A Closer Look at Casabase

While our beta test was in high gear the past couple of weeks, numerous people have responded to previous posts that they currently have too much on their plate to help out with beta testing, but would still really like to see more of Casabase. The first look post intrigued them, but they’d really like to see the product in action. Well, wait no more! We’ve put together some short videos to highlight some of the most common retrieve-related functionality.

Let’s start from the very beginning. Installing Casabase will be a breath of fresh air for most users. It literally takes less than 30 seconds:

 

 

 

And creating a connection to a Casabase database is also very easy. You need a username, password, server name, and database name, as shown below:

 

It’s also easy to edit or delete an existing connection, if, for example, your password changes or you no longer need to access the particular connection:

 

After creating a connection, it becomes available under the Existing Connections dropdown (you can control what shows up in this list using the Edit Connections form above). You don’t have to worry about entering your password either – your connection information is securely stored in encrypted format on your local machine. When you save a workbook that is connected to Casabase, it also retains the server and Casabase database name. The next time you open the workbook, you will automatically be connected, without having to enter your password.

The Casabase administrator sets up the default members for the initial retrieval. These defaults can be any member at any level for each dimension. This provides maximum flexibility, since the default no longer needs to be the first member in the first hierarchy of the dimension. Additionally, users may customize their defaults to reflect their specific data needs.

Free-form retrievals are the most intuitive way for users to interact with their data. Zooming in from a higher level to a more-detailed one is the textbook definition of such data exploration. That’s why we’ve ensured that zooming in at various levels in Casabase is blazing fast! And keep in mind that all upper-level data in Casabase is dynamically aggregated. Nothing is stored, yet the speeds meet, and often exceed, those of products that need to store this extra data.

The video below demonstrates retrieving 233 rows and 17 columns of data (comprising the instant aggregation of millions of records) in 0.25 seconds. This type of speed is a core component of Casabase. You’ll be thrilled and amazed at how fast you’ll be able to navigate a data source that contains anywhere from a few million to hundreds of millions of rows. And this doesn’t even take into account all the time that will be saved since you no longer have to wait for data to be aggregated. Once you load data into Casabase it’s immediately available at all levels of every hierarchy across every dimension. This level of performance is available no matter the size of your data.

 

Being able to support huge data sets and its accompanying metadata means simple, easy navigation is vital. You need to be able to find your needle in even the largest haystack. To that end, we’d like to introduce the Casabase Member Lookup panel. Docked to the right of your Excel window, it can easily be hidden, or undocked and moved to another location, when you need more screen real estate. Our beta testers, however, widely reported that they always left it open, since they found it so helpful, especially when navigating an unfamiliar data set.

The Find Selected Member button was easily one of their favorite features. Clicking it while a member is selected in the active worksheet will find the dimension to which the member belongs and select the member in the metadata tree. The metadata tree is also not just a pretty face. You can select a member at any level and drag and drop it over to your retrieve! The Member Search field also allows you to find a member by automatically searching in the member name and all three alias tables. No wildcards needed!

 

 

It wouldn’t be free-form retrieval without the ability to type member names directly into a cell and have Casabase recognize them and pull back their data. This freedom is something that users coming from Power Pivot haven’t experienced. Free your data from the restrictive shackles of Excel pivot tables! Find out what real pivoting is all about.

We’ll have a similar post soon introducing the administrative functions of Casabase: things like adding Dimensions, Members, mappings, Casascripts, etc. Until then, contact us if you have any questions or would like to set up a live demo of Casabase.