Things hard and not so hard.... RSS 2.0
# Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter,

It's user group week and this Wednesday we're going to look at BAM (as well as playing some xbox!)

Wow another month has gone by and there’s been some great work done in the land of BizTalk.
There’s been a BizTalk Operations guide released and a whole swag of BizTalk whitepapers/articles published also – keep an eye on my blog (Main link, and the BizTalk Specific Info Link) for all of these and more.

If you haven’t checked out the BizTalk Adapter Pack V1.0 then it will be available from MSDN Downloads from April 1 (no April fools joke) – US Date, April 2 for us.

So what’s coming up in March I hear you ask....

This month I’m mixing a little work with play! IT’s XBOX time!!!! (with some BAM thrown in there)

(we didn’t actually get the XBOX ‘room’, but I’ve decided we’re going to make our own......in no other place than the boardroom! – “Mr Green, in the Boardroom with the Candle Stick!”.....wrong game :)

I’m also wanting to cover BAM from setup, including WCF and WF services. But the really cool part is that I’ll show you how to expose this in MOSS 2007 BI Dashboards! (right in the middle of your intranet!)

What is in store for our March 26th Session (add to Outlook)

Where:
Microsoft, North Ryde
1 Epping Road

When:
6pm - Beer + Pizza
6.30pm - Kick off
March 26th 2008

- LOAD FEST going on in the background – if you haven’t already got all the latest .NET 3.5 goodies, then I have 30GB worth that you copy over.

- TOPIC THIS MONTH: BAM End-To-End and XBOX-ing.

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 BAM within the BizTalk 2006 R2 Framework.

1) How to get BAM off the ground

2) Using BAM within Windows Workflow and WCF Services.

3) Extending BAM in real time

4) Surfacing BAM information through a MOSS Business Intelligence ‘Dashboard’

5) XBOX games! Games and more games.

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



Call for Speakers/Other People to take Tyre Kicking Sessions

If you want to help out and share a little of what you know with us, as always I welcome all and sundry.
Just email me and we’ll organise it....or....I could just dob you in......now where has Neal gone???

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

Monday, March 24, 2008 11:48:58 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [2] -
BizTalk | Usergroup

Happy Easter all - just come back from a great Easter getaway weekend and thought I'd share this common question with you:

"How do I turn off Global Tracking in BizTalk?"

On an internal email a solution was mentioned:

Basically - it comes in two steps, (a) following a TechEd article, (b) performing additional steps in WMI.

Here's the steps:

1. TechNet Article

2. WMI Steps -

The GlobalTrackingOption property is a property of the MSBTS_GroupSetting WMI class.
The MSBTS_GroupSetting WMI class represents a logical grouping of computers that are running Microsoft BizTalk Server.
This property can be modified with the Windows Management Instrumentation Tester tool. To do this, follow these steps:
------------------------------------------
1. Click Start, click Run, type wbemtest, and then click OK.
2. In the Windows Management Instrumentation Tester, click Connect.
3. In the Namespace box, type root\MicrosoftBizTalkServer, and then click Connect.
4. Click Open Class, type MSBTS_GroupSetting in the Enter Target Class Name box, and then click OK.
5. In the Properties list, click GlobalTrackingOption, and then click Edit Property.
6. To disable the Global Tracking option for the BizTalk Group, change the Value that is listed from 1 (0x1) to 0 (0x0), and then click Save Property.
7. To enable the Global Tracking option for the BizTalk Group, change the Value that is listed from 0 (0x0) to 1 (0x1), and then click Save Property.
8. Also click on Save object
9. To close the Windows Management Instrumentation Tester tool, click Close in the Object Editor for MSBTS_GroupSetting dialog box, and then click Exit in the Windows Management Instrumentation Tester dialog box.
10 Restart the host.

Monday, March 24, 2008 11:36:20 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights
# Thursday, March 20, 2008

I get alot of questions about this - for those of you who have been mentally scarred with early editions of BizTalk (haven't we come along way since then :-) there was a BizTalk Partner Edition (lower priced for hub/spoke type implementations) which was limited in some way with the number of Orchestrations/Tradining Partners etc etc. (like 10 Orchs, 2 partners from memory).

With BizTalk 2006 R2 we have the Branch Edition which retails for approx USD$1500 and it gives you........

- BizTalk Business Rules Engine (alot of people are wanting to use the BRE as a centralised rule store in a cost effective manner, until now it was BizTalk Standard at least that you needed to get, as the BRE is not available separately)

- BizTalk RFID (what can I say here!!!)

A perfect application of the Branch Edition is to drop this in on your trading partner's site typically meaning less time to get up and running (for the price, if consultants are spending more than 1.5 days trying to establish communications with the other end, then you should be considering the Branch Edition as it understands all the classic forms of comms with BizTalk 'proper'. By no means is it limited to just BTS)

I thought I'd also give you the more formal description of what the Branch Edition has/has not under the hood:

---------------------------------------------

BizTalk 2006 R2 Branch Edition

BizTalk Branch Edition is a specialty version of BizTalk Server designed for hub and spoke deployment scenarios including RFID.

Scenarios:

1.     Hub-Spoke Deployment. In this scenario the Branch edition is located in the regional / or point of sale locations and communicate with the hub (BizTalk Enterprise Edition).

2.     RFID Deployment. In this scenario the BizTalk Edition applies rules and business process to the raw data and communicates with the hub (BizTalk Enterprise Edition) to send aggregated business data.

3.     Standalone Deployment. In this scenario the Branch Edition is used to execute a business process, execute rules on the business data but not communicate with any central or hub.

Supported Capabilities:

1.     General Transport Adapters like FILE, HTTP, HTTPS, MSMQ, FTP, SMTP, POP3 are available

2.     RFID Manager and RFID Adapter

3.     Host Integration Adapter

4.     Remote or local SQL Server database is supported. SQL Server Databases may be installed on a failover Windows Cluster providing high availability of the BizTalk Databases.

5.     BizTalk base capabilities like Messaging, Orchestration, BRE, BAM, Management & Operations and Development Tools are available

Limitations:

1.     No Line of Business Adapters are available.

2.     No Accelerators are available.

3.     Only one BizTalk Application can be deployed.

4.     BizTalk Server Group supports only one BizTalk Server. This means there is no fault tolerance, no scale-out, and no failover clustering

5.     A maximum of 2 – Processors are supported

6.     No Virtual Processor is supported. This means the dual core is not leveraged in dual core processors

7.     Two or more Branch Editions separately deployed in different locations cannot communicate with each other

References:

1.     http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/editions/default.mspx

 

Thursday, March 20, 2008 10:17:39 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | RFID | General
# Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hot off the 'Hot-Cross Bun' RFID Conveyor belt (Happy Easter all also!!!) - myself and local Sharepoint MVP funny man - Ivan Wilson will be delivering the sessions...
(How do you have a conversation with more than 3 MVPs in the room??? you don't- they all talk about themselves :-) - that's mine, not Ivan's)
which will be great news....just have to get the content together...shhhhh...you didn't hear me say that smile_wink

MS Partner Training Schedule in the land of MOSS

This is for an Instructor Led 'Chalk & Talk Session' designed for Pre-sales Technical Consultants, Technical Consultants, Technical Project Managers, Architects and Business Analysts 

Dates First:
Brisbane – April 3 & 4
Melbourne – April 7 & 8
Sydney – April 10 & 11

REGISTER HERE

What is being covered is:

1.     MOSS Capability Overview - a brief discussion of the six major functional areas in SharePoint 2007:

o    Collaboration

o    Portals

o    Search

o    Web Content Management

o    Business Forms

o    Business Intelligence

2.    Understanding the "MOSS Building Blocks" - a description of both the physical and logical components that make up a SharePoint solution. We discuss how they fit together and how you can combine these to ensure your solutions can scale to meet demand

3.    A tour of the Central Administration site - gain an insight into how a SharePoint Farm is administered.

4.    Applications, Site Collections and Subsites - explore the main components used to build any SharePoint site. Learn what capabilities are managed at each level.

5.    Inside a sub-site - now that we understand the high level components we can get into the details of what makes up a subsite. We examine:

o    Document Libraries and the SharePoint Document Management concepts

o    Lists

o    Web Parts

o    Security

o    Navigation Controls

6.    Search - we look into the rich functionality in MOSS to allow users to quickly locate content that exists inside and outside of SharePoint. We look at how the search capabilities are administered and what options are available to fine-tune the search engine to match your client's needs.

7.    Web Content Management - we look at how SharePoint incorporates Web Content Management functionality. This overview includes:

o    Workflows

o    Master Pages

o    Page Layouts

o    Content Deployment

o    Variations

o    Examples of public sites that use MOSS

8.    Business Data Catalog - the BDC provides a framework to gain access to information stored in third-party products. Learn how SharePoint can make use of this content directly within its own environment

REGISTER HERE
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:24:59 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General | MOSS | Training
# Monday, March 10, 2008

32/64 bit BizTalk considerations and the 64-million dollar question - "How big can my current setup go?"

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa577523.aspx

Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2008 10:05:04 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights

Came across a great article - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa559162.aspx

Good Sizing goodies!!

Monday, March 10, 2008 10:03:21 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights

Check this out - http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/capabilities/reader/ interactive and all. Scroll/Zoom + click on a section where the help and various MSDN articles come up - fantastic....shame my blog isn't silverlight capable....yet :)

image

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:54:17 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights

Hi all - in a recent post I came across an updated version of the BizTalk Adapter Pack V1.0.
Doing a search on the web will yield you to a bunch of *.CHM files, but still no *download* link!

I'm on the hunt - here's a 'close' page, but still no download link http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/evaluation/adapter/default.mspx

The Adapter Pack has RTM'ed and is available on the Standard/Developer + Enterprise BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Editions.

Looks like I'll be up for up for a MSDN download or two..... smile_regular

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:37:16 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk
# 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
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