Visual Studio code editor (main screen) blank when using Biml Express – issue and fix

I encountered a very annoying issue the other day, and on the off-chance that anyone else may run into it as well I thought I’d post the fix for it. When showing some SSIS generation code using Biml Express (which is still awesome) to a colleague recently I couldn’t get the Biml files to properly open in Visual Studio using the Biml Express plug-in.

The original files were still OK (not corrupted or anything), and opening them with any text editor including a regular text editor while in Visual Studio was no problem. But, you obviously can’t generate ETL that way!

The issue was that, when opening the files from within Visual Studio using the Biml Express editor, the main screen would remain blank. For clarity this is the default way Biml files are opened after installing the plug-in, which you can alternatively achieve by using ‘open with’ in Visual Studio and selecting the ‘Biml Express files’ option.

The issue manifests itself like this:

The typical resolution for similar Visual Studio issues is to clear the component model cache. This essentially ‘resets’ the Visual Studio settings which can sometimes be corrupted using plug-ins. For example as explained in this thread:

However, this didn’t resolve my issue using Biml Express.

What happened was that I had Visual Studio running on the GPU, and apparently this doesn’t go well with using Biml Express.

Previously, I have been running some calculations on my GPU by using the discrete GPU functionality. This makes everything run off the GPU, including Visual Studio. Apparently this is not compatible with the  Biml Express plug-in. Disabling discrete GPU settings, or rather allowing the system to toggle between GPU and CPU (‘integrated’) calculations, fixed this problem as Visual Studio runs off the CPU again.

I suppose the possibility that one would run into this issue is extremely low, but you never know if this helps anyone out!

The version of Visual Studio I used was 2017.

Roelant Vos

Roelant Vos

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