XMLA stands for XML for Analysis

XMLA stands for XML for Analysis stands for Extensible Mark-up Language for Analysis. It’s a language built on top of XML language. It allows data access from standard multidimensional data sources. Client applications accesses Microsoft cubes and tabular models using the XMLA language and the HTTP protocol.

XMLA stands for XML for Analysis and Extensible Markup Language for Analysis

Firstly, what is XMLA or XML for Analysis? Microsoft Analysis Services OLAP cubes and Tabular models both uses XMLA. In other words, it’s the unique protocol that allows communication with end-user’s data analytics applications.

Secondly, how does Microsoft developers use XML for Analysis? Microsoft Business Intelligence developers use XMLA for client applications integration with Analysis Services. And without dependencies to the Microsoft .NET framework.

A simple standard

In other words, to communicate from the client to the server, the only two necessary components are an HTTP connectivity and the XMLA or XML for Analysis language.

Check this article also on Microsoft Business Intelligence, it’s about MDX literally the SQL for OLAP Cubes.

XMLA practical usage

Use XMLA for example to develop an SSAS tabular Model programmatically, or to create deployment script of the connection, the tables – including the fact tables ans the dimensions – the security Roles or the full tabular database. To generate these XMLA scripts, simply connect to an SSAS Tabular instance with SSMS, then right click and select Scripts the object.

Three options are available when generating XMLA scripts for a tabular database: CREATE, CREATE OR REPLACE and DELETE.

Check the Wikipedia page on XML for Analysis standard. To go further and explain the benefits of XML instead of other proprietary standards for example: it’s open source, it’s easy to read for a human, it’s a simple file with tags. It means the structure is encapsulated in the file and any data structure can be stored inside an XML message.

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