Daily utilities

Introduction

Without doubt working as a TM1 consultant, developer or power user poses some challenges, every day! Just think about the archaic Turbo Integrator editor, searching for keywords "somewhere" in the TM1 model, comparing TM1 data directories, and so on. Below is a list of programs I often use (or daily). Maybe you might want to have a look at tools you did not know yet, if any.

While working on this article, I noticed that I went broader. Not only tools or software will be mentioned, so please continue reading to find out.

Utilities

  • Notepad++: to search for a word in the full TM1 model (e.g. the name of a cube in all *.rux and *.pro files in the data directory). In addition, Notepad++ could be extended with an add-on to support syntax highlighting of functions, operators, … Within Notepad++ you can automatically turn on the TM1 syntax each time you open up a file with extension *.pro or *.rux. Very convenient! Vizier might be a (costly) alternative, I never used this software and I am not affiliated in any way to Cubewise.
  • Here is a list of Notepad++ plugins that by now, I cannot live with them anymore:
    • Compare: to compare 2 textfiles (like TI processes or rules)
    • WebEdit: to generate snippets of code (VERY useful and itmesaving, a must-have!)
    • HTML Tag: for my website page editing
    • Light Explorer: a lightweight Windows Explorer
    • NppFTP: to administer my remote website through FTP
    • TextFX: to perform a variety of conversions to the selected text
    • SQL: to fire off SQL queries to (well-behaved) text files
    • Poor Man's T-SQL formatter: to easily format SQL code
    • NppJumpList: to have Windows 7 jump list functionality
    • XML Tools: just as the name suggests
  • TM1 Top: to see what activity takes place in your TM1 model. To use this in versions 10 of TM1, use TM1 Top from say version 9.5. But actually IBM replace TM1Top with the TM1 Operations Console.
  • Toad: a tool to investigate relational databases and execute queries
  • Screencapturing tools like Snagit, the Windows snipping tool, Alt-Prnt Scrn or Problem Steps Recorder (psr.exe): to document TM1 models or highlight errors in the model / a cube view, record steps to reproduce a certain issue. Screencaptures can prove that your set of fancy TM1 calculation rules DID work before the customer started changing some rules!
  • Also, tools like Snagit or the Windows Snipping Tool are handy you have yet written another endless loop without saving the process: while the server is busy hanging himself, you can quickly take a picture so that you do not lose all of your work :-)
  • FreeMind: Mind-mapping software to start/structure initial (open) discussions or brainstorm sessions with the customer
  • VMware: to develop a TM1 locally in its own OS
  • WinMerge: tools to help you comparing and merging TM1 data directories
  • MDX expressions: my article on the website and also the famous Bihints webpage
  • Zip tools like 7-zip or Winzip or Winrar: to have (automatic) zipped backups of the data directory, logging directory (if you are interested)
  • A wonderful TM1 forum with quite a number of experienced knowledgeable TM1 experts and gurus. This page is an absolute must-see and must-bookmark!
  • Also downloadable from the TM1 forum, the TM1 Tools: find it in this topic.
  • A good book on TM1, such as IBM Cognos TM1 The Official Guide by Oehler, Gruenes and Ilacqua.
  • A decent website like the one you are visiting at this moment :-) Many of my customized code snippets can increase your efficiency in/with TM1.
  • Your own library of favourite TM1 code snippets, found on the web or developed in an earlier model.
  • Do not forget the TM1 manuals and pressing F1 when you forgot that last argument in the TM1RPTROW function. RTFM !
  • Microsoft Visio can help you sketch the full TM1 model, including data flows, how cubes interplay, source databases and files, etc.
  • Oftentimes a simple MS Access database comes in handy: as a quick replacement to MS SQL Server, for ODBCoutput tests, testing your state-of-the-art drill-through process, to eliminate text files (tables storing mappings for instance). Obviously, the appropriate driver must exist for this to work.

Please send me an email if you want me to add other tools and software.




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Wim Gielis is a Business Intelligence consultant and Excel expert

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