barcode vb.net 2010 Looking Up and Down Is Still Difficult in Software

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Looking Up and Down Is Still Difficult
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The instance hierarchy makes it easy to respond to the instruction show me all orders rolled up to level 2, but usually this is not what people want to do. The levels, after all, are an artificial construct that results from flattening. Most questions relating to an instance hierarchy will be geared toward using the hierarchy to summarize facts above or below a particular member. Returning to the sample questions posed earlier, they are found to still be somewhat difficult to answer: All orders beneath Company 5 (Looking down.) This request requires knowing that Company 5 is at level 2 in the hierarchy. If we know this, we can join the company table to the fact table, and apply the constraint where level_2_company = "Company 5". As you can see in the illustration, this will result in transactions for Companies 5 through 8.
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All orders above Company 6 (Looking up.) This request requires looking at the row for Company 6 to find the list of companies above it. A query can then be issued that joins order_facts to the company table, where the company name is in the list. These queries are marginally easier to resolve than before, but it is probably not reasonable to expect an end user to be able to construct them, even with a state-of-the-art business intelligence tool.
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Last, a flattened solution limits the hierarchy depth to a fixed number of levels. If and when a case turns up that calls for an additional level, the table cannot accommodate it. For example, if Company 8 acquires another company, there are not enough attributes to accommodate a fifth level of ownership. TIP Flattening an instance hierarchy may simplify reporting challenges but will not eliminate them. The solution will be limited to a fixed number of levels and will require backfilling. Studying facts by looking up and looking down will still be challenging, although it will be easier to report on specific numbered levels.
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Problems like these are often attributed to the unbalanced nature of the hierarchy. Notice, however, that only the last issue is related to variable depth. Even when an instance hierarchy has a consistent depth, the first two problems remain. For example, suppose all company ownership relationships reach down exactly four levels. This is unrealistic, to be sure, but it will illustrate the point. Flattening still requires backfilling for the higher-level members of the hierarchy. When users wish to look up or down, the reporting challenges just noted will still exist. Only the issue of the appearance of a new level is avoided, and that is probably artificial.
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When Flattening Works Best
Flattening a recursive instance hierarchy creates manufactured dimension attributes to represent levels. Flattening is usually not satisfactory because users are not actually interested in the manufactured elements. Normally, no one would ask to be able to summarize all transactions to level 2. Rather, they desire to pick any particular point in the hierarchy and look up or down. NOTE If you do hear people asking to look at a level 2 company or the like, chances are the hierarchy has already been flattened in other systems. When you look at the operational system, you will likely find evidence of an instance hierarchy that was flattened. There will be attribute values that contain NULLs, read N/A, or contain filler values. Other clues that a source system has flattened a hierarchy are columns that purport to hold one type of thing but actually contain another. For example, a column in a region table called county usually contains county names, but for some rows contains the name of a city. In this case, an attempt has been made to flatten a recursive relationship among regions, and one particular instance has not fit in cleanly. If the source system does not maintain the true unflattened hierarchy elsewhere, it may be impossible to recover it.
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