When you are a BI Monkey like me, you probably spend a fair bit of your time buried deep in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) and probably wishing it was a little less frustrating to work with.
Enter… BIDS Helper
Over at codeplex there is a project called BIDS Helper, which adds some useful additional functionality to the standard BIDS environment. It improves the development environment for integration, analysis and reporting services. In this post I will focus more on the SSIS capabilities that are added. The additional functionality is fully documented on the codeplex site, and I will highlight some of the more useful functions below – the links are to the documentation which is nice and visual, making it easy to understand.
Expression and Configuration Highlighter – this adds a highlight to components, connection managers and variables that are controlled by an expression and / or configuration, which allows you to rapidly see what is subject to change at runtime.
Expression List – this lists every property that is set by a variable (though currently not expressions that set the value of variables) – great for finding out what is actually in the package, as these things can be easily overlooked otherwise
Non-Default Properties Report – this lists any property in the package that is set to a non-default value. Very handy for debugging and seeing what is non standard.
SSIS Performance Visualization– this executes the package and presents a gantt chart of the execution time, and also can present performance over time – useful when performance tuning.
Variables Window Extensions – this adds the functionality of being able to change a variables scope – very handy for when you create a variable at the wrong scope (something I do all the time).
BIDS Helper is a handy little tool that adds a few nice functions for SSIS developers without intefering with the existing UI or design environment – I thoroughly recommend installing it, especially as it’s free!