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Get started with BimlExpress

BimlExpressSay welcome to BimlExpress – the newest, shiniest and completely free Biml toy! :) I first mentioned BimlExpress at SQLSaturday Vienna and have been waiting for the official release since then. I’m very happy that I can now send you all over to Varigence’s website to download the Visual Studio Extension!

What is BimlExpress?

BimlExpress is a free Visual Studio add-in for working with Biml in your SSIS projects. It allows you to add and edit Biml files, generate SSIS packages from Biml, and the code editor is fully featured with syntax coloring, error highlighting, intellisense and a preview pane.

If you are already using BI Developer Extensions (previously known as BIDS Helper), you will see that BimlExpress works the same way and includes all the same Biml features as in BI Developer Extensions – just with a new and improved code editor. No more squiggly red lines, yay!

Which versions of Visual Studio / SSDT does BimlExpress work with?

BimlExpress 2018 (released in June 2018) works with Visual Studio 2010 – 2017.
BimlExpress 2017 (released in July 2017) works with Visual Studio 2010 – 2015.

Should I use BimlExpress or BI Developer Extensions?

Both! :) BI Developer Extensions is a fantastic, free add-in with a ton of useful features for your Business Intelligence projects. The release of BimlExpress simply means that Varigence can update the add-in and the Biml engine with new features more frequently and separately from BI Developer Extensions. When BI Developer Extensions is updated it will include the latest Biml engine. Keep using BI Developer Extensions, and install BimlExpress as well for the latest Biml features.

And all of you Biml fans agree with me that the new code editor is worth it, right? Right!? :)

How do I get started with BimlExpress?


Download and start the installation. Select which versions of Visual Studio you want to install (or update) the add-in for, wait a couple of seconds, and you can start writing Biml!

Install BimlExpress - License Agreement Install BimlExpress - In Progress InstallBimlExpress - Finished


After installing, you will see a new toolbar menu:
BimlExpress Toolbar Menu

If you click on Learn Biml you will be taken to, and About BimlExpress will show you things like the Build version and product key information:
About BimlExpress

In the solution explorer, you can right-click on a Biml file to see a similar menu:
BimlExpress Right-Click Menu

Help! I see double!
Do you see both the BimlExpress and the BI Developer Extensions menu items?
BimlExpress and BI Developer Extensions
Just go to the toolbar menu and click Toggle BIDS Helper Menus (Not yet renamed to Toggle BI Developer Extensions Menus) :)

Code Editor

If you have been working with Biml and BimlScript using BI Developer Extensions, you know how painful it is when the syntax coloring stops working, the intellisense stops working, and you get a ton of squiggly red error lines that aren’t really errors when mixing Biml and BimlScript. Not anymore! Look at the pretty BimlScript code nuggets highlighting and functional intellisense :)
BimlExpress Code Editor


If you need to uninstall or disable BimlExpress, you can do so by going to ToolsExtensions and Updates:
Uninstall BimlExpress 1/2

Then choose to Disable or Uninstall BimlExpress:
Uninstall BimlExpress 2/2

(You can also uninstall from the Control Panel.)

Happy Bimling! :)

Biml Express All The Things
Biml All The Things – Express Version!

(Thank you so much for this release and the great support, Varigence :D)

Who is Cathrine Wilhelmsen?

Cathrine is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, BimlHero, Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, author, speaker, blogger and chronic volunteer who loves teaching and sharing knowledge. She works as a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant in Inmeta, focusing on Azure and the Microsoft Data Platform. She loves sci-fi, chocolate, coffee, craft beers, ciders, cat gifs and smilies :)


Hi! This is Cathrine. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I'd love to hear your thoughts, but please keep in mind that I'm not technical support for any products mentioned in this post :) Off-topic questions, comments and discussions may be moderated. Thanks!

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