Charles Young

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April 2004 Entries

Two monitors are better than one when it comes to designing Orchestrations!


Shawn Smith has added to the growing pile of questions surrounding transaction handling in BTS 2004


The Throw shape requires an existing exception object, unless you use the 'General Exception mechanism to rethrow a current exception.


BizTalk 2004 supports long-running and atomic transactions within Orchestrations. The model has changed a bit from earlier versions, and atomic transactions are no longer based on DTC transactions by default. This article explains some of the features of transactions, and also speculates about the exact behaviour of 'batched' atomic transactions - a subject that is currently very opaque due to a lack of documentation.


I posted on the BusinessWeek article about Longhorn a few days ago "The 16 year slip".   Jeremy Mazner has issued a detailed rebuttal of this article on his blog site.   So I take it all back.   A 12 year slip, only.

A default installation of WSS installs the service on the default web site and uses wMSDE, even if SQL Server is already installed. Many of us have worked out how to avoid these defaults, but in the hope that the information will be of use to someone out there, here is a brief article detailing a step-by-step approach to using a non-default web site and an existing instance of SQL Server.


Well, it's 18th April, and I am very out of date with this, but I can't resist broadcasting one of the funnier April Fools I have seen for some time - All care of the InfoPath team at Microsoft:


Ever wondered what it would be like to be hit by an asteroid?   This handy utility is a must-have for all paranoid people.

 


In a recent blog entitled "Did BizTalk get more complicated with 2004", my boss, Andy James (who has just moved his blog to GeeksWithBlogs), wrote that "the fine new orchestration engine and toolset [in BizTalk 2004] is now no longer A RAD business process development tool". Now, I know the background to his comments, and I know that this statement is in part because of recent experiences in a piece of development in which I had no small involvement. I would say that BizTalk 2004 is sophisticated, ......

I enjoyed the following quote which I stumbled across on the web... "At this stage in its evolution, .NET’s main advantage is its potential for greatly enhanced programmer productivity. One development firm, Empowered Software, grew a client’s application to a million lines of code as it evolved through various releases of Visual Basic. “Over the past nine months, we rebuilt it with Visual Basic .NET, and it's now less than 400 lines of code,” says Keith Franklin, president ......

Damn. I was working on a set of naming conventions for BizTalk 2004 orchestrations - they are really necessary - and was looking forward to being the first to publish a suggested approach. Then I found this excellent blog post from Scott Colestock. It's all pretty similar to what we were coming up with. A couple of central features, which I strongly agree with, are: Use of Pascal casing for shapes and types, and camal casing for variables Descriptive names for shapes that tell you what they do within ......

In a BusinessWeek article, spookily dated 19th April, I’ve read that Microsoft is currently backtracking significantly on Longhorn functionality. Longhorn is now expected to ship in first half of 2006 with reduced features. The article specifically suggests that the new OO filing system (WinFS) will be cut down to work on local machines only – i.e., won’t be network-enabled. The full WinFS won’t be introduced until the end of the decade. I remember the early 90’s when ......

Various BizTalk-related postings


For those who like archaeology, I dug up the XLANG/s preview software from the 2001 PDC and had a quick look.


The latest (April 2004) release of the documentation for BizTalk 2004 directly addresses the issue of sending HTML mail via the SMTP adapter. Although the adapter itself doesn't know anything about HTML mail, you can indeed do this by using the MIME/SMIME encoder in your own send pipeline. However, you also have to know about another slightly obscure feature, which is that you can set a ContentType property on individual parts of a Multi-Part message in orchestration.


XLANG/s is not, in the strictest sense, a new .NET language (i.e., it doesn't compile directly to IL). When you compile a BizTalk Visual Studio project, a whole bunch of temporary C# files are generated for orchestrations, pipelines, messages, schemas, maps, etc. XLANG/s simply scripts the output of the some of this generated source code.


I have seen the future, and the future is Microsoft Virtual Server.


BizTalk 2004's XLANG/s language is syntactically reminiscent of C#, and it is natural to assume that it exhibits similar features. In fact, XLANG/s is very different to C#, providing specific support for process flow, whilst offering only a rudimentary set of features for expressing business logic. This article explains the differences.


Someone asked me a couple of days ago why web references in BizTalk projects use .odx files. Here's the answer.


The built-in schema generation facility in Visual Studio was designed only to support the requirements of ADO.NET. BizTalk Server 2004 provides an alternative.


Quick & dirty workaround for a 'Not a member of Debugger Users' problem in Visual Studio .NET.


A few comments on BizTalk and InfoPath


Hello.  I've moved by blog site from charlesyoung.joeuser.com to geekswithblogs.   I have had to give in and admit that I am a geek, and not an average joe.

I'm a technical consultant working for a UK company specialising in BizTalk integration, so expect lots of BizTalk, WSS/SPS, CMS and general .NET stuff here.