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Discovering Data Structures

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Modified on Wed, 11 Jul 2012 02:33 PM Categorized as Data Connectors, Data Preparation, OLAP, Virtual Tables
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Overview

This article shows how to discover data structures, such as tables and views, that are present in your data source. When you save a data connector from the Data Connector Designer, you will be prompted with the option of discovering data structures. Alternatively, you can perform this discovery at any time from the Design Explorer. Whenever you perform a discovery, the previous discovery results for the data connector are replaced.

The discovery process returns the definition of any tables, views, functions, stored procedures, or cubes that are present in your data source. These definitions are saved in the Design Explorer as child items of the data connector that is associated with your data source.

Discovering data structures from the Design Explorer

To discover data structures from the Design Explorer:

  1. Select your data connector in the Design Explorer, then click its menu button. The Data Connector menu is displayed.
    The Data Connector menu.
  2. From the Data Connector menu, choose Discover Data Structures. The discovery process begins and may require several seconds or more to complete.
  3. Expand your data connector item in the Design Explorer. Folders for data structures such as tables, views, functions, stored procedures, and cubes are displayed as child items of the data connector. Note that some data providers do not support certain types of data structures. In this case, the corresponding folders will not appear. For example, Microsoft Access does not support functions or stored procedures, and cubes are only applicable to OLAP data providers such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services.
    Data structure folders.
  4. To see the list of discovered database tables, expand the Tables folder. In the case of Oracle, this list will also include any Oracle materialized views that are present.
  5. To see the list of discovered database views, expand the Views folder.
    Discovered views.
  6. To see the list of discovered database functions, expand the Functions folder.
  7. To see the list of stored procedures that were discovered, expand the Stored Procedures folder.
  8. To see the list of cubes that were discovered (for an OLAP data connector such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services), expand the Cubes folder.
    Discovered cubes.
  9. (Optional) Further expand a table, view, function, or stored procedure data structure in the Design Explorer to see its column/parameter names and corresponding data types.
    Expanding a table item in the Design Explorer.

Note: If you subsequently change the design or schema of your database (⪚ add a new table, modify parameters of a stored procedure, update your SSAS cube), you will need to perform the discovery operation again in order to see the updated data structure definitions in the Design Explorer.

Discovering database tables

To discover (or re-discover) only database tables:

  1. Expand your data connector item in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Tables folder item, then click its menu button.
  3. From the resulting menu, choose Discover Tables. The discovery process begins and may require several seconds or more to complete.
    Discovering only tables.

Note: For Oracle, discovery of database tables includes discovery of Oracle materialized views.

Discovering database views

To discover (or re-discover) only database views:

  1. Expand your data connector item in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Views folder item, then click its menu button.
  3. From the resulting menu, choose Discover Views. The discovery process begins and may require several seconds or more to complete.

Discovering database functions

To discover (or re-discover) only database functions:

  1. Expand your data connector item in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Functions folder item, then click its menu button.
  3. From the resulting menu, choose Discover Functions. The discovery process begins and may require several seconds or more to complete.

Discovering stored procedures

To discover (or re-discover) only stored procedures:

  1. Expand your data connector item in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Stored Procedures folder item, then click its menu button.
  3. From the resulting menu, choose Discover Stored Procedures. The discovery process begins and may require several seconds or more to complete.

Discovering cubes

To discover (or re-discover) only cubes (for an OLAP data connector such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services):

  1. Expand your data connector item in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Cubes folder item, then click its menu button.
  3. From the resulting menu, choose Discover Cubes. The discovery process begins and may require several seconds or more to complete.

Viewing the full list of data structures

A discovery operation can return up to a maximum of 200 items for each type of data structure found in your data source. For example, if your database has 1000 tables, only the first 200 tables will appear under the Tables folder in the Design Explorer for your data connector after a discovery operation. To view the full list of 1000 tables, follow the steps as shown below or double-click the More ... item, which appears as the last item in the Tables folder.

Viewing the full list of database tables or views

To view the full list of discovered database tables or views:

  1. Expand your data connector item in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Tables (or Views) folder item, then click its menu button.
  3. From the resulting menu, choose View Full List.
    Viewing the full list of data structures.
  4. The full list of database tables (or views) from your data source is displayed in the content area.
    Full list of database tables.
  5. To see the column definitions for a specific table (or view), select the corresponding row in the upper grid. The column definitions appear in the lower grid.
  6. To view additional information for a specific table (or view), click the corresponding View additional details button in the Action grid column. The Data Structure Viewer screen is displayed, which lets you view the definition of the database table (or view) and optionally preview a subset of its data records. See Viewing a Data Structure for more details.
  7. To create a new virtual table directly from a database table (or view), click the corresponding Auto-create button in the Action grid column. The new virtual table will be given the same name as the database table (or view). You can rename the virtual table later from the Design Explorer.

Viewing the full list of database functions or stored procedures

To view the full list of discovered database functions or stored procedures:

  1. Expand your data connector item in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Functions (or Stored Procedures) folder item, then click its menu button.
  3. From the resulting menu, choose View Full List.
  4. The full list of database functions (or stored procedures) from your data source is displayed in the content area.
  5. To see the parameter definitions for a specific function (or stored procedure), select the corresponding row in the upper grid. The parameter definitions appear in the lower grid.
  6. To view additional information for a specific function (or stored procedure), click the corresponding View additional details button in the Action grid column. The Data Structure Viewer screen is displayed, which lets you view the definition of the database function (or stored procedure) and optionally preview its data. See Viewing a Data Structure for more details.

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