Sql Web Server 2005 Business Intelligence Advancement Workshop Download And Install – For several years now, Visual Studio has been my go-to tool for designing semantic data models used for business intelligence reporting. In 2005, I used the Visual Studio Add-in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) for SSIS, SSRS, and SSAS projects to develop BI solutions with multidimensional cubes. In 2012, when Microsoft began the transition from disk cubes to in-memory SSAS tabular models, I used SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) to create tabular models. It was a rocky road at first. The Tabular designer was fragile to say the least.
Enter Power BI… Originally designed as a self-service data model and report, Power BI Desktop quickly evolved into a robust and full-featured BI design tool. Not only does Power BI Desktop include a lot of great features, it’s stable and streamlined. It is a pleasure to use compared to my early experience using SSDT for tabular model design. I prefer to use Desktop to design models. It’s faster, more convenient, and just plain easier than SSDT. However, at some point in the life of a project it just makes more sense to transition the data model to an enterprise-scale effort.
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“Paul, what the #$@! do you think? Visual Studio is an essential tool, and there are certain things you can’t do without it!”
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, I agree and will continue to use SSDT for a few key features. So yeah, I’m not quite done with using Visual Studio to manage non-SSAS projects and maybe check code… I’ll finish that part of the story in a bit.
I want to be clear – I love Visual Studio. It is a great product for software development and various business and data solutions. However, history has shown that the idea of putting several different products together and expecting them all to just work together seamlessly is simply untenable. Without going into all the reasons why it has been difficult for Microsoft to develop and maintain a robust tabular model design add-in for Visual Studio, contrast that effort with the evolution of the Power BI product. The Power BI product team is entirely focused on developing a single product by a single-led development team with a focused set of goals. Negotiating the joint development of each product by several different teams is difficult within any organization, especially one as large as Microsoft. The reason new features can be added weekly to the Power BI service and monthly to Power BI Desktop is that one product team manages all of these features.
Some of you will remember the time when the Business Intelligence message from Microsoft was that we should build solutions relying on coordinated components of many products like SQL Server (relational, SSIS, SSAS and SSRS), Windows Server, SharePoint and Office – all orchestrated to work seamlessly together. It was a good idea—and it still is—but this approach created a delicate and complex beast that was difficult to manage and had many potential points of failure.
One of the reasons Power BI Desktop is such a wonderfully streamlined product is that the feature set is optimized for data analysts, not IT developers. In order to maintain a streamlined product, we are not likely to see enterprise capabilities (such as version control, code pooling for multiple developers, and scriptable objects) added to this product at all. However, these capabilities exist for Analysis Services projects and community-supported tools such as the Spreadsheet Editor and DAX Studio. But now (please jingle) a Power BI dataset can be developed and deployed into a workspace using enterprise tools through the magic of the XMLA endpoint.
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Call it a learning curve, but I’ve tried time and time again to use Visual Studio’s table designer to manage SSAS projects with the same result. Small demo and POC projects do well, but not so much when dealing with the complexities of product-scale design. I guess it’s my natural optimism to hope that things will turn out better than the last time, but the laws of the universe dictate that if you do the same thing, history will repeat itself.
Here’s how it goes… I start developing a data model in SSDT by importing some tables and queries and adding relationships and measures. Everything is OK, right?
At this point in the timeline, I often convince myself that the development environment is stable and that everything will work out, so I move forward believing that everything will be fine.
Then I add a few more tables and a whole bunch of new DAX calculations – and pretty soon everything goes to hell. The model designer stops responding or behaves sporadically, Visual Studio crashes, the model definition file gets corrupted, and then I remember I’ve been down this dark road before.
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Recounting the painful past, it’s frustrating to open a support ticket and explain to the engineer that “sometimes when I do this this happens, but not always” and “in all the confusion I really can’t remember exactly how I got to this state .”
I truly appreciate the efforts of Kasper DeJonge from the SSAS product team in 2012 as we spent hours in remote meetings trying to reproduce various strange behaviors in the tabular designer with a large data model. The main problem was that the Model.bim file, which defined all the objects in the data model, was a huge XML document (ours was approaching 100,000 lines). Any change to the designer required the entire file to be rewritten to disk and loaded back into memory. Things improved significantly in 2016 and 2017 when the model definition was streamlined using JSON rather than XML, and the file structure was simplified to reduce file size. Similar meetings with several other product leaders proved that the product team is seriously dedicated to optimizing the experience of the enterprise table model.
I’m all about solutions, not just problems. So what is the answer? How should we manage the enterprise BI data model and Power BI solutions from now on? Using a spreadsheet editor together with Visual Studio is truly the best of both worlds. You can open the Model.bim file stored in the Visual Studio SSAS project folder.
Tabular Editor is a superior tool for developing and managing tabular data models for SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), Azure Analysis Services (AAS), and Power BI. It is a community-supported tool created by Daniel Otykier, Microsoft MVP and Senior Business Intelligence Architect at Kapacity.dk in Denmark. The most comprehensive resource for finding this and other community-supported BI tools for the Microsoft platform is at the Italian site at SqlBi.com/Tools
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If the project is under source control, changes made with the table editor will be detected and can be synced to the remote source repository from Team Explorer in Visual Studio.
Do not try to do this – it will turn out badly. Starting a model design in Power BI Desktop will save you time, but once you switch to the Model.bim file format, use a spreadsheet editor.
A monolithic PBIX file created with Power BI Desktop containing reports, data model, and queries is simple and easy to manage as long as you don’t have to go beyond a few limitations that it imposes.
Power BI reports and datasets (data models) should be managed separately in all serious projects. Period. …whether you need to transfer the data model to Model.bim or not.
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Separating Power BI reports from the data model/dataset has many benefits, including allowing report and data model development to be done in parallel and by different team members. This is an absolute must for creating a certified data set for users to connect to and do their own reporting and analysis.
That’s a good thing. Continue to do this, but use the table editor as the main tool for designing the model.
A data model stored as a Model.bim file can have changes compared, split, and merged between data model version files, deployed AS databases, or Power BI datasets. Manage integrated source control with Azure DevOps or GitHub. Check in changes, fork, merge, push, and pull changes made by other developers but don’t use Visual Studio
Table Editor is a much better design experience than Visual Studio. It’s streamlined, easy to use, and won’t blow up when you’re writing measure calculations. You can switch back and forth between the tools as each tool has features that the other lacks. Just remember to save and close the model file with one tool before opening it with the other … AND MAKE BACKUP COPIES! The more I do this, the more I prefer using a table editor.
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Tabular Editor does not have a graphical model designer, so I prefer to use Visual Studio to model tables and relations. Set table and column properties, create calculated columns and measures, manage partitions and other features of a tabular model in the table editor.
From Power BI Desktop, save the file as a .PBIT (template), which then opens in a spreadsheet editor. Once you save the file in .BIM format, it’s a one-way trip because the enterprise model cannot be saved back to a PBIT or PBIX file. Of course, if you start designing the data model in Visual Studio, there is
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