Biml Annotations and ObjectTags

Biml Annotations and ObjectTagsBiml objects have many built-in attributes. For example, all Tables have SchemaName and all Packages have ProtectionLevel. When your Biml solution starts to grow, you will quickly see the need for adding additional metadata that can be used in other Biml files. A common use case in Data Warehouse Staging projects is to store the source schema and source table name on your staging table objects. This allows you to use the source metadata in a higher tier Biml file that generates the SSIS packages to load the tables. To store and use this additional metadata, you can use Biml Annotations or ObjectTags.

Biml Annotations and ObjectTags are both Key/Value pairs. Annotations are String/String pairs intended for storing simple text metadata, while ObjectTags are String/Object pairs that can also store more complex metadata in .NET objects.

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Don’t Repeat Your Biml – Tiered Biml Files

Biml (Business Intelligence Markup Language) - Tiered Biml FilesMany Biml solutions start off very simple, with just a single Biml file that generates a few SSIS packages. Most developers quickly see the need for a more complex solution for multiple sources. One way to reuse code and apply the Don’t Repeat Yourself software engineering principle in Biml is to use Tiered Biml Files.

In addition to using Tiered Biml Files, there are four other main ways you can avoid repeating your Biml code:

In this post, we will look at how to use Tiered Biml Files.

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The Biml Book is here!

Cathrine Wilhelmsen Co-Authored The Biml BookWoohoo! The Biml Book: Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse Automation is now available for pre-order from Amazon and Apress! :D

This is the first book I’ve co-authored, and I have to admit it’s a very strange feeling to see my name on the cover of a book. Am I allowed to say I’m quite proud? Oh, I’ll say it anyway. I’m proud and very honored to have written this book with such a talented group of people: Andy Leonard (@AndyLeonard), Scott Currie (@scottcurrie), Ben Weissman (@bweissman), Bill Fellows (@billinkc), Martin Andersson (@frysdisken), Peter Avenant (@PeterAvenant), Simon Peck (@biguynz), Reeves Smith (@SQLReeves), Raymond Sondak (@raymondsondak) and Jacob Alley.

What’s in The Biml Book?

The first part of the book starts with the basics: getting your development environment configured, Biml syntax, and scripting essentials.

The next part of the book guides you through the process of using Biml to build a framework that captures both your design patterns and execution management. In addition to leveraging design patterns in your framework, you will learn how to build a robust metadata store and how to package your framework into Biml bundles for deployment within your enterprise.

In the last part of the book, you will learn more advanced Biml features and capabilities, such as SSAS development, T-SQL recipes, automated documentation, and Biml troubleshooting.

When can I get The Biml Book?

Amazon says early December, but it might be available sooner. If you don’t want to wait, you can pre-order The Biml Book from Amazon or Apress right now.

Yay! This has been a long journey, and I’m so happy the other guys let me be a part of it :)

New Release: BimlExpress 2017!

BimlExpress 2017What day is it today? It’s the BimlExpress 2017 release day! Yay! :) I’ve waited for this release for a long time, and I know I’m not the only one. People have asked me many times if Varigence is still around. The answer is most definitely yes! It has been rather quiet from Varigence this past year, and I know we’ve all been waiting for news and updates. But don’t forget that they’re a small company, and that they’re actually giving us BimlExpress for free. They’ve focused on development this past year, and have been working like crazy to rewrite the Biml engine, add new features to BimlExpress, rebrand Mist to BimlStudio and make it even more powerful, and finish their BimlFlex framework. And today? Today we all get to enjoy the new releases! More yay! :)

Please note that as of January 2018, BimlExpress 2017 does not yet work with Visual Studio 2017.

Download and install BimlExpress 2017

You can download BimlExpress 2017 from the Varigence BimlExpress page:
BimlExpress Download VSIX

The new installer is a lightweight VSIX (Visual Studio Extension) Installer:
Install BimlExpress 2017 - License Agreement Install BimlExpress 2017 - In Progress Install BimlExpress 2017 - Finished

After installing, you will find BimlExpress in the list of Visual Studio Tools and Extensions:
BimlExpress 2017 Visual Studio Extension

What’s New in BimlExpress 2017?

I will show you some of the exciting new features below. Spoiler alert: there are some gamechangers in this release! Let’s take a look at some of the exciting new features in BimlExpress 2017 :)

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Create your own BimlExpress Keyboard Shortcuts

Are you tired of right-clicking on your Biml files to Check Biml for Errors or to Generate SSIS Packages? Did you know that you can create your own BimlExpress Keyboard Shortcuts? :)

Go to ToolsOptions:
BimlExpress Keyboard ShortcutsToolsOptions - Tools -> Options

Select EnvironmentKeyboard, then type Biml in the Show commands containing box:
BimlExpress Keyboard Shortcuts

Select a Biml command, click in the Press shortcut keys box, click the keyboard shortcut combination of your choice, and click the Assign button. In this example, I have used Ctrl+Shift+C, Ctrl+Shift+B (I chose C then B for “Check Biml”):
BimlExpress Keyboard Shortcuts - Assign Shortcut

Click OK, and that’s it! You can now use your keyboard shortcuts while having one or more Biml files selected. The shortcuts will appear in your BimlExpress menus in the toolbar and when you right-click on a file :)
BimlExpress Keyboard Shortcuts Menu

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