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Michael Stephenson keeping your feet on premise while your heads in the cloud BizTalk
API Management Video
Just wanted to put the word out that the API Management video from the recent user group meeting is available. The page on the below link has resources from that meeting: Also we have out next two meetings available for registration at the following links:Hybrid Connectionshttps://www.even... Hybrid Integration with Dynamics CRMhttps://www.eventbrite.c... ......

Posted On Sunday, August 3, 2014 1:52 PM

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

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

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

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. ......

Posted On Monday, April 21, 2014 10:33 AM

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. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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. some info about the UK Hybrid Integration Event including Azure, BizTalk Services, BizTalk, et al ......

Posted On Thursday, August 29, 2013 2:59 AM

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. some info about the UK Hybrid Integration Event including Azure, BizTalk Services, BizTalk, et al ......

Posted On Thursday, August 29, 2013 2:33 AM

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

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

BDD BizTalk videos on CloudCast

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

Posted On Friday, August 5, 2011 2:41 AM

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.

They will also be on CloudCasts soon



Posted On Monday, July 18, 2011 9:25 AM

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

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

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

Posted On Saturday, June 11, 2011 12:14 PM

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

Introducing the Configuration Management Tool
A while back I discussed the approach we use on some projects to configuration management and how we solve the problem of configuring binding and configuration (and any other) files for different environments. I had originally written the linked article on my blog. While it was fairly successful the main project I've been working on has a number of BizTalk projects within it and I felt that the configuration dictionary approach we were using was becoming a bit of a pain as the XML dictionaries were ......

Posted On Thursday, December 18, 2008 2:27 PM

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

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

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

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

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.... ......

Posted On Monday, August 19, 2013 11:28 AM

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

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

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

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

Posted On Sunday, July 8, 2012 7:18 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Custom Persistence Points
Article Source: A few weeks back I got a comment to one of my blog posts by a guy who said he wished he had more control over persistence points in an orchestration. In his example he basically wanted to reduce the number of persistence points as he needed to improve performance in what sounded like a request response scenario. Often in these kinds of scenarios if BizTalk has been well optimised and you still do not get the latency requirements you need ......

Posted On Saturday, July 26, 2008 11:55 PM

Refactoring Tales: Long running splitter pattern
Article Source: I have often come across situations where I have been asked to look at a process (usually in BizTalk) where it isn’t quite running as the customer would like. I have decided to start a series of posts which I will call refactoring tales. These posts will discuss a the process implementation and the problems encountered along with it. I will then discuss the approach taken to improve things and what the benefits were. Background This particular ......

Posted On Friday, July 25, 2008 10:36 PM

Detecting BizTalk Event with BizUnit
I came across an annoying one the other day, I havent had time to look into it in more detail, but here are some notes about it. In some of the tests we do with BizUnit we sometimes check the event log to see that certain messages have occured. I came across an example I havent noticed before the other day. In my test I do a bunch of stuff then I wait until a custom event with a specific Event Id is logged to the event log. I use the BizUnit event log check step and it finds my event fine. Later ......

Posted On Wednesday, July 23, 2008 5:48 PM

Accessing Context Properties in a Pipeline Component
Written by: Michael Stephenson ( This is just a quick post about accessing context properties within a Pipeline Component. The below picture displays 3 things: 1. The most common technique people use to access context properties within a Pipeline Component 2. The way I prefer to access the common context properties 3. The way I prefer to access custom context properties What don’t I like about the common approach? As mentioned the most common approach is ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 20, 2008 11:33 PM

Implementing scheduling requirements in BizTalk solutions
Written by: Michael Stephenson ( The Scenario This is a common scenario with potential BizTalk solutions. You are implementing a process which needs to be triggered at specific points. The problem you have is that BizTalk doesn’t really do scheduling. There are service window features in BizTalk where you can control when messages can be received or sent, however this depends on a message being already there. What you really want is a trigger to start the ......

Posted On Friday, May 16, 2008 9:25 PM

Executing a map from a pipeline component
Written by: Michael Stephenson ( Background A few posts ago I had a bit of a whinge about the limitation of a map for a response message in a request response port. The basic problem was I was returning a common schema based message to the port which needed to be mapped to a different format depending on which receive location associated with the port had initiated the process. The send side was fine in that you can send two different input messages which ......

Posted On Friday, May 9, 2008 9:15 PM

How do you feel about this if you blog?
Some websites really pi$$ me off!!! I recently did an article to help people get started with B2B solutions with BizTalk. It was an overview based on a number of resources I have studied, with pointers to places to find more information. The location of this post is below: Now I dont really mind too much those sites that aggregate blog feeds so long as they reference back to the source of the article. We all know they make ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 7, 2008 9:51 PM

BizTalk MsBuild Generator Update
Last week I published a new release of the BizTalk MsBuild Generator. The enhancements/fixes are: - A new section for management of hosts. It can set your build script up to create hosts and adapter handlers for your BizTalk application - A fix to the resources are added. there was a bug in some cases where the resources would be listed in the script where they would not be added in the correct order - A new fix to only generate the call to MsTest when unit test containers have been added - An enhancement ......

Posted On Sunday, May 4, 2008 4:17 PM

Monitoring and Managing BizTalk with HP Openview
Article Source: If you drive a car that has no dashboard, it will still drive and do its core job. However before long something is going to go wrong and it will just stop working and you will get no warning and not know why. This is what I usually say to anyone who considers implementing BizTalk and who doesnt plan to use MOM or SCOM to manage or monitor it. In most of the projects ive been involved with MOM has been used to great effect. In one project ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 7, 2008 8:07 PM

Introduction to developing B2B solutions with BizTalk
Ive been doing a little research recently about the B2B capabilities of BizTalk. Based on the content currently available I thought it might be useful to have a B2B 101 style article with some background information and links to useful resources. so here goes! Background BizTalk is an integration and business process platform which can help you develop different kinds of solutions (BPM, EAI, ESB etc). One of the key scenarios which BizTalk allows you to develop solutions for is B2B. BizTalk can act ......

Posted On Monday, May 5, 2008 12:25 AM

Another one for the BizTalk Wish List
I think it would be useful if maps could be applied at Receive Location level. I was working on a demo scenario the other day where I had an orchestration that was exposed to two different receive locations through a port. The message formats coming in were different as well as the transport. Inbound it was easy I could apply 2 maps to the port and map the different requests to a common schema for the orchestration to work with. The problem came because it was a synchronous service and when the orchestration ......

Posted On Sunday, May 4, 2008 4:36 PM

The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a receive
Came across this problem a little while ago, we had deployed a production system where we had 2 BizTalk servers which were sending messages to a large .net application. There were 9 web servers hosting the .net web services. Intermittently we were getting the following error message taken from the event log on the BizTalk server. Event Type: Warning Event Source: BizTalk Server 2006 Event Category: BizTalk Server 2006 Event ID: 5743 Date: 15/03/2008 Time: 13:06:02 User: N/A Computer: BTSSvr1 Description: ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 29, 2008 12:58 PM

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