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29 December 2014

Getting close

Here I am again, doing the same old thing

Yes, another blog post on The Book.  And yes, another tease post.  Once we (note how I am not saying who “we” are) get all of our drafts to the editor and the copy editing process begins, I’ll spill the beans on what this is all about.

I finished my draft at 1:43 am this morning and sent it over to Tim German for his contribution.  It should be a really good chapter all about the subject of this blog.

In the meantime, thank your lucky stars you aren’t doing this, happily this time without cats:

That’s the same dining room, only marginally less messy, and me again working on a paper draft.  I do lots of editing in Word, but that final review has to be on paper.

In addition to my literary output, there is a jar of what promises to be delicious sauerkraut next to me.  I’m not totally sure why that is on the dining room table and not the pantry but in my current state of sleeplessness anything is possible.

For the record, I’m at 14,599 words for the first chapter and 13,948 words for the one I just finished.  That’s novella length.  I am trying not to think about how many hours I, and a bunch of other talented-yet-stupid-for-doing-this people have put into the project.  I reckon I’ve invested 500 to 700 hours – after a while, who bothers counting?

What’s next?

Sleep?  Probably not.

As far as this blog is concerned, I’ll be doing a This Was The Year That Was review sometime next week.  This has been a banner year for the blog although of necessity my posts have diminished with all of the writing I’ve been doing.  

Be seeing you in the new year.

14 December 2014

A plea for Hybrid Essbase help

A plea for help

As some of you know, Tim German and I are writing a chapter in the OMG-I-must-be-nuts-to-do-this-again Special Project.  Given the agony I and the gaggle of august geeks I have roped into this project (one would think they would know better, but they didn’t) are going through getting this all done on time for publication, I’d have to say they are in that cloud cuckooland category as well.  But it’s all fun, sort of.  We think.  On to the subject of this post know that I’ve (not Tim, he is made of sterner stuff) had my chance to whine.

You may ask (maybe you don’t, pity that as it’s the whole point of this post), Cameron and Tim, just exactly what chapter are you writing?  And why is this a plea for help?  We’re ever so glad you asked that question, as this post’s raison d'ĂȘtre is to tell you why and what and then to ask for your help.  In short, we’re writing a chapter on Hybrid Essbase and we need your help figuring out the likely future direction of Essbase.  Momentous enough for you?

Just in case you don’t know

Hybrid Essbase is the future of Essbase.  Yes, really.  It isn’t BSO and it isn’t ASO – it’s both all in one delicious package.  Oracle have stated as much in public settings – we’re not breaking any NDAs or confidences..  We are beyond happy to hear this because it means that Essbase has a future, Essbase development is ongoing, and thus we can continue our Essbase blogs and incidentally continue our so-called careers.  What’s not to like?

What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

Here’s the deal – We know what’s in Hybrid today.  We don’t know what will be in Hybrid tomorrow.  But we can guess at what is needed, we think.  What do you think Hybrid must have to become the de facto replacement for BSO and ASO?  Here’s our list – what’s on yours?


  • DTS
  • Time Balance
  • Cross dimensional operators
  • Data load to upper and lower intersections
  • Theoretical database size limit = ASO
  • Hybrid calc scripts
  • All BSO calc script functions
  • BSO functions that mimic MDX, e.g., ???
  • Attributes in Hybrid
  • DATAEXPORT and Essbase report scripts in Hybrid
  • TOPDOWN member formulas
  • Partitions to BSO


  • Compression dimension
  • Solve order
  • Optional MDX grammar
  • Paged outline file (IIF there are larger databases)
  • Materialized aggregations
    • Query hints
    • Persistent tablespaces


  • Database statistics that report both BSO and ASO statistics
  • Documentation that explains:  
    • Internals of the database
      • Have you ever heard Tom Kyte talk about the Oracle db?  I’ve been to one or two of his presentations (NZOUG and GLOC) and I think I understood the first 60 seconds of his speech (mostly the bit where he said, “Hello, my name is Tom Kyte”) but I was able to suss out that he talked about the internals of the database and how to best tune for performance.  The Oracle db is the heart of Oracle – if there ever was a competitive advantage re internals confidentiality, this product would be the one to exercise that.  But Oracle don’t do that.
      • So why can’t Essbase geeks have that same transparency?  We do have it for BSO, mostly, but ASO’s internals are barely discussed in the DBAG and the best explanation extant is Dan Pressman’s chapter in Developing Essbase Applications:  Advanced Techniques for Finance and IT Professionals.  Why can’t Oracle provide this for Hybrid?  Please.  Rant over.
    • How to tune Hybrid databases for best performance
    • Database statistics that merge ASO and BSO statistics
  • Death to load rules.  Please?  Pretty please?  Pretty please with sugar on top?  Pretty please with sugar on top and whipped cream?  Pretty please with sugar on top, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce?  Pretty please with sugar on top, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and a cherry on top?  Please?

Again, the plea for help

Send your comments care of this blog’s comment section below, or to my email (if you have it), or to this Twitter thread.  We’ll thank the Best and Brightest for their help in the Acknowledgements section if we use your suggestions.  Think of it – immortality in print and all the more reason to buy copies of the book (hopefully in the hundreds if not thousands) so I can continue my royalty income of 32¢ per copy (yes, really,that’s my share).

Thanks and be seeing you.

02 December 2014

Stay tuned to this station for important information

The first hurdle passed

For those of you wondering why I seemed to have dropped off the face of the social media earth, I have been busy, busy, busy.

What have I been busy at?  Another book.  And it’s not about geeks and cats, the pictures in this post notwithstanding.  Nope, it’s the follow up volume to Developing Essbase Applications.

I’m going to leave the details a mystery (but yes, it is a group project to end all group projects, again, and yes we have a publisher and a contract and all of those wonderful things so it’s all for real)  as there’s still much to do and I don’t want to jinx the project.  For those of you who follow me on Twitter (I know for a fact that you do not, cf. my past blog post on blog readership so why don’t you get with it and read my even more frequently updated drivel and inanity), will have seen my tweet last night which ought to give you a hint as to what one of my chapters is about.
No, it is not a book Karl Malden, although I do encourage everyone to watch The Streets of San Francisco as it is an excellent police procedural.  And all of the cars are from FoMoCo.  And it is a Quinn Martin Production, so it has to be good.

In any case, that’s the scultpure that inspired the name Dodeca.  If that isn’t enough hints, I don’t know what is.

In any case, I thought you might like to see yr. obt. svt. at work so you can all thank your lucky stars you don’t do something as stupid as writing a book.  Fwiw, my royalty share on Developing Essbase Applications is 32¢ a copy.  It sure ain’t a road to riches.

So what am I doing?  Below you see my cats helping me out as I edit my first draft.  That’s Peanut sitting on the chapter, perhaps providing editorial comment by sticking her rear end on half of the chapter.  In the front Is Adam, looking incredibly bored, so perhaps yet another editorial comment.

I apologize for the mess.  This is the dining room and my maelstrom of stuff has hit this room.  All I can say is you should see my office.  Eeek.  I had to leave the untidiness behind me and ruin another room.  

Yet another picture – OMG, I have to clean.  And get Peanut off my manuscript.  Cats are such stinkers.

I feel sort of bad wasting your time with cat pictures but isn’t the internet all about watching cat videos? I’m just joining the club.  And they’re great cats.  Both are rescues from the mean streets of Philadelphia.  Adam, the older of the two, was rescued in Fitler Square where I used to live, and Peanut from under a truck in Chinatown.  I will spare you my rant about strays and unthinking owners.

So what’s next?

Cleaning my house?  Definitely.  After that, the editing process, getting the other chapters in, all of the fun legal stuff with Oracle (yes, they vet the whole thing, give us permissions to show screen shots on an image by image basis, etc. but don’t worry, it’s our content).

After all of the chapters are complete and we’re actually in the process of the second draft, I’ll share some detail about the book.  I’m very excited (and relieved that I got this chapter done, only ½ of another one to  go) about our work and I think it will be valuable to world+dog.

Be seeing you.