Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

BIDS Helper on CodePlex.com

Posted by denglishbi on April 26, 2008

I blogged about the new release back in December here when version came out which fixed a few issues with the SSAS buttons in the calculation tab and with the SSIS highlighter.  In talking with colleagues and clients recently though it seems like quite a few people are surprised when I talk about BIDS Helper.  I thought everyone already knew about it or was using it, but I guess not.  I really feel that this is an excellent add-in for anyone doing SSAS or SSIS development that I had to post another blog posting.  I know that my blog is starting to get more coverage thanks to the BI Blog aggregator http://biglogs.com and now that my blog is mirrored on the Magenic blog site at http://blog.magenic.com/blogs I wanted to post another entry promoting the BIDS Helper which is available here.

So what is so cool about BIDS Helper and why would you want to use it?  Well the main features that I like are the options to deploy the MDX script in the calculations tab of the cube, aggregation manager, update estimated counts, column usage reports, expression and configuration highlighter, expression list, and smart diff (all of the features are cool and helpful, but these are some of the key ones I use).  If you go to the site on CodePlex you can get detailed information about each feature with screenshots. 

It appears that this add-in currently only works with the English version of BIDS and that it probably only works with 2005 and not 2008 versions of Visual Studio.  I haven’t actually tested it in VS 2008 yet, but according to some comments on the site there appears to be some issues.

Here is the complete list of features that are currently included with the BIDS Helper along with a picture from the site that highlights a few of the features:




I did take a quick peek at the Source Code section for this Project and it appears that version should be available anytime now.  Some of the new features according to the comments are the ability to sort the SSIS packages by name (like you can do in SSAS), VS 2008 support, SQL Sever 2008 support, smart diff for SSAS objects, and more performance improvements Hot.  This is cool stuff and you got to thank Darren Gosbell, Greg Galloway, and John Welch (hopefully I got all of the names right) for making this available.  Feel free to post an item on the discussion section for anything that you would like to see added because most of the new features being added are taken directly from this section here.

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