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MetaShare Architecture

There are two major parts to MetaShare: MetaShare.Web and MetaShare.Generate. MetaShare.Web is an ASP.NET website that is simple - and maybe a little ugly (anyone volunteer to help build this out?) and is responsible for updating the Kimball spreadsheet metadata right in the database's extended properties.

Having a web site means that there is singular deployment as well as a simple interface. This tool will probably be used by the data warehouse development team to make metadata changes like a change of a source column or perhaps to update a description of a table in the warehouse.

MetaShare.Generate is a command-line driven tool that not only crawls the database catalog, extended properties of tables and columns, but also can connect to the Integration Services Package Store and extract lineage metadata out of SSIS packages. This means that the lineage of a column in a datamart can be shared to business users without having to share special tools such as Business Intelligence Developer Studio.

The output for MetaShare.Generate can be either a set of wiki documents formatted for FlexWiki or static HTML documents. FlexWiki is a wiki platform built in ASP.NET and is also available on SourceForge. It uses the file system to store wiki documents and supports common wiki features such as document history, RSS feeds, and revision comparison. MetaShare.Generate also supports HTML output. MetaShare.Generate uses a common document language called TIFL (Target Independant Formatting Language) that is then translated into target platforms. This means that additional platforms can be implemented at a later date. Iím in conversation with the author of another wiki called Perspective to look into writing a driver for it. A driver for SharePoint wiki is also a possibility.