SQLBits 2011

MDX and DAX-compare and contrast

This talk looks at MDX and DAX, examining their similarities and differences. It won’t turn you into an expert in either but it will help you to decide, given your particular career plans, if either or both are worth learning.

MDX and DAX are both promoted as analytical languages.  Despite the initial confusion when DAX was announced, Microsoft sees both as a part of its BI strategy (at least, that’s what it told us last time we asked…).  So far, so good.  You want to keep up with the Microsoft approach to the BI world, so the obvious answer is to learn both.  And, let’s face it; they can’t be too dissimilar can they?  They are, after all, both analytical languages. 

Well it turns out they are very different.  Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine two languages, both designed to analyse data, that were more unalike.  This begs a number of questions.

“Why are they so different?”

“What fundamental features make them so different?”

“Who are they aimed at?”

“Given my interests and current skill set, which one should I learn first?”

“How can a single company come up with two such different languages?”

 “Who is to blame?”

Who can I sue about this?”

“Was it anything to do with the phone hacking scandal?”

This talk will answer all but the last three questions.  It is not designed to turn you into an expert in either language but it should give you a clear idea about the fundamental design principles behind both, what each was designed to do, how well it does it and if either or both are worth learning.