View Wizard, can be altered within the data source view designer. You may do so through the Add/Remove Tables dialog box, which can be brought up via the Data Source View/Add Remove Tables... main menu option, the Add Remove Tables... diagram pane shortcut menu option, or the Add/Remove Objects toolbar button (on the far left). Individual tables can be removed from the data source view by selecting them in the Tables or diagram pane and clicking the Delete toolbar button (third from right) or by right-clicking the tables in either pane and selecting the Delete Table From DSV shortcut menu option.

By default, all foreign key constraint relationships between tables are shown in the diagrams as the tables they relate to are added to a diagram. In our case, no pre-declared constraint relationships exist, so you must add relationships to the data source view diagram yourself. To do so, just click in the foreign key column in tblFact and drag the mouse to connect to the corresponding column in the corresponding dimension table.

For example, you can click the EmployeeId field in tblFact (to highlight it) and drag the mouse to the EmployeeId field in vwEmployees. Release the mouse button, and you should see an arrow-headed line joining the fact table to the view. Double-click it (or single-click it and select the Data Source View/Edit Relationship... main menu option, or right-click it and select the Edit Relationship... shortcut menu option) to bring up the Edit Relationship dialog box, where you can edit the properties of this relationship and confirm that you joined the correct columns (Figure 5).

Figure 5. The Edit Relationship dialog box

The Edit Relationship dialog box is essentially a property sheet for the relationship between the fact table and the employee dimension “table” (which is actually the view called “vwEmployees”). A modified version of this dialog box, the Create Relationship dialog box, can be used to create relationships if the drag-and-drop method does not appeal to you. You can bring up the Create Relationship dialog box by selecting the Data Source View/New Relationship... main menu option, by selecting the New Relationship... diagram pane shortcut menu option, or by clicking the New Relationship toolbar button (fourth from right).

For our cube, we need to build relationships between tblFact and each of the dimension tables (views). Build the following additional relationships and then save your changes. (See the text following the table for special instructions on the relationships to vwGeography and tblTime.)

Source TableSource ColumnDestination TableDestination Column

You’ll notice that for vwGeography and tblTime, a logical primary key does not exist, and the designer will ask if you’d like to define one. The designer asks this question because no columns in either of these views are primary keys in the physical tables they are derived from. For now, select Yes.

The data source view designer allows you to add and remove tables, relationships, and so-called named queries from diagrams. Named queries are much like database views, but they are persisted in your data source view and not in the star schema database. Right-clicking on a particular table, either in the diagram pane or in the Tables list, allows you to add a named calculation. This is essentially like adding a calculated field in a view, but again it is persisted in the data source view rather than in the source database. You can also browse the data within any table in your data source view and perform PivotTable, Chart, and PivotChart analysis on it by right-clicking it (again, in the diagram pane or the Tables list) and selecting Explore Data from the shortcut menu.

The data source view designer toolbar’s Find Table button (second from right), the Data Source View/Find Table... main menu option, and the Find Table option on the diagram pane’s shortcut menu all allow you to locate and select a specific table by choosing it from a list in the Find Table dialog box. (Merely selecting a table in the Tables pane achieves the same purpose, so this feature is somewhat superfluous.) The Zoom toolbar button/drop-down button (on the far right) allows you to zoom in and out in the diagram. The Refresh Data Source View button (second from the left), the Data Source View/Refresh... main menu option, and the Refresh... option on the diagram pane’s shortcut menu let you refresh the data source view; this is a great way to update the schemas of all of a data source view’s tables if they’ve been modified in the source database, without having to delete the data source view and rebuild it.

  •  SQL Server 2005 : Basic OLAP - OLAP 101
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Server Architecture
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Management - Publishing, SQL Server Management Studio
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Access and Delivery (part 2) - Presentation Formats, Programming: Rendering
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Access and Delivery (part 1) - Delivery on Demand, Subscriptions
  •  Transact-SQL in SQL Server 2008 : Change Tracking (part 2) - Identifying Tracked Changes, Identifying Changed Columns, Change Tracking Overhead
  •  Transact-SQL in SQL Server 2008 : Change Tracking (part 1) - Implementing Change Tracking
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Definition and Design (part 3) - Report Builder
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Definition and Design (part 2) - Report Designer
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Definition and Design (part 1) - Data Sources, Report Layouts
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