Josh Robinson's WebLog

Converting SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 KPIs to Business Scorecard Manager 2005 KPIs and vice versa

Here is a tool from Microsoft that will enable you to convert SSAS 2005 and BSM 2005 KPIs back and forth.

From the description on the download page:

Overview

KPIUtil.exe is a tool that allows users to connect to both a Microsoft® Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 server and a Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 Analysis Services server to do the following:
  • Generate SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services key performance indicators (KPIs) from Business Scorecard Manager KPIs.

  • Generate Business Scorecard Manager KPIs from SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services KPIs.

  • Save a configuration file that contains parameters (including the connection information to the SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services server and the Business Scorecard Manager server) that you entered by using KPIUtil.exe. You can use the saved configuration file either to generate KPIs from a command prompt or to open the configuration file in KPIUtil.exe at a later time.
Running Business Scorecard Manager 2005 (Maestro) on Sharepoint 3 Beta 1

It is possible to run BSM 2005 on the new Sharepoint Beta, but it requires jumping through a few hoops.  Here is a blog entry that describes how to get it working.

New version of Virtual Server (PC) extensions released

If you are running virtual machines with Windows 2003 Server SP1, you will want to grab the latest Virtual Server Additions, version 13.552, which were released on Jan 20, 2006.  Once you have run the file and upgraded your Virtual Server 2005 install, you can use the directions here to update your Virtual PC images to the latest additions as well.

EDIT: I neglected to post the link to the download.  The updated Virtual Additions can be found here.

SQL Server 2005 September CTP available!

You can now grab the new September CTP of SQL 2005 (I think CTP 17?) from MSDN subcriber downloads.  I hear that it has quite a few changes to Report Builder.  I hope that this build is very solid and close to RTM quality, especially SSIS.

A strange (and random) Access Denied error with .NET

I just had to spend the past 30 minutes wrestling with one of those strange little errors that you used to get 3 years ago when .NET 1.0 was brand new.  Basically, I made one tiny change to my source code (changed a line from "index = i" to "index = i - 1" if you must know) and then hit F5 and got an ugly error indicating that one of my DLLs could no longer be accessed by my web service.  Ugh, a reboot later and nothing changed.  Nothing like an old-school style glitch (is it a bug?) to bring you back to those early days when you never knew when you might get a bright red 20px error mesage on your screen instead of your app.

I'll spare you the details but the bottom line is that if your application starts throwing seemingly random "access denied" errors on DLL's that support it, it is probably because Indexing Service has just locked down your required file in the background without asking you first.  Here's a bit more about that: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;329065.  The bottom line is that to fix it, you have to either wait for a while for your file to be released, kill the indexing process manually, or stop the service from auto starting.  I am not sure how this affects MSN Desktop Search or Google Desktop Search since it is my understanding that they both rely on that service, but that is beyond the scope of my current situation.

Why can't source control programs (except Vault) Get It Right?

Today I lost faith in yet another source control system when combined with .NET.  So far I have been disappointed by Visual Source Safe (who hasn't?), Perforce (don't get me started) and now PVCS.  Maybe the common theme is poor VS.NET integration hooks?  I'm not sure, but the only source control system that has consistently satisfied me day in and day out is SourceGear Vault.  At least Eric Sink and team use their own product from within VS.NET and experience (and thus fix) the same frustrations that the plague the common developer within Visual Studio.  Here's to hoping that in the 2005 versions of .NET tools the integration is much improved . . .

Microsoft Enterprise Library Data Access Block and Strongly Typed Datasets

I am currently working with the Microsoft Enterprise Library and have implemented the Exception, Logging and Data Access blocks (and thus Configuration since it is used by these).  At first I was concerned that the Data Access block had taken a step backward and left out the ability to work with strongly typed datasets.  The documentation makes no explicit mention of how to use strongly typed datasets and focuses instead on filling a standard dataset by using the ExecuteDataSet() method.  I poked around in the source code a bit and noticed that ExecuteDataSet() is actually creating a new DataSet and passing it to LoadDataSet() to do all the heavy lifting.  I also found a little bullet point in the "fine print" Usage Notes section of Using a DataSet to Retrieve Multiple Rows that says:

If you want to reuse an existing DataSet instead of creating a new one to hold the results of your query, use the LoadDataSet method in the Database class.

Interesting. . . and it works with existing Typed DataSets too!  Simply execute the following command to populate an existing instance of a Typed DataSet:

VB: myDB.LoadDataSet(myCommandWrapper, CType(myTypedDS, DataSet), "DataTableName")
CS: myDB.LoadDataSet(myCommandWrapper, (DataSet)myTypedDS, "DataTableName");

So far the Enterprise Library saves a lot of coding time on the relatively small appl that I am building and has kept me from spending too much time on the details of data access, exception handling and logging (to event log, e-mail and more).  It has also allowed me to implement encryption of db connect strings in config file for "free", so there are nice little benefits like that thrown in.  If the solution should ever be moved to Oracle or DB2, that will be a painless transition as a result of the Enterprise Library.  A more likely scenario in in this case would be that it is moved to Sybase - this would require me to develop a class for Sybase particulars, but it would be relatively cookie-cutter and again would save me a lot of time by using the Enterprise Library.  I am not sure that the Enterprise Library is the ultimate answer for a large-scale solution, but for small line of business apps it will potentially save you many days of development time.
Using my Blackberry 7290 as a tethered modem
As I write this I am in the car between Atlanta and Charleston.  The cool thing is, I am on the internet with a relatively fast connection (a little faster than a dial-up connection) through my BlackBerry 7290.  This is very cool and convenient if you are ever in the car, hotel, airport, wherever and need to get online for a couple minutes.  I am sure that a year or two from now when new technologies like EV-DO (isn't that what its called?) come out you will be able to download the latest CTP from a PDA connection, but for now this works pretty well.  It only took me about 5 minutes to set up, full directions can be found at BlackBery Club Forums in a pinned post under the General Blackbery Discussion group.  You will need to upgrade to BB OS 4.0 to enable it (or 3.8 for 7290/7100t)  Very cool stuff.
Microsoft to release source code for SQL Server 2005?
This would be interesting.  An article on ZDNet based on an interview with Tom Rizzo discusses the possibility of releasing the source code of SQL Server 2005 to some customers under the shared source initiative.
New budget Workgroup Editions of SQL 2000/SQL 2005

Here's an article that talks about the new Workgroup Edition of SQL 2000 and SQL 2005.  It looks like it will be between Express and Standard editions.  From the article, I am gathering that it will not include Reporting Services, but I believe that Visual Studio .NET 2005 will include an embeddable version of Reporting Services 2005, so that might tie in nicely for smaller deployments.  It will be just under $4K per processor and limited to two processors and 3GB RAM, however dual-core chips count as a single processor so you could potentially run it on a 4-way box relatively cheaply.

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