I’m updating chapters in my book on SQL Server 2005 for the impending release of SQL Server 2008. Right now, I’m focusing on the chapters that cover Analysis Services (AS), the BI component of SQL Server. I’ve come across an “improvement” in the new version of AS, and I’m not sure I like it: the wizards do less.
In AS 2005, the Cube Wizard could create a time dimension for you, and the Dimension Wizard could create a parent-child dimension/hierarchy for you.
In AS 2008, only the Dimension wizard will create a time dimension, but won’t do so very easily when you supply your own dimension table for it. And, as best as I can tell, under AS 2008, there is no wizard interface at all for creating parent-child dimensions. Even for regular dimensions, the Cube Wizard creates only a key attribute for each generated dimension. If you want multiple attributes, you’ll need to add them manually or use the Dimension Wizard. The cube wizard actually gives you no insight into attributes at all:
This is most perplexing. So let’s play devil’s advocate. The AS 2005 wizards had a feature called Auto build (it was called IntelliCube when AS2005 was still in Beta). It didn’t work that well, and I usually disabled it.
I can understand that giving rise to a point of view that the AS 2005 Wizards were over-engineered. Fine. I can therefore see streamlining the wizards. A little bit.
But why take away all that good, helpful functionality? Has thin-client computing led to thin Wizard computing? Frankly, I think this is absurd. Under the guise of having the wizards build leaner cubes (and dimensions) in fewer steps, we end up with a product that simply does less. It doesn’t affect me personally. I know how to use the Analysis Services designers and the Properties window to do on my own what the Wizards would do for me. But beginners don’t know how to do that. And aren’t Wizards for beginners?