Create New Dimension Build Rule

Create and test a dimension build rule using the rule editor in the Essbase web interface. Build dimensions in an Essbase cube using data from a flat file or from a variety of external sources. This example uses a flat file.

It is very efficient to modify existing rules, such as those that are created for you when you deploy from application workbooks. However, if you are creating a new rule in the Essbase web interface, this topic illustrates a sample flow for creating it, with the goal of adding and editing dimension members in an Essbase cube.


  • Import/build the Sample Basic cube, using the application workbook available from the gallery in the file catalog on the Essbase server.

  • Create a tab-delimited data file like the following, name it add_product.txt, and upload it to the Sample Basic cube directory.

    500	500-10
    500	500-10
    500	500-20
    500	500-20
    500	500-20
  1. On the Applications page, expand the application (Sample).

  2. From the Actions menu, to the right of the cube name (Basic), launch the inspector.

    Popup menu with Inspect selected

  3. Select the Scripts tab, and then click Rules.

    Scripts tab selected in the database inspection dialog

  4. Click Create and choose Dimension Build (Regular).

    In the database inspection dialog, create button is pressed and option Dimension Build (Regular) is selected


    Regular dimension build rules have validation requirements pertaining to the order of fields. For example, the properties of generation 1 must appear after the Generation 1 column. Other generations must appear in order of Parent/Child. If fields are out of order, the Verify action will display an error message.

    For index-based rules (sometimes called BPM rules), fields can be in any order; for example, Generation 2 can come before Generation 1, and a property of Generation 1 can come before the actual Generation 1 column. An index-based rule does not offer column operations (join, split, and move).

    You can change the type of dimension build rule by modifying the end of the URL in the Essbase web interface when the rule is open for editing. Regular type rules have a URL ending in &type=regular, and index-based rules have a URL ending in &type=index.

    Data load rules do not have different types. Similar validation rules exist as for the Regular dimension build rules.

  5. In the New Rule dialog,

    New Rule dialog completed with options described in steps

    1. Enter a rule name.

    2. For Source Type select File, as this example workflow is based on the assumption of using a flat data file. Select the data file you uploaded. For example, click Catalog and navigate to add_product.txt.


      Additional options besides File are available to use as the Source Type. Use these when your dimension build source data is an external source rather than a flat file.
      Source types you can select for dimension build rules include File, ODBC (DSN-less), Oracle Call Interface (OCI), Datasource, and SQL Data Sources (DSN).

      When you are using an external source of data to build dimensions, you must complete certain prerequisites, depending on which type of connectivity you have to the source of data.

      • If your connectivity has been predefined using a connection and Datasource established in Essbase by an application manager or service administrator, choose Datasource as the Source Type for the dimension build rule. To ensure your connectivity is ready, see Access External Data Using a Connection and Datasource to understand the prerequisite steps.
      • If your connectivity depends on ODBC drivers configured on the Essbase server, choose ODBC (DSN-less) or SQL Data Sources (DSN) as the Source Type for the dimension build rule. To ensure your connectivity is ready, see Access Data Using ODBC Connectivity to understand the prerequisite steps.
      • If your connectivity depends on a connection string that includes OCI syntax, choose Oracle Call Interface (OCI) as the Source Type for the dimension build rule. To ensure your connectivity is ready, see Access External Data Using an OCI Connection String to understand the prerequisite steps.
    3. Leave the Record Number fields blank.

    4. As the sample data file is tab delimited, change the Delimiter value to Tab.

    5. Click Proceed.

    6. The dimension build rule opens with undefined fields, and preview data (from the text file) populating the grid below the fields.

      New dimension build rule with fields of undefined dimensions and types, and preview data from the text file.

      Each row in the source data is a record, and corresponds with the rows you see in the rule preview data. The data is top-down, as you can tell by the parent-child order that begins each record (for example, 500 is a general product category, and 500-10 gets more specific about the product type).

  6. In a dimension build rule, all fields must map to a dimension. Typically, one dimension is used for all fields in a dimension build rule. You already have dimensions to associate because you are building on Sample Basic. However, if you create a new cube, there are no dimensions, and you need to create and map them to your rule.

    Skip to the next step unless you are working with a new cube with no dimensions, instead of with Sample Basic. Or, use this step if you want to add a new dimension.

    1. To create and map a dimension, click Dimensions.
      Dimensions button in rule editor

    2. Type a dimension name: Products. Click Add.
  7. Click Dimension in Field 1, and select Product to associate the dimension with Field 1.

    Product dimension selectable from Dimension box in Field 1

    Product populates the Dimension selector for all fields in the rule. This is acceptable, as in this example exercise, you are designing the rule to build upon just one dimension in the Essbase cube.

  8. Select field types for each field.

    1. For Field 1, select Parent as the type.

      Field 1 selection for Type is Parent

    2. For Field 2, select Child as the type.

    The rule should look like the following now:

    Field 1 defined as Product Parent, with values of 500 in the preview column. Field 2 defined as Product Child, with 500-10 and 500-20 in the preview column.

  9. Verify the rule, then save and close.

  10. Close the cube inspector, and click Jobs to test your dimension build rule.

  11. Click New Job and Build Dimension.

    • For Application, select Sample.
    • For Database, select Basic.
    • For Script, navigate to the rule file you created in the Sample Basic directory.
    • For Load Type, specify File.
    • For Data File, navigate to the text file you uploaded in the prerequisite step.

    Build dimension dialog

  12. Click the refresh icon until the job status is Completed.

  13. On the Applications page, expand the application (Sample).

  14. From the Actions menu, to the right of the cube name (Basic), click Outline.

  15. Expand the Products dimension and note that the new product, 500, was added with its children.

    Product dimension in the outline viewer, expanded to show new product category 500 added with children 500-10 and 500-20

Bonus Exercise: Add a Comment

In the preceding steps, you used a regular dimension build rule to add a product member to the Sample Basic cube. Now, create an index-based rule to modify a property of the new member.

  1. Upload a file named addcomment.txt to the Sample Basic directory, with the following contents:

    500,"New product added 2021"
  2. Create an Index-based rule named AddComment, and preview it with the text file you uploaded.

  3. For Field 1, set the Dimension to Product, set the Type to Reference Member, and increment Generation to 2.

  4. For Field 2, set the Type to Comment, and increment Generation to 2.

    Field 1 defined as Product, Reference Member, 2. Field 2 defined as Product, Comment, 2.

  5. Click Dimensions, click Product, and click Advanced.

  6. Check Allow Property Changes and click OK.

    Advanced dimension properties for the rule, with Allow Property Changes enabled

  7. Verify the rule, then save and close.

  8. Run the dimension build job.

  9. View the outline, and inspect the properties of Product member 500 to confirm that the comment was added.

    Member inspector for member 500 showing the comment added in Description field