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SSIS Package Annotation in Denali

If you are anything like me, you document your SSIS packages for those who may have to maintain them after you move on to other projects. One thing that have disliked is how annotations worked in SSIS. There is no word wrap setting to automatically wrap to the next line, nor could you just hit the enter key to get to the next line. You had to hit CTRL along with the ENTER key to do this. I found it slightly annoying, but like any other annoyances, we accept it for what it is! J Annotations have changed in Denali! Yeah…Hoorah….I know…it’s really not that big of a deal, but hey… it’s worth mentioning.


Here is a screenshot of how SSIS 2005 and 2008 handled annotations longer than the object and didn’t have an carriage return line feeds using the CTRL+ENTER that I mentioned above.


Figure 1: Old Annotations (2005 & 2008)

Old Package Annotations


Figure 2: New Annotations (DENALI)

New Annotations 


As you can see, they have made a few visual and usability enhancements to the annotation object within SSIS for Denali. Thank you Microsoft! J You really can’t see too much by the screenshot other than the visual enhancement, but just know that I didn’t hit enter one time. If I had, it would just start a new line for me. No more CTRL+ENTER. J


I hope that you have enjoyed this post. If you did, please take just a moment to rate it below! Also, if you don’t already, please be sure to follow me on twitter at @briankmcdonald. Also note that you can subscribe to an RSS feed of my blogs or find me at any of the below methods.



Brian K. McDonald, MCDBA, MCSD
Business Intelligence Consultant – Pragmatic Works

Email: bmcdonald@pragmaticworks.com

Blogs: SQLBIGeek | SQLServerCentral | BIDN | SQLServerPedia

Twitter: @briankmcdonald

LinkedIn: http://tinyurl.com/BrianKMcDonald




Posted by Anonymous on 30 November 2010

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Posted by Anonymous on 30 November 2010

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Posted by Paul Blackwell-319608 on 1 December 2010

That's great to hear.  You can do word wrapping as well as other things in 2005/2008 as well, if you know what binary stream hexidecimal values to change.  I'm curious what other Annotation attributes they exposed; Background Color, Justification, Delete When Empty, Read Only?

Posted by Brian K. McDonald on 2 December 2010

From what I can tell, there aren't any other attributes that have been exposed. The same Font, Font Style, Size, Effects (strikeout, underline and color), and Script. When the annotation is set, hitting F4 to show the properties results in an empty properties window. Of course all this may change by the time the RTM is released. :) Who know really. Even those who may know, may not be able to tell us. :)

Posted by Brian K. McDonald on 2 December 2010

Oh... and it seems like it would be pretty simple to just add a "label" control like in web or windows projects. Just a thought...

Posted by Paul Blackwell-319608 on 2 December 2010

Yeah, I tried hastily installing Denali last night; had to roll it back as it jacked my VS....Doh!  I saw the post about installing side-by-side AFTER I tried installing. So, I have not seen if they're using a different object for the text/polylines, I would imagine so.

The MSDDS.dll, which is what is used to created the annotations and polylines in VS, has the background color, justification, word wrapping as well as a few others that can be exposed by setting certain bits in the binary stream of the PackageVariables.  I've submitted an article telling how to change a package annotation so that these features can be enabled.  I'm just curious what the structure of Denali is/will be and if unexposed features can be exposed.

Posted by Tim Mitchell on 9 December 2010

I was happy to see the changes in annotations in Denali, but it's still a pitiful way to document.  We should be able to attach documentation to a specific task, component, or constraint, IMHO.  Right now it's like slapping a sticky note on the package.

Posted by dave.clark on 10 December 2010

I do agree with Tim that it would be nice if there were a better way to document a particular task, but for brief reference notes the annotations are great.  I am glad to see this change in Denali - thanks for sharing the tip Brian!

Posted by julie.smith 54188 on 12 December 2010

This is great to hear.  Ctrl + Enter was not intuitive and it was annoying.  Thanks for the blog post!

Posted by Brian K. McDonald on 21 December 2010

Tim, I agree. Package annotations help, but they are by no means a form of complete documentation. BI Documenter is a great addition to documenting packages though. Complete with Lineage and Impact Analysis, control flow and data flow screenshots, sources, destinations and all objects. :) I know... what a shameless plug huh? :)

Posted by Brian K. McDonald on 21 December 2010

Dave, you're welcome! I would love to hear any other tips from the community on what they find are great additions to Denali, so if you have one please post. :)

Posted by Brian K. McDonald on 21 December 2010

Julie, You're welcome as well... I really dislike the whole CTRL + ENTER deal.. Same as in Excel. I wish it would just allow the enter key when inside a cell instead of having to hit ALT + ENTER. There are just too many shortcut keys to remember for the same features. :) They should just KEEP IT SIMPLE ~~~~ Do you concur?

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