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What is SSIS? Step 1 of the Stairway to Integration Services Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, October 12, 2012 8:54 AM
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Andy:

I have been working with SSIS for some time and basically learned most of the tricks the hard way. I'm looking forward to your future articles and would like to suggest some topics to include.

1. When working with loading data from file servers into SQL go into detail with some practical examples of parsing excel files with multiple worksheets from remote shares. This is a common practice as many small companies keep files all over the place and want them parsed for BI.

2. When working with data flows go into detail and show some good examples of properly setting up and utilizing iterations "running processes through a loop container" this was a difficult task for me to figure out and I'm sure others as well.

3. Package variables. Most examples of setting up package variables and vague. Please go into depth on some reasons why one would use package variables and how to properly set them up, and most importantly... how to troubleshoot them when the fail. This leads to my final wish list item.

4. Troubleshooting package errors. Examples of the most common errors, what they mean, and how to correct them is most warranted.

Thanks and keep up the great work.
Post #1372199
Posted Friday, October 12, 2012 9:25 AM
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I've been on the SQL Server Central mailing list for some time (5 or 6 years?) and I've always been confused why recycled topics like this one get sent out as if they're brand new articles. I noticed dataman777 posted a reply thinking this was new and I've done it too...heck, I was going to do it on this one until I read the first post and it coincidentally mentioned the dates. Perhaps something can be done to warn the user that this is an old article? It's a great article and I'm actually glad I don't have to wait to read the other steps (I apparently missed it the first time around), but I can't help but think we can be warned first. Obviously, it's easy to read the dates and see it's outdated but that doesn't stop new (and sometimes older) users from posting to it like it's brand new.

I know this is off-topic for the original article, but since it's being recycled in the email list I feel this is a fair question now...
Post #1372230
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 8:01 AM
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People tell me all the time, "oh, SSIS can be used to do that." So I thought WONDERFUL when I read your

“Why can’t someone write a practical tutorial;” you wonder, “one that gets me started quickly and then explains the more advanced concepts?”

I am always griping about being dropped into the middle of a "solution" at step 10 that assumes I know about steps 1-9. Grrrr.

My answer to the question,

'“I’ve Never Used SSIS Before…”

Are you sure about that? Do you recognize this screen? '

is NO.

What step did I get dropped in at?
Post #1372743
Posted Friday, October 19, 2012 8:26 PM


Old Hand

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Hi Everyone,

I corrected the typo in Level 2 and added a link to the first step (Level 1) of this series. I also updated Level 1 to that it walks you through creating the initial SSIS project.

I accept full responsibility for any confusion and I apologize. I hope many will enjoy this series and learn more about SSIS by reading it and building the solution.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback - please continue.

:{>


Andy Leonard
CSO, Linchpin People
Follow me on Twitter: @AndyLeonard
Post #1375076
Posted Friday, October 19, 2012 8:35 PM


Old Hand

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joannschlosser (10/15/2012)

My answer to the question,

'“I’ve Never Used SSIS Before…”

Are you sure about that? Do you recognize this screen? '

is NO.

What step did I get dropped in at?


Hi Joann,

I appreciate your feedback and frustration. I have added more material near the end of this article in the hope that it offers some clarification for beginning an SSIS project from scratch with no experience. That was my intention in writing this series, to help those who have never used SSIS learn the platform.

The new section begins with "Play Along at Home." Could you do me a favor? Will you start there and see if you are able to create an SSIS project? I would like to know - either way.

People learn differently, and no one learns "wrongly" in my opinion. This is one reason why writing pragmatic tutorials can be challenging. Another reason is authors of tutorials (me, in this case) often do not remember what it was like back at the beginning when they were just starting to learn something. We "don't know what we know" - at least sometimes. And so we overlook some parts and just leave other parts out. I assure you it is not intentional. And the last thing I want to read is a complaint such as yours. But, your feedback motivated me to take a fresh look at the material and add more content. Hopefully, this improves the value of the material for you. But I will not know unless you tell me.

Andy


Andy Leonard
CSO, Linchpin People
Follow me on Twitter: @AndyLeonard
Post #1375077
Posted Friday, October 19, 2012 8:43 PM


Old Hand

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Hi ThisIsFutile,

All magazines, whether online or in print, follow formatting rules. SQLServerCentral.com has been around for years and has been following the same publishing pattern for nearly that long. Another way to look at this is: Now you have nine articles instead of merely one. Nine is better than one, isn't it? it is for me, especially when I want to learn more about a topic new to me.

While I read your frustration at not realizing this was a reprint when you first read this article, I cannot say I understand it. You did not know things are the way they are, and now you do. As a person who works in this industry (and has for decades), I believe a tolerance for learning things one doesn't know comes with the job and the territory.

My advice (if I may be so bold): Enjoy the free, quality material posted at SQLServerCentral.com. Learn and grow with us. I would be willing to venture you may one day submit an article for publication here. If / When you do, I hope others extend courtesy to you.

Andy


Andy Leonard
CSO, Linchpin People
Follow me on Twitter: @AndyLeonard
Post #1375078
Posted Friday, October 19, 2012 8:52 PM


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dataman777 (10/12/2012)
Andy:

I have been working with SSIS for some time and basically learned most of the tricks the hard way. I'm looking forward to your future articles and would like to suggest some topics to include.

1. When working with loading data from file servers into SQL go into detail with some practical examples of parsing excel files with multiple worksheets from remote shares. This is a common practice as many small companies keep files all over the place and want them parsed for BI.

2. When working with data flows go into detail and show some good examples of properly setting up and utilizing iterations "running processes through a loop container" this was a difficult task for me to figure out and I'm sure others as well.

3. Package variables. Most examples of setting up package variables and vague. Please go into depth on some reasons why one would use package variables and how to properly set them up, and most importantly... how to troubleshoot them when the fail. This leads to my final wish list item.

4. Troubleshooting package errors. Examples of the most common errors, what they mean, and how to correct them is most warranted.

Thanks and keep up the great work.


Hi DataMan777,

Thank you for providing detailed feedback and for your kind words or encouragement. In the later articles, I strive to show more errors that can occur and explain what they mean. Troubleshooting SSIS packages during development is often time-consuming because some of the errors provide non-intuitive feedback. The great news is: Nowadays, you can copy that error into a search engine and likely find information from someone who has experienced something similar. (Note: that was not the case when I was learning SSIS... get off my lawn! But I digress...)

I am outlining more data flow patterns for the next phase of this series; your timing is impeccable. In the meantime, you may want to work through the examples I provide in SSIS 101: Object Variables, ResultSets, and Foreach Loop Containers as it deals with the coupling between Variables, Execute SQL Task Resultsets, and the shredding ADO Recordsets / ADO.Net Datasets using the Foreach Loop Container. This article touches on several of your points above.

:{>


Andy Leonard
CSO, Linchpin People
Follow me on Twitter: @AndyLeonard
Post #1375079
Posted Monday, October 22, 2012 4:32 AM
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Not a complaint! An observation and I am grateful for the help I get from you guys. I will take a look at it this week and get back to you. The project I have in mind is one where we (I) have to manually download a set of data every week and import it into our db, replacing the current data and was told in a SQL class that I should "just use SSIS," accompanied by a bunch of shaking heads. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks!
Post #1375327
Posted Monday, October 22, 2012 9:51 AM


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joannschlosser (10/22/2012)
...was told in a SQL class that I should "just use SSIS," accompanied by a bunch of shaking heads.


Hi Joann,

Please drop me an email at andy.leonard@gmail.com.

Thank you,
Andy


Andy Leonard
CSO, Linchpin People
Follow me on Twitter: @AndyLeonard
Post #1375550
Posted Monday, October 22, 2012 12:08 PM
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One suggestion - at the bottom of each tutorial, could you add a link to the next tutorial? I know it's minor, but I hate having to go back to the menu and then click the next item, rather than just moving on to the next step.
Post #1375653
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