Yes, I know that I am (very) late to the Biml party…but for reasons I’d not like to bore you with, I am finally learning & using Biml on my first project.
I’ve long been a fan of Varigence and Biml and if you’ve been dragging your feet through the SSIS mud as many times as I have, you would agree. Don’t get me wrong, SSIS works as advertised and you can extend and customize the platform as much as you like…but with all of that flexibility comes a development exercise that’s tedious beyond measure. Biml provides a framework that allows you to recreate SSIS patterns with relative ease, eliminating the tedious process of creating each package individually (or copying and modifying).
In this series of blog posts I’ll take you along for the ride as I learn, develop and implement my first Biml scripts while pointing out some good development practices, considerations, references and potential pitfalls.
Where to start
It’s important to have an understanding of what Biml is, and the guys at Varigence have an excellent learning path for the technology here. If you’re like me, you will probably jump back-and-forth and maybe even skip some of the stuff that you’re familiar with. I found myself coming back to it quite a bit, especially the Biml Basics for SSIS and Introduction to BimlScript guides. The C# Primer was also very helpful as I’ve decided to start converting from VB to C# at the same time.
I’ve used BimlExpress for my project as it’s free and integrated with Visual Studio. You can download it from the Varigence website.
Here’s a few general guidelines from my own experience thus far:
- Start small: There’s a lot to learn here, and trying to master Biml and BimlScript at the same time might be a little overwhelming. Use a single Biml file without automation (BimlScript) to create a basic package (that works). Once you have that syntax mastered for a single package, using BimlScript will be much easier.
- Use an existing package for reference: If you’ve never used Biml before, try to recreate an existing package that’s already working within an SSIS project. Having an existing package will help you compare properties and troubleshoot any issues.
- One size doesn’t fit all: We all have our own development preferences and every project is different. The end goal is to build a framework that makes your life easier, and the amount of automation you implement and how you use Biml might be different from what other people are doing…in fact I almost guarantee that it will be. Find what works for you and use it. Remember the rest for future reference.
Stay tuned for the rest of the series…it’s going to be a fun ride!
Other posts in this series: