Stop Clowning Around and use Biml

Sorry for my terrible photography.

Sorry for my terrible photography.

Clowning Around

Friday, I took my girlfriend to see The Greatest Show On Earth. We love the animal acts, stunts, and the over-the-top atmosphere. However, I am always torn when watching these kinds of performers. On one hand, as anyone who’s seen me present can attest, I love performing. There’s something magical about the energy you get from an audience. However even though the circus performers are obviously so talented, by necessity they have to perform the same short routines over and over again. Take the clowns for instance. While I know that making children laugh is fun and would be an amazing vocation, personally I would be bored performing the same old jokes and visual gags repeatedly. How many times can one “accidentally” trip over the broom of his partner or get squirted by the lapel flower pin?

I feel the same way about the acrobats, trapeze artists, and even the Lion Tamer. When I perform repetitive tasks I lose focus and can’t concentrate. Also, while I know that many of us really like our jobs, let’s face it. Is writing the same basic SSIS package over and over again nearly as fun as flying on a trapeze? If you’ve ever loaded a Data Warehouse with SSIS, you know that loading Fact Tables is a fairly simple and repetitive process. The process of writing the ETL packages for loading 20 Fact Tables can easily consume at least a week of development time and is very tedious. Does the manual process of writing these packages really add value?

Run The Circus

Be The Ringmaster

Biml can make you the Ringmaster

I’d rather be in control of the entire show. Using Biml Script, you can create a durable framework which facilitates code re-use. This allows you can automate all the repetitive, mundane tasks and speed up development. You can spend your time gaining a better understanding of your client’s needs and designing effective solutions for them, rather than manually writing and re-writing an endless parade of SQL Server Objects (stored procedures, views, etc.) and SSIS packages.

However, this process is not all laughs and cotton candy. Keep in mind that in order to excel at being a Circus Ringmaster, he/she must know how to be a clown, acrobat, animal trainer, etc. or at least what it takes to do those jobs. There just aren’t a lot of ways to shortcut around that. Similarly, in order to create these ETL frameworks and fully implement Biml Script, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of all the individual aspects of it. Biml is NOT a magic bullet and isn’t a “Data Warehouse in a Box.”

The journey to Biml Script mastery is not easy, but is achievable, fascinating, and completely worth pursuing. Stay tuned for more articles on why I chose to implement Biml Script as well as code samples you can use to further your efforts.

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