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     SQL Server 2005 - Visual Studio 2005 - BizTalk Server 2006 Launch Part V
    Here is the fifth, and final, part in a series from my notes taken at the Visual Studio 2005/SQL Server 2005/BizTalk 2006 launch.

    BizTalk 2006 was invited to the November 2005 launch party, but the actual release will be some time in 1st quarter 2006.

    Microsoft BizTalk Server is a Business Process Management Server by Microsoft that allows software applications to communicate for Enterprise application integration. BizTalk allows businesses to visually model their internal, external and inter-business processes. Try to think of BizTalk as plumbing. This plumbing carries text between participants. This text is actually XML (or 'eXtensible Markup Language'). The participants could be companies, components, applications, parts of an operating system or just about anything which needs access to data. Just as plumbing has an entry and exit point into buildings or containers.

    In short, BizTalk takes in messages, maps message schemas to a record, and then handles business rules.

    BizTalk Server 2004 was SOAP Web Services enabled, and was the first version that used Microsoft .NET technology. The upcoming version, BizTalk Server 2006, will further advance Service Oriented Architecture using the Windows Communication Foundation. There is also a full standards-compliant communication mechanism with both non-WCF and non-Microsoft platforms by means of communication protocols such as SOAP, SMTP, FTP, HTTP, MSMQ, EDI and more.

    The Windows Communication Foundation or WCF, formerly code named Indigo, is the new messaging subsystem part of WinFX, the new .NET-based Windows API to succeed Win32 with the release of Windows Vista.

    WCF is intended to provide the rapid application development methodology to the development of web services, with a single API for inter-process communication in a local machine, LAN, or over the Internet in a secure fashion, running in the sandbox and enhanced security model all .NET applications inherently provide.

    WinFX is still in beta, but will be available later in 2006 to add into the Visual Studio 2005 IDE.

    Windows Communication Foundation (WCF, formerly known as “Indigo”)

    When SQL server 2000 was released, Microsoft held a seminar touting all of their server products in use in a virtual shopping web site. When asked by an audience member how the order would be fulfilled or expedited from the supplier, the Microsoft rep said, “BizTalk will handle that”. Obviously, there was a lot of ignorance on both sides of the podium, since no further questions were asked and no more details were forthcoming. I never really paid much attention to BizTalk after that until now. The answer is that BizTalk could handle that, by interfacing to the supplier warehouse computer.

    Building a BizTalk project in Visual Studio
    BizTalk Visual Studio files consist of .odx, .btm, .xsd, and .btp files.

    .xsd is an XML Schema. It opens the Schema designer much as it did in the Visual Studio .NET. In the demo, the ContosoOrder.xsd schema was opened.

    .btm is a BizTalk mapping file. This allows creating of a data map between two different XML schemas. You can draw lines between nodes in the different schemas and let BizTalk handle the transformations. “Functoids” in BizTalk do data transformations between schemas. You can convert one web service output to another.

    .odx is an orchestration file. This is how data comes in and out of the system. Orchestration is a flow control with a high level design of business rules (Very Cool!)

    Check out this article: BizTalk Server 2006: Orchestrating Web Services

    .btp files are BizTalk pipeline files. A pipeline is a piece of software infrastructure that contains a set of .NET or COM components that process messages in a predefined sequence. A pipeline divides processing into categories of work called stages, and determines the sequence in which the stages are performed. Each stage defines logical work groups, determines which components can go in that stage, and specifies how the pipeline components in the stage are run. The Pipeline designer is a graphical interface in Visual Studio 2005 that will let you show the steps and get into the details of data transformation.

    Important tip #1: When in doubt, save all files when testing schema-mapping validation
    Important tip #2:  In Microsoft PowerPoint, un-check Fast save to keep your presentation from growing. Or use Save As to shrink your PowerPoint files.
    Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 @ 14:05:38 UTC by BB
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