Michael Stephenson

keeping your feet on premise while your heads in the cloud
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Hybrid Connections Webcast
We have lined up a webcast for UKCSUG covering BizTalk Services Hybrid Connections on the 4th August with Santosh from the Azure Product Team

Posted On Tuesday, July 8, 2014 7:24 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Why use Service Bus Relay when I can use Hybrid Connections?
Im slowly in the process of moving over to a new website so ill be cross posting on both blogs for a while.

Here is my new article talking about service bus relay and hybrid connections

Posted On Monday, July 7, 2014 7:47 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Server Best Practices
Theres a few articles out there about various opinions on best practices for BizTalk.  I thought id create a place on technet wiki to collate them all.

Please add any ive missed

Posted On Monday, May 19, 2014 1:15 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

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 ]

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 ]

BizTalk Anti Pattern: The plug and play SOA
Name: The Plug and Play SOA Description: I have seen occasions where BizTalk has been stuck between two systems simply because it is perceived to decouple them. One case was where System A called an API on System B which was exposed as a set of web services. All BizTalk was planned to do was accept the web service call from System A and forward it to System B. Some of the design thoughts included: Thought Other consideration "We can replace System B and System A is not affected" Well yes but the ......

Posted On Monday, December 18, 2006 5:20 PM | Comments (2) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Patterns & Anti Patterns

i saw the below really cool article and have decided to add some posts about patterns i have come across.


Posted On Monday, December 18, 2006 5:19 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 ]

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 ]

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.


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 ]

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 ]

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 ]

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 ]

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 ]

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 (19) | 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 ]

BizTalk Build Generator & BizTalk 2010

Ive eventually had time to migrate the build generator to work with BizTalk 2010.

Ive released this as a beta for now and would love to hear any feedback from others who might be using it while i work on getting some more testing with other migrated projects.

If your interested in taking a look please refer to:


Posted On Saturday, April 23, 2011 6:24 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

UK Connected Systems User Group - May 2011
The next uk connected systems user group event is open for registration: 11th May 2011 @ EMC http://ukcsbugmay2011.eventbrite.com/

Posted On Friday, April 15, 2011 6:09 AM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk RFID & NServiceBus

Ive just posted a paper on the technet wiki about BizTalk RFID and NServiceBus used as a publishing component




Posted On Friday, March 25, 2011 7:18 PM | Comments (2) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Light & Easy Update

Just to let everyone know the BizTalk Light and Easy Webcast Series has been updated with some new BizTalk 2010 videos



Posted On Tuesday, March 8, 2011 2:35 AM | Comments (2) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Kerberos Adventures - Useful Tools
The following tools proved useful in diagnosing problems with this Tool Description Link KerbTray http://support.microsoft.co... Windows 2003 Support Tools Contains the tool SETSPN which you need to register an SPN. Located on windows 2003 disk or at the following url: http://support.microsoft.co... WSE Trace Tool Provides a tool to look over the WSE Trace output files http://www.gotdotnet.com/wo... ......

Posted On Friday, February 2, 2007 12:46 PM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Kerberos Adventures - Useful Information Links
This post will list some of the sources of information I have found useful during my "Kerberos Adventures" Recommended Reading To help you get up to speed quickly I would recommend checking out the following resources. There are additional resources below. Kerberos Delegation Troubleshooting Guide Pretty much walks you through all of setting up a delegation scenario and will tell you how to do each step and what is going on in relation to a good sample. http://www.microsoft.com/te... ......

Posted On Friday, February 2, 2007 12:40 PM | Comments (2) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Kerberos Adventures - Introduction
I am currently on a medium - large sized project where one of the things we are planning to do is use BizTalk and Web Services. Within the architecture we have plans to support credential flow across tiers. It has proven quite difficult to get this working and then doing things with BizTalk has added an additional twist which also proved tricky. During the course of working on resolving our issues and also setting up these proof of concepts I have found that there is useful information out there ......

Posted On Friday, February 2, 2007 12:38 PM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Pattern: Mapping Reference Data
What is reference data? Typically by reference data we mean an attribute of an object within a system that is restricted to a specific list of values. In integration scenarios when you are passing a message from one system to another these lists of reference data are different between the systems. This means if you have a product type id or value from System A there will usually need to be some kind of mapping required to translate the value or id to an equivalent value that System B will understand. ......

Posted On Sunday, December 24, 2006 9:26 PM | Comments (9) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Anti Pattern: Integrate Early but don't Integrate All the time
Name: Integrate Early but don't Integrate All the time Description: The situation where I saw this pattern involved a solution which had 2 systems with BizTalk in the middle. The developers then hooked together the solutions on each of their machines so that when one of them wrote a little code he would need the component on each of the other 2 developers machines to be able to run his test. This would work okay until one of them added a breaking change and the others would not be able to do anything ......

Posted On Monday, December 18, 2006 5:22 PM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk Anti Pattern: More logging than a lumberjack
Name: More logging than a lumberjack Description: On one project our team inherited a BizTalk solution which had a lot of logging in it. I feel that with both BizTalk and also standard .net projects when you see code with excessive logging in it is because the developer needed all of this information to be able to write the code and know what is happening. This logging usually masks the fact that the code was very buggy during development and also probably has no unit tests or has very low code ......

Posted On Monday, December 18, 2006 5:21 PM | Comments (0) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Using Kerberos with a BizTalk WSE 2 Web Service
Problem I have exposed an orchestration as a web service using the WSE 2 web service publishing wizard. I am wanting to use kerberos to sign and encrypt the message, however i have turned off the server policy as i dont want to force it as a requirement until i can get it to work. When i call the web service as intended with a kerberos token signing and encrypting the message i get the following error: System.Web.Services.Protoco... System.Web.Services.Protoco... ......

Posted On Friday, November 3, 2006 9:40 AM | Comments (3) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

BizTalk & Visual Studio Crash Error vsee\internal\inc\vscomptr.inl Line 473
Problem We have been experiencing the most annoying of IDE bugs recently when working on BizTalk applications. Basically the scenario is when you open a BizTalk map. If it is an existing map you get a prompt indicating the schema can not be loaded. If you try to pick the schema again from the map the schema picker just flickers then dissappears. From here the IDE becomes very unstable and you repeatedly get the following error: Unexpected error encountered. It is recommended that you restart the ......

Posted On Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:56 PM | Comments (5) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

Deploying BizTalk Assemblies with Visual Studio IDE in MsBuild
Problem In our build process we were using the IDE from the command line to build the solution with the /Deploy switch to deploy BizTalk assemblies to BizTalk. This was ok locally, but when we wanted to export the MSI to deploy to other environments the msi would install the BizTalk assemblies to the paths you had used during development. This didnt really break anything but the resulting deployment was just messy. Solution/Recommendation To build your solution in MsBuild when it contains BizTalk ......

Posted On Friday, October 13, 2006 12:20 PM | Comments (1) | Filed Under [ BizTalk ]

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