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Michael Stephenson keeping your feet on premise while your heads in the cloud
I have eventually got around to wiring up the BizTalk Documenter to our build process today. I did have an issue which is already logged on the codeplex site for the Documenter about problems when tracking is enabled on ports. I have worked around this problem by getting the source code for the documenter and building a local version of it with a fix until the next release where hopefully this will have been resolved. If you want more info about this please refer to:
Anyway back to the main part. So I wanted to hook in the Documenter which you can do from the command line, but while I had been looking at the code for the tool it seemed that it would be very easy to create a custom MsBuild task which would make it a little easier when adding it to build scripts.
The C# code for the build task is at the bottom of the article.
The xml to use the task looks like the following snippet:
ReportName="MyApplication Documentation"/>
Points to Note:
  • Remember to import your task using the UsingTask element)
  • There are a number of other options on the task you would just set the appropriate properties, see C# below
The task I have created is intended to make it simple to document a single BizTalk application as part of that applications build process. When I want to document the full BizTalk server including all applications I tend to do this on demand and just use the tool.
In summary the BizTalk Documenter is a really cool tool and can be used to ensure you have accurate and up-to-date documentation for your BizTalk solution. I would recommend any project to use it.
The documenter can be obtained from the following location:
using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Diagnostics;
using System.Text;
using Microsoft.Build.Framework;
using Microsoft.Build.Utilities;
using Microsoft.BizTalk.ExplorerOM;
using Microsoft.Sdc.BiztalkDocumenter;
using Microsoft.Sdc.BiztalkDocumenter.Publishers;
namespace Acme.BizTalk.Build.Tasks.Bts
    /// <summary>
    /// This is an msbuild task to document a biztalk application
    /// </summary>
    public class BizTalkDocumenter : Task
        private string _Application;
        private string _DatabaseName;
        private bool _IncludeRules;
        private string _OutputDirectory;
        private IPublisher _Publisher;
        private string _ReportName;
        private string _ResourcesFolder;
        private string _RulesDatabase;
        private string _RulesServer;
        private string _Server;
        //Note: I have omitted all of the properties from this code snippet to keep it smaller
        /// <summary>
        /// This will start an application
        /// </summary>
        /// <returns></returns>
        public override bool Execute()
            Logger.LogMessage(this, string.Format(CultureInfo.CurrentCulture, "Executing task: {0}", MethodInfo.GetCurrentMethod().ReflectedType.FullName));
            if (!System.IO.Directory.Exists(this._OutputDirectory))
                throw new ApplicationException("The output directory does not exist");
            ArrayList applications = new ArrayList();
            this._Publisher = new CompiledHelpPublisher();
            if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(this._Server))
                this._Server = Environment.MachineName;
            if (this._IncludeRules)
                if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(this._RulesServer))
                    this._RulesServer = Environment.MachineName;
            Documenter documenter = new Documenter();
            documenter.PercentageDocumentationComplete += new UpdatePercentageComplete(this.DocumenterStatus);
            documenter.Applications = applications;
            documenter.Database = this._DatabaseName;
            documenter.DocumentRules = this._IncludeRules;
            documenter.OutputDir = this._OutputDirectory;
            documenter.Publisher = this._Publisher;
            documenter.PublishType = PublishType.SpecificApplication;
            documenter.ReportName = this._ReportName;
            documenter.ResourceFolder = this._ResourcesFolder;
            documenter.RulesDatabase = this._RulesDatabase;
            documenter.RulesServer = this._RulesServer;
            documenter.ShowOutput = false;
            documenter.Server = this._Server;
            return true;
        /// <summary>
        /// Updates the status of the documenter
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="percentage"></param>
        private void DocumenterStatus(int percentage)
            Trace.WriteLine("Documenter status: " + percentage.ToString());
        #region Properties
        /// <remarks/>
        public string Server
            get { return _Server; }
            set { _Server = value; }
        /// <remarks/>
        public string RulesServer
            get { return _RulesServer; }
            set { _RulesServer = value; }
        /// <remarks/>
        public string RulesDatabase
            get { return _RulesDatabase; }
            set { _RulesDatabase = value; }
        /// <remarks/>
        public string ResourcesFolder
            get { return _ResourcesFolder; }
            set { _ResourcesFolder = value; }
        /// <remarks/>
        public string ReportName
            get { return _ReportName; }
            set { _ReportName = value; }
        /// <remarks/>
        public string OutputDirectory
            get { return _OutputDirectory; }
            set { _OutputDirectory = value; }
        /// <remarks/>
        public bool IncludeRules
            get { return _IncludeRules; }
            set { _IncludeRules = value; }
        /// <remarks/>
        public string DatabaseName
            get { return _DatabaseName; }
            set { _DatabaseName = value; }
        /// <remarks/>
        public string Application
            get { return _Application; }
            set { _Application = value; }
Update 28 Jan 2008
Ive added a sample showing this to the below location.  The code is slightly different than the snippets above but it should be straight forward enough.  There is 2 projects the first is the msbuild task and the second is an example showing how to use it.
Note with this sample I have referenced the normal downloaded version of the BizTalk Documenter.  Based on this you may experience the issue I have described at the top of this article.


I have noticed a few sites that seem to copy the content of blog articles and display them in their own site.  It is a bit annoying that they do not clearly reference or acknowledge the author so I have decided to put this note on the bottom of all of my posts from now so it is clear who wrote it.

This article was written by: Michael Stephenson

The source of this article is:

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 8:06 PM BizTalk , MsBuild | Back to top

Comments on this post: BizTalk 2006 Documenter MsBuild Task

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