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Get Started with BimlExpress

BimlExpress Logo.

Say welcome to BimlExpress - the newest, shiniest and completely free Biml toy! 🥳 I first mentioned this at SQLSaturday Vienna 2016 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. You can add and edit Biml files, and generate SSIS packages from Biml. The code editor has 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 is similar. You will find 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 does BimlExpress work with?

  • BimlExpress 2019 was released in May 2019. It works with Visual Studio 2010 - 2019.
  • BimlExpress 2018 was released in June 2018. It worked with Visual Studio 2010 - 2017.
  • BimlExpress 2017 was released in July 2017. It worked 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.

How do I get started with BimlExpress?

Installing

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!

License agreement for installing BimlExpress. Installing BimlExpress. Finished installing BimlExpress.

After installing, you will see a new toolbar menu:

BimlExpress Toolbar Menu.

If you click on Learn Biml, you will go to BimlScript.com. 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?

Just go to the toolbar menu and click Toggle BIDS Helper Menus (Not yet renamed to Toggle BI Developer Extensions Menus) :)

BimlExpress and BI Developer Extensions.

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.

Uninstalling

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

Uninstall BimlExpress 1 of 2.

Then choose to Disable or Uninstall:

Uninstall BimlExpress 2 of 2.

(You can also uninstall from the Control Panel.)

Happy Bimling!

Biml All The Things!

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

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About the Author

Professional headshot of Cathrine Wilhelmsen.Cathrine Wilhelmsen is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, BimlHero Certified Expert, international speaker, author, blogger, and chronic volunteer. She loves data and coding, as well as teaching and sharing knowledge - oh, and sci-fi, chocolate, coffee, and cats 🤓