Why not BISM Normalizer work directly with PowerPivot workbooks?

Gerhard Brueckl asked a question on the BISM Normalizer page Q&A section that I would like to answer here to give it more exposure.

Gerhard wrote …

Hi Christian,

first of all – thanks for that awesome tool!
Is it somehow possible to compare a Server/Project to a PowerPivot Workbook and vice-versa?
Office 2013 introduced a new object model for PowerPivot where you can access the PowerPivot – is it possible to extend BISM Normalizer to make use of this?

greets,
gerhard

My response …

Hi Gerhard,

Thanks for the feedback! Others have asked the same question including Grant Paisley.

I would love to have BISM Normalizer work directly with PowerPivot. Not only allow selection of an Excel file to act as a source/target model, but also have an Excel Addin version of BISM Normalizer to support non-Visual Studio users.

I agree there is a strong use case for this. PowerPivot enables users to easily pull data from uncommon sources – and often mash it up with corporate data. So inheriting another tabular model’s metadata would be useful to say the least.

PowerPivot now has the API you mentioned, but it would be much easier if Microsoft provided a single API for both Analysis Services and PowerPivot. The easiest way for me would be if Microsoft allowed access to the PowerPivot AMO interface, which the tabular model designer (I’m assuming even in PowerPivot) uses. Instead, Microsoft has chosen to keep this interface private.

I built an object model on top of AMO for BISM Normalizer. It contains classes for all the objects that BISM Normalizer displays on the differences grid and abstracts calls to AMO. But even so, under the abstraction layer, BISM Normalizer basically just copies AMO objects from source to target. It does not need to rebuild them, which would be required to get them from AMO to DataModel OM in Excel 2013 and vice versa.

I raised this Connect item for this purpose. Feel free to vote for it.

Thanks,
Christian

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