Michael Stephenson

keeping your feet on premise while your heads in the cloud
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BizTalk HL7 Testing - Tool to get config from BTS Management DB
As a follow up to the HL7 testing framework I published recently the below video is about a tool which is part of the framework which will allow you to generate the configuration you might require for the tests to stub an application or to send messages to biztalk by pointing the tool at your biztalk management database and letting it inspect the ports you have already setup.https://www.youtube.c... ......

Posted On Monday, April 21, 2014 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Automated Testing of BizTalk HL7 solutions with Specflow
Recently ive been working on a small widget to help with automated testing of BizTalk HL7 implementations. In the below link there is a video which walks through how all of this works.http://youtu.be/DivfV... open sourced an assembly and the sample from the video if you would like to play around with thishttps://appfxhl7testing... to hear any feedback on how people get on with it ......

Posted On Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:41 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Services – Can I create a mapping service in the cloud
Ive recently been playing with some of the use cases you might be able to implement using Windows Azure BizTalk Services. In this case I wanted to look at the options for exposing the transformation capability of BizTalk as a service which applications could use. This is something that you might occasionally do in BizTalk Server where you simply take a message transform it and return a response. It allows you to abstract this transformation logic outside of the application and perhaps centralize ......

Posted On Monday, March 17, 2014 1:30 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Just some thoughts on light weight integration
I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about how the integration world is changing and how integration products are changing to reflect this. While "back in the day" we had the large enterprise integration products which were a big deal in the 1990's and through the 2000's but things are taking a different direction these days. Today integration is very much about light weight integration, API's, making it simpler, making it cheaper. While these things are all completely valid reasons ......

Posted On Monday, March 10, 2014 12:17 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Real-world WABS - Part 1
Ive done a video about some thoughts about using windows azure biztalk services in the real world.

Check it out here:

Love to hear peoples thoughts

Posted On Sunday, March 9, 2014 2:04 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

The Future of BizTalk?
This week BizTalk 360 held a really exceptional conference in London which had many great speakers. I was disappointed to have to withdraw from being a speaker a few weeks ago and I was unable to attend the full conference, but there was some really good content in this event. One of the things I got thinking a lot about was based on the talks by Guru and Jon about the current BizTalk Services offering and what's coming. In this meeting Jon held up the old BizTalk diagram from a few years ago which ......

Posted On Friday, March 7, 2014 11:00 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Summarizing event log data from BizTalk 360
If you are using BizTalk 360 and want to get an overview of some of the events which have been occurring in your event log, the below is quite a handy little query which will summarize the different type of events so you can easily see the most common ones.SELECT EventId, Source, COUNT(1) AS [No Instances], Computer, MessageFROM dbo.b360_ev_EventLogDataGROUP BY EventId, Source, CONVERT(varchar(8), Timestamp, 112), Message, ComputerHAVING (CONVERT(varchar(8), Timestamp, 112) = CONVERT(varchar(8), ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 21, 2013 1:20 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Testing Inside BizTalk update
Ive just released an update to the codeplex project so that there are test steps which are also compatible with BizUnit v4 which has recently been released http://btsloggingeventsinbi.codeplex.com/

Posted On Saturday, June 11, 2011 12:14 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Why aren’t there more BizTalk accelerators?
I've recently been talking to a few friends about the applications which various integration products claim to support integration into. It's quite an interesting thing to consider these days and for some vendors it's a great way of looking really cool by having loads of application icons showing how many apps you can integrate with. In BizTalk world a few years ago we used to be in a really good place but I think now a days BizTalk looks weak in this space when compared against some competitors. ......

Posted On Friday, March 7, 2014 10:13 AM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Considerations for Logging in Hybrid Integration Solutions
As many of my readers will know, I've been doing a lot of work around Hybrid integration solutions over the last few years involving Windows Azure Service Bus and various other technologies. One of the challenges which comes up in any architecture is how do you manage and implement logging. Well if you consider that we are now often building globally distributed applications in various data centers which we own, or data centers which we rent from cloud providers, this logging challenge is now even ......

Posted On Thursday, January 23, 2014 3:20 AM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

UK Connected Systems User Group Website
Hi AllJust a heads up that the new uk connected system user group website is now live and out there. http://ukcsug.co.ukAlso some info about the UK Hybrid Integration Event including Azure, BizTalk Services, BizTalk, et alhttp://ukcsug.co.uk/the-h... ......

Posted On Thursday, August 29, 2013 2:59 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

UK Connected Systems User Group Website
Hi AllJust a heads up that the new uk connected system user group website is now live and out there. http://ukcsug.co.ukAlso some info about the UK Hybrid Integration Event including Azure, BizTalk Services, BizTalk, et alhttp://ukcsug.co.uk/the-h... ......

Posted On Thursday, August 29, 2013 2:33 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BDD BizTalk videos on CloudCast

The biztalk videos for BDD and acceptance testing are now on cloudcast

http://www.cloudcasts.net/Default.aspx?category=BizTalk

Posted On Friday, August 5, 2011 2:41 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Behaviour Driven BizTalk Development

Ive recently done some user group sessions around BizTalk and Behaviour Driven Development and Acceptance Testing.

Ive uploaded the videos and samples for these sessions to the following codeplex site.

http://biztalkbddsample.codeplex.com/

They will also be on CloudCasts soon

Enjoy

 

Posted On Monday, July 18, 2011 9:25 AM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Administrator Application Quality Checklist
Over the years one of the tools we have used to help guide improvement of the development of BizTalk applications and deployment to through test environments and into production is the BizTalk Administrator Application Quality Checklist. This is based on some work my friend Mo Uppal did around managing applications being migrated into the application automated releases he was implementing. The idea was that it could help you to understand where a particular application delivery sits in terms of the ......

Posted On Saturday, February 1, 2014 1:39 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Deployment Automation, DevOps and a bit of BizTalk
I should have done a shout out about this ages ago, but if anyone is interested in deployment automation and at a high level touching on how BizTalk played into this for a large enterprise check out the below video.

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/ALM-Summit/ALM-Summit-3/Implementing-Successful-Continuous-Deployment-Practices-for-DevOps

Posted On Wednesday, January 29, 2014 4:09 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Architectural Thoughts on JSON from a BizTalk Perspective
I wrote this article a while back and Saravana has been kind enough to publish it as a whitepaper through BizTalk 360's whitepaper gallery.Its a discussion around JSON and BizTalk and some of the things BizTalk people need to think about as the use of JSON with BizTalk increaseshttp://go.biztalk3... a big thanks to my friends Richard Seroter, Steef-Jan Wiggers and Kent Weare for reviewing itBe great to hear what people think ......

Posted On Thursday, January 23, 2014 3:26 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Feature Request - BizTalk360 - Control users accessing server directly
I was talking to Saravana over drinks about a feature I would like to see in BizTalk 360 and thought id share it to see what people think. Problem Statement The problem is that most customers of BTS360 have a load of users who log directly into the BizTalk server and its a bit of a culture change for them to have to stop doing this. When they start doing things in BizTalk 360 and find there is a task which cant be done in BTS360 and needs the user to access the server they just do it and there isnt ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 27, 2013 11:19 AM | Comments (2) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Testing BizTalk 2013 Maps with the Visual Studio Fakes Framework
A few people have been asking me about this since I originally showed this presentation back at the BizTalk bootcamp in Charlotte in May 2013 so I have eventually gotten around to videoing this presentation.Its not a long one but hopefully it will give you some very useful thoughts on how to improve the testing of BizTalk solutionsCheck it out on the below link....http://www.youtube.... ......

Posted On Monday, August 19, 2013 11:28 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Maturity Assessment Popularity
Really cool to see how popular the BizTalk Maturity Assessment is starting to be. I haven't looked for a couple of weeks but was pleasantly surprised to see how many more downloads there have been. The places its being downloaded most are:1. USA2. UK3. Holland & Australia4. BelgiumThere are also downloads from India, and Korea amongst others.Great to see word is getting out there and hope people are finding this useful ......

Posted On Saturday, August 3, 2013 6:48 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

UK Connected Systems User Group Recap from July
Just a note to recap some of the discussion and activity from the recent UK Connected Systems User Group in July.AppFx.ServiceBusWe discussed some of the implementation details of the AppFx.ServiceBus codeplex project. This brought up some discussion around peoples experiences with Windows Azure Service Bus and how this codeplex project can help. The slides from this presentation are available at the following location.https://appfxservi... Maturity AssessmentThe ......

Posted On Monday, July 29, 2013 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Maturity Assessment Video
Ive just released a new video about an overview of the BizTalk Maturity Assessment which can help you to understand what it covers and how it may help you


Posted On Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:32 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Another cause of Internal Error 2761 - BizTalk 2013
I had another occasion where I was getting the internal error 2761 error when trying to install BizTalk 2013.

This time it was not related to the "Run as Administrator" trap I fell into a couple of weeks ago.  This time the cause was that I had not activated MS Office 2013.  So before installing BizTalk 2013 remember to open and activate your install of Office 2013

Posted On Monday, May 20, 2013 9:45 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

New project should I go BizTalk 2010 or BizTalk 2013?
I was recently working with a customer around the initiation of a new project and we had to make a decision about wether we should choose BizTalk 2010 or BizTalk 2013 for this project.Obviously being a keen techy I was actively encouraging the choice of BizTalk 2013 but as any responsible architect knows its important to follow a structured decision making process to evaluate the pro's and con's of the different options and make a sensible decision for your organisation and to also have justification ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 23, 2013 7:18 AM | Comments (3) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Failed to retrieve basic properties of pipeline component
Just a note to self in case I bump into this one again. I created a custom pipeline component and when adding it to the pipeline designer then clicking save you get the following error: Failed to retrieve basic properties of the Pipeline Component: xxxxxxx After a bit of digging I worked out the problem was my code interacting with IPropertyBag in the implementation of the Load and Save methods of the interface. My problem was that the string I was using for the key of the property bag had spaced ......

Posted On Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:02 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Behaviour Driven Maturity Model
For anyone who is interested I have written a small paper about the theory behind the BizTalk Maturity Assessment using a generic framework I have called the "Behaviour Driven Maturity Model" and then how it could be applied to the assessment of other subjects.The paper is on the following link:http://btsmaturity.blo... you would like to create a model for a different subject area based on the details ......

Posted On Tuesday, July 2, 2013 12:32 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk 360 Alarms, How do you configure yours?
Ive recently written a guest post for BizTalk 360 on their blog about how customers may configure BizTalk 360 Alarms to optimize getting the right information to the right type of support people.This is my thoughts on how users of BTS 360 can get the best value out of BizTalk 360 alarmshttp://blogs.biztalk3... ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 18, 2013 9:19 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Analysing Application Interface Capabilities
When you work on integration projects one of the common things you do is to analyse the capabilities of an application to support different integration techniques. One of the things I tend to find organisations often oversee the importance of is to document and govern the interface approaches used for each application.What I like to see on a project would be a list of the applications that you integrate with in your organisation, and then for each application there should be a document which provides ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 4, 2013 8:14 PM | Comments (3) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Integration between Resource and Message Based Architectures
I've been thinking for a while about the way in which resource based architectures and messaging based architectures interact with each other. Resource based architectures have increased in popularity a lot over recent years and I have read a number of articles in the community but I've always felt there was a gap and lack of discussion and guidance over the integration between resource based architectures and message based architectures. I have had a couple of chats with colleagues who's opinion ......

Posted On Saturday, May 11, 2013 4:35 PM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Testing BizTalk XLANGMessage with the Fakes Framework
Ive been interested in exploring the opportunities around the Fakes Framework for testing BizTalk solutions for a while now, and until recently its been sitting as one of the many blog articles I have intended to write but haven't got around to. This week we have started looking at a BizTalk 2013 project and this presented an excellent opportunity to explore this idea. I decided to look at the common problem people have faced in the past when you want to unit test some code and it has a dependency ......

Posted On Monday, April 29, 2013 12:18 PM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk 2013 Installation - Internal Error 2761
If you are installing BizTalk 2013 and get the error "Internal Error 2761"Just check you remembered to right click and Run As Administrator on the BizTalk setup.exe ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 23, 2013 8:03 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Message Archiving
Recently at the BizTalk Summit in London I was asked a question about Message Archiving from BizTalk and one of the most common solutions to this is the Message Archiving Pipeline Component which was written by my old friend Nick Heppleson.After the summit I was pondering this archiving feature and wish that at the time I had mentioned Storsimple. Recently Id been speaking with Michael Royster from Microsoft in the UK and he had been telling me about the new acqusition Microsoft had made and how ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:17 PM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

My Thoughts on the future of BizTalk - Post BizTalk Summit 2012
I thought I’d brain dump a few thoughts after the recent BizTalk summit and how some of the information will help shape solutions with the customers whom I work with. BizTalk On-Premise Traditionally for a Microsoft focused integration team BizTalk was often used as the platform for nearly all integration solutions and this was often taken to the degree where some companies would make enterprise architecture decisions that “all integration would be done in BizTalk”. As a product BizTalk often would ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 8, 2013 12:43 PM | Comments (14) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

UK Connected Systems User Group Oct 2012
Just a little note for the uk connected systems user group next wednesday.

We have a great pair of sessions lined up, would be great to see you there

Posted On Friday, October 12, 2012 1:13 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Build & Deployment Guide for Service Bus Relay Project
Ive recently published a sample guide based on a real-world project where we implemented an on-premise WCF routing solution to connect SAAS applications to our on premise line of business applications. The guide will discuss: How we configured and setup the infrastructure How we setup the on-premise server to listen to the service bus What software we used How we configured Windows Azure This contains some useful contextual information around the reference scenario and hopefull this will be very ......

Posted On Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

WCF Routing Service Filter Generator
Recently I've been working with the WCF routing service and in our case we were simply routing based on the SOAP Action. This is a pretty good approach for a standard redirection of the message when all messages matching a SOAP Action will go to the same endpoint. Using the SOAP Action also lets you be specific about which methods you expose via the router. One of the things which was a pain was the number of routing rules I needed to create because we were routing for a lot of different methods. ......

Posted On Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Cleaning your BizTalk Build Server
Just a little note for myself this one.At one of my customers where it is still BizTalk 2006 one of the build servers is intermittently getting issues so I wanted to run a script periodically to clean things up a little. The below script is an example of how you can stop cruise control and all of the biztalk services, then clean the biztalk databases and reset the backup process and then click everything off again.This should keep the server a little cleaner and reduce the number of builds that occasionally ......

Posted On Saturday, September 15, 2012 12:20 AM | Comments (2) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Monitoring Windows Azure Service Bus Endpoint with BizTalk 360?
I'm currently working with a customer who is undergoing an initiative to expose some of their line of business applications to external partners and SAAS applications and as part of this we have been looking at using the Windows Azure Service Bus. For the first part of the project we were focused on some synchronous request response scenarios where an external application would use the Service Bus relay functionality to get data from some internal applications. When we were looking at the operational ......

Posted On Thursday, September 13, 2012 12:09 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Should I use a Protocol adapter or an application adapter
I was chatting the other day with someone about adapters for connecting to LOB applications and an interesting point came up which I thought id share my thoughts on. The scenarios is that if you have a line of business application for arguments sake lets say its dynamics CRM which has a BizTalk adapter available but also has an existing web service API (or some other protocol based API). Which should you use for integration? In my opinion the answer to this is the usual "it depends" answer. I think ......

Posted On Friday, June 3, 2011 4:25 PM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Test whats happening inside BizTalk
A few weeks ago I did the video about how we were testing what happens inside BizTalk by using the CAT Team Logging Framework and the ETW trace events and then testing the information coming out from our tracing to prove what was happening inside BizTalk. Ive updated the codeplex project so that the code is a little easier for people to use and is packaged better. Also the source code is now available in codeplex and there is some additional documentation. Note that it now works slightly differently ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 17, 2011 6:16 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Testing Guidance - Stub Of Dynamics AX
Following on from my previous article, one of my old colleagues has written up an article about how a project he worked on was able to simulate the behaviour of Dynamics AX by using one of the approaches I described in my article about how to simulate external systems in testing. Check out Charlies article here: http://geekswithblogs.net/c... ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 13, 2009 4:57 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Testing Guidance - Dealing with external systems/dependancies
Article source: http://geekswithblogs.net/m... When we are testing our BizTalk solution one of the biggest challenges is how we deal with the dependency on external systems. Some of the common scenarios I have come across are as follows: We will be integrating with some web services but there are no test instances of these services we can use We will integrate with a LOB application but there is either no test instance of the LOB system of using the LOB application will make it difficult ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:13 PM | Comments (4) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Monitoring almost anything with BizTalk 360
When you work in an integration environment it is common that you will find yourself in a situation where you integrate with some unusual applications or have some unusual dependencies. That is the nature of integration. When you work with BizTalk one of the common problems is that BizTalk often is the place where problems with applications you integrate with are highlighted and these external applications may have poor monitoring solutions. Fortunately if you are a working with a customer who uses ......

Posted On Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:51 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Monitoring a BizTalk and Lagan Integration
Recently I was asked by a organisation about how to monitor their BizTalk integration with Lagan CRM to ensure their integration solution was working effectively. The organisation was happy with their existing infrastructure monitoring but wanted to improve the way their integration processes were monitored to ensure they were working effectively. Here were some of my thoughts generically around monitoring integration with Lagan CRM from a BizTalk perspective. Monitoring BizTalk Infrastructure There ......

Posted On Saturday, August 18, 2012 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Anti Pattern – 5 minutes on the lips a lifetime on the hips
Name: 5 minutes on the lips a lifetime on the hips Description: I wish I had a pound for every time a work around is implemented in a BizTalk solution to make up for some issue with an application your trying to integrate with. This is often referred to as technical or architectural debt. One of the good things about BizTalk is that as an integration platform it has a number of way that this "dirty" side to integration can still be managed effectively but one of the problems customers often have ......

Posted On Thursday, July 26, 2012 5:52 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Developing BizTalk Maps with Specflow & BDD
Following on from the BDD articles I will cover how we have been using BDD development techniques to develop BizTalk maps. A BizTalk map is a discreet component in BizTalk which is ideally suited to development based on desired behaviours from the component. It fits well with our practices. If you imagine we are at a point where we have worked with our Business Analyst to work out the data formats required for various systems then we are in a position to work with them to begin understanding how ......

Posted On Friday, July 13, 2012 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BDD section on BizTalk Technet Wiki

Ive just added a new section to the BizTalk area of the technet wiki containing all of the various content about BDD and BizTalk

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/12322.behaviour-driven-development-with-biztalk.aspx

 

 

Posted On Friday, July 13, 2012 8:55 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Developing BizTalk Rules the BDD way
Recently we have been looking at changing the way we develop and test BizTalk Business Rules to use a BDD approach and our tool of choice to help with this is Specflow. I wanted to talk through how we do this and also why I think its useful. I feel Business Rules are an excellent candidate for the BDD style approach to development that Specflow encourages. It also promotes a TDD style where you can work with your BA to nicely document your rule requirements as you test and implement them. Some of ......

Posted On Friday, July 13, 2012 7:41 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Whitepaper about a project involving BizTalk & Lagan
Just completed a whitepaper about a case study involving the integration of Lagan CRM and BizTalk

http://connectedsystemsconsulting.sharepoint.com/Pages/CaseStudies.aspx

Posted On Sunday, July 8, 2012 7:18 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Host setup for your First BizTalk Projects
Ive been speaking to a few people starting their organisations first BizTalk projects recently and talking about Host setup and what is a good intial setup and how it may change over time. Normally you see companies go one of two ways to begin with:1. They just have one BizTalk host with an instance on each server and use it for everything2. They have many instances for everything and use way more than they need to.Im a big believer that a little thought about this and how your company plans to use ......

Posted On Friday, May 18, 2012 9:44 AM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

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