Japanese Character Sets – Input, Identification and Comparison

As a byproduct of some work our team is doing, we needed to test and handle different character sets for Asian languages (Katakana, Hiragana, etc). A guy on the team came up with a pretty sweet proof of concept test application so we can trial combinations and see how things work based on ignoring widths, etc. even some database interaction. We figured this would be useful to others in the .NET community so we are giving back

Check out http://jpcharsets.codeplex.com/ for more info, but basically you can play around with the different character sets to your hearts content and look at the source code behind the comparisons of different sets. Enjoy!

Continuous Integration and TFS: Team Build Screen

 

If you are running TFS and you want to show the status of your builds on an LCD, check out this sweet app – Team Build Screen – on CodePlex (http://teambuildscreen.codeplex.com/)

 

screen_01b

We just recently set this up outside my office and it is a great addition in letting us know the status of our builds, as they happen, and if anything breaks the build, etc. Great way to get visibility to everyone on the team and everyone walking by.

SQL Schema Source Control (CodePlex)

Source Control. In my eyes, one of the best inventions of development.

Software Developers have used it for years, and it allows them to easily develop in a team environment, and be less scared they will lose a change or not be able to see things they did historically.

I have blogged a few times about source control before..

SQL Server Schema Automatic Revision History using DDL Triggers and SVN
MSFT BI In a Team Environment
Visual Source Safe Sucks/
Source Control at Home with Subversion

But this was mostly for code. Developers. The SQL Community has kind of been shafted with source control. Yea you can tie in VSS to Management studio, and others. I have never found one that works, and just wanted something to work in the background.

I originally started doing this with DDL triggers as my <a href="“>post in November kind of outlined. It worked, but wasn’t reliable enough for what I wanted and was too much setup.

So I did what developers usually do, I wrote an app. SQL Schema Source Control http://sqlschemasourcectrl.codeplex.com/

At first it worked with one database, one server, everything was hardcoded. And then it progressed, and now it is all configurable for multi server/multi database, etc. I decided to put it up on CodePlex because I think it can be improved and made to work with other source control providers, like TFS.

The code itself isn’t anything crazy, some file operations and SMO operations to get the DDL and then some functions to add/update/delete and commit to source control.

For info on how to get it working, check out the documentation page on CodePlex, I can also answer any questions here, or on CodePlex.

I have been using the app for a few months now and it has saved headaches, accidental deletes, wanting to see changes over time by developers, etc.

The feature I like the most is that it logs the SQL Agent job changes, so if someone changes a job, you can see the history…

Now, there are competitiros out there. Redgate (http://www.red-gate.com/products/solutions_for_sql/database_version_control.htm) and others. But I wanted something free and open, so that is why I am putting this out there. I would be perfectly fine not putting anything out and just using it, but I think (and hope) others could benefit from using this app

So if you are looking for semi-easy way to get revision control on your SQL Schemas and SQL Agent jobs, check out the app. There is minimal setup, but once you have it working, it just runs.

Note at this time it works with SVN and SQL 2008. Also the solutions is VS2010. I originally had it working with 2005, but no need on my end anymore for that, someone could easily make a version for SQL 2005. VS2008 solution could be created pretty easily as well. Have fun!

Excel 2007, OLAP Cubes: Customizable, User Defined Named Sets in Excel 2007 using VBA

In a perfect world, your master data and master data management (MDM) is set up so everyone can see things how they want. Categories of Items, Regions, etc, etc are all defined in your dimension data, and you can create hierarchies, etc that make sense and everyone is happy. But, this is not a perfect world 🙂

Some users want to see “their” items, “their” regions, etc. And they ask and ask for you to add it to the cube, but you have to deny them. Why? Because if you add their named set, you have to add all of them that are requested, that don’t make sense to 99% of the other people using the cube.

You probably could even go about doing some crazy MDX or something in your cube to create the named sets per user, but then you still have to manage it all in your MDX script in your SSAS project.

I blogged a while ago about the OLAP Pivot Table Extensions on CodePlex , which, is an awesome toolkit, but it is geared around Calculated Measures. I downloaded the code and took a gander here and there and it would be pretty easily modified to work with Named Sets (change xlCalculatedMember to xlCalculatedSet , add a radio button on adding a new calc, etc) – but, its in VS2005, and I have VS2008 (2005 BIDS, not C#), and right now I don’t feel like mucking around with that, maybe someone with more time, and more ambition can do it 🙂 – Or maybe when I get some free time I will take a look, but for now here is a solution.

I took the idea outlined at the bottom half of this blog http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2008/02/05/common-questions-around-excel-2007-OLAP-PivotTables.aspx  about named sets and creating them in macros..

Sub AddNamedSet()

Dim pvt As PivotTable
Dim strName As String
Dim strFormula As String
Dim cbf As CubeField

Set pvt = Sheet1.PivotTables("PivotTable1")
strName = "[My Mountain Bikes]"
strFormula = "[Product].[Product Categories].[Bikes].[Mountain Bikes].children"
pvt.CalculatedMembers.Add Name:=strName, Formula:=strFormula, Type:=xlCalculatedSet
Set cbf = pvt.CubeFields.AddSet(Name:="[My Mountain Bikes]", Caption:="Mountain Bikes")

End Sub

That macro is pretty sweet, you can add a named set to your workbook. But, its pretty static. You have to edit the macro every time you want to add more items, it doesn’t update or remove the sets you might have, etc.

What I whipped up quick was an updated macro that lets you build customizable named sets based on data in another worksheet in your Excel file (you can imaging it coming from other sources – another Excel file, a SQL table, etc, etc). I did this with a cube we use at work, but for this example, I changed it to pull off the AdventureWorks DW SSAS DB, AdventureWorks Cube, (SQL 2005 edition)

First off, here is the macro: 

Text File of Macro: Custom_NamedSets_Macro.txt</a

Excel 2007 Workbook with Macro: Custom_NamedSets.xlsm

Sub AddNamedSet()

    ' data sheet top row must be set name [Set Name] and then item numbers after
    Dim sourceData As Worksheet
    Set sourceData = Worksheets("Data")

    Dim strName As String
    ' get the name of the set, including brackets []
    strName = sourceData.Range("A1").Value

    ' used range is the whole column, rangeVals is the item numbers
    Dim usedRange As Range
    Dim rangeVals As Range
    Dim maxRow As Integer

    Set usedRange = sourceData.usedRange

    maxRow = usedRange.Rows.Count

    ' get the item numbers
    Set rangeVals = sourceData.Range("A2:A" & maxRow)

    Dim strFormula As String
    Dim i As Integer

    ' loop through and build forumla
    strFormula = "'{"

    For i = 1 To rangeVals.Count
       strFormula = strFormula & rangeVals(i, 1) & ","
    Next i

    ' remove last comma and add last curly and tick
    strFormula = Left(strFormula, Len(strFormula) - 1) & "}'"

    ' get pivot table object
    Dim pvt As PivotTable
    Set pvt = Sheet1.PivotTables(1)

    ' Add a calculated member titled "[MySet]"
    pvt.CalculatedMembers.Add Name:=strName, Formula:=strFormula, Type:=xlCalculatedSet

    ' Add a set to the CubeField object.
    Dim cbf As CubeField
    Set cbf = pvt.CubeFields.AddSet(Name:=strName, Caption:=Replace(Replace(strName, "[", ""), "]", ""))


End Sub

Sub DeleteNamedSets()

    Dim pvt As PivotTable
    Set pvt = Sheet1.PivotTables(1)

    Dim i As Integer

    For i = 1 To pvt.CalculatedMembers.Count
        pvt.CalculatedMembers.Item(i).Delete
    Next i
    pvt.RefreshTable

End Sub

Now, this was a 15-20 minute VBA hack. It could really use some cleanup, but works. What I did to make it work with Advendture Works was just put the whole “member” string in the data tab of the spreadsheet. In my case at work, I just was using item number and had some of the member string in the macro. But really you can see you could add a named set on each column, or something, you really could make this powerful. And since I added the delete, if they re-run the add, it will recreate the set, so they can modify the data and re-add. It should be expanded on and made a little more robust, but you get the idea. Now, think of how you could use this with your cubes, and how you could get your user’s thinking about ways to use custom named sets!

OLAP PivotTable Extensions on CodePlex

This weekend, I ran across this on CodePlex – OLAP PivotTable Extensions which got me thinking back to a post by the Excel blog about adding calculated measures and named sets in VBA (which is another blog post completely)

From CodePlex:

OLAP PivotTable Extensions is an Excel 2007 add-in which extends the functionality of PivotTables on Analysis Services cubes. The Excel 2007 API has certain PivotTable functionality which is not exposed in the UI. OLAP PivotTable Extensions provides an interface for some of this functionality.

What an awesome tool. I have been playing with it for a couple days and I have turned on some of the “power” users of the OLAP cubes to it as well. The first thing I thought of when running across this was “Woah, ok, when business users request calculated measures that might be more obscure, or just specific to them, they can add them! We don’t have to do a special release, maybe not even a release at al!”

The uses for this tool could be pretty extensive. You can import and export calculation libraries, you can also see the MDX that Excel is producing, which is another plus (I know there are other ways to get it, but this tool makes it easy!) – With the MDX you can just copy it and run it in SSMS to see the results there. You can see how Excel is doing things behind the scenes with your result set to make it look nice.

Another sweet feature, if you have a cube with tons of attributes, there is a search tab to search for the attributes you want.

I haven’t seen any issues yet. One user had to install the Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Second Edition Runtime which the CodePlex site says is required, so no big deal.

If you have tons of users using OLAP Cubes with Excel 2007, take a look at this free open source tool on CodePlex, you probably will get some good mileage out of it. I think Microsoft should put these features in the next version of Office!