The best way to understand the principles of dimensional modeling is to work through a series of tangible examples. By visualizing real cases, we can hold the particular design challenges and solutions in our minds much more effectively than if they are presented abstractly. In this book we will develop examples from a range of businesses to help move past one's own detail and come up with the right design.
To learn dimensional modeling, please read all the chapters in this book, even if you don't manage a retail business or work for a telecommunications firm. The chapters are not intended to be full-scale solution handbooks for a given industry or business function. Each chapter is a metaphor for a characteristic set of dimensional modeling problems that comes up in nearly every kind of business. Universities, insurance companies, banks, and airlines alike surely will need the techniques developed in this retail chapter. Besides, thinking about someone else's business is refreshing at times. It is too easy to let historical complexities derail us when we are dealing with data from our own companies. By stepping outside our own organizations and then returning with a well-understood design principle (or two), it is easier to remember the spirit of the design principles as we descend into the intricate details of our businesses.
Chapter 2 discusses the following concepts:
Four-step process for designing dimensional models
Transaction-level fact tables