In this Design Tip, we return to a fundamental concept that perplexes numerous dimensional modelers: text facts (also referred to as fact indicators, attributes, details or notes). Some of you may be rightfully saying that text facts are a dimensional modeling oxymoron. However, we frequently field questions from clients and students about indicator, type or comment fields that […]

When developing dimensional models, we strive to create robust dimension tables decorated with a rich set of descriptive attributes. The more relevant attributes we pack into dimensions, the greater the users’ ability to evaluate their business in new and creative ways. This is especially true when building a customer-centric dimension. We encourage you to embed intellectual capital in […]

Factless fact tables appear to be an oxymoron, similar to jumbo shrimp. How can you have a fact table that doesn’t have any facts? We’ve discussed the basics of factless fact tables several times in our books and articles. In this design tip, we use a factless fact table to complement our slowly changing dimension strategies. As you […]

We are often asked about degenerate dimensions in our modeling workshops. Degenerate dimensions cause confusion since they don’t look or feel like normal dimensions. It’s helpful to remember that according to Webster, “degenerate” refers to something that’s 1) declined from the standard norm, or 2) is mathematically simpler. A degenerate dimension (DD) acts as a dimension key in […]

“Oh, we’ll handle that in the tool” is the refrain we sometimes hear from design teams. Instead, whenever possible, we suggest you invest the effort to architect as much flexibility, richness, and descriptive information directly into your dimensional schemas as possible rather than leaning on the capabilities of the tool metadata as a crutch. Today’s business intelligence (BI) […]