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Friday, March 29, 2013

AX 2012 R2 and PowerView - Part II Extending

What a great day to be alive! I know for a lot of people, including myself, today has special meaning. It's about faith, and remembering that we are finite and need our Creators grace & mercy. So I must first hope that everyone has a blessed good Friday, and you find yourselves doing well. Further, today I wanted to continue the series I started yesterday around Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 & PowerView.

For those that are just reading this post, you can go to Part I of this series located here.: AX 2012 R2 and PowerView - Part I. Having the knowledge gained from that post, we can now continue with extending PowerView for AX 2012 R2 with our own custom cube!.

We start this journey by focusing on where the PowerView data connections and artifacts are stored within Enterprise Portal. You can see this location in the above screen shot from the demo image I'm using as my target. This is located in.: 'http://[site]/sites/DynamicsAX/Power View Reports/'.

Having the location open, we can then target creating a new data source that we will want PowerView to consume. As we can see in the above image, we target a new data source by simply adding one to the document library. Further what's important to not, as seen in the below image, is the connection type and the connection string.

You will not that we have a connection type that is very specific to enabling PowerView artifact creation. This type is called.: Microsoft BI Semantic Model for Power View. Further the connection string is very important as well. This happens to be pointing to a custom SSAS Cube Database and further a custom SSAS cube.

These where both created from the BI Project wizard within Dynamics AX 2012 R2, from a perspective representing the Measures & Dimensions desired. The following is an example connection string that is valid, that you can easily adjust for your own needs.

Provider=MSOLAP.5;Integrated Security=SSPI;Persist Security Info=True;Data Source=localhost;Initial Catalog=sunSalesAnalysis initial;Cube=Sales Analysis

Now having this in place, we can test our connection and save the new data source for PowerView usage. This is the default library where the PowerView managed code looks for data sources to make use of. Going back to the information in the first post on this topic, that means that when an action menu item passing in a data source name as the parameter, it is in reference to the data sources living in this specific document library on Enterprise Portal.

Having done a successful save of the data source, you should see something very similar to the above screen shot. This means that we are ready to move back into Dynamics AX 2012 R2 for completing our extending of PowerView. Like all things in Dynamics AX, this extension should remain within an AOT project.

What we see in the above screen shot is that project, including having highlighted the custom action menu item that will launch our PowerView design process. You will notice that I'm targeting the name given to the data source that lives in the document library on EP. That is the parameter value that will launch PowerView to target the specific custom cube.

Having created the menu item, and launching it, we see in the above image a field list from the custom cube I created from the above mentioned perspective.

This literally took under two hours to complete, from cube to launching into the design space. To further bring home the point that this is a separate cube database, and cube, please reference the below image.

You can see that I have a new cube catalog, or database as well as a custom cube called Sales Analysis. Further you can see in the above image the dimension structure in which we can slice our measure via. Again, this was 100% generated from a perspective within the AOT. Having completed this, we can now create compelling visualizations with PowerView based on the custom cube.

Further having completing such visualizations, saving these to the 'Power View Reports' document library we can surface these and execute them as web parts, or full screen mode.

The above knowledge, mixed with the first post of this series, should enable you to start easily taking full advantage of Power View, well beyond the out-of-the-box cubes. Having these powerful visualizations that allow power users to help complete a BI story for a customer is the icing on-top of the BI cake represented by the Microsoft Stack. This will truly help you to engage your user base and help you down the continue journey of Creating a System of Engagement!

That's all I have for this post. Feel free to comment or leave me any questions you might have. Further, I will back into the cube creation process behind this in a new post, so that there is a complete story from end-to-end for you. Keep in mind, this would work for *any* cube. This does not have to be just the Dynamics AX cubes. Further you can start to see how this can be placed throughout the Dynamics AX forms and user experience. Til Next Time!
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