A popular form of organizing dimensions is in parent-child structures, also known as “unbalanced” or “ragged” dimensions, because any branch can have an arbitrary number of child levels. There are many advantages to this type of representation, but their recursive nature also brings some challenges. In this post, we’re going to look at circular references, and how you can trap them before they run out of control.
Directed acyclic graphs vs parent-child hierarchies
We’ve recently looked at ways to work with parent-child hierarchies, particularly in reporting scenarios. Regular parent-child hierarchies are great when working with dimensions that are ragged, but they have a critical limitation – any given node in the tree can only have a single parent node. A great solution to this problem is a DAG – directed acyclic graph.