Dan English's BI Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘codeplex’

BIDS Helper has been released

Posted by denglishbi on July 27, 2009

Today I was notified that a new release was available for BIDS Helper with the newly added Version Notification that was included with version (BIDS Helper available).

So what is new and what has been fixed?  Good question.  The new functionality that has been added is an SSIS Design Warnings Scanner which is similar to the SSAS AMO Warnings (Best Practice Alerts) that are part of BIDS 2008.  So now you can get Best Practice alerts with SSIS development.  Really coolHot 



This new release also includes fixes for:

So go out and download the latest version – http://bidshelper.codeplex.com and start leveraging all of the features that the BIDS Helper add-in provides for developing SSAS, SSIS, and SSRS solutions with BIDS.

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BIDS Helper available

Posted by denglishbi on May 14, 2009

Just getting caught up on some of my blog readings this morning and came across a posting by Darren Gosbell stating that they have released a new version of BIDS Helper – BIDS Helper release 1.4.1.  The one cool thing is that they have included a version notification into the add-in so that you will be notified now when a new release is available.  Plus there is a feature to synch the description information from a SQL Server relational table or view into your SSAS dimensions (only works with SQL Server and not with named queries in the DSV).  They have also included smartdiff with Reporting Services now tooSmile

Here is a list of the changes that Darren points out in his posting:

This release also incorporates the following bug fixes and enhancements:

If you are not using this yet, do not wait, this is an invaluable addition into the BIDS tool and I highly recommend this for any developer using SSAS, SSIS, or SSRS.  Thanks again guys for putting this together.

One other thing to point out is that the URL references for all CodePlex items has changed so that what used to be http://codeplex.com/bidshelper is now http://bidshelper.codeplex.com.  The old URLs are still working now, but just wanted to point this out, because this might not always be the case.

Posted in Downloads | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Collecting Performance Data for SSAS 2008 – available on CodePlex

Posted by denglishbi on February 7, 2009

I saw some of this demoed this past year at the MS BI Conference and it appears that it has now been released on CodePlexSmile

Check out the posting on the SQLCat team A Solution for Collecting Analysis Services Performance Data From Many Sources For Performance Analysis.

The solution is available to download on CodePlex with the SQL Server Analysis Services samples.

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BIDS Helper 1.4 Released

Posted by denglishbi on January 29, 2009

Just wanted to let everyone know that a new release came out this week.  Check out the add-in for BIDS out on CodePlex here – BIDS Helper.  The new features include the following (along with a few enhancements):

Release 1.4 contains a number of new features:

    And it contains a number of enhancements and bug fixes:

  • Integration Services
      • As you can see there are a couple of features for Reporting Services nowSmile  You can see how datasets are being used and also which ones are not.  Even an option to delete those cached dataset files from within BIDSOpen-mouthed  SSIS now has a documentation report that you can generate to get some high-level information to for the packages.  I see that there has been one source code change since the release, so if you want to be on the latest and greatest then check out the source code section.

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        BI Publisher for PerformancePoint Server (PPS) on CodePlex?

        Posted by denglishbi on October 15, 2008

        I was taking a look this morning at the forum postings in the PerformancePoint Monitoring & Analytics section and came across a previous forum posting link here.  I have had customers and colleagues inquiring about a process to help automate the deployment of PPS dashboard items between environments and it looks like there is already something in the works by Kevin Idzi and Deepak Mani of Microsoft called BI Report Automation Publisher.

        So what can it currently do?  Well the current features include the following:

        PerformancePoint (PPS) Publishing

        Moves elements from one server to another, adjusting server specific settings for related elements automatically including:

        • PPS Data Connections
        • Proclarity Analytic Server Report Links
        • Excel Service SharePoint Links
        • Excel Service Parameters
        • Add/Remove Credentials
        Proclarity Analytic Server (PAS)
        • Update report page connection properties to redirect to a different SSAS server.
        Excel Services
        • Dynamically change link to Office Data Connection file.
        • Provide a seamless way to create a list of Links to Proclarity Analytic Server reports
        • Net configuration API is used, allowing flexible XML Configuration and validation.
        • Command Line tool execution, Output sent to tracelistener and is configurable.
        • Use MSBuild or WIX to inject properties into the Config file before execution, to truly integrate this in the build/deploy environment.

        And they have plenty more features on the radar:

        PerformancePoint Target Location Redirection

        Currently, this tool moves PerformancePoint (PPS) Elements from the source to target retaining the same naming and structure as it came from. For some people, it might be useful to have the PPS elements moved with a suffix (or prefix) attached for side-by-side testing. And it might be helpful to have the linked reports be retargeted to point to different Libraries / folders within Sharepoint/PAS
        This does not apply to Proclarity since the tool works directly on the reports. And it does not apply to the Excel Serivce direct updates since the target URL is included.

        PPS Sql Server Reporting Services (SSRS) Report Support – Where is it??!

        I have not worked with SSRS reports in my current work. If someone has and would like to work with me, we might be able to find a way to integrate support to allow redirecting the PPS Report’s target server.

        PerformancePoint Input from BWSX Files

        The tool currently reads from the source PPS Server. It may be helpful to specify a BWSX file in which the elements are read, and serialized into the needed objects to be used for updating and publishing.

        Deploying PAS Reports

        It might be helpful to have the tool actually take PAS reports from a source and deploy them on a target. In looking at this briefly, I have no idea how the Books are generated when sent to the server for an update.

        Deploying PPS Dashboard

        Currently, all of the elements are update, but if the dashboard itself is modified or components added/removed, it will need to be manually deployed. There are a string of Sharepoint Webservice calls when this happens to put the files at the target location and make it available. If those were deconstructed, it could be done.

        Updating Post-Deployed PPS Webparts

        Ever want to remove chrome on a webpart, or adjust the template externally (sharepoint site is secured from template modifications)? Then being able to adjust the webpart that PPS generates would be very helpful. Currently we are actually doing this as manual steps after we deploy (when we need to).

        So this tool looks really promising and looks like a really nice way to move items between environments.  There is always the migration path that is listed in the documentation too that you can take a look at here.  How is everyone else promoting PPS dashboards between environments?  I would definitely like to hear what other people are doing.

        Posted in PerformancePoint | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

        BIDS Helper available on CodePlex

        Posted by denglishbi on August 17, 2008

        Just doing a little blog reading this morning and noticed that Darren Gosbell posted an entry yesterday stating that version 1.3 of BIDS Helper is now available for download.  Some of the new features that are available which I briefly mentioned in my last posting about BIDS Helper are support for SQL Server 2008, being able to sort SSIS packages by their names in the project (like SSAS), smartdiff functionality in SSAS like they had setup for SSIS, and being able to change the scope of an existing SSIS variableSmile

        Here is the complete list of new features that have been incorporated in the new release:

      • Analysis Services
        • Integration Services
          • You can download the SQL 2005 or 2008 release and they do have a new xcopy deployment option also.

            If you want to use the smartdiff functionality you must have at least Visual SourceSafe or Team Explorer Client installed.  The project does not have to be bound to source control, but this component leverages the visual diff dialog from either of these tools.  If you don’t have one installed you will get this message:


            Check it out for yourself – http://bidshelper.codeplex.com.  Just want to once again thank the team (Darren Gosbell, Greg Galloway, and John Welch) working on this for all of their hard work, it is very appreciatedOpen-mouthed

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            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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            BIDS Helper released today

            Posted by denglishbi on December 17, 2007

            This includes a few fixes that were introduced in the 1.2 version.  There was an issue with multiple buttons being generated in the calculations tab that has been fixed.  Here is a description of the fixes:

            Release Description

            This release incorporates a couple of bug fixes and some minor performance improvements.

            • FIXED: Multiple copies of the BIDS Helper buttons appearing in the calculations tab of the cube designer
            • FIXED: Occasionally the Expression/Configuration highlighter would fail to highlight items correctly
            • FIXED: The performance of the highlighter component has been slightly improved.

            If you haven’t installed this add-in for Business Intelligence Development Studio I would highly recommend it.  It is a lifesaver if you are trying to test out your calculations in your cube and just need to deploy the MDX script.  Find out more about the product on CodePlex.

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