SSIS Expression Editor & Tester

by Darren Green 9 Jun 2010 14:41

Published today on CodePlex is the SSIS Expression Editor & Tester project. If you want to try it just pop over to CodePlex and download it.

About five years ago I developed my own expression editor control. It first got used in our custom tasks as the MS editor didn’t become available until SQL 2005 SP1, but even then it had some handy features I preferred. For example resizable panes so that if your expression result was more than two lines you could see them all. It also meant I could change the functions available in the tree view, the most obvious use being to add some handy snippets and samples that I used a lot. This quickly developed into a small expression testing tool. I’d develop complex expressions using my editor and then copy it back into the package itself.

I have been meaning to make the tool available for some time and finally made the effort, the code is checked-in and the signed downloads are published on CodePlex.

There are two flavours, SQL 2005 or 2008, and just a simple zip file to download and extract. The tool doesn’t need installing, and is completely portable. It does need SSIS to be installed on the local machine though.

Each zip file contains two files:

ExpressionTester.exe – The tool itself, run this.

ExpressionEditor.dll – The reusable editor control.


A while ago the gentlemen behind BIDS Helper noticed the editor on a task and asked about using it. This became incorporated into their variable window extensions feature. To try and help them and anyone else that wants to use the editor control, it is available as a single assembly that you can reference yourself, and of course all the source code is on CodePlex too. Just add a reference to the ExpressionEditor.dll assembly and you should be up and running in no time. There is a sample project Package Test in the source code which shows how to use the editor control form in it’s simplest form, or if you want to host control directly then the tester tool is a perfect example.

Comments (3) -

6/13/2010 7:21:19 PM #

Henrik Nordling

Very helpful stuff, nice work.
I have tried out BIDS Helper, but not this tool. Is this thing baked in to BIDS Helper exactly the same, or should we download this eaven if we have BIDS Helper installed?

By the way, expression editor in my BIDS Helper does not allow drag n drop on variables, is this a local problem of mine or is this a feature on the todo list?

Henrik Nordling Sweden

6/14/2010 1:33:28 PM #



BIDS Helper uses the same editing control as the tester tool for editing variable expressions. However the current release of BIDS Helper use an older version of the control which did not support drag and drop. The next release of BIDS Helper should include the new control.

The expression tester tool is standalone, an exe, and is just for playing around. I find it useful to help me develop complex expressions or test ideas without having to use an package, and especially for property expressions or derived columns where BIDS Helper doesn't give you the option of the better editor. You use it independently of BIDS Helper.

Darren United Kingdom

6/17/2010 9:08:15 PM #

Henrik Nordling

Ok, thanks for clearing this out. I will try it out.

Henrik Nordling Sweden

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