Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

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    BIDS Helper is an amazing free add-in for Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS).  You can obtain the add-in from the Codeplex website.  The purpose of this posting is to provide a quick guide to version 1.4.3.0 Analysis Services (SSAS) functions.  The add-in also has other functions, but this post only lists the context-sensitive SSAS features. 

    I believe this organization structure will encourage people to explore this product.  Setup is through a regular setup menu, but the actual features visually appear in context-senstive areas throughout BIDS:

    • BIDS Configuration — Tips for setup
    • BIDS Helper — Features by Hierarchy:  Keyed to the BIDS environment for SSAS, with links to the BIDS Helper website
    • BIDS Helper — Features by Hierarchy (Visual):  What to look for on the screen

    BIDS Configuration

    After installation, BIDS helper adds itself to many of the BIDS menus.  Configuration is through the tools menu.

    bh01 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    The menu defaults to the “Features” pane, and allows you to enable or disable features of BIDS Helper.  “Disabling” means that the item would not appear on a menu, though anyone could turn the feature on again by using the Options menu.  Also, note that this list of features does not correspond completely to the features list from the Codeplex website (but it mostly does).  Operationally, I keep all the features active.

    bh02 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    The preferences pane is the area where I believe most users would be likely to make adjustments.  In my case TFS (Team Foundation Server) and VSS (Visual Source Safe) are not installed for the SmartDiff feature. 

    bh03 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    I tried changing the Custom Diff line to use Notepad++, and while Smart Diff did open the program, the comparison highlighting did not work.  If you are not using Notepad++ then you should be, click here to obtain it.  This open-source program has a number of add-ins available including a Compare add-in.  I used to pin Micosoft’s Notepad to my start menu, but I now pin Notepad++. 

    Microsoft makes Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Explorer available on the MSDN Downloads, and that’s the version I would use since I have SQL Server 2008 R2 on my system (same for SQL Sever 2008). 

    The version pane provides the version, notifies you if the version is current, and shows a link to the website (no need to bookmark it).

    bh04 300x213 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    The BIDS Helper website provides an alphabetical listing of features.  However, I believe a better organization is from where you access these features.  My list below categorizes the features by area, and the links directly access the Codeplex website for more details.  Note that this project is open source, and the developers are not paid to make this product.  Thus, some of the screen shots on their website were made at different times, and may not match all the latest features as they might show on your installation.  Nevertheless, their descriptions and explanations are current for this version release 1.4.3.0.

    BIDS Helper — Features by Hierarchy

    Analysis Services Database

    Data Source View

    Cube

    Cube Browser — Cube Structure Tab

    Cube Browser — Dimension Usage Tab

    Cube Browser — Calculations Tab

    Cube Browser — Partitions Tab

    Cube Browser — Perspectives Tab

    Dimensions

    Dimension

    Roles

    BIDS Helper — Features by Hierarchy (Visual)

    Analysis Services Database

    bh05 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Data Source View

    bh06 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Cube

    bh07 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Cube Browser — Cube Structure Tab

    bh08 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Cube Browser — Dimension Usage Tab

    bh09 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    bh10 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Cube Browser — Calculations Tab

    bh11 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    bh12 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Cube Browser — Partitions Tab

    bh13 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    bh14 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    bh15 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Cube Browser — Perspectives Tab

    bh16 300x224 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Dimensions

    bh17 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Dimension

    bh18 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

    Roles

    bh19 Quick Guide to BIDS Helper 1.4.3.0 for SSAS

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