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Don't automatically shove your config in BTSNTSVC.exe.config because its easy?

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I wrote a blog post a few years ago around the options for where you could put configuration settings in BizTalk (Click here).  As I mention in the blog post its very common that people just fill the BizTalk config file with lots of settings because its the easiest option.  I often work on big projects where you have many BizTalk projects running at the same time with different delivery deadlines.  One of the problems is that the BizTalk configuration file is one of the few resources that is shared across your applications no matter what.  When you have settings that are in the BizTalk config file then your BizTalk application now has additional dependancies so if you want to produce a new version of the file you have to be careful to consider how changes to the file may affect other BizTalk applications.

Symptoms:

  • You have a big project with many BizTalk projects running at the same time
  • You have large development teams
  • You have different applications running on the same group
  • You have poor dependancy management between your projects
  • You dont have much governance around changes to the BizTalk config file

Pain:

  • A change for one application may break anothers functionality
  •  

Cure:

  • Dont take the quick and easy option just because its quick and easy

Im not saying its bad to use the BizTalk config file, far from it.  What I do think is a good idea though is to have a development process and governance around changes to the BizTalk configuration file to ensure a quick and easy change doesnt bite you in the future.  If you want to put something in the file for custom application configuration make sure you talk it through with your technical lead or others on the team to ensure everyone agrees that the BizTalk configuration file is the right place to put it.  Also have some guidelines and standards for your team to determine what types of configuration should go where.

 

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2012 10:33 AM BizTalk , Patterns and Anti Patterns | Back to top


Comments on this post: BizTalk Anti-Pattern: Chuck it in the config file because its an easy place to put it

# re: BizTalk Anti-Pattern: Chuck it in the config file because its an easy place to put it
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Good post Michael! As a BizTalk Administrator I have to deal with all kind of configurations in all kind of places, mostly varying from (BizTalk) config files to database tables. Given the symptoms you mention the (BizTalk) Administrator can be the linking pin between the projects, as he/she has the overview of how all the BizTalk applications will become available in the different DTAP environments.
By supplying guidelines the BizTalk Admin to the different projects at least it is taking care of that configuration settings are stored in a consistent manner.
Great that you've added this in Howard's anti-pattern article on TechNet Wiki as well! That is going to be a valuable resource!
Left by Lex Hegt on May 06, 2012 7:27 AM

# re: BizTalk Anti-Pattern: Chuck it in the config file because its an easy place to put it
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hi lex

thanks for the comment glad you agree

out of curiosity in organisations where you have many biztalk projects running concurrently and a seperate biztalk admin role do you find that the BTS Admin is invited to be involved in the early stages of a project?

Cheers
Mike
Left by mike on May 06, 2012 8:50 PM

# re: BizTalk Anti-Pattern: Chuck it in the config file because its an easy place to put it
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Hi Mike,
I have been working close to the Development Team at my current assignment, but unfortunately me and my collegues were hardly ever involved at those early stages.
And that's a bad thing, because especially experienced BizTalk Admins can add value to the Development Team. This added value results in an increasement of the maintainability and manageability of the system at hand.
Luckily lately a number of BizTalk Admins (including myself) are showing the BizTalk community that they exist (www.biztalkadmin.com, www.biztalkadminsblogging.com) and try to show the importance of involving them to come to a better BizTalk solution.
I haven't seen Tord's (Nordahl) presentation yet, but knowing him (personally), I'm sure he'll have a number of good points at his presentation (this Thursday at the UK Connected systems User Group) to convince BizTalk developers to consult BizTalk Admins in the design stage of the project.
Left by Lex Hegt on May 07, 2012 1:03 AM

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