Document your SSIS Packages with BI Documenter Part3: Comparing Snapshots

December 1, 2011

In the last two posts we?ve discussed how to use BI Documenter to document your SSIS packages and reviewed the documents that is generated.  Another one of the very useful features of BI Documenter is the Snapshot Comparison. Let us suppose that you have scheduled your snapshots to run on a regular basis, and now you want to compare the different snapshots to view the changes that have been made to your document.  Doing this with BI Documenter is quick and easy.

First thing is to make sure you have 2 snapshots of the same object to compare.  I covered creating snapshots in the first blog of this series check it out here.  For this first comparison I actually didn?t change anything inside the package because I wanted to see what it looked like without any change.  To compare the snapshots launch BI Documenter and choose the appropriate solution.  From inside the solution click on the hyperlink “Compare Snapshots?




The new screen will pop up and you will tell the wizard which snapshots you want to compare and simply click the start button and your comparison will begin.




BI Documenter makes the comparison very easy to read.  As you can see above the color coding on the compared objects makes it easy to quickly identify which objects are New, Modified, have been deleted etc. . . Even though I didn?t change anything inside the package I still received a Modified indicator between the two snapshots on my StartTIme Variable.  Lets take a closer look at that.



The first thing item indicated as modified is the variable objects, and if we drill down into the variables we see that only one variable has been modified, the strStartTime variable.  We can drill down into the variable and see that the Variable value has been changed.  Lets take a look at why the variable value has been modified.  I didn?t change the expression at all, but the expression uses a system variable that captures the start date of the package, and since that is evaluated when the snapshot was taken the actual value was different for the two snapshots.

Now lets see what happens when I intentionally modify the package.  Lets delete one of the connection managers.


Just like that the new snapshot comparison makes it easy to differentiate the objects that have been changed or deleted from the ones that have gone untouched.  Go ahead and test out this feature by downloading the software here.  Tell me what you think of the software.  Be sure to check out my next blog entry when I review the impact analysis/object lineage features of BI Documenter.


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