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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Resources and the Kimball

I have not brought out the Kimball in a while. Recently Bill de hÓra linked to the collection of Kimball articles, but without context. The thing about Kimball's design approach is I've found applications of it, at least significant aspects of it, to several systems beyond data warehouses. Understanding the essence of Kimball's approach should be a fundamental part of a software developer's education.

One reason for this is the Kimball approach is a form of domain-driven design. Another reason is the technical aspects are relatively simple. And so the result is not a be-all and end-all solution to everything, but it is a tool with legs the go beyond the original intent.

The Kimball approach has influenced how I think about objects, data, and (from this 2003 blog post) integration...

His keys to an effective virtual database (or data bus architecture in his words) is conformed dimensions, smallest grain facts, etc. Most of these principles apply to the largest data warehouses or the smallest databases, and would benefit any Enterprise Information Integration effort.
What is the web, but a kind of large "virtual database"?

At the time I was in the middle of a large project integrating several systems with a new installation of the SAP FI-CO general ledger module and those systems with a new Teradata data warehouse. We more directly applied these ideas to the warehouse, but generally to information exchange.

Today with groups looking at Restful web services centered around resources, representations, and relationships/links among them, the Kimball approach also applies. It is domain driven, concerned about the entities and activities of the enterprise.

Until we get more analysis patterns from real-world, machine-machine Restful web service applications, the Kimball approach to, and examples of, information management should probably be a key ingredient of this kind of design. We should, of course, expect some similarities in the domain view of information across systems integration, data analysis, and the web of documents and events.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.