A while back, I had the opportunity to implement an SSAS 2012 Tabular Model for a client. While I am really excited about the technology itself, I did find some challenges with the development environment in SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT), the SQL 2012 successor to Business Intelligence Development Studio. This post is a quick list of a few suggestions for Microsoft that have been posted to Connect.
Allow Marking a Table as Date Table in Diagram View
This one is not that huge a deal, to be honest. But, it did eat up some time. Like a stereotypical “guy,” I wanted to try to figure it out on my own before asking for directions… As it turns out, currently in SSDT, you must be in the Grid View of your Tabular model to mark a table as a Date table. It seems strange to me that you cannot perform this action from Diagram View. It seems like a silly limitation to me since it is not very intuitive.
If you think this would be worthwhile to fix, please vote up this Suggestion.
Allow Changing Many Column Names At Once
Tabular models are meant for business user consumption. Thus, friendly column names are important. With SSAS Multidimensional, you can make many changes to your project and afterward deploy them all at once. With SSAS Tabular, you are always working with a live Tabular model residing in your workspace database. As you make a change, the model in the workspace database is updated. While this makes it easy for you to play with your model via Analyze in Excel functionality, it means that tedious changes like changing column names to be more friendly can be a total pain in the office.
If you would like SSDT to allow for changing multiple columns names at once and then making the model update AFTER all of those changes instead of each one, please vote up this Suggestion. Note, there is a workaround on that item that was provided by Microsoft Program Manager Kasper De Jonge (b|t).
Campaign For PowerPivot/Tabular Textual Modeling Language
This one comes from Marco Russo (b|t). I am at Tech Ed North America in New Orleans this week. After the excellent DAX PreCon given by Marco and Alberto Ferrari (b|t), I was chatting with them a bit about my own experiences with Tabular. Marco asked what I thought about trying to get a human-usable textual scripting language for Tabular. I was totally on board with that. Marco release this blog post to start this ball rolling. Marco makes some excellent points in this post, which I will not reiterate here. Please read that post.
If you agree that a textual DDL style language for Tabular would be way helpful, or you just want to build up great karma by helping out Tabular developers, please vote up this Suggestion Marco created.
This suggestion by Marco, in my opinion, is way more important than my suggestions related to the GUI of SSDT. A scripting language would be AWESOME here.