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James Serra's Blog

Building a Visual Studio project from an existing SSAS database

Sep 19 2011 12:00AM by James Serra   

Imagine you join a company, and there is an existing SSAS database that contains a few cubes that are working nicely.  You are asked to add an enhancement to one of the cubes, so you poke around in source control for the Visual Studio analysis services project, but can’t find it.  Further research reveals the developer who you replaced never did check the project into source control, leaving it instead on his laptop.  But his laptop was wiped clean when he left.  Uh oh.

Fortunately, one great thing about SSAS is you can “reverse engineer” a SSAS database and build the Visual Studio analysis services project from a deployed SSAS database.  Just go into Visual Studio, and from the menu choose File -> New -> Project… -> “Import Analysis Services 2008 Database”.  Then enter the name and location to save the new project, and that is all that is too it.

This feature has also helped me once when I checked out a project from source control, made a bunch of changes, deployed those changes, then accidentally pulled the project again from source control, wiping out my changes.  I “reverse engineered” it and got the changes back.

There is another feature called “online mode” that you can use if you want to make a change to the SSAS database, but don’t want to create a project.  In this mode, you connect to the cube without saving any local files.  Any changes you make are made directely to the SSAS database.  To do this, in Visual Studio go to the menu File -> Open -> Analysis Services Database… -> “Connect to existing database” (or create a new one).  I can’t think of many reasons why you would want to use online mode, except maybe if you need to make a quick change to a cube and don’t have the time to create a project and deploy the cube.

Republished from James Serra's Blog [70 clicks].  Read the original version here [32134 clicks].

James Serra
35 · 5% · 1664



  • Is nice knowledge resource. It would have been very good and add more value for the article , if you would have added a screenshots o the steps. Thanks and keep posting more updates

    commented on Sep 25 2011 11:24AM
    31 · 6% · 1776

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