SSAS Tabular Documentation Tool Part 1: The Overview

Do you have a need for real-time SSAS Documentation?

BISM Tabular models have started to play a crucial role in Microsoft’s Data warehouse design as the new technologies like Power View and Excel Pivot Tables with PowerPivot have become the front end presentation layers for our data and we need a way to understand the objects in our tabular models. We always have story about our data that needs to be told beyond the naming conventions we give each field or objects. We look at the data and say what does this value mean when all we have is a simple field name like order quantity. The Tabular documenter is a tool that provides a means to extract all the information from any BISM tabular model within SQL Server Analysis Services and allows the user to document it. Tabular Models can be built in Visual Studio and deployed to SSAS and they can be built in Excel PowerPivot and deployed from SharePoint to SSAS. The tabular documenter is an integral part to present a layer of documentation to support these efforts and make the designs more clear and understandable.

Here is screen shot of the Application:


The application allows for a connection to a single instance of a BISM tabular model and the user interface uses a tab control containing the following subject areas: Dimensions, Measure Groups, and relationships. Each of these tabs contains controls that have an excel like spreadsheet appeal with information from each of the objects. The user can select a row within the controls which enables access to a description field textbox to add a description. This data can be saved back to a database and edited whenever desired.

This application is designed to run as a stand-alone application and also is an Excel Add-In. The Excel Add-In will allow for access to the stand-alone application from the excel tab ribbon design.

Stay tuned for my next post SSAS Tabular Documentation Tool Part 2: The Design that will give a look into the design of the application and all the features. Currently I am making some additions for Multidimensional cubes that I will talk about in the next blog on the design.