Watch the video demonstration of BIDSHelper add-in for SQL Server Data tool.

BIDS helper is Business Intelligence Development Studio/SSDT add-in to enhance functionality of the BI projects.

BIDS helper has lots of features to enhance your Tabular/Multidimensional Cube, Integration service package and Reporting service reports. So if you want to understand about it in details, I suggest you to refer the BIDH Helper documentation at codeplex.

For the demo, we will concentrate on 1 or 2 feature of Tabular model and then you can explore it yourself.

BIDS Version

Though the codeplex site list the BIDS helper version based on your target SQL Server version (2008/2012/2014), but I think it’s more dependent on Visual Studio Version.  I have SQL 2012 Installed on my machine and I installed BIDS Helper 2014 Setup because I am using SSDT 2013 for VS 2013 (SQL 2014 BIDS). So if you have different version of SQL and VS, choose the setup appropriately. Here is the download links

My Favorite Feature

I admit that I have not used all the BIDS features, but among them, the one that really sought after is Actions in Tabular model. Since actions in Dimensional model has been there for quite a while, tabular model does not support it out of box.

Actions enable business users to act upon the outcomes of their analyses. By saving and reusing actions, end users can go beyond traditional analysis, which typically ends with presentation of data, and initiate solutions to discovered problems and deficiencies, thereby extending the business intelligence application beyond the cube. Actions can transform the client application from a sophisticated data rendering tool into an integral part of the enterprise’s operational system. Instead of focusing on sending data as input to operational applications, end users can “close the loop” on the decision-making process. This ability to transform analytical data into decisions is crucial to the successful business intelligence application.

To put it simple, actions can be:

  • Drill-through actions, which return the set of rows that represents the underlying data of the selected cells of the cube where the action occurs.
  • Reporting actions, which return a report from Reporting Services that is associated with the selected section of the cube where the action occurs.
  • Standard actions, which return the action element (URL, HTML, DataSet, RowSet, and other elements) that is associated with the selected section of the cube where the action occurs.

BIDSHelper
We will see how to create actions in tabular model using BIDS helper in next post. Till then stay tuned!

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