Things hard and not so hard.... RSS 2.0
# Thursday, March 06, 2008

If you're thinking about cracking on with Silverlight - then here's the place to start.

This was covered earlier today(yesterday) in MIX08

http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2008/03/05/download-links-for-mix08-announcements.aspx

Thursday, March 06, 2008 12:56:53 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Events | Silverlight
Thursday, March 06, 2008 12:54:47 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General | Other
# Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I've now managed to get a moment to share a fantastic experience with you.

What a trip!!! I was away for 2 weeks in total with the first week spent in San Jose at the Office Developer Conference (ODC) 2008 which as good to touch base with some of the Sharepoint folks and see how others solve challenges that drive me up the wall.

Being in a hotel in the middle of 'Silicon Valley' Clayton and I were struggling to find Wireless internet access - the frustrating thing was that everywhere else in the town there were at least 20 networks on offer....except in our hotel room. We found a spot on the window ledge.


Then I flew up to Seattle to meet up with my enthusiastic cousin which resulted in a sneaky trip up to Whistler skiing smile_regular
The snow was absolutely fantastic!!!!

The second week of my trip turned to the Business end where I had to step up, be prepared and present.
Enter BizTalk RFID Solution Days!!!

The first face I saw when I walked into the Conference was Anush's down in the foyer - Well done Anush for such a great conference!

The way the week was to play out:

  • First two days was the conference with sessions and presentations
  • The second two days was the training where I had 102 students and fortunately we planned that I was co-presenting with Venkatesh who was the BizTalk RFID Product Architect (he's moved on now and started S3Edge.com). He is a wealth of knowledge and a great person to ask all the 'Why' questions to.
    (he's also related to a great friend of mine here in Australia which was a total surprise!!!)

From the conference (2 days prior to training) I caught up with a buddy of mine Scott Allen (Microsoft App Plat TS - BI, BTS, SQL guru) who has just successfully completed building a 'RFID Lab' within Microsoft NZ. I've got to check it out sooner rather than later - sounded fantastic.

Scotty inspired me with his take on BizTalk RFID - he said "If you tell clients we've got a show on BizTalk RFID, they think they need to have supply chains and infrastructure - it becomes very specialised they feel. If you pitch BizTalk RFID at something around How to reduce the carbon footprint of your production line or increasing production efficiencies then the whole world comes running"

That said - he was getting huge amounts of CEOs from the big end of town to these sessions with a tour of the BizTalk RFID Lab. Well done Scotty!

So Anush grabbed center stage at the beginning of the conference and there were some great messages coming out of the speakers. One of the most noticeable messages for me was "Everyone is waiting for the Wallmart mandates to drive the RFID space, that may have been the case 2 yrs ago. Now we have reached enough critical mass in the industry to really see the explosion in RFID that is occurring"

Australia has been using RFID for years in cattle, lifestock, shipping and now wheat. What Microsoft BizTalk RFID has done is to 'domesticate' the whole process of getting connected and responsive. I was talking to a local CEO of a International Meat exporting business on the weekend - he was very interested in the BizTalk RFID story as his main concern facing his company is traceability. Everyone involved in the supply chain wants traceability - by the time the consumer sits down and uses the product, they want to know everything about it. In this case the meat.

Onward to the Training Arena (held on the MS campus) - training 102 people on Microsoft BizTalk RFID I needed to be prepared the best I could which involved a couple of trips to the MS Technical Services Group (TSG) to get things 'just right' for classroom setup.



Firstly - I want to say "WELL DONE TO ALL THE CREW who sat the course". In 12+yrs of teaching, I was amazed at your ability and enthusiasm!!!
(We actually created the RFID course from scratch and it's amazing to see what's in your head play out better than you expect)

I made a pledge to the class from the outset - From 102 students, I was going endeavor to help get 102 students across the line so they all had working BizTalk RFID Solutions in front of them.

What a great class - I enjoyed it as much as what they did. Out of 102 students I fully expected some students to come up to me by lunch time on the first day and say "Mick, you know this course - it's not what I envisaged etc etc" - 102 completed the course!!!

Let me share some interesting facts:

  1. 102 students started.... 102 students completed a working BizTalk RFID end-to-end solution. smile_teeth
  2. Some students had 1+yrs experience in BizTalk RFID.....others were seeing it for the first time.
  3. One lady hadn't cut a line of code in 15yrs and was very excited.
  4. Many different industries were represented in the room, from medical foundations to services to agricultural.....
  5. I had to run around with a USB key only once - fortunately I had help.
  6. One the first day students were still doing labs at 7pm.
  7. Two days is not long enough :)
  8. It was absolutely fantastic to have the major players from the BizTalk RFID Product group there in the room and on hand. Anush, Sudhir, Rama and of course Venkatesh (who has a great needed sense of humour for a trainer) - big thank you guys. Wouldn't have been the same without you.
  9. Reporting Services reports worked really well.....note - getting the right connection string is key.
  10. Mick - please connect power to your laptop when presenting and running VPCs off it.....otherwise we all get an early coffee break smile_omg

Fantastic and a big thank you to all that were responsible for much making it better than I imagined!!!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 11:40:08 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [1] -
BizTalk | RFID | Events | Training
# Saturday, March 01, 2008

We had a promising turnout last Wednesday - thanks for your time guys.

I asked the question what would you like to cover this year/things to happen etc..... the XBOX night won unanimously (don't blame you :) )

I took down some notes which looked like this: - you can get the 'official version' HERE

notes

Saturday, March 01, 2008 5:59:07 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Usergroup

I was just alerted to this whitepaper that has a very good discussion about using WF versus when to use BizTalk.

For those of you that are previous readers of my blog I'm an avid fan of WF and BTS working together to solve solutions rather than a common message voiced by at times MS - "you *must* choose one or the other". I did a webcast on this years ago.

Kent Brown the author does a very good job - well done!!!

BizTalk Server 2006 or WF? Choosing the Right Workflow Tool for Your Project

Saturday, March 01, 2008 4:51:25 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | WinWF
# Tuesday, February 26, 2008

See you there folks - let's kick off 2008 in style!!!

What's new in the .NET 3.5 Framework from a BizTalk perspective

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 9:33:53 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Usergroup
# Monday, February 25, 2008
Fellow MVP Thomas has provided a sample that delves into the dark depths of BizTalk Server and its Adapter configurations.



Check out his Custom Prop Page Sample

Thanks Thomas!

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:40:29 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | BizTalk | Insights | Tips
The new 'Adapter Framework' (in BizTalk speak - this would be the Adapter V2.0 Framework) is now available.

This new WCF based Adapter Framework allows developers to build, deploy and execute standalone Adapters - whether BizTalk Server is present or not.

The framework is designed very much for standalone application (& can be 'plugged' into BizTalk R2 if desired), and as a .NET developer you can consider this as an additional .NET library that provides the abilility to allow you to build standalone adapters for your .NET applications (e.g. console app, or Word)

p.s. The BizTalk Adapter Pack is built ontop of this framework. :-)

Grab SP1 below:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=0F8007D7-F0C9-4169-8B9C-BA55F8F4C153&displaylang=en

Monday, February 25, 2008 3:01:22 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | BizTalk | Insights
Kirk Allen Evans recent blog post caught my 'silverlight eye'.

Silverlight.JPG

Shows some interesting effects that can be done with Silverlight and importantly has the src code there for you to learn from.

Well done Kirk!



Monday, February 25, 2008 2:35:18 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | General | Other | Tips
# Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm about to run training at the Microsoft BizTalk RFID Solution Days and I was contemplating rebuilding my host O/S which is Win2008 RC1 x64.

The RFID devices that the students will walk away with are USB based.

I use a third party USB Sharing software to share the USB ports to the VPCs. The thing I've noticed is that using the USB drivers the sharing and responsiveness works a treat.

The problem is that there are no - 64 bit USB drivers for the RFID1 device.....until now!!! :)

I decided to 'fudge' a *.INF file that installs the x64 bit drivers much in the same fashion as the i386 drivers.

So my current setup is:

(a) Host - Win2K8 x64, RFID devices plugged into it with x64 USB Drivers.

(b) USB Sharing Software

(c) Inside a VPC (using Hyper-V) running the 'client' of the USB Sharing I install the x32 bit USB Drivers.
This VPC is running x32 BizTalk RFID and basically the course!

We're cooking!

Grab the drivers below

RFID1_Usb Drivers x64 x32.zip



UPDATED: Windows 7 x64 will install these drivers from http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm

A CDM 2.04.16.exe has it all - http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/CDM/CDM%202.04.16.exe

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 8:46:45 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [2] -
BizTalk | 2009 | RFID | Tips
# Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Went and caught a session by Chris Johnson around the Studio extensions for Sharepoint, an area that needs to catch up with the pace of the adoption of the product :-)

This Visual Studio Integrated toolset goes a long long way in bridging the gap and streamlining development in Sharepoint.
Features, manifest explorer etc etc.

One of the biggest features in this release is the ability to control the Sharepoint Solution Deployment process for e.g. Chris originally created a solution with 3 Features in it, where he drag' dropped the 3 Feature elements into 1 Feature.

http://blogs.msdn.com/cjohnson/archive/2008/02/12/visual-studio-2005-extensions-for-windows-sharepoint-services-3-0-version-1-1-rtm-user-guide-part-1.aspx

Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:51:50 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | MOSS

The conference is going well and it's good to catch up with some familiar faces such as Angus Logan and Andrew Connell.

Basically a message that I'm getting out of the conference so far is that to do Development in/for Sharepoint is to grab a collection of 'helper tools' (that each presenter has built or partially built) to do a little bit along the way.
Collectively they do things like:

  • Create Feature/Element XML of your current project getting ready for deployment.
  • Packaging a VSNET Project into a Sharepoint Solution
  • Easy Solution Deployment
  • Visual Studio Extensions for Sharepoint 1.1 (should have a VSNET2008 version in June)

All in all there's a bunch of little tools needed (some I mentioned in a previous post) in and outside of VSNET. So I'd imagine it's a bit of a 'watch this space' with respect to Microsoft and their 'official toolset' for developers.

Off to catch some more sessions and will report back soon.....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 6:27:23 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Events | General
# Monday, February 11, 2008

Wow - a BizTalk adapter Pack announcement is looming (ready March 1 actually).

What is the BizTalk Adapter Pack?? I hear you ask.....I did too when I first heard of it.

Quick Bit of History
- 'Adapters' was a term typically used within a BizTalk space and to build adapters in BizTalk was a 'character' building experience where several COM interfaces needed to be implemented (with some of those interface's origins being in the year 2000!)
- for all that dev effort the 'adapters' only lived in BizTalk -land.

Wouldn't it be great to utilise your Adapter from other 'hosts' or environments such as Word/Sharepoint/Access/MS Project/BizTalk/Your Website etc etc....
(this is a very similar case to the initial *.OCX controls that came out. These controls were based on *.VBX which is something written in VB3 and used in the VB3 environment. Access/C/C++ developers had to duplicate the effort if they wanted similar functionality in their system)

WCF LOB Adapter SDK is the essence here.
- with BizTalk 2006 R2 on the scene, it comes with a 'new' adapter and new adapter 'style' known to trained BizTalk Ninjas as WCF Custom Adapter or BizTalk Adapter Framework V2.0
- so the LOB Adapter SDK is:

  • Free
  • .NET based
  • A Framework and VSNET project template
  • Allows you to build custom 'adapters'
  • Does alot of the heavy lifting for you.
  • Search/Browse/Consume WCF Service metadata
  • Able to be hosted in .NET/.NET related Host environment (BizTalk could be one of these :-)

Enter the (Supported)BizTalk Adapter Pack - (Help files Here)

So the BizTalk team have been busy building on top of the WCF LOB SDK to provide 3 .NET Adapters (at this stage) which allow connections to:

  • SAP
  • Siebel
  • Oracle - Database

So at this point you can grab these adapters and connect straight away - this bridges the gap between you and those systems.
For e.g. Sharepoint can connect straight away, the BDC can connect, your .NET app etc.

The fact it's supported and ready to roll makes it attractive :-)

Briefly the implementation details is that these 3 'adapters' are implemented as WCF Proxy Clients with a custom transport. Any application using these will essentially be calling a 'proxy' to a pretend WCF Service, where the 'Service' is the back end system with the WCF Transport implementing the appropriate features.

The word on the street about Pricing is that it will be under US$6000 and if you have BTS R2 with SA you get the adapter pack. For the rest of us, you need to weigh up the fact how long is it going to take you or your team to develop those adapters/connectors????. Licensing is per CPU.

Just to re-iterate, you do *not* need BizTalk in any version, any way shape or form to run this - you could run BTS Adapter pack from a console app.

Monday, February 11, 2008 4:43:59 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights | MOSS | Tips

I'm currently off at ODC2008 here in the heart of Silicon Valley with Clayton James and pre-conference sessions have started.

Free WiFi networks are everywhere on the streets and just about everywhere.....except for our Hotel!! Where it seems to be the only place in Silcon Valley where there is no *free* Wi-fi...nearly all the hotels have some kind of free WiFi in their foyers...except ours. Very bizarre.....

I had a session about the BizTalk Adapter Pack (blogs.msdn.com/adapters)

We're in a session where they mentioned a few 'must' have deployment tools:

  1. SPDeploy - gives you a new Sharepoint Project Option, psexec commands to remotely execute commands.
  2. STSDev - Andrew Connell and co. have come up with their bits and pieces - that go away and 'create' projects in line with what you want to do. So probably a good idea to do run these first.
  3. WSPBuilder
  4. SharepointInstaller

Monday, February 11, 2008 3:58:30 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Events | General | Office
# Saturday, February 09, 2008

I'm off on a US Road trip today - landing in San Fran tomorrow and catching a train down to San Jose for the Office Dev Con conference (as an attendee this time :). I'll be meeting up with a great Sharepoint developer/instruction Clayton James (fellow Microsoft Readiness Instructor) who has attacked Sharepoint with such a passion - I swear he studies the APIs at night. He's developed some brilliant solutions in the last couple of years - great knowledge.

With a 'brief' bit of skiing in between I'm off to Redmond for the RFID Solution Days where the focus will be:

  • Real-time software solutions for enterprise deployments, across verticals

  • Hardware innovation and changes driving mass adoption of RFID with focus on performance and price

  • Cross Industry-Priority solution efforts at Microsoft that will utilize RFID and sensor data to deliver efficiencies for a People-Ready business across the value chain

  • Microsoft’s platform vision, deliverables, and roadmap for RFID and Sensor based solutions


Breeze is running the two day BizTalk RFID training course 'post-conference' where last count I had 80+ students........worried....hmmm.....love a helper or 10!

Wish me luck folks........if you're attending.....don't be a stranger!

Mick.

Saturday, February 09, 2008 10:57:30 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | RFID | Events | General

Hi, (add our next meeting straight to your calendar)

Wow!! I’m back on deck (and in Sydney) and rearing to go into 2008.

Some thoughts on 2008!
The world of BizTalk this year is certainly looking great with many opportunities emerging and (from what I see) our market solidifying the need to be better connected.

As part of our BizTalk User Group I’m aiming to equip you the best with the best knowledge and provide a great network of fellow BizTalkers!

Being proficient in BizTalk from a technical, system architect, soa expert etc., is not only knowing BizTalk but also the surrounding systems (MS based or not).

The BizTalk Team is now part of (has been for a while J) the Connected Systems Division (CSD) which includes .NET Framework, WF and WCF technologies. As BizTalk evolves this year more remedial ‘stuff’ will be pushed down into the .NET Frameworks 3.5+ (4.0+), freeing BizTalk up for some super cool stuff on top of the .NET Framework.

You can expect us to cover technologies and topics such as:

(1)   64-bit BizTalk Computing – getting the most out of it.

(2)   Essential BizTalk Solution Testing with BizUnit.

(3)   How can Windows Workflow help in a BizTalk world.

(4)   The BizTalk Adapter Pack – unearthed.

(5)   Developing practical solutions with BizTalk RFID.

(6)   Integrating BizTalk and WSS/MOSS using the Sharepoint Adapter

....plus a whole lot more.....these meetings will be for FREE (I get alot of questions on that one)

BizTalk Scene – What’s been happening lately

There’s always alot going on, it’s a matter of summarising it for you.

(1)   {Heroes Happen} with the Wave2008 launch (SQL2008, VS2008, Win2008) – I’ve got 30GB worth of VPCs, Hands On Labs and learning material on getting you across the new releases – jammed packed technical information. I will provide a LOAD FEST at our meetings for you – bring a removable drive and it’s yours J

Also as part of the ‘Wave2008’ launching Andrew Coates (MS DPE) has thrown down the gauntlet to the user group to help get you CERTIFIED. Basically if you pass a MCP exam, MS will give you 1 freebefore May 1!!!
J

The BizTalk exam (or any other) awaits you!
(If enough people are into it, we’ll have another exam cram night
J - let me know)

(2)   BizTalk RFID World Wide Solution Days – conference being held in Redmond(MS HQ) in a couple of weeks.
Yours truly will be running the training there with our BizTalk RFID Course....wish me luck, last count I have 80 students.....

Watch this space.

(3)   Labs.BizTalk.net – service broker service – if you haven’t seen this, have a look at a future glimpse of the next BizTalk.

(4)   Volta – a draft technology from MS that allows for the distribution of solutions via attribute tags on classes etc. ....stay tuned on that.

(5)   A ‘Multi-touch Surface’ back in 2006 pre Microsoft Surface and pre Google Earth – just a fascination of mine J

(6)   ESB Guidance kit for BizTalk 2006 – Microsoft Guidance kit. Handy to keep for the buzz word of the time.

 

What is in store for our Feb 27th Session

Where:
Microsoft, North Ryde
1 Epping Road

When:
6pm - Beer + Pizza
6.30pm - Kick off
Feb 27th 2008
(add our next meeting straight to your calendar)

-          LOAD FEST going on in the background.

-          TOPIC THIS MONTH: What can the .NET Framework 3.5 do BizTalk environments.

 

Presenter: Mick Badran (aka me) – MVP BizTalk and experience in Biztalk since its inception (1999/2000).
Mick as extensive real world experience in BizTalk and integration

 

Session Outline

In this session we will be focusing on some new features in WCF Services and WF Services within the Framework.

1)      Writing Persistent WCF Services

2)      Building dynamic WCF Services

3)      Exploring the WCF Workflow Runtime class

4)      Calling .NET 3.5 code from BizTalk

 

Feel free to forward this to any of your collegues/friends I may have missed (tell them to register on the Sydbiz.org site to be included)

Love to see you there – and reply to this email to let me know for catering.

Cheers,

Mick Badran (MVP - BizTalk) | Microsoft Readiness Instructor
Collaboration and Integration Specialist
Breeze Training Pty Ltd | m: +61 404842 833 | fx: +61 2 9362 4898
http://blogs.breezetraining.com.au/mickb

clip_image001

 

Saturday, February 09, 2008 12:37:56 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Usergroup | General
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