Letters, August 2002

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More Tips for Source Control

I agree wholeheartedly with Sameer Dandage and Wayne Kurtz's article "Stay in Control" (June 2002, InstantDoc ID 24696), which presented source control as a key to successful project rollout and maintenance. The article was a great introduction to the subject, but it could have emphasized the following points more:

  • Visual SourceSafe (VSS) is a multilanguage repository, and you can place all of a project's scripts (e.g., SQL, Visual Basic—VB, Active Server Pages—ASP) in the same repository.
  • You can use VSS project labeling as a quick and easy way to extract all source related to a particular application build or version.
  • You can use keywords to enable VSS to write versioning information into source files.

The keyword capability can be extremely useful if you need to check the version of a file on a particular server. For example, the $Header keyword gives you the source file name, the VSS version, the date and time the file was extracted from VSS, and the user who extracted it. When you have this information in a piece of code such as a stored procedure or trigger, you can then use sp_helptext to ensure that the correct version of the file is in the database.

Fix for Fiscal Calendars

I regularly read and enjoy Russ Whitney's Mastering Analysis column, and I have an OLAP question. My company used Cognos Transformer to create an OLAP cube for sales. We're on a fiscal calendar, and Cognos allows for a 4-4-5 Time dimension, which treats each quarter as two 4-week months and one 5-week month. The problem is that the product puts the extra days at the end of the year, but we add them in during the year. So this year, we have an extra week in January, but Cognos ignores it and rolls the week-ending date into February instead of keeping it in January. If I convert to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services, do I have more control over this type of behavior?

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the wizard you use to create dimensions in Analysis Services doesn't handle anything but the most basic fiscal calendars. All it can do is accept a start date for the fiscal year and roll up by month or week. The good news is that you can model any kind of calendar you want if you create your own table (in your star schema) before creating your Time dimension. Just create a column in the table for each level in the Time dimension (each row is a date in your fiscal calendar). This is the standard practice for anyone using Analysis Services to create a fiscal calendar.

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