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# Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Hey folks,

As we’re all aware there’s more than one road that leads to Rome when dealing with integration. When to use SSIS? For what? What about MSMQ? AppFabric and BizTalk etc.

At TechEd this year I’ve decided to run some preconference training dealing with this exact issue across many different Microsoft Integration Technologies.
(This is one of the biggest questions I get from customers)

If you’re heading to the Gold Coast this year, then this training is before TechEd – get up a couple of days early and then be fully charged and armed with all your questions….

---- here’s the official blurb----

When to use what Technologies Where [LINK is Here]

AppFabric, Azure Storage, BizTalk 2010, BizTalk Adapter Pack, WCF, WF, Oslo, MSMQ, .NET4 Distributed Caching, SQL Service Broker, SSIS and SharePoint 2010 Service name a few technologies to be confused about.

There is no silver bullet for application integration. Different situations call for different solutions, each targeting a particular kind of problem. While a one-size-fits-all solution would be nice, the inherent diversity of integration challenges makes such a simplistic approach impossible. To address this broad set of problems, Microsoft has created several different integration technologies, each targeting a particular group of scenarios.  

Together, these technologies provide a comprehensive, unified, and complete integration solution.

Come on a 2-day adventure examining each of these technologies and reviewing the When, Why's and How's on each, with their own distinct role to play with integrating applications. When you come through the other side you'll be able to slot each of these technologies into a *practical* use.

This developer workshop is based on real world examples, real world problems and real world solutions.

Join me and be prepared to roll up your sleeves and unravel the maze that awaits....


Wednesday, 21 July 2010 02:46:36 (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [5] -
AppFabricServer | BizTalk | 2010 | Oslo | 2010 | Training
# Wednesday, 31 December 2008

I recently came across a Gartner report talking about all things to do with 'App Integration with Back End Systems' (in a nutshell... the report goes into detail)

The end result of several pages within this report is a graph (we like graphs :) showing Microsoft as a leader with a high ability to execute.

The Microsoft Technologies that fell under the microscope here are:

  1. BizTalk Server
  2. Windows Communication Foundation
  3. SQL Service Broker
  4. SQL Integration Services
  5. Team Foundation Suite
  6. Oslo + Azure

The graph looks as follows (snipped from the report):

magic quadrant


Get the whole report HERE

Wednesday, 31 December 2008 15:09:26 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | 2009 | Insights | Oslo
# Sunday, 23 November 2008

BizTalk ‘Cloud’ Services – BizTalk in the Cloud
With recent developments and BizTalk 2009 on the horizon, I thought we’d look at just what all these ‘cloud services’ mean and understand the term ‘cloud computing’

What’s cooking this month for the group?
This month we have Scott Scovell (BizTalk Virtual TS) presenting on a very exciting new shift in computing – Microsoft Azure Cloud Services.
You might be thinking – “What does this do for me?”
Well....(far too much for me dictate here)...but imagine if you can:

-       Connect seamlessly between clients and yourself (including firewalls etc)

-       Switch and deploy in house processes dynamically to ‘the cloud’

-       Point to Point and Multicast messaging in the cloud between clients + server processes (i.e. similar to BTS filter messaging)

-       Push Workflows up in to the cloud....moving off premises and take advantage of the Cloud’s computing power.

Alot of all this is based on the WCF Framework – you can start taking advantage of this today!

For e.g. in BTS (R2 or 2009), you can create a ‘httpContextRelayBinding’ bound Receive Location, and you’ve now got an endpoint that can be called from anywhere (security permitting), from client’s networks and your own.

There’s a huge amounts of smarts around all of this, but I look at them in the light that alot of ISPs offer Virtual Hosting – “Here’s a box and do what you will with it”. You’re then responsible for O/S, Web Setup, maybe DNS, etc etc etc.
In the Cloud – MS give a very granular degree of control by electing WCF Services, Workflows, Endpoints, Security, ServiceBus etc etc – that we can dedicate 1 or 100 CPUs to (at ‘the flick of a switch’). Redundancy, fault tolerance and even Geographic redundancy (e.g. engage some nodes in Greenland to run your apps – maybe closer to your clients)

Main Event on the night:
Utilising Microsoft Azure from BizTalk 2006 R2 (+ beyond)

Scott will cover:

1.      Building blocks of Azure Cloud Computing.

2.      Getting Started with Azure

3.      BizTalk talking to the Cloud

4.      Lots of demos!

Meeting details:

When: Nov 26, Food at 6pm, kick off 6.30pm. Finish up around 8.30pm.
Where: Microsoft
1 Epping Road
Riverside Corporate Park
North Ryde NSW 2113 Australia.
(parking available)
Speaker: Scott Scovell

What’s happening in the BizTalk Community:
The combined user group leaders & I are setting up a Shared Folder in the ‘Mesh’, where we’ll be holding all the presentations across the User Groups (& other files). I’ll let you know when our testing is done.

(BTW – this lets you have a local folder on your machine that automatically gets synced up to the ‘Mesh’. Easy peasy...I’m hoping)
Share the User Group Soap Box:
I always welcome a new voice and ideas at our group – if you want to share your experiences, thoughts, “I wish I can do..... for my solution...”. Then contact me and I’ll be more than happy to slot you in.
Q. Do you need to have presentation skills: No (just look at me) – can you tell a story in the office or at the pub? Or at a 3 yr old party? – then I want you.
Q. Do I need a PowerPoint Slide Deck? – no!!! *death by powerpoint* is a painful way to go......
Q. Can you capture my ‘best’ side? We take you whichever way you are. J

We’re up for a great night – come along and learn how to make your BizTalk solutions go a long way.

See you there and let me know your coming
Mick (mb: 0404 842 833)

Sunday, 23 November 2008 21:19:16 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Azure | Insights | Oslo | Usergroup
# Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ever wondered how you might implement "Hello World" in a non-domain specific language such as in the roots of Oslo looks like.........(I found a snippet from one of the PDC Webcasts....)


(This is written in a tool/shell that ships as part of the Oslo SDK - Intellipad)
The left hand side is the instance document; the middle is the grammar or transformation; and the right is the Output Graph.

This is a pretty specific sample - as in fact its very specific and only takes one input - "Hello World" (as dictated on the syntax line)

What's so special about all of this?? I hear you ask.....

There's a huge amount of power in being able to 'model' your world/data and relationships. Today we're pretty comfortable with XML but we also have to tolerate things like parsing '<' or attributes etc. Or if you've ever been given a schema full 100s of fields when you needed to use just 5. XML is not perfect, but it certainly has its need.

Storing this sort of XML in the DB I think is painful at best, while SQL 2005/2008 goes part way towards helping us, there's still a bunch of specifics that the DB needs to know about the XML and if that Schema changes, then that change goes all the way to the DB....otherwise the alternative is Tables/Rows/Columns + invest in Stored Procs to manipulate the data.

Enter the Modeling Language -M

We can basically define our world - if you're dealing with a customer with 5 attributes, that's all you specify. You could take your V1.0 representation of a Customer and extend it etc etc.

Deploying the model is deployed straight to the Database (known as a Repository) - the deployment step actually creates one or more tables, and corresponding Views. Access is never granted to the raw table, only to the View. That way when you extend or upgrade your models, existing clients see just their original 'View' keeping the new attributes separate.

So in terms of building a model of the information your systems are utilising -> 'M' is a very rich language, which decorates and defines a whole bunch of metadata around your needed entities.

Digging a little deeper into M.... we have 3 main defining components:

1. M-Schema - defines the entities + metadata (e.g. unique values/ids etc)

2. M-Grammar - defines the 'Transformation'. How to transform the source into the output. You could loosely look at this as:  Y=fn(M) "Y equals some Function of M"

3. M-Graph - a directed graph that defines the output (they use directed graph to indicate through lexical parses, that something has a start and definitely finishes.This is a check the compiler will do)


You'll notice at the top of this shot, there are DSLs - these are Domain Specific Languages. e.g. a language full of terms and expressions to define for e.g How to work with You local surf clubs competitions; another could be How to Manage and describe Santa's Wish list.

You might be thinking....I go pretty well in C#, why should I look into M?? C# is obviously a highly functional language that when you start coding you've got all the language constructs and notation under the sun at your disposal - decorations are done through attributes on methods/classes etc.....but modeling something still in done in a pretty bland way e.g. structs, classes, datasets, typed datasets etc. You're starting with a wide open language that really without you creating a bunch of classes/code doesn't have methods like Club.StartCarnival.....

M - take what you're describing, a carnival and model it. What entities are in a Carnival (people, lifesavers, boats etc) - model this - give us a picture of what they look like (data you'd like to hold and the relation ship), define a grammar (words, constructs and operations) on how we can work with these entities - we now have a Surf DSL (that of course can be extended to V2.0....)

Developing solutions against the Surf DSL - the compiler knows all the defined commands, constructs and schemas (cause we defined them in our DSL). They're the only operands that you can use as a developer - this simplifies the picture immensely.

The beauty about M is that the DSL is simply deployed to a Repository (which at this stage is SQL Server, but could be any DB as we get access to the TSQL behind the scenes)

As I dig a little deeper I'll be illustrating with some samples going forward - hope you enjoyed this post....for now :)

Lastly - it's amazing that way back at Uni, I studied a subject called 'The Natural Language-L' (and it was one of those things where I thought - I'd never use this again....well guess what 15 years on....M is looking very close. How I even remember this is even scarier!!!) - the subject was language agnostic and dealt with what was required to create/specify a language that could be learnt, written and interpreted.


Wednesday, 12 November 2008 22:34:12 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | Oslo | PDC08
# Thursday, 06 November 2008

UPDATED - thanks to Luciano Evaristo Guerche he's come through with the super trump of all of this - grab the slides/sessions with his easy technique -

You get session titles and the whole works.

A big thanks to my good friend Thiago (runs the NZ CSD User Group) as he provided us on the OzTalk mailing list (list dedicated to BizTalk/CSD user group members) with a list of URLs to grab all the sessions + ppts.

Load these URLS into something like Free Download Manager and go surfing :)

Thanks Thiago! My ISP isn't happy with me at the moment.....over my limit....wonder why :-)

Thursday, 06 November 2008 12:48:17 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [2] -
BizTalk | Oslo | Events | PDC08
# Thursday, 30 October 2008

Hi guys - there's a bunch of stuff going on right now at PDC 08 in LA.

What's hot:

(If you're on a PDA/Mobile - grab a the PDC from here -


So if you can't sleep then there's going to be some interesting reading coming up for us all. :-)



Thursday, 30 October 2008 20:11:12 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights | Oslo | Events
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