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.
In April 2015 I set a goal to become a Certified Expert in Biml. On February 1st, 2016, I became the second BimlHero in the world - the first woman and the first in Europe 🤓
It has been a long journey, and I have loved every part of it! Varigence announced the certification program in March 2015, and in April I decided to go for it. I was accepted into the program, and in June I attended 8 hours of advanced training. I spent the next six months working on my Biml solution. I was unable to work full-time on it due to other tasks and responsibilities at work, so I spent quite a lot of time on it at home as well. In November I completed the BimlHero Certified Expert Test, and in December I submitted my Biml solution and my case study of how I implemented the solution at work. In January Varigence reviewed my test, solution and case study, and in February I had the final code review with Scott Currie. It was very nerve-wracking having the creator of Biml go through my code! 😅 But I received lots of useful feedback and finally a congratulations on passing and becoming a BimlHero.
Do you use C#/VB classes and methods in your Biml projects? One solution is to create class nuggets <#+ … #>, but they can only be used in their containing Biml file. You can move class nuggets to separate files and include those files, but a more elegant solution is to use C#/VB Code Files.
In addition to using C#/VB Code Files, there are four other main ways you can avoid repeating your Biml code:
In this post, we will look at how to use C#/VB Code Files.
Are you using Biml so you won’t have to do the same tasks over and over and over again in multiple SSIS packages? If so, you probably don’t want to write the same Biml code over and over and over again either. Instead, you can move common code to separate files, centralize and reuse these files in many projects, and update code in one file to make changes to all projects. One of the ways to apply this Don’t Repeat Yourself software engineering principle in Biml is to use Include Files.
In addition to using Include Files, there are four other main ways you can avoid repeating your Biml code:
In this post we will look at how to use Include Files.
If you are using BIDS Helper or BimlExpress to generate SSIS packages in the Project Deployment model, you have probably noticed that it is not possible to create project parameters from Biml. You can write Biml for the project and project parameters, but BIDS Helper / BimlExpress will only generate the SSIS packages for you and not the SSIS project parameters. The recommended solution is that you create the project parameters manually before you generate your SSIS packages from Biml.
(Want to know why? Read Scott Currie’s explanation in my blog post Why can’t I create SSIS Project Parameters from Biml?)
However, if you are a lazy developer like me, you probably don’t want to create and update project parameters manually. Perhaps you want to automatically create or update project parameters based on some metadata? You can do that!
Let’s take a look at a (semi-hardcoded, semi-hack) solution for creating SSIS project parameters from Biml in BIDS Helper / BimlExpress 🤓