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Author's profile photo Witalij Rudnicki

Modeling in SAP HANA Cloud (part 3): building calculation views

So, in the previous parts, we worked to set up the project in SAP Business Application Studio and add a User-Provided Service that would allow us to do the modeling in SAP HANA Cloud. These models will be used in SAP Analytics Cloud later on.

Now it is time to create some calculation views!

As mentioned in part 1 the assumption is that you’ve done already some of the recommended tutorials, so many basic operations, and steps not need to be explained in these posts.

Scope the exercise to the Inventory cube

As a result of data generation and loads, we have multiple tables from the TPC-DS data model that supports multiple star schemas: sales, returns, inventory.

In this first exercise, we will focus on the Inventory star schema that should help us to illustrate a few interesting aspects while working on the smallest subset of the tables: 1 fact table Inventory and three dimension tables Date_Dim, Warehouse, Item.


From: TPC BENCHMARK DS, Standard Specification, Version 2.13.0

As you will see we need to remember that all data in these tables are generated and therefore we might need or want to modify some of them.

Create a development branch

First, let’s create a feature development branch calcviews in our code.

git checkout -b calcviews
git status

Create the first dimension calcview: Date_Dim

Let’s create the first calculation view by following the menu path View | Find Command… | SAP HANA: Create SAP HANA Database Artifact.

It is going to be a calculation view (1) called Date_Dim (2) with the label Date (3). And it will be a dimension (4) of the type standard (5).

The file is created and initially is unstaged accordingly to Git version management.

Let’s add a source to its Projection’s node. The Find Data Sources dialog is open.

The source of data is a table DATE_DIM in the classic schema TPCDS, which is an external schema from the perspective of our project’s target HDI container. Therefore it can be seen only via an external service UPS4TPCDS created in the previous post.

Let’s restrict the search to objects containing DATE_ and pick a service UPS4TPCDS from the list of external services. Next, we need to create a synonym in our local target container’s schema, so click Create Synonym.

As this is the first synonym we are creating for an object from the UPS4TPCDS-delivered schema, we first need to grant roles or privileges to technical users from our target HDI container: to the object owner OO and to application users _RT.

Because we haven’t done this before it is a good time now to click on Generate .hdbgrants File option and assign corresponding roles SELECT_TPCDS_WITH_GRANT and SELECT_TPCDS, which we created in the previous post, and assigned to the UPS user TPC_USER with WITH ADMIN priviledge.

There are a few things happening after you click Finish in that dialog.

Two files UPS4TPCDS.hdbgrants and UPS4TPCDS.hdbsynonym have been created (1) and automatically deployed (2). After that, the local synonym vital.tpcds::DATE_DIM has been added as a data source (3) in the projection node of the calculation view we are building.

Let’s have a closer look at these steps.

.hdbgrants file

The .hdbgrants configuration file enables you to assign privileges (via roles in our example) to the owner (#OO user of our project’s target container) of the synonym object (here `vital.tpcds::DATE_DIM`) and the application users (_RT users) of the synonym’s target objects (in our case "TPCDS"."DATE_DIM" table.

Let’s have a look at the generated file…

  "UPS4TPCDS": {
    "object_owner": {
      "roles": [ "SELECT_TPCDS_WITH_GRANT" ]
    "application_user": {
      "roles": [ "SELECT_TPCDS" ]

…and the result of the file’s deployment as seen in the Roles Management in the Cockpit app.

The _WITH_GRANT role has been assigned to the object owner user with #OO postfix.

While the role allowing to SELECT data from objects in "TPCDS" schema, but without grant privilege has become a part of the role TPCDS_HDI_DB_1::access_role that is assigned to every _RT consumer user. In our example, there is only one such user for now.

.hdbsynonym file

Although design-time resources must be free of explicit schema references in order to enable deployment into multiple containers, only .hdbsynonym file has been generated because the synonym is referencing an object in the classic schema.

Let’s check the result of the deployment, e.g. in the Database Explorer.

Finalize Date_Dim calculation view

Open a projection node and map only these 6 columns:

  • D_DATE
  • D_MOY
  • D_QOY
  • D_YEAR

It should be enough for our exercise.

In the semantics node let’s modify labels to make them more business user-friendly. I did not label the surrogate key _SK, because it is a technical field not visible to end-users.

Once the modeling of the calculation view is completed and the artifact is deployed, we can preview the data right from the editor in the Business Application Studio. Right-click the projection node and choose Data Preview.

Make sure you click on the node and not on the data source name inside the node, as this will open the preview of data from the synonym.

Commit changes to the local git repo

Let’s commit our changes to the local Git repository.

git status
git add db/src/
git commit -am "Date_Dim calc view"
git hist

Mass import of synonyms

We used the previous calcview editor to generate a synonym required by the calculation view modeled. It sounds like a good idea to create all synonyms at once required by all calcviews we might want to build.

We want to mass-create synonyms for all tables from the schema TPCDS available via the service UPS4TPCDS.

First, let’s remove two unnecessary entries:

  • vital.tpcds::DATE_DIM_1
  • vital.tpcds::DUMMY

…and deploy the file now, which should generate synonyms for all 25 tables from TPCDS schema.

~/sap/hdbclient/hdbsql -U HDI_DB_RT -A \

Create the Item dimension calcview

Now, let create the next file Item.hdbcalculationview directly from the Explorer…

…and populate the form with dimension data category of the type standard.

In the projection node add a data source based on the synonym vital.tpcds::ITEM already existing in the project’s HDI container…

…and in Mapping add fields


As you remember we are working with the machine-generated test data, where descriptions are mostly just some random texts, so we will create our own calculated column I_CC_NAME with a simple name of items constructed from the text Product and item’s surrogate ID using the expression CONCAT('Product ', "I_ITEM_SK").

In the semantics node let’s add user-friendly labels for business columns…

…and deploy the calculation view and preview the data. E.g. we can understand how many different items (aggregation COUNT) we have in particular categories.

Create the Warehouse dimension calcview

Now, let create the next file Warehouse.hdbcalculationview which will be another standard dimension with the synonym `vital.tpcds::WAREHOUSE` as a data source.

Use the projection node to map columns from the source:

  • W_CITY

and to create a calculated column W_CC_NAME with the expression CONCAT('Warehouse# ', "W_WAREHOUSE_SK").

Update labels in the semantics node…

…and deploy the view to be able to preview the data.

Create the Inventory cube calcview with the star join

Now that all three dimensions have been created it is time to finally create the cube.

Create a new file Inventory.hdbcalculationview in the db/src/ folder, and make sure it is defined as a CUBE with Star Join when opening.

Add a projection node as an input to the star join node. Add vital.tpcds::INVENTORY synonym as a data source of the projection node and map all 4 columns to the output of the projection.

Now add previously created three dimensions as data sources to the star join node…

…and join all three fact table’s Projection_1 columns with surrogate keys with corresponding columns in dimensions. Set joins’ cardinality to n..1.

Now, because we are working with Inventory data, it would not make sense to aggregate stock numbers for multiple days! We need to restrict requests for data to only one single date.

While still in the star join node open parameters and add a new variable VAR_DATE_REPORT with:

  • a mandatory single value selection type,
  • vital.tpcds::Inventory as value help, and
  • vital.tpcds::Date_Dim.D_DATE reference column.

And last, but not least action in the star join node is to map our only measure column INV_QUANTITY_ON_HAND to the output.

Finally, in the semantics node:

  1. Change the label of the “private” column to `Quantity on Hand`,
  2. Change “shared” surrogate columns SK to hidden.

Let’s deploy the calculation view and preview the data. This time a parameters view opens first with value help working as we defined…

…and the filter is applied to the data selected.

We have our cube with a star join built and ready!

Commit changes to the local Git repository

Before we close this post let’s commit our changes to the local Git repository.

git add --all
git commit -am "Calc views for Inventory"
git hist

And with that, we are all set to use SAP Analytics Cloud to analyze data from this cube stored in SAP HANA Cloud as the next step.
-Vitaliy, aka @Sygyzmundovych

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