Preparing for and Taking Microsoft Exam 70-768 (Developing SQL Data Models)

Microsoft Exam 70-768: Developing SQL Data Models

After taking a break from exams and certifications for a few years, I recently decided to resume studying. On May 29th, I shared my Updated Microsoft Certification Goals. On June 5th, I achieved my first goal by passing Microsoft Exam 70-767. On July 31st, I achieved my second goal! I passed Microsoft Exam 70-768: Developing SQL Data Models. By passing this exam, I became a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Business Intelligence Development :)

In this blog post, I share how I prepared for the exam and what my experience was like on the day of the exam.

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Speaking at SQLSaturday Oslo 2018

SQLSaturday Oslo 2018In exactly one month from now, on September 1st, I will be speaking at SQLSaturday Oslo 2018! This year is a small milestone for us, as it is our fifth SQLSaturday in Oslo. Woohoo!

SQLSaturday Oslo 2018 Schedule

I will be presenting… Actually, hang on! I will get back to that in a bit. Scroll down for some rambling about my session :) But first, the important stuff:

There are 30 sessions by 27 speakers from 11 countries scheduled this year.

Of the 27 speakers, there are 7 women, and 4 of the women are Norwegian! These are amazing numbers for an event like this. I am SO proud and SO happy :D Thank you to the organizers for encouraging and supporting women in tech, and a huge thank you to these amazing women for being great role models: Dagrun Haugland, Gabi Münster, Ida Bergum, Kathi Kellenberger, Sara Jønvik, and Steph Locke.

There are also 3 Norwegian men speaking! Very happy to see Helge Rege Gårdsvoll, Martin Keseler Barland, and Antonio Abalos Castillo back at SQLSaturday Oslo. That makes it a total of 7 Norwegian speakers this year. Woohoo!

Finally, there are 4 precons scheduled: You can learn about Azure SQL Data Warehouse from Simon Whiteley and Terry McCann, SQL Server Tools for Query Tuning from Grant Fritchey, PowerShell and SQL Server from Rob Sewell and Drew Furguiele, or R for Everyone from Steph Locke.

You definitely don’t want to miss this event. Register now! And follow @SQLSatOslo and #SQLSatOslo on Twitter to join the conversation. Hope to see you in September! :)

From SQLSaturday Oslo 2014 to SQLSaturday Oslo 2018

Ok, now that we have the important parts out of the way, let’s return to my session. Did you know that the very first technical session I ever presented was at the first SQLSaturday Oslo in 2014? I presented a session called Generate SSIS packages automatically with Biml and BimlScript. This year, I will be presenting my updated Biml for Beginners: Script and Automate SSIS Development session.

Same topic, same basic concept and ideas, some similar visualizations, but a very different session. And I mean in more ways than going from 4:3 to 16:9:

I have changed

SQLSaturday Oslo 2014 - Cathrine Wilhelmsen - Slide 1 SQLSaturday Oslo 2018 - Cathrine Wilhelmsen - Slide 1
My hair is much longer and my URL is much shorter. I’ve become a BimlHero and Data Platform MVP, and I’ve co-authored two Biml books. And it all started with this one Biml session back in 2014! Crazy :)

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Organizing Visual Studio Projects in Solution Folders

Organizing Visual Studio Projects in Solution FoldersDo you have large Visual Studio solutions with many projects? Are you looking for an easy way to hide some projects while working on others? Maybe you are a fellow speaker looking for a way to group and organize your demo files? Solution Folders may be what you are looking for!

What are Visual Studio Solution Folders?

In Visual Studio, you can add virtual folders to group and organize your projects and files. Folders can be nested, collapsed, expanded, and even hidden in the Solution Explorer. Please keep in mind that these folders are entirely virtual. That means that you will still have to physically organize your projects the way you prefer in your file system.

Create Solution Folders

Visual Studio - Add Solution Folder
Right-click on the solution → Add → New Solution Folder (or with the solution selected, click the Project menu → Add New Solution Folder)

Hide Solution Folders

Visual Studio - Hide Solution Folder
Right-click on the folder → Hide Folder (or with the folder selected, click the Project menu → Hide Folder)

Show Solution Folders

Visual Studio - Unhide Solution Folders
Right-click on the solution → Unhide Folders (or with the solution selected, click the Project menu → Unhide Folders)

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Biml for OData Source and Connection Manager in SSIS

Biml for OData Source and Connection ManagerAs of July 2018, there is no built-in Biml support for OData. To work with OData in Biml, you have to create a custom source and connection manager. This requires more Biml code than built-in functions like OleDbSource and may look a little overwhelming at first. But don’t worry! You don’t have to start from scratch.

In this blog post, we will first look at the properties of the OData Connection Manager and how to script it in Biml. Then, we will do the same for the OData Source. Finally, we will tie it all together and create a complete SSIS package that you can use a starting point for your own projects.

The Quick and Easy Solution

But before we dig into any code, let’s skip to the quick, easy, and timesaving solution. That’s what we all really want, right? :)

  1. Install or upgrade to BimlExpress 2018
  2. Create an example SSIS package using an OData Source and Connection Manager
  3. Convert the SSIS package to Biml
  4. Done! :)

Convert SSIS Packages to Biml

As promised: quick, easy, and timesaving! The new Convert SSIS Packages to Biml feature was released in BimlExpress 2018, and it really is a lifesaver. After converting to Biml, you can simply copy and paste the code into your projects.


You may run into some bugs when you convert your SSIS packages to Biml. I ran into two issues while writing this blog post. The first was that I had to add UsesDispositions=”true” to the Source component. The second was that the data types in the Source component were prefixed with System. I have fixed both of these issues in my examples below. In addition to these issues, the converted Biml also contained some unnecessary code. Unnecessary code does not break anything, but it can make your code harder to read and maintain. Personally, I prefer my code to be as clean and simple as possible.

Ok, let’s dig into the actual Biml code!

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New Release: BimlExpress 2018!

BimlExpress 2018It is finally here! The new BimlExpress 2018 is now generally available for download :D

There are many bug fixes and improvements in BimlExpress 2018, and two new main features: Support for Visual Studio 2017, and a new Convert from SSIS to Biml feature. All the great features that were added in BimlExpress 2017 are still there, of course.

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