DevDays 2007, were you there?
DevDays 2007…I was there, but were you? For those of you living in the Netherlands, Microsoft held the 2007 edition of DevDays and off course Avanade was well represented. On the main plaza you could find our stand where we were running an XNA demo on two giant plasma screens. One was running on a laptop and the other live on a Xbox360. Okay, Avanade doesn’t actually do projects using XNA, but we didn’t mind.
First release of MCE Guide Editor
Today I released the first edition of MCE Guide Editor. I created this tool because of the very long list of channels I got since I use satellite tv. Reordering the channels is a real pain in the ass if you use the Media Center user interface. Here’s where MCE Guide Editor comes in… MCE Guide Editor allows you to change the order of channels of your Media Center setup in an easy way, using drag and drop.
.Net Magazine article published online
Today I found out that my article on BAM for the Dutch .Net Magazine of december 2006 is published online. It’s an introduction to BAM and I wrote it because I think BAM is far underused at the moment. If you understand Dutch you might want to check it out here. Ex-collegue Dick Dijkstra also wrote an article for the same edition of the .Net Magazine. His article is about the new and improved error handling methods in BizTalk Server 2006.
MCTS BizTalk Server 2006
Today I passed the 70-235 exam, required for earning the MCTS BizTalk Server 2006 certification. About 20% of the questions was related to the Business Rule Engine (BRE) and another 15% to Business Activity Monitoring (BAM). The other questions were all general BizTalk questions, including some questions on Role Links. I found the exam a little difficult, mainly because I haven’t worked with the BRE that much and also haven’t used Role Links.
Jolly, they got me! Dennis just tagged me. At first I had no clue what it meant, but it seems a game of tag, and now I’m it. This means I have to write five things not much people know about me. So here it goes My girlfriend is Tamara Bos and we’re together for over 7.5 years now. She’s my first and only true love and we are very happy with each other, especially now we are living together in Almere since last october.
BizTalk shell extension
I would like to share one interesting tool I came across. This is a tool for Viewing BizTalk Assemblies Deployed on BizTalk Server. Not only you can view the deployed assemblies but can also view the contents of the assembly by double clicking on assembly. Also you can dive deeper by double clicking the individual BizTalk Artifact where you can view more detailed info. Say if, you double click a schema of an assembly you will see the schema of that particular message.
BizTalk Troubleshooting Guide
For beginners BizTalk can be really difficult to learn. They don’t know how to perform certain tasks and are stunned by a lot of (for them) cryptical warnings and errors. Luckily there’s the BizTalk Troubleshooting Guide which covers most (if not all) of the tasks, messages, tips, trics, know-hows and what else. Even for an experienced BizTalk enthousiast like me it contains a lot of interesting stuff. Use it as your BizTalk bible.
Accessing flat file content in orchestration
Sometimes the requirement for your BizTalk solution is to receive a flat file (read: not xml) in your orchestration an do something with the data. An example could be receiving a PDF file and extracting some portions of data out of it. Some BizTalk developers already know that you can receive whatever file without treating it as XML by using System.Xml.XmlDocument as its message type (sounds silly doesn’t it?). After you’ve received the message you can’t access it as you normally do because it’s still a byte stream.
Storing configuration inside SSO database
Maybe the simplest way to store configuration data for your BizTalk solution is to use the BTSNTSvc.exe.config file and the System.Configuration namespace to access that data. Most of the time I’m using this method on projects, but it introduces problems in BizTalk farms because you need to keep the configuration in sync. Another way would be to use a database, but that still requires a connection string to be present somewhere (again the BTSNTSvc.
BizTalk Adapter whitepaper
Mike McKeown has a great blog where he elaborates on BizTalk Adapter development. He has some nice tutorials, howto’s and whitepapers listed on his blog. Some time ago he released a BizTalk Adapter developent whitepaper regarding transactional adapters and adapter base classes. You should definetely read this if you’re involved in developing new adapters. Also don’t forget to read his other material.
Pipeline Testing Framework for BTS06
Tomas Restrepo wrote a really useful framework to test pipelines and pipeline components. Some time ago he released the first version of his framework and posted a couple of howto’s to get you started. It’s definitely worth stopping by his blog.