Create SSIS Project Parameters from Biml in BIDS Helper

Biml (Business Intelligence Markup Language)If you are using BIDS Helper to generate SSIS packages in the Project Deployment model, you have probably noticed that it is currently not possible to generate project parameters from Biml. You can write Biml for the project and project parameters, but BIDS Helper will only create the SSIS packages for you and not the SSIS project parameters. The recommended solution is that you create the project parameters manually before you generate your SSIS packages from Biml.

However, if you are a lazy developer like me, you probably don’t want to create and update project parameters manually. Perhaps you want to automatically create or update project parameters based on some metadata? You can do that!

Let’s take a look at a (semi-hardcoded, semi-hack) solution for creating SSIS project parameters from Biml in BIDS Helper :)

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Get started with BimlOnline Beta

BimlOnlineBimlOnline Beta (@BimlOnline) has finally launched! I’ve been looking forward to this for months :)

There has been a large gap in functionality between BIDS Helper and Mist. BIDS Helper is free, but it’s limited and quite useless when you start writing BimlScript. Mist is an amazing IDE, but it can be difficult to justify the licensing cost if you’re just getting started with Biml.

BimlOnline Beta is a web-based IDE that fills the gap between BIDS Helper and Mist. You can create and manage Biml projects online in your browser and then build SSIS projects to your computer. It has a full-featured code editor with intellisense for Biml and BimlScript – bye bye red squiggly lines and nasty errors in Visual Studio! And the best part? It has an SSIS package importer so you can easily reverse-engineer your SSIS packages to Biml. Isn’t that awesome?

BimlOnline Beta features:
• Code editor with full intellisense for Biml and BimlScript
• Reverse-engineer SSIS packages to Biml with the SSIS package importer
• Build SSIS projects to your computer, support for SQL Server 2005, 2008, 2008R2, 2012, 2014 and 2016
• Work with multiple developers on the same project
• Real-time updated and fully customizable documentation

BimlOnline Beta is free for a limited time only, so make sure you sign up and try it out today.

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Speaking at SQLSaturday #446 Oregon

SQLSaturday #446 Oregon 2015I was a volunteer at SQLSaturday #337 Oregon last year, but to my surprise I also ended up doing a 5-minute SQL Excite session about Biml. It was the first time I spoke in the US, I had so much fun, and I ended my summary blog post with: “I hope to see you next year, Portland! Maybe with a proper, prepared session :)

And Portland, I’m so happy to announce that I will see you again in just a few days, yay! :D

On Saturday, October 24th I will present my new Biml session called S.M.A.R.T. Biml: Standardize, Model, Automate, Reuse and Transform. It’s a session for those who are already familiar with Biml where I will talk about the more advanced features of Biml and Mist, such as metadata modeling, C# development and transformers.

If you’re not already familiar with Biml, don’t worry! The organizers have done a fantastic job with the schedule so you can attend the What is Biml and why are SSIS people talking about it? session by Bill Fellows (@billinkc) right before mine. Double Biml fun!

I will also spend an hour in the Performance Clinic from 15:30 to 16:30 where I will be happy to answer your questions, chat about Biml or go through code or demos in more detail.

Looking forward to seeing you in Portland! :)

Ready for PASS Summit 2015?

PASS Summit 2015

There are only a few weeks left until PASS Summit 2015! Are you as excited as I am!? :D

Tips for PASS Summit First-Timers
First of all: Hi to you! :) PASS Summit is a fun, crazy and amazing event and I hope you get as much out of the week as you possibly can. It can all seem very overwhelming at first, especially if you’re new to the SQL Server community. But don’t worry! The SQL Server community is the best community in the world, and we’re happy to welcome you to the #SQLFamily.

Tip #1: Twitter

If you don’t already have a Twitter account, get one! It’s a great way to get the latest news about what’s happening, connect with attendees, and keep in touch with everyone when you get back home. Follow @sqlpass and use the hashtags #SQLPass, #Summit15 and #SQLFirstTimers to make sure everyone can see your tweets. I recommend using Tweetdeck to organize content into columns, for example a column just for the hashtags mentioned above. It makes it so much easier to use Twitter.

Tip #2: Say “hi!”

I know, I know, I know. People are scary. It can be terrifying to look up from your phone, step out of your comfort zone and approach someone you don’t know. Do it anyway! You will meet so many interesting people, and you will get so much more out of your PASS Summit experience. Maybe it will become a life-changing experience like it did for me and so many others? You won’t know unless you go for it :)

A tip is to look at people’s name badges and ribbons. It will tell you where they’re from, if they’re first-timers, if they’re speaking, if they’re chapter leaders and so on. If you get completely stuck and feel completely awkward and feel like running away, like I have on many occasions, just point at the name badge and read something on it with a question mark at the end. “Summit Volunteer…?” “BimlUser…?” “MVP…?” – and off you go! ;)

Here’s a short list of questions to get you started:
• How was your trip to PASS Summit?
• How is Seattle compared to where you’re from?
• How did you get started working with SQL Server?
• What did you think of the keynote / session / luncheon?
• Which sessions are you planning to attend?
• Which session has been your favorite so far?
• You’re a first-timer as well! What has been your favorite part of PASS Summit?
And so on. I’m sure you can add a hundred more to the list! :)

Tip #3: Attend the evening events and don’t eat alone

I know, I’m really pushing this whole “network and be social” thing, aren’t I? :) We all need some quiet time, but try to join someone for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are always someone who are too shy to sit down at a table and introduce themselves, why don’t you join them instead? The Women In Technology and Birds of a Feather luncheons are great events where you can learn and eat at the same time. Finally, attend the Welcome Reception, Exhibitor Reception and Community Appreciation Party where there’s more food, drinks and lots of people having fun. If you’re not done for the night, there are plenty of after hour events organized by and for the community. Have you heard of #SQLKaraoke? It’s a thing. You must experience it once during PASS Summit ;)

Tip #4: Hang out in the Community Zone

There are comfortable bean bags, power outlets and always something going on. You’ll usually find a bunch of people who are active in the community running user groups, SQLSaturdays and virtual chapters. This is the best place to hear how you can keep learning when you get back from PASS Summit. Also, did I mention fun? This year there will be a TeaSQL event for tea lovers, you might spot some crazy costumes and kilts, or you can try juggling said bean bags :)

Tip #5: Get even more tips for first-timers

Attend the PASS Summit first-timers events to get even more tips and meet other first-timers. Read Edwin Sarmiento’s great first-timers guide and read all the blog posts by other members of the SQL Server community. And don’t forget to use Twitter. There are some great #PASSAdvice for all attendees, and just ask if you have any questions!

See you in Seattle!
Enjoy your week, make new friends and learn lots of cool new things. I hope you have a fantastic time in Seattle, and I hope to talk to you there! Please come and say hi if you see me, and I hope to read your tweets :) See you soon!

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Biml in Belgium at SQL Server Days 2015

SQL Server Days 2015 - Cathrine WilhelmsenLast week I visited Belgium for the first time to attend and speak at my first SQL Server Days 2015. It was a truly great event, and I would like to say a huge thank you to the organizers and volunteers for making it a wonderful couple of days for speakers and attendees!

The venue was spectacular, but unfortunately none of my pictures do it justice. Take a look at the great pictures on the SQL Server Days Facebook page instead. I loved the huge open area in the middle where everyone could meet during breaks, and I was so happy there was unlimited coffee and chocolate! :) The rooms were all unique and fun to present in. One room looked like a library, another like a bar, and I presented in the room that was decorated like a train station – with trains in it!

I presented my Don’t Repeat Yourself – Agile SSIS Development with Biml and BimlScript session. It is based on my Biml introduction session, but included some of the more advanced features like C# classes / methods and Transformers in Mist. My attendees were a mix of people who were completely new to Biml, people who had tried basic Biml and people who had already created advanced Biml frameworks. It was a bit tricky to cover everything for everyone in just one hour, and I know I went too fast through a couple of demos, but I hope it wasn’t a waste of time for those of you who attended :)

The slide deck is available on SlideShare, and I have uploaded all the demo files on my Biml Resources and Reference page for you to go through at your own pace. Some instructions are included in the README.txt file, and feel free to contact me with any questions. I will continue to update the demo files with new and improved examples. You can always find the latest version on my Biml Resources and References page.

SQL Server Days 2015 - Speakers
Speakers! What a great bunch of people :)

SQL Server Days 2015 SQL Server Days 2015 - Room 4
First picture: Attendees eating lunch. Second picture: The room I presented in, wow!

Thank you so much for having me, and I hope I can come back in 2016! :)

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