Passing parameters between an Azure Logic App and Azure Data Factory pipeline

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and quite a bit has happened. I’ve starting working on providing user experiences with Azure Analysis Services and PowerBI. With that in mind I’ve rebuilt our SSIS packages in Logic Apps/Pipelines (best combination ever!), created Azure Hyperscale and Data Warehouse servers,Azure Analysis Services tabular models, and even toyed Azure Cosmos DB instances. I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that were hard to find so I decided to pass this information on, but this time: in video!

The link below is my first YouTube tutorial. I think for the foreseeable future I’ll be doing videos as I think they lend themselves to technical tutorials much more than blogs.

Passing parameters between logic apps and pipelines.

Moving dates to a week ending date

In publishing, and I’m sure many other industries, we get data at both the daily level and the weekly level. To properly tie these two pieces of data you need to aggregate the daily data and adjust the date to align with the weekly date. Our weekly data is set to the Saturday of the week.

As an example all daily data acquired between 10/21/2018 and 10/27/2018 must have a WeekEndingDate of 10/27/2018. This can be done with a case statement, but a there is an inline formula that will come in handy when doing projections (YTD, previous 6 months, etc). I’ll present the formula and then show modifications to handle variations.

The above formula determines how many days away from 7 the current date is and simply adds that many days. We use 7, because Saturday is the 7th day of the week. I’ll break it down.

datepart(dw,'10/21/2018')

The above snippet returns a value of 2, because it is a Monday. 7 if it is a Saturday. You subtract 7 from that to determine how many days you have to move forward. In the example, you need to move 5 days from Monday to make it to Saturday. This gives you the number of days to add. Reducing the example:

This comes in very handy when you are looking to move backward in time a certain number of days, weeks, months, or years but align to a Saturday. An example is below, which goes back 1 month.

Here is a simple way to remember how to use the formula. Remember you have to move your date first, then push it to Saturday.

declare @var date

Finding the Median value using SQL

Here is a simple method of finding the median value using SQL. The first will be a simple example that finds the median number of units sold for a given book (ISBN) over a period of time. There will be 3 sections of code (that will be combined using CTEs). First we need to find the median number, that is for a given book, how many times was it sold. The sales_data table contains 3 columns: ISBN, SaleDate, UnitsSold

select ISBN,
ceiling(count(*)/2.0) as median
from sales_data
group by ISBN

The use of ceiling in the above equation accounts for the fact that if we have only 1 sale for an ISBN, then 1/2=0, whereas ceiling(1/2.0)=1. The need for the median to start at 1 and not 0 will become evident in the text below.

select ISBN,
Units_Sold,
ROW_NUMBER() OVER(Partition by ISBN Order by Units_Sold) as r_num
from sales_data

Since we want to know the median of UnitsSold we must Order by UnitsSold. Using the rownumber() function we get a set of numbers, starting at 1 (here is the need for ceiling above) and continuing until we get a new ISBN. Once we get a new ISBN, the numbering restarts at 1. Let’s say that our test data looks like this:

ISBN Units_Sold r_num

9780000000001 10 1

9780000000001 13 2

9780000000001 20 3

Our median will be ceiling(3/2.0)=2. That means the median value for Units_Sold for ISBN=9780000000001 is 13. The full code is below. Please note I create this as a view so there is no need to be a ; before the first with.

Create view MedianUnitsSold
as
with base
as
(
select ISBN,
ceiling(count(*)/2.0) as median
from sales_data
group by ISBN
),
population
as
(
select ISBN,
Units_Sold,
ROW_NUMBER() OVER(Partition by ISBN Order by Units_Sold) as r_num
from sales_data
)
select p.ISBN,
p.Units_Sold
from population p
join base b on (b.ISBN=p.ISBN
and b.median=p.r_num)

As always, I hope this post has been able to help you solve a problem that you’ve had or provided you with some new insight. Feel free to post comments below.

Auto-increment without the need of a table.

I came across a situation where I need unique numbers for both a large and small set of data. The standard approach is to create a table with an identity column and do your inserts. For a table with tens of thousands of records, this might be the best approach, but there is another one: ROW_NUMBER().

The key to using the ROW_NUMBER() function is to provide a constant so you will get a contiguous sequence.  Let's look at sample data.

Format
AB
AL
CD
CE
GG
LI

Let's look at the function:

ROW_NUMBER() OVER (Partition by <group> order by <columns>)

I can first construct the function as follows

select Format,
ROW_NUMBER() OVER(PARTITION BY Format ORDER BY FORMAT) as id

However this will give us the following results:

id Format
1   AB
1   AL
1   CD
1   CE
1   GG
1   LI

The reason is your PARTITION BY creates a unique number for each format. To solve this problem you need to put a value that will never change over the life of the select. I use 1.

select Format,
ROW_NUMBER() OVER(PARTITION BY 1 ORDER BY FORMAT) as id

The new result set is:

id Format
1   AB
2   AL
3   CD
4   CE
5   GG
6   LI

Hope this helps improve your sql. As always, leave comments below.