SSAS: BIDSHelper Released!

I am pleased to announce that we have just launched the first public release of BIDSHelper.

What is it?

It is an Add-in for the BI Development Studio (BIDS) for SQL Server 2005 that adds a number of useful features. This is an open source project, hosted on codeplex under a Shared Source Permissive License. Currently the features are all centred around SSAS, but we are planning to work on a few for SSIS and SSRS in future versions.

Where do I get it?

It can be downloaded from .

Why is it a beta release?

I chose to label this as a beta release as it has really only been tested on the developer machines and being an open source project, we really don't have access to a wide variety of test machines. But all of our interaction with the database objects goes through the AMO API so I am not really anticipating that we will damage any database objects, but rather that we may have installer issues or integration problems.

What features are in this release?

All of the feature are documented and there are numerous screen shots available on the wiki which you can get to from the homepage. Below is a quick summary of the features in this first release.

  • Aggregation Manager - We incorporated the Aggregation Manager from the SP2 samples into BIDS, this has the benefits of allow any aggregations that you design to be saved as part of your project and checked into source control.
  • Calculation Helpers - this feature will remember whether you are working in script view or form view, rather than continuously starting you in form view and extendes the calculation properties dialog so that you can edit descriptions in addition to dynamically picking up new calculated members.
  • Deploy MDX Script - Allows you to deploy just the MDX Script and nothing else, great for when you are iterating over a difficult MDX calculation.
  • Dimension Health Check - Checks attribute relationships and keys for issues. There is acutally a fault in the Adventure Works sample database that this tool discovered.
  • Printer Friendly Dimension Usage - This feature allows you to see all the dimension usage information at a glance and to print this information out if needed.
  • Show Extra Properties - This feature causes the properties window to expose a number of additional properties including the annotations collection and a mutli-line description editor. It also allows for the editing of the format string and description properties on linked measures.
  • Update Estimated Counts - This feature will go through and update all the estimated counts on your objects to assist in designing better aggregations.
  • Visualize Attribute Lattice - gives you a graphical view of your attribute relationships.

What features are planned?

We are maintaining a list of proposed features in the issue tracker on the codeplex site. It is really kind of a "wish list" the features that are up there are of varying complexity and some of them may not be feasible. If you would like to see any particular feature you can vote for them and if you have any ideas for features that you would like to see feel free to drop us a line on the discussion forum. You should also post any feature requests on the SQL Server connect page and the product group might incorporate them into the next version of SQL Server (or maybe the version after as the initial press releases have already started for Katmai, so the feature set has probably been decided by now)

Print | posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 10:42 PM