Data Warehousing Project - Front End Development

Data Warehousing > Data Warehouse Design > Front End Development

Task Description

Regardless of the strength of the OLAP engine and the integrity of the data, if the users cannot visualize the reports, the data warehouse brings zero value to them. Hence front end development is an important part of a data warehousing initiative.

So what are the things to look out for in selecting a front-end deployment methodology? The most important thing is that the reports should need to be delivered over the web, so the only thing that the user needs is the standard browser. These days it is no longer desirable or feasible to have the IT department doing program installations on end users desktops just so that they can view reports. So, whatever strategy one pursues, make sure the ability to deliver over the web is a must.

The front-end options ranges from an internal front-end development using scripting languages such as ASP, PHP, or Perl, to off-the-shelf products such as Seagate Crystal Reports, to the more higher-level products such as Actuate. In addition, many OLAP vendors offer a front-end on their own. When choosing vendor tools, make sure it can be easily customized to suit the enterprise, especially the possible changes to the reporting requirements of the enterprise. Possible changes include not just the difference in report layout and report content, but also include possible changes in the back-end structure. For example, if the enterprise decides to change from Solaris/Oracle to Microsoft 2000/SQL Server, will the front-end tool be flexible enough to adjust to the changes without much modification?

Another area to be concerned with is the complexity of the reporting tool. For example, do the reports need to be published on a regular interval? Are there very specific formatting requirements? Is there a need for a GUI interface so that each user can customize her reports?

Time Requirement

1 - 4 weeks.


Front End Deployment Documentation

Possible Pitfalls

Just remember that the end users do not care how complex or how technologically advanced your front end infrastructure is. All they care is that they receives their information in a timely manner and in the way they specified.

Next Section: Report Development

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