Monday, November 19, 2007

BIDS Helper 1.2 Released

BIDS Helper is a CodePlex project that delivers a set of Visual Studio add-ins for developers working on BI projects. It's been around for a while, but until now has not had any SSIS-focused features.

Until now!

The BIDS Helper team has just released version 1.2 of their tool, and it now includes (in addition to a bunch of SSAS-related stuff as well) these new SSIS features:
  • Create Fixed Width Columns - Simplifies the definition of a fixed width flat file connection manager
  • dtsConfig File Formatter - As far as I can tell, this is just another shortcut for the ctrl-k, ctrl-d "prettify" keyboard chord that is built into Visual Studio
  • Expression and Configuration Highlighter - Color-codes tasks and connection managers that have properties set by configurations or expressions, making your packages more self-documenting.
  • Expression List - Adds a new "Expression List" window to Visual Studio's "Other Windows" menu; this window displays all expressions defined within the package.
  • Smart Diff - Provides a pre-processor for the built-in VSS or TFS differencing tools, to make it easier to diff two DTSX files' XML content.
All in all, this looks like a major step forward in the SSIS developer's toolbox. The Expression and Configuration Highlighter and Smart Diff features in particular provide functionality I have often wanted, and even if they're not exactly what I would have liked, they're still better than what we had before. Check it out!


Darren Gosbell said...

Hi Matthew, If you have any idea for improving anything in BIDSHelper or if you have any ideas for new features feel free to add items to the task list or to send me an email

Matthew Roche said...

Thanks, Darren. I do have a few ideas, but it will probably be a few weeks before I can get them into a coherent form to share. Work is kind of crazy these days, but when I have time to breathe I'll post them as work items on CodePlex.