I recently attended a virtual training of Tabular and Power Pivot for Developers taught by Kathy Vick at Pragmatic Works. Kathy had a comment (also an inside joke for developers I think) that for those who already have multidimensional cube and MDX skills, learning about the tabular (and PowerPivot, DAX) model doesn’t make any sense.
Putting the inside joke aside, I think the comment did raise a question in my mind. Why do I need to learn the tabular model? After some thinking, I came up with this answer, to learn DAX.
After 4 days training, and many slides and many demos, I realized that in the back of mind, what I really wanted to learn is another query language, DAX (Data Analysis Expressions).
- SQL – Structured Query Language. Here is the Transact-SQL Reference (Database Engine).
- MDX – Multidimensional Expressions. Here is a short introduction from Wikipedia. This is the TechNet site for Querying Multidimensional Data with MDX, and Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) Reference.
- DAX – Data Analysis Expressions. Here is an even shorter introduction on Wikipedia. This is the TechNet site for Understanding DAX in Tabular Models (SSAS Tabular), and Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) Reference. DAX reference is also available on office.microsoft.com for Power Pivot.
Yes, this is on top of two query languages, SQL and MDX, most SQL Server developers are already familiar with.
A simple Googling and Bing, the search results are quite interesting.
- SQL Server 2012 SQL language: over 15 million results.
- SSAS MDX language: adequately 163 thousand results
- SSAS DAX language: barely 52 thousand results.