barcode vb.net 2010 Recursive Hierarchies and Bridges 227 in Software

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10 Recursive Hierarchies and Bridges 227
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TIP Flattening an instance hierarchy is most effective when the levels are consistent and have distinguishable meanings. Unfortunately, this state of affairs is about as common as the balanced hierarchy which is to say, it is extremely rare. In all likelihood, there will be exceptions that destroy the ideal. For example, a store near the distribution center may be supplied directly, bypassing the usual warehouse level. Some particularly large areas may have multiple levels of warehouses. The hierarchy is said to be ragged, because there are not a fixed number of levels with clearly defined meanings.
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The Hierarchy Bridge
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A bridge table provides the ability to study facts by looking up or down from within a recursive hierarchy, without limiting analysis to a preset number of levels or requiring awkward backfilling. This solution renders it simple to choose any point in the hierarchy for the aggregation of facts that occur either below it or above it. No procedural logic or correlated subqueries will be required. With this power, however, come some drawbacks. Like the dimension bridge table from 9, the hierarchy bridge table can be used incorrectly, introducing the possibility of double-counting. Unlike with the dimension bridge, there is an additional complication: the way to join the bridge to other tables will depend on the purpose of the report.
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Hierarchy Bridge Design
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A hierarchy bridge table acts as a supplement to a standard dimension. A hierarchy bridge can, therefore, be added to an existing design. It is also possible to use the dimension without the bridge. Before studying exactly how the bridge table is used, we will look at its structure and its content.
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Sometimes, there is a set number of named levels that are easy to distinguish from one another, and these levels have a consistent relationship. When the hierarchy is flattened, users can use the vocabulary that already exists to reference each level, instead of using the level number. While this will not do away with the need to backfill, it does make it much easier to look down from any particular location at the facts. For example, suppose a retail chain uses a location dimension to identify where goods are received, stored, and sold. It has three clearly defined types of location, which always participate in standard parent child relationships. Stores are supplied by warehouses, and warehouses are supplied by distribution centers. In a flattened location dimension, each row in the table will include a store name, warehouse name, and distribution center name, instead of level_1, level_2, and level_3. It will still be necessary to backfill. For example, a distribution center will have its own name filled in for the warehouse name and store. Reporting will fare better than it did with the flattened company solution. Since people are accustomed to thinking about stores, warehouses, and distribution centers as different things, these attributes will be useful for looking down at the facts. For example, someone may want to see all shipments at or below Warehouse 57. They know it is a warehouse, so it is easy to choose the correct column to qualify in a flattened location dimension. It is still difficult to study the facts by looking up, but this may be of lesser importance.
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Dimension Design
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Standard Star and Dimension Table
A hierarchy bridge table captures recursive instance relationships, so the dimension table will not need to. This means that a normal-looking dimension table can be used one that does not include a pig s ear or flattened relationships. Stars for various processes can refer to this dimension table directly, in the standard way. In fact, it is possible to build and implement a standard star that completely ignores the recursive hierarchy, and add a bridge in a future project. An example for the case of the company ownership hierarchy is shown in Figure 10-5. A standard company dimension appears in this design, with one row for each company. The shaded area of the diagram encloses a star schema for the orders process. The fact table in this star contains an order_dollars fact and refers to the company dimension directly via a company_key. This relationship captures the specific company with which an order transaction occurred, regardless of its place in any hierarchy. This star can be used to study orders by company in the usual way. To the right of the orders star, the figure shows a hierarchy bridge table for the company dimension. The specifics of how this bridge table is designed and used will be dealt with
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