Archive for March, 2006
Office Groove 2007 is a collaboration software program that allows teams to share information and work together on project activities—from simple document collaboration to custom solutions integrated with business processes. Teams using Office Groove 2007 work inside collaborative workspaces, which put all team members, tools, and information in one place. Office Groove 2007 workspaces keep teams up to date automatically and efficiently, and lets them work anywhere, anytime, and with anyone, so they spend less time coordinating and more time working. Groove is like having SharePoint without the server.
In a keynote address at the Office Developers Conference, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates discussed how the 2007 Office System, built on XML and a set of new extensibility technologies, gives developers the building blocks to meet today’s business demands more quickly than building from scratch.
Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System : Video Tutorial: Creating a VSTO "v3" Custom Task Pane
Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System : Video Tutorial: Creating a VSTO “v3″ Custom Task Pane: “Video Tutorial: Creating a VSTO ‘v3′ Custom Task Pane
In this demonstration, they show you how you can create an application-level custom task pane in Microsoft Office Excel. The task pane contains a MonthCalendar control and button, and enables you to insert a date into your current selection within a worksheet. Once this add-in is loaded, any workbook you open will have access to this custom task pane. This video is 5 minutes long, and can be viewed at Demo 1: Creating a Custom Task Pane. Note that this demo has a file size of about 3.4 MB.”
Today is the first day of the MIX06 conference. Internet Explorer team members are presenting this week on much of the work we’ve done for IE7. As part of the conference, we’re handing out the ‘Internet Explorer 7 Readiness Toolkit’ on CD. This toolkit has a roll up of the IE7 information we’ve published previously and some new features for those attending MIX06.
Russell Christopher’s Semi-Useful BI Musings : Good articles around using the ReportViewer control by Teo Lachev: “Just stumbled upon two articles by Teo Lachev which provide an excellent overview of the ReportViewer controls along with ‘real world’ scenarios around how you can leverage them. The articles include some yummy sample code, too.
Find them here:
http://www.devx.com/dotnet/Article/30424 (Part 1)
http://www.devx.com/dotnet/Article/30424 (Part 2)
…and while we’re talking about Leo: go buy his book on SSAS, pronto! I pre-ordered it and haven’t had enough bandwidth to read it until recently…I’m glad I’ve found the time: it’s a great read!
Last week I was posed this paradox, and I found it very intriguing. The depth of its complexity at first was not apparent to me, but I found my mind returning to it time and time again. You may ask what does this has to do with BI or technology in general. Being a good project manager, or developer, requires deep creativity, flexible thinking, and good problem solving skills. This may be a good exercise for you and/or your team work on these skills.
“The problem is with inductive reasoning, and Hempel’s example was as follows: Suppose you see a raven, and you note that it is black. “Hmm,” you say, “that raven was black.” Sometime later you notice a couple more ravens, and they too are black. “What a coincidence,” you remark, “those ravens are black too.” Time goes by and you see many more ravens. And it happens that all the ravens you see are black. “This is beyond coincidence,” you might reasonably think, and with the instincts of a good and observant scientist you form a hypothesis: All ravens are black.”
Microsoft SQL Server: SQL Server 2005 SP1 CTP: “Today’s release, SQL Server 2005 SP1 CTP, delivers new functionality for database mirroring and SQL Server Management Studio Express, along with regular fit and finish adjustments and enhancements. Applying this new customer collaboration model to service pack releases demonstrates our commitment to customer feedback and validation as an important aspect of a quality-focused development cycle. Also, as part of this new model, we are introducing a separate release tree for any future SQL Server security fixes, so that customers can take advantage of timely, targeted fixes that are streamlined for security specific updates.”
One of the things that make Microsoft my preferred toolset is the amount of free Webcasts, E-Learning, and Hands-On Labs. In case you did not know, Microsoft is offering several free online classes.
Whether you are interested in database administration, database development, or business intelligence, you can access the E-Learning topic you want, when you want it, and learn at your own pace. Each lesson includes hands-on virtual labs and offline functionality. These courses, valued at $99 each won’t be free forever, so sign on today.
As stated in earlier posts, I think that Office 2007, and more notably Excel 2007, will have a great impact on the BI community. The list of new features and functionality is truly breath taking if not overwhelming. To help you get started understanding the scale of the change, here is a great list of articles on Excel 2007.
Data mining is frequently described as ‘the process of extracting valid, authentic, and actionable information from large databases.’ In other words, data mining derives patterns and trends that exist in data. These patterns and trends can be collected together and defined as a mining model. Mining models can be applied to specific business scenarios, such as:
- Forecasting sales.
- Targeting mailings toward specific customers.
- Determining which products are likely to be sold together.
- Finding sequences in the order that customers add products to a shopping cart.
“It sounds a bit weird to be talking about ‘future generations’ of SQL Server when SQL Server 2005 is so new and many of you are still using SQL Server 2000. However, Microsoft developers are already hard at work designing and planning the next version of SQL Server, code-named Katmai, and the business intelligence (BI) team is already looking for end users to provide feedback and insight for SQL Server 2005 that will help shape future versions of SQL Server. “
I heavily use dimensional modeling in my BI solutions, but it is not my only arrow in my quiver. Bill Inmon has some really good articles that point out some of its shortcomings. All good BI professionals need to know about these approaches an choose what is best for their customers.
“The problem with dimensional modeling is… well there really isn’t a problem with dimensional modeling. In terms of capturing requirements for DSS analysis, dimensional modeling is undoubtedly the best technique for design that there is. Hundreds of organizations have used dimensional modeling successfully and are quite satisfied with the results. There are classes and conferences where dimensional modeling is the focus and the attendees walk away with a happy smile on their face.” – Bill Inmon
This an old article but you may find it useful when talking to customers about dimensional modeling. Depending what group of Data Architects you talk to, dimensional modeling is either best thing ever, or a short sight approach.
I believe that dimensional modeling as well as differing levels of Normal Form modeling should be considered depending our the needs of data’s consumer. Kimball’s approach is very useful tool, but maybe not the only one you have in your toolbox.
“Dimensional Modeling(DM) is the name of a logical design technique often used for data warehouses. It is different from, and contrasts with, entity-relation modeling (ER). This article points out the many differences between the two techniques and draws a line in the sand. DM is the only viable technique for databases that are designed to support end-user queries in a data warehouse. ER is very useful for the transaction capture and the data administration phases of constructing a data warehouse, but it should be avoided for end-user delivery. ” - Ralph Kimball
Microsoft Analysis Services (MSAS) offers a variety of useful wizards to get you up-to-speed with building dimensions and cubes. In fact, the wizards are very useful and make the life of a cube architect easier. However, there is much functionality that isn’t available through wizards or isn’t immediately apparent when using wizards.
This article compares the data integration offerings of Microsft, with the release of SQL Server 2005, and IBM with the Ascential products. With major releases from both companies 2006 is shaping up as a data integration slugfest.
At the start of 2005 IBM did not have an ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) tool. Microsoft had DTS but it hadn’t been enhanced for five years and was just a SQL Server extension. Now we have the new an improved SQL Server Information Services (SSIS) and the IBM WebSphere Information Integration suite (WII).
I found this set of 8 labs for SSIS. It contains a Microsoft Word lab Document, sample files to process, and a sample DB, all of which support a series of exercises which guide a reader/user through step by step creating SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) packages. Lab document includes commentary and by completion of the exercises a user will have a good understanding of what can be accomplished with SSIS as well as how to create some simple SSIS packages.
The SQL Server 2005 product family has now been released, so with four editions available, what does this mean for SQL Server Integration Services? Starting from the bottom we have the free edition known as Express, and the entry level Workgroup edition, and neither include the full IS product. Workgroup includes the Import/Export Wizard, but nothing more, so for simple loading and extraction of data this should suffice, but you will not be able to build packages.
Here a 10 webcasts focusing on proper SQL Server development. It like going to confrence with out fun of going out of town.
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 1 of 10): Creating a Recoverable Database (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 2 of 10): Creating a Reliable and Automated Backup Strategy (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 3 of 10): Best Practices in Data Types and Initial Table Structures (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 4 of 10): Best Practices in Indexing (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 5 of 10): New Features in Indexing and Index Maintenance Best Practices (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 6 of 10): Mixed Workloads, Secondary Databases Wait States Locking and Isolation (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 7 of 10): Understanding Plan Caching and Optimizing Procedure Performance (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 8 of 10): Data Loading and Aging Strategies (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 9 of 10): Profiling for Better Performance (Level 200)
- A Primer to Proper SQL Server Development (Part 10 of 10): Most Common Roadblocks to Scalability and Reliability (Level 200)