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New Release: BimlExpress 2018

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BimlExpress 2018

It 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.

Support for Visual Studio 2017

You asked for it, I asked for it, and we have all been waiting for it. BimlExpress 2018 now works with Visual Studio 2017 and SSIS 2017! Yay :)

Convert from SSIS to Biml

The most important feature, and a real game-changer, is the new Convert from SSIS to Biml feature. This is the same Import Packages feature that you may have seen in BimlStudio or BimlOnline, now available for free in BimlExpress 2018! This means that you can import your existing SSIS packages and projects, reverse-engineer them to Biml, and not have to start from scratch writing all the Biml code manually.

Isn’t that awesome!?

You can Convert SSIS Packages to Biml from the BimlExpress toolbar, by right-clicking on the SSIS project, or by right-clicking on an SSIS package:

BimlExpress 2018: Convert SSIS Packages to Biml

This will open the Import Packages editor, where you can choose between importing SSIS packages from .dtproj, .ispac, .dtsx or from the SSIS Package Catalog:

BimlExpress 2018: Convert SSIS Packages To Biml - SSIS Asset Location

Once you have selected the SSIS project or package to import, you can choose what to include:

BimlExpress 2018: Convert SSIS Packages To Biml - Import Packages

When you click Add To Project, a new BimlScript.biml file will be added with all your code. The Convert from SSIS to Biml feature will only generate flat Biml. I recommend that your next steps are to go through the code and ensure that everything is as expected, and then start adding BimlScript code – if needed. If you have multiple packages using the same pattern, I recommend that you import one package and use BimlScript to make it dynamic, instead of importing all packages in one or more flat Biml files.

Other BimlExpress 2018 Updates

Outside of the two main features, I’m happy to see many bug fixes and improvements, including (but not limited to):

  • OLEDB source and destination for geography, geometry, hierarchyid, and image data types have been fixed
  • Flat File Source ntext / nvarchar data type mappings have been fixed
  • Excel GetDatabaseSchema data type mappings have been fixed
  • GetDatabaseSchema for SQL Server now includes compression

ADF Support in BimlStudio

The other new, big feature is full support for ADFv2. Since this feature is only available in BimlStudio, I will not cover it in this post. Head on over to the BimlStudio 2018 release notes for more information.

Summary

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. For more information, read the full release notes.

Happy Bimling! :)

Updated: BimlExpress 2019 was released in May 2019! It supports Visual Studio 2019.

Published: Last Updated: Categories: BimlTags:

About the Author

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

Comments

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. Be kind to each other. Thanks!

Great to finally get BIML onto VS 2017. My VS 2015 BIML project upgraded nicely to 2017. Noticed however that SsisAnnotation has stopped working with the new version.

Please report the issue to Varigence Support. They can check and fix, I can’t :)

Convert from ssis to biml is crucial and I am looking forward to using it. Unfortunately, I am getting “an error occurred” message right from the start. Any idea on what I should try to make it work?

I get that message in both vs2012 and vs2015

Hi David, Varigence is aware and working on this issue. In the meantime, please see if Andy Leonard’s workaround does the trick for you as well :)

I get the error even with that workaround. Granted I am trying to convert a kind of complicated package. I will try something very vanilla next.

Could not get anything working in VS 2013, but it’s working in 2017.

If you still have issues, please e-mail Varigence Support. They can check and fix, I can’t :)

Maybe I’m paranoid, but why is the installer not signed and not available on VS marketplace?

Hi John, both the installer and all included binaries are signed. If you’re running into any issues, please contact Varigence support.

I asked Varigence about Visual Studio Marketplace. They said that they want to leave the option open for adding paid features to BimlExpress in the future. (That means adding new features that are paid, not charging for anything that’s currently free. Anything free will remain free.) The Visual Studio Marketplace publisher agreement gives Microsoft the power to change its policies around this in almost any way, even after an add-in has been published. Instead of risking that BimlExpress will be removed if it is updated with paid features, Varigence are choosing not to publish it in the first place. Again, if you have any other questions, you will need to contact Varigence support directly. I don’t work for them, I’m not customer support even though I blog about their products, and outside of relaying information they give me – I can’t speak for them :)

My first couple of times trying to convert (simple) packages to BIML generated errors. But it’s working now. Huzzah! Also, Ctrl+F & Ctrl+H now work right in the BimlScript editor, at least in VS2017.

Hi! This is Cathrine (again). Just a reminder. 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. Be kind to each other. Thanks!

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