Q: Why would I want to use Biml?
A: Creating many similar Integration Services packages is a common task in ETL. Manually creating SSIS packages can consume a significant amount of time. And after you are done, if you decided you need to tweak your “template” to add in a new logging step or correct a bug, you will have to manually edit all the SSIS packages to manually add that change. A simple Biml script, on the other hand, can generate your SSIS packages for you and allow you to regenerate all your SSIS packages if you need to make a small change at a later date. For example, see this example as an example of how a simple SQL metadata query and a loop can generate many SSIS packages dynamically.
Q: How can I learn Biml?
A: The Samples and Tutorials page has many basic Biml examples to get you started. Additionally, the BimlScript.com website is another great resource. The support section of the Varigence site also has a User Guide, API & Language references and samples.
Q: Is Biml inside BI Developer Extensions free?
A: Yes, the version Biml inside BI Developer Extensions has been provided free of charge for BI Developer Extensions users. Any sources and destinations that come with the SSIS install itself are supported for free in BI Developer Extensions Biml. Other sources and destinations like the Attunity Oracle source and destination or the PDW destination which are installed “after market” may require the paid version of Mist. For example, using the convenient SqlServerPdwDestination tag requires Mist (as you will get a “No translator was found for the component
Q: Is there a way to have Biml generate packages unattended during an automated nightly build?
A: Biml inside BI Developer Extensions requires a user to start the Biml Package Generator. To automate SSIS package generation from Biml scripts unattended, you must purchase the paid version of Mist and use a command line tool called Hadron.exe. Note Hadron is being renamed bimlc.exe as part of Mist 4.0.
Q: I see some scripts on the internet mentioning Hadron but I don’t see that in the Biml schema. What gives?
A: The term Hadron is being renamed to Biml in BI Developer Extensions 1.7. For example, any code which reads:
<#@ import namespace="Varigence.Hadron.CoreLowerer.SchemaManagement" #>
Should be changed to:
<#@ import namespace="Varigence.Biml.CoreLowerer.SchemaManagement" #>
Q: Can I reverse engineer a working SSIS package to see the corresponding Biml?
A: The paid version of Mist supports reverse engineering an SSIS package (.dtsx file) into a Biml script.
Q: My BimlScript is not behaving like I expect. How can I debug it?
A: Besides adding a code block to write to a log file, you can also add popups to your BimlScript expansion as described in this blog post.
Q: When I copy and paste into a .biml file in Visual Studio the script doesn’t work and the indenting is all wrong. How can I fix this?
A: The easiest way is to press Ctrl-V (to paste) and then Ctrl-Z (to undo indenting and formatting). This trick is further described and explained here.