Why is creating excel sheets from SSIS so hard ?

If there is one process that should be simpler than it is out of the box, it is creating Excel spreadsheets from SSIS.   Over the years i’ve tried doing it a number of ways, using the built in component,  Interop , OLE DB etc all suck to one degree or another.  Either unreliable or to slow or simply unusable.

A twitter conversation, A) proved I wasn’t alone and B) Pointed me in the direction of EPPlus.

Over on SSC there is already a post on using EPplus with SSIS, some of which, such as putting EPPlus into the GAC, is still relevant for this post.

However, right now, i have a big love of BIML, simply put i think that this is what SSIS should have been in the first place and I personally find all the pointing and clicking a real time sink.  Additionally,  in BIML, one you have written a package to do something , ie a simple dataflow, its a snip to repeat that over 10, 20, 50 , 100 or 1000s of tables.  But the real time saver for me is when you need to re-architect,  ie turn sequential dataflows into a parallel dataflow.  Its only really a case of changing where you iterate in your BIML code.

Anyway,  i’ve combined these two pain points to create a BIML routine that uses EPPlus to output multi-sheeted Excel spreadsheet reliably and fast.

At the moment its very basic , take SQL statements and output the data to an excel file, but in time i will be hoping to create some meta data to start ‘getting the crayons out’ and making them look a bit more pretty.

Code is on GitHub at https://github.com/davebally/BIML-SSIS-Excel-Output ,  hope this of use to someone.



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