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Mastering OLAP Reports: Parameterizing Number of 'Look Back' Periods with the MDX LastPeriods() Function, Part I


In this article, we will get hands-on exposure to parameterizing an MDX function, LastPeriods(), within a preexisting sample OLAP report. Beginning with the general concepts, we will continue into a practice session where we set up a scenario, within which we work with a basic OLAP report, to expose the steps involved. In examining the rudiments of specific function parameterization within an OLAP report containing a matrix data region, we will:

  • Open the sample Report Server project, AdventureWorks Sample Reports, and ascertain connectivity of its shared Analysis Services data source;
  • Create a clone of an existing sample report, containing a matrix data region, with which to perform our practice exercise;
  • Make structural modifications to the clone report, to prepare for our practice exercise session with parameters within a matrix data region;
  • Perform a brief overview of the MDX LastPeriods() function, which we will use to support the stated reporting needs of a hypothetical client;
  • Discuss the parameterization of MDX functions in general, and the LastPeriods() function specifically;
  • Add the required query parameters to support date and function parameterization;
  • Ensure the adequacy of automatically created datasets to support report parameters and meet business requirements (in Part II of this article);
  • Add syntax to the TimeMonth dataset query to enforce cascading (in Part II of this article);
  • Leverage the MDX LastPeriods() function, containing the month parameter placeholder(in Part II of this article);
  • Discuss the interaction of the various components in supporting the runtime parameters that the end consumer sees (throughout Part I and Part II of this article);
  • Discuss the results obtained with the development techniques that we exploit (throughout Part I and Part II of this article).

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