Part of the allure of the Microsoft platform for business intelligence is the BIDS, or development environment used for the platforms. BIDS is directly part of Visual Studio and will make an easy transition for anyone familiar with VS. I actually like BIDS although I do have some gripes and I understand there are a number of changes in store for BIDS 2008 that will be detailed in a later writing.
One of my main beefs with the BIDS is that sometimes it's overly complicated to do something. Microsoft has always been known for giving developers full control of the environment and BIDS is no exception to this, almost to the point of there being so many options in the tool that it's easy to get overwhelmed. I always put the options I use most often on the toolbar so I don't have to wade through menu after menu of options. It would be great if Microsoft used the ribbon in BIDS 2008 as they have used in Office 2007. The first time I saw the ribbon I was intrigued and soon became a fan and don't even like to use older versions of Office anymore.
The main positive about BIDS is that there is full control over aspects. A key annoyance is all the windows that are docked but it really is a love/hate relationship for me, as I love having access to it, and I like to hide the windows, but I find myself constantly pinning and unpinning the windows when working with my laptop, although it's not so bad when I'm working on the 24" LCD in the office.
What changes are in store for BIDS 2008? You'll have to wait a couple of weeks to find out - I am giving a presentation on August 11 about the 'Features of SQL Server 2008' that you will find interesting.