Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

Archive for February 23rd, 2008

BI Blog Aggregator

Posted by denglishbi on February 23, 2008

Just did a search on BI blog sites on Google and came across this site – http://www.biblogs.com/.  This site is currently aggregating over 60 BI blog related sites and is an excellent source of information and makes it much easier to manage.  It easily replaced more than 20 of my pre-configured blog sites that I have setup in RSS Bandit and introduced me to another 30 or 40 that I was unaware of.  I sent them an email to include my blog in their site.

Follow-up: I am not sure how far back this aggregator goes, so for the time being I am not removing any of my current feeds.  Here is how the feed works for the BI aggregator:

…the feed provided by the BI Blogs site only contains the most recent 40 posts that have hit the site so you can only pull the most recent data into your aggregator…

If you want more than that you will have to visit the site.

Posted in Business Intelligence | Leave a Comment »

Book Review – Business Intelligence with Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007

Posted by denglishbi on February 23, 2008

I just finished reading Craig Utley’s book titled Business Intelligence with Microsoft Office PerfomancePoint Server 2007.  This is a really quick read and it is a really good resource for someone that is not familiar with the product and is wondering what is included.  This starts out with a quick introduction to business intelligence and then dives into the product and talks about the two main components, Monitoring and Analyzing along with Planning.  If you are not familiar with ProClarity there is a good section in the book explaining the majority of the reporting options (grids, charts, decomposition trees, perspective charts, and performance maps) within ProClarity and how they work. 

The book also explains how to configure the dashboard and utilize filters to be able to dynamically change the data within the scorecard, charts, and reports.  There is a chapter in regards to deployment and how to properly configure the different Windows services.  At the end of the book it discusses Excel PivotTables and PivotCharts and how to use SSRS to report against a cube.

Overall I would probably give the book a 4 on a 1 to 5 scale (5 being the highest rating).  There are some grammatical mistakes, but no technical mistakes that I saw.  I didn’t like having to flip between pages to view the screenshots that were being explained throughout the reading.  It seemed like the majority of the images were always on the next page which is always a pain when you are reading a book.  This is a really introductory book in regards to the PerformancePoint Server product (no deep dives in regards to the technology), but it goes through each portion of the product and explains how they all work.  I also thought that the book was a little overpriced (49.99 retail, but Amazon has it listed for 31.49) for the content, but I would definitely recommend it if you want to get up-to-speed with how the product works and what functionality you get.

Business Intelligence with Microsoft® Office PerformancePoint Server 2007
by Craig Utley

Read more about this book…

Posted in PerformancePoint | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

SQL Server Intellisense (CTP6) vs Red Gate SQL Prompt – Part II

Posted by denglishbi on February 23, 2008

  This is a quick follow-up in regards to my initial blog entry,  SQL Server 2008 Intellisense (CTP5) vs Red Gate SQL Prompt, comparing the Nov CTP5 intellisense against Red Gate’s SQL Prompt.  Sorry to say, I still have to tip my hat to Red Gate.  They include more features, functionality, and intelligence with their intellisense.  I guess that is what is going to differentiate them and possibly push people to still buy their product.

Here is the first screen of the new and some what improved CTP6 intellisense:


Some things to point out are the error indicators and the intellisense with the stored procedures that is included now, still no dropdown lists with stored procedures as far as I can tell, but you do get to see what parameters are needed along with their datatypes (one thing that SQL Prompt 2.0 doesn’t do).  The intellisense for the stored procedure did not show up until I placed the ‘exec’ command in front of the stored procedure.  In regards to the error lists, I though one cool feature would be if it warned you that there was a datatype mismatch within the WHERE clause (ReportID would be expecting an integer value, not a string).


The error list is nice since this is now done prior to actually executing the statements and it will display your laundry list of issues that need to be corrected and you can double click on an item and it will bring you to that specific spot in the query window.

sqlctp6intell_sort1 sqlctp6intell_sort2

Just wanted to point out the sorting of the dropdown lists.  Really no rhyme or reason to the output.  Initially it looked like all of the tables were at the top of the list like SQL Prompt, but after further review they were not.  Really disappointed, so if you are not sure what you are looking for exactly then good luck because the object types are not grouped together and put in a logical order.  Same holds true once you go on to your where clause.

Sorry to say that intellisense still does not work with DELETE or INSERT statements, there are no more additional options available in the Tools Options menu, and no intelligence in the dropdown lists (so if you highlight the table ‘Batch’ you are not provided with a preview of the column names and datatypes).

Have to say that I still favor the Red Gate product, but still love the fact that this will now be bundled with the product.

Posted in SQL Server | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

SQL Server 2008 Feb CTP6 Installation Experience

Posted by denglishbi on February 23, 2008

Last week I installed the February CTP6 of SQL Server 2008 and I just wanted to share some clips of the new install screens.  Lots of new options and I was really impressed with the entire install process.  I know this only gets run once, but I just want to say way to go SQL Server Team!  One of the initial requirements was the .NET framework 3.5 and I am assuming that is because Visual Studio 2008 is now the version of BIDS that is being installed instead of Visual Studio 2005.




The first screen is the install center which provides lots of nice options and links to additional information – very nice.

Feature selection which included options to install the Microsoft Synch Framework and install the client tools separately from BIDS.

New default install directories that allow you to see what is installed one level higher than before (more intuitive) — MSSQL10, MSAS10, MSRS10.




Setting up the account information for the different services, startup option, and the ability to set one account to run them all at the bottom.

Set the directories for the database engine, for the tempdb and the backup directory right out of the gate.

Setting the security mode for the database engine and specifying an administrative account (this is required and provides button to simply add the current user).




Set the directories for analysis services and setting the temp and backup directories.  You also need to specify an administrative account similar to the database engine. 

Specify the configuration for SSRS — native, SharePoint, or don’t configure.  Remember IIS is no longer a requirement to run SSRS.

New items in Mgmt Studio now for auditing, encryption, and policy management.





And last but not least Visual Studio 2008 instead of 2005!



Posted in SQL Server | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

VB Power Pack 3.0 – DataRepeater Control

Posted by denglishbi on February 23, 2008

I know this isn’t BI or database related, but I still enjoy checking out the development stuff from time-to-time.  The VB team has released a new Power Pack for Visual Basic and the new item that they have added is the DataRepeater control.  Very cool.  This allows you to drag-and-drop a dataset within the control and lay the data out the way you want it displayed.  You are not restricted like with a grid control.  You can put the data in a vertical or horizontal format and then in runtime the data will simply be repeated within the control for each row just like you placed it on the form. 

Check out a quick 9 minute video on it on the MSDN “How Do I” Videos site if you are interested in this new control.

Watch the screencast(WMV)  Go to the main site for this video to download it or get the code – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vbasic/cc411420.aspx.

Check out other great videos here – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vbasic/bb466226.aspx.

Posted in Development | 1 Comment »