New Release: BimlExpress 2018!

BimlExpress 2018It 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.

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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

Why can’t I create SSIS Project Parameters from Biml?

Biml (Business Intelligence Markup Language) - Why can't I create SSIS Project Parameters from Biml in BimlExpress or BIDS Helper?BIDS Helper and BimlExpress does not support creating SSIS project parameters from Biml out of the box. There are workarounds (and I have previously blogged about my solution for creating project parameters from Biml), but why is this not a standard feature in BIDS Helper or BimlExpress? Many people have asked about this, so I sat down with Biml creator Scott Currie (@ScottCurrie) to get the full story.

Why doesn’t BIDS Helper or BimlExpress emit SSIS project parameters from Biml?

Well, technically it could, but it shouldn’t. The user experience would have serious issues, leading to confusion, frequent errors, and the potential for data loss. How can that be?

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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!? :)

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