When Boris (@brshristov) invited me to a #SQLHangout I was really honored and couldn’t say no. It’s such a fun idea and I’ve really enjoyed watching the other #SQLHangouts. It’s great to see people’s personalities shine through in videos instead of only reading their blog posts, and I learn something new.
I suggested to chat about Biml, something I’ve only recently begun learning myself that has already saved me many hours of work. I still have so much to learn, but the fact that it took me about 20 hours to learn something new that has saved me and my coworkers hundreds of hours already… That’s worth sharing. If I can do it, you can do it!
Boris named the video “Biml. An introduction.” I thought a more appropriate name was “Blabbering about Biml” :)
I forgot to mention their names, but thank you to Julie Smith (@JulieChix) and André Kamman (@AndreKamman) for inspiring me to learn more Biml in their SQLSaturday sessions in Tampa and Copenhagen! :)
At work we wanted to start using Biml to speed up development in our existing projects without making too many changes at once. I decided to start by writing Biml files that generates SSIS packages exactly like the ones we already have so we can implement changes faster, and step one was to figure out how to create Package Configurations and Connection Managers in Biml:
Create an XML configuration file Package Configuration
Create the Connection Manager specified in the XML configuration file
Create SQL Server Package Configurations that use the Connection Manager specified in the XML configuration file
Create Connection Managers specified in the [SSIS Configurations] table in SQL Server
This post was first published in May 2014, is updated regularly, and was last updated in April 2019.
The table below is a simplified mapping between SQL Server, SSIS and Biml Data Types. It does not include all possible mappings or all data types, but is meant as a quick reference while developing and learning Biml. I mainly created it as a cheat sheet for myself, but I hope other Biml developers will find it useful!
I have a confession to make: Once in a while I say yes to interviews, not because I’m actually looking for new opportunities, but because they’re both fun and challenging.
For me, it’s a great way to learn and grow. I haven’t walked out of a single interview without having learned something new about myself, a technology or the industry I work in.
Going to interviews forces me out of my comfort zone and makes me feel stressed, nervous and a little scared. Sometimes I get questions that I don’t immediately know the answer to and I get flustered. Sometimes I knock over water glasses or burn my hands on hot coffee and make a complete fool of myself. But every time I go to interviews I get a little better at small talk, calming my nerves, thinking on my feet, handling unexpected situations, structuring my thoughts and formulating answers.
It’s a great opportunity to reflect upon my own situation and where I want to be in a year or two. It gives me a peek into what skills are needed and wanted right now, and if it’s a technical interview I quickly find out which skills I need to improve.
My best interview happened early in my career, it was just supposed to be a first introduction interview for a junior developer position. Halfway through the interview I mentioned that I like to challenge myself to learn from the experience, and the interviewer promptly decided to follow up on that statement: “What would you do if we gave you a challenge right now?” (I couldn’t really say no, could I?)
The opposite experience was when I was still a student and had a series of speed interviews in one day. They lasted ten minutes and you had three minutes to introduce yourself, three minutes to listen to the company introduction, and the rest of the time to ask questions. The first speed interviews went really well. I grew more confident and didn’t feel like a complete nervous wreck anymore, but as I approached the next table and saw three very serious men in suits stare at me I could feel my palms getting sweaty again. Thankfully they never noticed that, because none of them even wanted to shake my hand. They told me to sit down, grabbed their pens and stared at me in silence. I took that as my cue to introduce myself and spent the next three minutes telling them about my background and why I had applied. When my three minutes were up they looked at each other, looked at me, looked at each other and finally said: “You know that there are mostly men working in this industry, right? How are you going to handle that?”
My jaw dropped to the floor. Inexperienced and flustered, I answered as best as I could that I was used to working and studying with guys and that it had never even been an issue before. They looked at each other again, sighed, looked at me and said: “Well, we don’t have any more questions, so you can just go.” What? I looked at my watch and saw that we still had more than five minutes left, but it was so uncomfortable to sit there that it was better to leave early. So I got up, utterly embarrassed, and zigzagged my way out of the room trying to ignore the stares from everyone still in the middle of their speed interviews.
It is by far the worst “interview” I have ever been to. I felt small and ashamed, but it was also when I promised myself that I would look at each interview as a learning experience. It also made me bring my “I’ll show them!” attitude to the next interview – and that next interview got me my first job :)
From May 5th to May 15th Varigence and Rehfeld will visit six cities in four different countries to present Biml and Mist. The highlights of the tour are the four full day Biml Master Classes in each country. The classes will be taught by Scott Currie, the creator of Biml, and Rehfeld Principal BI Architect Peter Hansen.
SQL Server User Group Norway is happy to announce a Biml techie meetup for our members on Monday May 12th! Join us for a technically oriented introduction to Biml and a presentation on the use of Biml and auto generation of ETL in one of the biggest data warehousing development projects currently running in Denmark.