Sunday, August 17, 2008

SnippetCompiler

Extensibility in SQL Server Integration Services and SQL Server Reporting Services is achieved by writing custom code inside your package or report. SSIS provides a great interface by using Visual Studio for Applications (2005) or Visual Studio Tools for Applications (2008), lightweight versions of the Visual Studio IDE. When you create a script task or component, you can write code using intellisense and error squiggles. SSRS, on the other hand, does not provide any IDE for writing custom code. If you want to create VB functions, you have a notepad-like window without colors, intellisense, or any error handling.

In comes SnippetCompiler, an application that allows you to write and compile snippets of code. You can download the executable here: http://www.sliver.com/dotnet/SnippetCompiler/. The current version allows code in both VB.NET 2.0 and C# 2.0. A .NET 3.5 version is in Alpha release and can be downloaded from the same location. Keep in mind that if you minimize the application, it becomes an icon in the system tray instead of showing up on the task bar.

I use this application when I write all of my custom code, especially in Reporting Services. It allows me to ensure my syntax is correct, as well as keep consistent formatting before copying the code into my package or report. I hope you find this tool useful as well!

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