Just a quick post regarding a strange problem I encountered while working on an SSAS Tabular model project. Built on the same Vertipaq technology as Power Pivot, it’s very easy to get started and produce quick, efficient data models. Unlike Power Pivot, which runs as an Excel add-in, SSAS Tabular models are developed in Visual Studio via the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) Business Intelligence add-on. However, once you load up the development environment, it’s almost exactly the same, the only difference really being that when you build a tabular model in VS, it is developed against a temporary cube on a pre-installed SSAS Tabular instance. Power Pivot just works entirely in memory, without requiring an SSAS instance.
As if renaming the accurately titled Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) to the rather ambiguous SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) wasn’t bad enough, in December, Microsoft’s latest SSDT release only brought half the expected capabilities to Visual Studio 2012. Yep, the December 2012 SSDT download was missing a key component: the project and item templates for developing MS BI projects in Visual Studio. Thankfully, the newest release (5th March, 2013) has finally added all of the MS BI templates to SSDT, so you can now develop SSIS packages, SSAS cubes and SSRS reports in the Visual Studio 2012 environment.
Unfortunately, they’ve not made the whole process easy. Searching for “SQL Server Data Tools” will likely lead you to a download which, upon installation, will add connectivity and server management tools to VS 2012 – making it like an up-to-date version of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), but without the BI project templates.
The latest release (with the BI templates) is actually called:
So make sure that if you’re trying to get SSDT for BI development work, that you download the correct version. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the issues, as I had a bit of trouble with installation that I felt needed sharing.
Begin by downloading the correct installer for the BI enabled version of SSDT from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36843 (782 MB).
Once you execute it, the installer will unpack and run the SQL Server 2012 SP1 setup wizard. Don’t worry about this, remember that SSDT, like BIDS before it, is actually a component of SQL Server based upon the Visual Studio shell, NOT actually an extension to Visual Studio itself.
The trick with the installation is when you reach the Installation Type step (see Fig 1.).
This is because although the SQL Server instance is 64-bit, the Visual Studio 2012 shell is actually 32-bit. If you attempt to upgrade a 64-bit instance with a 32-bit component, it fails the Installation Rules checks and won’t allow you to proceed.
Choosing “New Instance” will work but don’t worry, it doesn’t actually require creation of a new SQL instance, it just allows the installer to get past the pre-installation checks.
If you’ve got a 32-bit instance of SQL Server, it doesn’t matter what option you choose here.
Once the installation has completed (may require a restart), you can open Visual Studio 2012 (or the new SQL Server Data Tools 2012 item on your start menu) and get developing. Click “New Project” in the File menu and check for the “Business Intelligence” templates to confirm that it’s worked.
I’ve yet to find any real differences between the Visual Studio 2012 based SSDT and the Visual Studio 2010 based version that shipped with SQL Server 2012. At the moment, the main advantage of using this release seems to be to take advantage of the improved features of Visual Studio 2012 over its 2010 counterpart, rather than any advancements in the Business Intelligence templates/tools themselves.
They might be there, however, I just haven’t come across them yet. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve spotted any improvements over SSDT 2010 and what they are.
With the year drawing to a close, I thought it would be the perfect time to recap the major developments in Microsoft Business Intelligence throughout 2012. Unsurprisingly, the launch of SQL Server 2012 proved to be the focal point of this year’s releases, although we had a few extra surprises along the way: Continue reading…
I ran into a rather strange situation recently while attempting to set up some new calculated measures in an SSAS cube. I’m still new to MDX, so I ended up chasing my tail around for a while (and crying out for help on both StackOverflow and MSDN) before I eventually tracked down the culprit and solved the issue. Basically, I was trying to create a calculated measure, which, using a couple of date attributes from one dimension, would apply to my [Time] dimension and filter the value of a specified measure to match. Not hard, right? Continue reading…
Since I’ve not managed to get a post written up in about a month, I figured it was well past time to pull my finger out and get something posted. As part of my recent work with PowerPivot and Sharepoint 2010, I’ve also been playing about with PowerView as a quick UI. For anyone who hasn’t tried/heard of PowerView, I suggest checking it out here.
Although a PowerView report is actually run as a Silverlight object when viewed in your browser through Sharepoint, you’ll see if you choose to download the file that it is actually saved as a .RDLX file, remarkably close to the standard SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) report file format of .RDL. So, this suggests there might just be some similarities in there somewhere, right? Continue reading…