Configuring Visual Studio to Play Nicely with BimlScript

Visual Studio has a great XML editor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t understand BimlScript. This can cause a few headaches when using the Biml feature in BIDS Helper, particularly when you copy and paste BimlScript code into the editor. Take this code as an example:

<#@ template language="C#" hostspecific="true"#>
<Biml xmlns="">
          <# for(var i = 0; i < 5; i++) {#>
            <Package Name="Package <#=i#>" ConstraintMode="Linear"/>
          <# } #>

If you copy and paste this code into the XML editor with the default settings, you’ll see something like this:


Notice that Visual Studio helpfully added an =”” after the word “template” in the first line. That would be nice, expect that the first line is not XML, it’s actually BimlScript. The word “template” in this case is a directive, and shouldn’t have =”” after it. You have to delete the =”” for this BimlScript to work.

You’ll also notice the red and blue squiggles underneath some of the code. This is also caused by the XML editor not knowing how to parse this information. You can ignore the squiggles, as they won’t impact the execution of the BimlScript.

Fortunately, you can make the experience better. In Visual Studio, go to the Tools menu, and select Options. In the resulting dialog, expand the Text Editor item on the left, and then select XML.


Expand the XML item, and choose the Formatting item. In the right panel, in the Auto Reformat section, uncheck “On paste from clipboard” and “On completion of end tag”. Click OK to save your changes.


Unfortunately, this doesn’t get rid of the squiggles, but it will stop Visual Studio from incorrectly reformatting your BimlScript. If you copy and paste the above sample after making these changes, you won’t get the extraneous =”” values.


Hopefully this makes the BimlScript experience in Visual Studio a little more enjoyable.

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