Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Windows Azure Service Bus Topics and Queues

A topic that I think BizTalk professional find appealing in Windows Azure is the Service Bus (part of Windows Azure AppFabric). Service Bus provides secure messaging and connectivity capabilities that enable building distributed and disconnected applications in the cloud, as well hybrid application across both on-premises and the cloud.

One of new features is topics and queues. Clemens Vasters did a talk on Windows Azure Service Bus Topics and Queues during Windows Build and an advanced one, which you find on his blog.

You can work with this new feature through Windows Azure AppFabric SDK V1.5 - September 2011. The version 1.5 SDK includes an updated Service Bus assembly that includes support for durable, or “brokered” messaging features, such as queues, topics, and subscriptions. These features require the .NET Framework version 4.0. (Note: If you have a dependency on the .NET Framework version 3.5, you should download or continue to use version 1.0 of the AppFabric SDK.)

If you have virtual machine available or laptop following requirements are applicable:

  • Account Requirements Before running the samples in the SDK, you must have one or more service namespaces. To create a Windows Azure AppFabric service namespace, you have to register or login Windows Azure Platform Portal.
  • Runtime Requirements The Windows Azure AppFabric SDK samples are available as Visual Studio 2010 solutions (C# and VB) and require Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 higher to run. The SDK is supported on Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP operating systems. For Windows Server AppFabric integration, IIS7.5 is required.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Documenting BizTalk Environment and BizTalk Solution

When it comes to documentation with BizTalk it can be challenging task. What do and what do I not document and how do I document it. In my view there are three types of documentation when it comes to BizTalk in my opinion. That is:

  • BizTalk Environment (Design) document
  • Functional Design of BizTalk Solution
  • Technical (Design) of BizTalk Solution

BizTalk Environment (design) documentation you can described the different BizTalk environment Development, UAT and Production. In this type of document you can roughly describe the following:

  • Purpose;
  • Design Decisions regarding environments;
  • Considerations/Issues;
  • Landscape (how does it fit with in IT-Landscape in Enterprise);
  • MS BizTalk and SQL Server editions;
  • SQL Server configuration (sizing disk, clustering e.a.);
  • ICT Policy (Back up, Anti-virus, Patching, e.a.) applied in Enterprise;
  • Operating Systems;
  • Security Settings;
  • Backup and Restore (procedures e.a.);
  • BizTalk Group Configuration (clustering, availability e.a.);
  • Host configuration;

To add you in documenting the environment or take into consideration (i.e. reference material) is MSDN Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010 Operations Guide.

Functional Design you describe how solution will work, which service it will call, what type of message’s it excepts, processes and sends. You can use notation symbols found in EAI Patterns site and create a functional model for your BizTalk solution (see example below).



You can also use UML like state diagram to depict process that is implemented in BizTalk solution (see picture below).


Besides diagrams, you will also document specifications for messages (data types, restrictions, e.a.), security settings, protocols, message patterns, and so on.

Finally Technical (design) documentation of BizTalk solution and its configuration is fairly simple as you use BizTalk documenter for it. This is tool found on codeplex that can automatically generate a document (compiled chm, and even HTML for 2010 version).You can start documenter and following screen will be shown.


Click Next, Select if you want to completely document entire configuration of specific BizTalk application.


Click Next, you can select (this is new with BizTalk 2010 documenter) SSO configuration e.a.


Click Next, choose output options.


Finally you can click Generate Documentation and documentation will generated for you in desired format.


As you can see working with documenter is pretty straight forward and type of documentation can be realized with minimal effort. You can keep this documentation easy up to date when changes are made to BizTalk solution. Versioning your solution and its documentation is very important here! Documentation of BizTalk environment will take more effort and will be done in MS Word with perhaps drawings from Visio (there are BizTalk stencils, see post by Sandro). Functional documentation regarding your BizTalk solution will also require some effort, but vital before implementing your solution. Usually MS Word and Visio are used here as well.

Comments are welcome as I am interested in your view on documenting BizTalk.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

BizTalk Server 2010 Patterns by Dan Rosanova

Currently I am in Toronto staying at friend enjoying some free time before heading to San Francisco, and SoCal for the Windows Build Conference. Still I find some time to write this post, which I wanted to as BizTalk Server 2010 Patterns book is there for pre-order. A new BizTalk book written by Dan Rosanova, two time MVP BizTalk Server, and over a decade over of experience delivering solutions on Microsoft platforms in different branches. It is published by PACKT and reviewed by myself, fellow MVP Randal van Splunteren and Rene Brauwers, basically an all Dutch BizTalk Technical Review team.

I enjoyed reviewing it and found that the author has put in tremendous effort together with a lot of people at PACKT and fellow reviewers to be able to publish such a fine book. I realize it may sound/read like I am shamelessly plugging/promoting this book, but I really mean it. Therefor I am going to tell you why I mean it and why as an professional integration professional, consultant or architect in Microsoft space need to buy this book.

First of all it is a great book, and in first part it extensively details the important parts of BizTalk, how to structure your solution, XLANG, architecture and its components like BAM, artefacts (i.e. orchestrations, pipelines, maps), operation architecture (i.e. scalability, availability), (unit) testing and messaging concepts. The second part the focus shifts from theory to practice and will be very appealing for professionals that develop BizTalk solutions. This part delivers you the skills to error handling, WCF-SQL Adapter capabilities, BRE (i.e. policies, vocabularies and rules), dealing with flat files and bindings, BAM, SQL Broker (Notifications), SharePoint, orchestration patterns (i.e. conveys), handling zombies and some other concepts.

Second reason is that this book neatly fits in with other BizTalk books published by PACKT like :

Third and final reason you will be a better BizTalk professional or architect, when applying the knowledge found in BizTalk Patterns book and others. Who wouldn’t want that!


Book is available through Amazon and PACKT is self, so go to either of one and order it!

Cheers, and now I am off to diner.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Proef Ordina! Aangenaam kennis te maken

Proef Ordina! Zomer editie geeft je donderdagavond 22 september een kijkje in de keuken van Ordina. Je bent bij Ordina thuis uitgenodigd! In een ongedwongen sfeer kun je kennismaken met Ordina als werkgever en ontdekken wat ‘jouw toekomst bij Ordina’ is.

Want bij Ordina is de zomer nog niet voorbij! Samen maken we deze avond tot een groot succes: barbecue, inhoud en een spetterend optreden van talenten van de Voice of Holland Pearl, Rafaella en Bart.

Tijdens de avond krijg je onder andere een kijkje in de keuken van de Excellence Centers van Ordina. Zowel professionals als leden van het management zijn aanwezig om je te informeren over de diensten en producten die wij aan onze klanten leveren. Via demo’s, presentaties en gesprekken hoor en zie je wat voor moois er allemaal gebakken wordt in de keuken van Ordina.

Kijk voor meer info op http://www.proefordina.nl/