Oracle ACE Corner - Book Review: Oracle Essbase 11 Development Cookbook

By Cameron Lackpour, CL Solve

A new Essbase book has just been published:  Oracle Essbase 11 Development Cookbook by Jose Ruiz.

It’s a very interesting concept as there’s no narrative structure or flow to this book.  Instead, it’s a series of Essbase recipes or step-by-step instructions complete with code samples for just about everything you might need to do in Essbase from an administrator’s perspective.  Read the full review!

What I like about this approach is that it does not require you to read the book from the beginning to a particular point, or even the containing chapter, to find out how to perform a particular task.  You can find what you need, read just that, and apply it to your Essbase implementation directly.  Some might take issue with this lack of an overarching story or theme but think about the way most computer reference books are used:  you already know how to do some or most of the tasks, but there’s something new or an existing task that you just haven’t done before and you want to do it as fast as possible.  This book lets you do that quick look and application without wading through a bunch of stuff you don’t care about.  I like its practical emphasis and specific focus very much because it helps me do my job faster.

What this book does not do is give you the theoretical overview of why, for instance, EPMA versus EAS versus ODI versus Studio versus whatever is the best way to build your particular Essbase database.  I don’t view that as a shortcoming.  The book’s mission is to give you the reader solutions to concrete tasks.  Go to KScope12 or hit OTN/ Network54 or God forbid, hire a consultant to get that kind of good practice information.  This book is for people at the coalface of Essbase development. 

The way to approach this book is to:

  1. Have a well-defined need, e.g., build a parent-child load rule.
  2. Find a recipe for doing just that (If you’re interested, it’s on page 147 and is called “Using dimension build rules to add the parent-child dimension”)
  3. Follow the instructions till you know how to do it.
  4. Apply the technique to your own application.

Each recipe usually has five sections:

  1. A brief introduction to the recipe
  2. Getting ready – How to get to EAS or Studio or Financial Reports Studio or whatever.
  3. Those step-by-step instructions with every mouse click and text input defined in the correct order.
  4. How it works – An explanation of the recipe’s steps and additional considerations.
  5. There’s more – Other things you can do with a given recipe.  Most, but not all recipes have this section.
  6. See also – This is a really neat bit of cross referencing:  similar recipes are listed by chapter and title so you can explore a given subject in greater depth.

The book is 377 pages long, which is quite a bit for a trade paperback and covers the following information:

Chapter 1:  Understanding and Modifying Data Sources

Chapter 2:  Using Essbase Studio

Chapter 3:  Building the BSO Cube

Chapter 4:  Building the ASO Cube

Chapter 5:  Using EAS for Development

Chapter 6:  Creating Calculation Scripts

Chapter 7:  Using MaxL to Automate Process

Chapter 8:  Data Integration

Chapter 9:  Provision Security Using MaxL Editor or Shared Services

Chapter 10:  Developing Dynamic Reports

I think the natural audience for this book is the beginning to mid-level Essbase developer or administrator, although even advanced Essbase practitioners can gain something from it.  I like to, ahem, place myself in the last category but I certainly don’t know everything there is to know about Essbase.  As an example, the section on using MaxL to assign security so that it sticks in Shared Services – I never do that as I tend to manage that in Shared Services.  I’ll likely be looking at a hybrid of MaxL and Shared Services in the future thanks to the book.  You can find out more about the book (and buy) here at Amazon.  If you have an Amazon account and are logged in you can read a good deal of the book and get a real feel for the content. 

I hope the book does well.  As I now know from personal experience, writing a book is hard, and I did it with a group of writers.  To write one alone…well, my hat’s off to Jose Ruiz.  Oracle Essbase 11 Development Cookbook  is excellent work and something Jose should be very proud of.  I bought the book for myself and will be recommending it to my clients.  I’m recommending it to you, too.

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