Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Search in SQL Server Integration Services ( SSIS ) Package - Limitation of BIDS

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SSIS is the technology I practice the most in my daily work, and it's one of the areas of microsoft business intelligence that I love working the most. Whenever I find limitations of a technology, I try to do two things for the same: First is devise an alternative way to overcome the same and Second is request the feature justifying the need for the same.

One such limitation in BIDS is search functionality in SSIS. A typical complex package can contain 80-100 transforms quite easily. Now consider that I want to search for components in this package, there is no functionality out of the box that can be used in BIDS to search for transforms or tasks that contain the text ( name property ) that one would want to search.

This is one functionality that I love the most in Microsoft Office Applications like Word and Excel. It's also equally true that Office apps cannot be compared to SSIS, but still search is one functionality that makes life more manageable for a developer, especially when one is dragging the mess received in legacy from another developer. At present if you use search, it would just search the xml of the package and show the xml line, but would not move the focus on the component or property that one is looking out.

I hope that Microsoft adds this functionality to future versions of BIDS or some community add-ins like BIDS Helper brings this functionality the BIDS.


denglishbi said...

Search would be very neat, I totally agree. As you stated, it is an XML file, so if you view the code you can easily search. Unfotunately it doesn't set the focus like you would want though. You can also use the find in files option (CTRL+SHIFT+F) and it will display the results of your search in a Find Results window that will provide you some insight, but won't bring you to the exact point in the package. In the expensive ETL products you do get the metadata repository that you can use to search for a very high price (did I mention that it is going to cost a lot of money). In SSIS 2005 you could leverage the Metadata Toolkit that was made available. You could also use a 3rd party documentation tool to get something that is searchable like BI Documenter. Still wouldn't bring you to a location in a file, but it would give you some insight.

Darren Gosbell said...

You could post this as a suggestion at for the SQL Server team to consider and on the issue/feature list at for the BIDS Helper team to consider.

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