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TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - SSIS Code Structure

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In Part 3 we look at creating our data source SSIS code structure.  Click here to review Part 1 and Part 2

Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from chapter 5 of Extract, Transform, and Load with SQL Server Integration Services--with Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and IBM DB2, by Thomas Snyder and Vedish Shah.

As our final step, we will prepare our package for reuse by copying the package to a location external to our SSIS solution.

For readers who may not be familiar with Visual Studio, I would like to do a quick review of the structure of the source code in a solution that will help you understand how we will prepare our package for reuse.

In Windows File Explorer, if you navigate to the location of your project, you will see the parent SSISBaseProject folder with a child SSISBaseProject folder (Figure 5.17).

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 1

Figure 17: Visual Studio source code structure

In the parent folder, there is a single file: SSISBaseProject.sln. In the child folder, there are five files:

  • dtsx
  • params
  • database
  • dtproj
  • dtproj.user

The .sln file is the solution file that Visual Studio uses to define the entire structure of the code used within Visual Studio, which could contain multiple projects.

The .dtsx file is the package file, which is what we will use as the base package for the rest of the projects. This file contains the SSIS code that we have set up so far. This will be the only file that we need to copy for the rest of our projects.

When you add a new or an existing Integration Services project to a solution, SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) creates the miscellaneous project files.

  • The *.dtproj file contains information about project configurations and items such as packages.
  • The *.dtproj.user file contains information about your preferences for working with the project.
  • The *.database file contains information that SSDT requires to open the Integration Services project.

Preparing for Reuse

In Windows File Explorer, navigate to a location that you would like to use for your future projects and create a new folder called BaseProject or whatever you’d like. This folder is where we will store our project.dtsx file, which we will rename to BaseProject.dtsx.

Open the SSISBaseProject in Visual Studio. Then select File > Save Copy of Package.dtsx As…. (Figure 5.18, part 2). Next select the target folder location that we created previously and specify the name as BaseProject.

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 2

Figure 5.18: Visual Studio: Save Copy

The result should be that we created a new file called BasePackage.dtsx within the newly created BaseProject folder. The preparation steps simply copied the package.dtsx file from your project folder into a different location, with the only difference being in the VersionGUID. This copied file will be much cleaner to use in future projects because we removed it from all the miscellaneous solution files that we will not be using.

Copy the Base Project

In the following chapters, we will start our SSIS development by creating a new SSIS project that will import the base package. These steps will be repeated as the first step in most of the following chapters.

  1. Open Visual
  2. Select File > New Project….
  3. Select Templates > Business Intelligence > Integration Services Project.
  4. Enter the name for your project and select the directory location to be

Once the new project is created, we will delete the default SSIS project and import the base project, as shown at the right side of the screen in Figure 5.19.

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 3

Figure 5.19: Deleting the default project package

Now that we have deleted the default package, we will now add the base package (Figure 5.20).

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 4

Figure 5.20: Adding an existing SSIS package

After opting to add the existing package, you will be presented with a screen (Figure 5.21) to select the location of the base package.

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 5

Figure 5.21: Selecting an existing SSIS package

Once you click OK after you selected the base project, you will see BasePackage.dtsx under the SSIS Packages in the Solution Explorer (Figure 5.22). This process copied the base package into your new SSIS solution.

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 6

Figure 5.22: New SSIS package created from the base package

We now have a new project, ready to go, which contains all the connection managers configured in the base project. If you double-click on the BasePackage.dtsx file you just added, it will open the project and you can see that your connection managers are now available for usage.

Creating a Package Template

The previous steps to copy the base project are completely legitimate, but to take it all the way home, let’s make a package template out of our base project. By creating a package template, you will be able to select your template from the new item menu.

To do this is simple enough: we will simply copy our base package into the SSIS package template folder. But before we do that, let’s rename our template to a user-friendly name (MCPress Database Agnostic Base.dtsx), as that will be what is displayed when you select it (Figure 5.23).

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 7

Figure 5.23: Renaming the base template package

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Note

Then copy our base template package into the SSIS package template:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\ProjectItems\DataTransformation Project\DataTransformationItems

When you initially create your new SSIS packages, the default package will be blank and can’t be changed. So simply create a new SSIS project as you normally would to start with your empty project (Figure 5.24).

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 9

Figure 5.24: Creating a new SSIS project to add a package template

Once the new project is created, right-click on your project in Solution Explorer, select Add, then New item….

You will now be able to see your custom package template available as an item to add, as shown in Figure 5.25.

TechTip: Data Source Base Project, Part 3 - Figure 10

Figure 5.25: Selecting your new custom package template

Once you’ve added your package template, you could delete the original project.dtsx and rename the MCPress Database Agnostic Base1.dtsx to match your project. Please note that when you add the package template, it actually copies the .dtsx file into your project, which means that you could update the package without impacting your reusable base package in the Visual Studio SSIS Package location.

I think this is convenient and will make life easier for us in the following chapters, to take advantage of reusing our connection manager efforts in this chapter.

However, if I wanted to be picky, I would have liked to have our custom package template available from the initial creation template menu. It also seems hacky when you manually place files in directories when you’re dealing with a Microsoft windows graphic-intensive tool without an import option for these templates, but that could possibly be a little enhancement in a future release.

Look for more tips from Tom's book in an upcoming issue of MC TNT. Can't wait?  Pick up your copy of Tom's book, Extract, Transform, and Load with SQL Server Integration Services at the MC Press Bookstore Today!


Thomas Snyder

Thomas Snyder has a diverse spectrum of programming experience encompassing IBM technologies, open source, Apple, and Microsoft and using these technologies with applications on the server, on the web, or on mobile devices.

Tom has more than 20 years' experience as a software developer in various environments, primarily in RPG, Java, C#, and PHP. He holds certifications in Java from Sun and PHP from Zend. Prior to software development, Tom worked as a hardware engineer at Intel. He is a proud United States Naval Veteran Submariner who served aboard the USS Whale SSN638 submarine.

Tom is the bestselling author of Advanced, Integrated RPG, which covers the latest programming techniques for RPG ILE and Java to use open-source technologies. His latest book, co-written with Vedish Shah, is Extract, Transform, and Load with SQL Server Integration Services.

Originally from and currently residing in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Tom is currently involved in a mobile application startup company, JoltRabbit LLC.

MC Press books written by Thomas Snyder available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Advanced, Integrated RPG Advanced, Integrated RPG
See how to take advantage of the latest technologies from within existing RPG applications.
List Price $79.95

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Extract, Transform, and Load with SQL Server Integration Services Extract, Transform, and Load with SQL Server Integration Services
Learn how to implement Microsoft’s SQL Server Integration Services for business applications.
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