Prompt parameter name as a prompt

Recently I was presented with an interesting problem. The developer made a chart report which allowed the user to define the x-axis through a radio button. In order to do this the developer dragged all the fields he needed into the query, and used the following expression to change the axis:
#sb(prompt('Category','token'))#

This means if Month was selected in the radio, the x-Axis would be [Month].

Next he set up a drill through to a list report. The user would click on one of the bars, and it would filter the detail report based on the category selected, and the bar clicked. The optional filter is:
#sb(prompt('Category','token'))# = #prompt('Value','string')#
Resolving to [Month] = ‘Jan/2010’ or maybe [Product] = ‘Glowsticks’

The target report is also designed as a standalone, with a dozen prompts on the page. And now we get to the problem. If the user drilled on Country = UK, and then selects France and Belgium, the report will return no results. This makes sense as the country filter is [Country] in (‘France’,’Belgium’) and the Category filter is [Country] = ‘UK’. The expected behaviour is slightly different. The user expects to override the category filter with whatever is selected in the regular prompts. It also has to be accomplished without JavaScript.

I’d welcome ideas on different ways to accomplish this, as the solution I’m about to present is difficult to understand and maintain.

First I changed all of the prompts on the page to match the values the categories were passing. So the filter [Country] = ?p_dest_country? was changed to [Country] = ?Country? and [Month] = ?p_Month? was changed to [Month]=?Month?

The categories filter was changed to:
#sb(prompt(‘Category’,’token’,’1′))# in (#promptmany(prompt(‘Category’,’token’),’string’,sq(prompt(‘Value’,’string’,’1′)))#)

Assuming the user drilled on Country = UK, this will resolve to:

[Country] in (#prompt(‘Country’,’string’,sq(‘UK’))#)

Since the Country parameter in the report is null, it will default to UK, ultimately resolving to:
[Country] in (‘UK’)

Since the drilled value is only in the default parameter of the macro, selecting any value from the prompt will always take precedence.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you can think of another way of handling this.

Token prompts

Token prompts are an extremely powerful macro. They allow authors to create extremely efficient code that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to make.

The following examples will all be based on the Great Outdoor Sales (cube) package.

A simple example would be a static prompt that would allow the user to see a list the top or bottom products by revenue. Without a token prompt you might be tempted to use the following expression:

case #prompt('TopOrBottom','string',sq('top'))#
when 'top' then topCount([great_outdoor_sales_en].[Products].[Products].[Product],5,[great_outdoor_sales_en].[Measures].[Revenue])
when 'bottom' then bottomCount([great_outdoor_sales_en].[Products].[Products].[Product],5,[great_outdoor_sales_en].[Measures].[Revenue])
end

The problem with that is that it simply doesn’t work. You could also try to make a conditional block, but that would make the report needlessly complex.

Instead you could use a token prompt:
#prompt('TopOrBottom','token','top')#Count([great_outdoor_sales_en].[Products].[Products].[Product],5,[great_outdoor_sales_en].[Measures].[Revenue])

When the macro resolves the function will be either topCount or bottomCount.

Macros (3 of n++): Prompts

Macros allow you to alter SQL/MDX before it’s send to the datasource. Using the macro functions timestampmask, you can easily select specific members, or query certain tables.

Prompt macros give you an extremely fine grain of control. You can, for instance, allow a user to which measure he wants to see in his graph, or create dynamic default values.

To begin with, the structure of the prompt macro:

#prompt/promptmany(‘parameterName’,’dataType’,’defaultValue’,’leadingText’,’source’,’trailingText’)#

parameterName is self explanatory. Note that it is case sensitive. If you want to pass a value to that parameter via the URL or POST you need to preface it with a p_ so Par_Year becomes p_Par_Year.

The dataType will reject anything not covered by the datatype. The string ‘Hello World!’ would be rejected if the datatype was set to integer. The datatype also determines the type of prompt generated. ‘Integer’, for example, will always create a text box prompt even if the source field (see below) is filled.

The defaultValue will be returned if no parameter is selected. This does not need to obey the dataType. For example, you could have a filter set up: [Year] = #prompt(‘parYear’,’integer’,’year(getDate())’)# If 2010 was selected the filter would be [Year] = 2010, if no value was returned to the prompt the filter would be [Year] = year(getDate()).

The leadingText is text that is automatically entered before the selected parameter. For example a filter: #prompt(‘parYear’,’integer’,’1=1′,'[Year] = ‘)# In that example if 2010 was selected [Year] = 2010 would be returned to the filter. If nothing was selected, the filter would be 1=1.

The source will a list or tree prompt based on a referenced field. #prompt(‘timeMember’,’memberuniquename’,”,”,'[NS].[TimeDimension].[TimeHierarchy]’)# will create a tree prompt that will allow the user to select any member from the TimeHierarchy. #prompt(‘timeMember’,’memberuniquename’,”,”,'[NS].[TimeDimension].[TimeHierarchy].[MonthLevel]’)# will create a list prompt that will allow the user to select a single member from the MonthLevel. You can also include functions in the source: #prompt(‘timeMember’,’memberuniquename’,”,”,’filter([NS].[TimeDimension].[TimeHierarchy].[MonthLevel],[Measures].[Sales]>1000)’)# will create a list prompt of all months that had more than 1000 sales.

The trailingText, much like the leadingText, placing text after any values selected. #promptmany(‘Years’,’memberuniquename’,’children([NS].[TimeDimension].[TimeHierarchy]->[All Member])’,’set(‘,'[NS].[TimeDimension].[TimeHierarchy].[YearLevel]’,’)’)# will either return the children of the All member (if no values are selected), or will return a set of members that the user selected.