Hyperion Solutions Corp., Microsoft Corp. and SAS Institute Inc. announced today an update to the XML for Analysis Specification, of which the three companies are leading development to access data from multidimensional databases as a Web service.
XML for Analysis Specification Version 1.1 is the first version of the spec to have input from the XML Advisory Council. The original 1.0 version was developed by Microsoft and Hyperion last year.
XML for Analysis is a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)-based XML API, designed to standardize the data access interaction between a client application and a data provider via the Web. It requires no client software, unlike current data access techniques, such as OLE DB and ODBC, making it hardware, operating system and programming language independent.
Version 1.1 of XMLA defines two new XML-based data access methods: Discover and Execute.
Discover is used to obtain information and metadata from a Web service. This information can include a list of available data sources and data about the provider for a particular data source. Properties are used to define and shape what data is obtained. Discover allows users to specify the data obtained in a common way without rewriting existing functions.
Execute is used to execute multidimensional expressions (MDX) or other provider-specific commands against a particular XML for Analysis data source.
The Discover and Execute methods enable users to determine what can be queried on a particular server and, based on this, submit commands to be executed. The XML for Analysis provider then retrieves the requested data, packages it into XML and sends it back to the client.
Members of the XMLA Council hope the specification, as it develops into a standard, will accelerate the adoption of Internet business intelligence software and increase the market for those technologies.
The XMLA Council also announced seven new members today: Crystal Decisions, INEA Corp., MIS AG, MJM Consultant Corp., Panorama Software Systems, SAP AG and Silvon Software Inc., giving the council a total of 27 members.
"With the new specification and additional council members, were gaining important momentum in the adoption of XMLA as a standard for creating web-based analytic solutions," said Robert Gersten, chief development officer for Hyperion, in a statement. "This will help ensure that businesses have an open standard that is scaleable to meet distributed analysis needs across the enterprise."
Gersten said Hyperion plans to incorporate XMLA in an upcoming version of its Essbase XTD business performance management platform.
Member companies tested the XMLA 1.1 specification against data providers that support XMLA earlier this month at a workshop in Vancouver, British Columbia. The first public interoperability demonstration is scheduled for May 13, 2003.