barcode vb.net 2010 Snapshots of Conditions in Software

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Snapshots of Conditions
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Factless fact tables are not the only way to model conditions. 11, for example, suggested that a snapshot could be used to sample temperature at a point in time. Periodic snapshots can be construed as representing conditions during the snapshot period. It is also possible to construct a factless snapshot. Rather than associate dimensions at a specific time, a factless snapshot associates them for a period, such as a month, quarter, or year. For example, a factless snapshot of customer assignments may contain one row per customer assignment per month. This is much less granular than the customer_assignment_facts star, but may simplify some SQL.
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12 Factless Fact Tables 301
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Comparing Activities and Conditions
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Most of the time, a star that captures conditions is not very interesting on its own. Conditions are likely to be accessible elsewhere or to be the subject of operational reporting. Customer_ assignment_facts, for example, can be used to identify the salesperson to whom a customer is assigned at any point in time, but presumably that is something that sales management is already able to do with operational data. Conditions are most interesting when they are incorporated into the study of events. The diagram in Figure 12-4, for example, illustrated how conditions (salesperson/customer assignments) can be combined with activities (salesperson/customer transactions) in useful ways. We might want to compare customer assignments with orders to produce a list of customer assignments with no corresponding orders during the first quarter of 2009. This corresponds to the white region in Figure 12-4. The stars in Figures 12-3 and 12-5 can be used to answer this question. A comparison like this might be carried out in at least three ways. Two involve the use of specific SQL capabilities; the third involves construction of an additional star or cube.
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Using Set Operations
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One way to compare conditions and activities is to make use of SQL s ability to perform set operations. In looking for customer assignments with no corresponding orders, the SQL MINUS operator will come in handy. It can be used to combine two queries, one identifying customer/salesrep assignments for Q1 2009, and the other representing customer/salesrep orders for Q1 2009. The query looks like this:
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SELECT --- Creates set of Salesrep/Customer pairs for assignments -salesperson_name, customer_name FROM salesrep, customer, day ALIAS effective_day, day ALIAS expiration_day, customer_assignment_facts WHERE effective_day.date <= 3/31/2009 AND expiration_day.date >= 1/1/2009 AND salesrep.salesrep_key = customer_assignment_facts.salesrep_key AND customer.customer_key = customer_assignment_facts.customer_key AND effective_day.day_key = customer_assignment_facts.day_key_effective AND expiration_day.day_key = customer_assignment_facts.day_key_expired MINUS
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Fact Table Design
SELECT --- Create set of Salesrep/Customer pairs for orders -salesperson_name, customer_name FROM salesrep, customer, day, order_facts WHERE day.date >= 1/1/2009 AND day.date <= 3/31/2009 AND salesrep.salesrep_key = order_facts.salesrep_key AND customer.customer_key = order_facts.customer_key AND day.day_key = order_facts.day_key
In this SQL statement, each SELECT statement corresponds to one of the sets in Figure 12-4. The MINUS operation is used to select the members of the first set that are not present in the second set. The result is exactly the region we are interested in. The two SELECT statements can be reversed to identify salespeople taking orders from customers that have not been assigned to them.
Numbering Sequential Time Periods
You may have been confused by the date conditions in the first SELECT statement of the MINUS query in this section. These conditions are needed to identify customer assignments that were in effect for any portion of the period. Because conditions like these can easily be botched, many designers choose to create an attribute that identifies quarters as a series of integers, assigning the column a name like quarter_number. The first quarter recorded in the database is assigned the value 1, the second the value 2, the tenth the value 10, and so forth. When you are looking for date ranges that overlap with a particular quarter, this trick enables simplification of the necessary constraints. For example, if Q1 2009 is quarter_ number 15, the date constraints in the first half of the MINUS query can be replaced with:
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