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# 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
# Tuesday, 23 December 2008

With all the developer extensions in recent time around SharePoint (Features, Solutions etc), I've found there seems to be a few little known and little used 'other' APIs within the SharePoint space.

We've got things like WebServices and the SharePoint Object Model (SPSite etc) that we use however, there's a couple of other APIs that could be useful also for the times when you're not running locally on the SharePoint machine - they generally center around HTTP and extending it.

Two (that come immediately to my mind) are:

1. WebDav - early versions of 'Web Folders' used this.

2. RPC (over HTTP) APIs - Front Page and SharePoint Designer still use these.
(InfoPath when submitting forms uses this to promote properties to a forms library)

A great example of this is SharePad for SharePoint on CodePlex

Merry Christmas,


Tuesday, 23 December 2008 15:34:03 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | MOSS | Office
# Friday, 19 December 2008

I've been getting this question quite alot recently, "BizTalk accessing SQL in another domain...", "SharePoint accessing Webservices via NTLM auth only in another domain..." etc.

Most of the time we can find a box to stick in a User Name/Password somewhere (e.g. File Adapter in BTS) that will more than likely solve the problem.

For the cases where you can't or there's some complicated RPC session (connect to \\server\IPC$ share) that's setup first (several MMC snap-ins for e.g.), then you're given access, "It's so much easier if we're all part of the same domain..." speech you give yourself over and over again....then I may have a technique to help you.

Basically we force our Windows to always use specific credentials when communicating with the remote machine X - on a per user by user basis.

It goes something like this:

(1) login to the local server in question under the acct that is needing access (e.g. svc_acct) - this is usually the 'Web App Pool identity' or the 'BizTalk Service Account' (generally NOT your day to day account)

(2) under control panel -> Stored User Names and Passwords (on Vista this is 'User Accounts')

Stored User Names and Passwords

(3) Then add the credentials to suit.



Viola - happy NTLM-ing & Merry Christmas.......



Friday, 19 December 2008 20:59:47 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [3] -
General | Tips

If you've ever had VPCs that you just want to run and use, irrespective of the actual host time add/edit this little gem to the corresponding *.VMC file

            <allow type="boolean">true</allow>
                <enabled type="boolean">false</enabled>

         ...... - other entries here......

Friday, 19 December 2008 18:56:26 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
# Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Microsoft BizTalk Server

On the 8th of December 2008 - Microsoft announced general availability of BizTalk 2009 Beta.

Here's the details

Public beta of BizTalk Server 2009.  Available at

1.       This beta is community supported.  The TechNet forums will be the primary place for support -

2.       General availability of BizTalk Server 2009 is still scheduled for the first-half of 2009 - we don't have a further update at this time.

  • Availability of BizTalk RFID Mobile for all new customers and current customers with SA
  • ESB Guidance 2.0 will also be available -

For more information go to:

Key Areas

BizTalk Server 2009 Beta:

  • BizTalk Server 2009 is Microsoft's core enterprise connectivity solution, which releases on schedule of every two years, and continues to extend capabilities to core process management technologies both in and outside of the corporate boundaries.
  • Microsoft continues to listen to its BizTalk Server 2009 customers and will optimize feedback from the beta release for future BizTalk Server releases
  • RFID Mobile:
    • BizTalk RFID Mobile extends RFID to the mobility industry to demonstrate strong customer support with RFID intelligence on devices running on Win CE/Win Mobile enabling businesses to make decisions in real-time.


Q: What did Microsoft announce today?

A: Today at the Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration (AADI) Summit, Microsoft Corp. announced the general availability of BizTalk RFID Mobile and BizTalk RFID Standards Pack, as well as the first public beta of BizTalk Server 2009 for download and an updated version of its architecture patterns and practices guidance, Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Guidance 2.0. Microsoft has made these investments in the BizTalk Server product family to enable customers to more efficiently connect applications and to provide customers with a clearer, actionable view into their day-to-day operations.

Q. When will the products be available?

A: The BizTalk Server 2009 public beta and ESB Guidance 2.0 CTP are available now at for community feedback. The final products are slated to ship in the first half of CY09.  Evaluation versions of BizTalk RFID Mobile and the BizTalk RFID Standards Pack are available at and respectively.

Q: What new functionally will be delivered in BizTalk Server 2009?

A:  BizTalk Server 2009 supports the latest Microsoft platform technologies, including Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 SP1, SQL Server 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. These platform updates enable greater scalability and reliability, and many advances in the latest developer tools.

This BizTalk Server release will also deliver additional customer-requested capabilities around enterprise connectivity, including:

  • New web service registry capabilities with support for UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration) version 3.0
  • Enhanced service enablement of applications (through new and enhanced adapters for LOB applications, databases, and legacy/host systems)
  • Enhanced service enablement of "edge" devices through BizTalk RFID Mobile
  • Enhanced interoperability and connectivity support for industry protocols (like SWIFT, EDI, HL7 etc)
  • SOA patterns and best practices guidance to assist our customer's implementations

You can find more details about BizTalk Server 2009 at

Q: What is next for BizTalk Server after BizTalk Server 2009?

A:  The charter of BizTalk Server remains consistent - it allows the Microsoft application platform to connect  and interoperate with other kinds of systems - LOB systems, legacy systems, smart devices (RFID), and B2B integration (SWIFT, EDI, etc.).  This has been the focus of BizTalk Server since it was initially released back in 2000 and continues to be its charter going forward.

At this point it's too early to comment on the specific features that will be part of the BizTalk Server "7" release; however, you can find details about general priorities for BizTalk Server at  We're in the middle of early planning on BizTalk Server "7" and will have more information to share about the specific scope of that release.

Q: What is BizTalk RFID Mobile?

A: BizTalk RFID Mobile is an RFID platform for Windows Mobile and CE. BizTalk RFID Mobile consists of a runtime engine, tools, and components to develop, deploy, and manage RFID solutions on mobile devices.  In combination with BizTalk Server RFID, the mobility release provides a platform for real-time decision making.  BizTalk RFID Mobile extends management and event processing to mobile devices and allows communication between the server and mobile platforms.

Q. What is the price and licensing for BizTalk RFID Mobile?

A: BizTalk RFID Mobile is available to all BizTalk Server 2006 R2 customers with Software Assurance as well as new BizTalk Server 2006 R2 customers who purchase licenses with Software Assurance. Our customers and partners told us that mobile RFID offerings are used in conjunction with a server product.  As a result, we included BizTalk RFID Mobile with each edition of BizTalk so that our customers can achieve the benefits of RFID mobile solutions without incurring undue costs. For BizTalk Server customers with Software Assurance this is a great opportunity to adopt a new product that can deliver an economic value today. When BizTalk Server 2009 becomes generally available, the customers will be able to acquire BizTalk RFID Mobile without software assurance.

Q: Is BizTalk RFID Mobile dependant on BizTalk Server? Can't I just use a free solution that's available rather than use BizTalk Server?

A:  BizTalk RFID Mobile and BizTalk Server are better together.  Using BizTalk RFID Mobile and BizTalk Server in tandem you can capture data on a mobile device and then send the RFID data back to BizTalk Server for filtering and the application of business rules.  There is no need to rewrite complex event filtering and business rule logic on the device as that functionality is already provided by BizTalk Server.  We have taken a platform approach that will ensure that you can write your mobile applications once and run them on multiple devices in addition to local device management, store and forward, and SQL Sink capabilities, which reduce your TCO.

BizTalk RFID Mobile and BizTalk RFID Standards Pack are a standard part of all editions of BizTalk Server 2009.  Given the intense interest in these offerings from our existing and new customers we decided to make them available now to BizTalk Server 2006 R2 customers with software assurance as well as new BizTalk Server 2006 R2 customers who purchase licenses with Software Assurance.

Rather than charge a per device fee, we included BizTalk RFID Mobile with all editions of BizTalk because we wanted to make it easier for customers to adopt mobile RFID solutions.  RFID is a fundamental enabler for business processes and should not be viewed as an isolated silo, which is why we have included our fixed and mobile RFID offerings standard in all editions of BizTalk.

Q: What is ESB Guidance?

A: The Microsoft ESB Guidance (first released in November 2007) provides architectural guidance, patterns, practices, and a set of BizTalk Server R2 and .NET components to simplify the development of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) on the Microsoft platform and to allow Microsoft customers to extend their own messaging and integration solutions.  For additional information on the current 1.0 version please see

We are announcing today the first public CTP release of the Microsoft ESB Guidance 2.0 for Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009. It incorporates many new and expanded features include the following:

  • New samples:
    • SSO Configuration provider for Enterprise Library 4.0
    • Multiple Web Service Execution Sample
    • Exception Handling Service Sample
  • New ESB Web services:
    • Generic Itinerary Services ( no itinerary header required)
    • New core features:
      • Alignment with Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009 ( Beta )
        • ESB Configuration tool
        • Centralized itinerary store
        • Itinerary resolver components
        • Itinerary forwarder pipeline component
        • Itinerary selector pipeline component
        • Itinerary designer
        • Centralized configuration uses Enterprise Library 4.0 Configuration Block
        • Centralized caching uses Enterprise Library 4.0 Caching Block
        • Multiple service invocation using both messaging and orchestrations
        • Itinerary BAM tracking
        • Improved ESB Core engine and itinerary execution
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 17:55:57 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [1] -
BizTalk | Insights | Tips
# Friday, 05 December 2008

I came across this a while ago and thought it's too good to keep quiet. The classic problem we've all been in "works on my machine" says the Developer.


Basically this certification is easy - you launch the app, get to the main screen and shutdown.

If that can be done - you're in! :-)

Check it out below....


works on my machine, starburst

Friday, 05 December 2008 15:05:19 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
# Wednesday, 03 December 2008

Thanks to all of you who joined me recently for Shannon & my seminar around Gaining Efficiencies in SharePoint.

We had a great turn out and I hope you found it useful - we had around 60 mins....the clock was ticking.

As promised - here's the PowerPoint slides I used in the presentation.

Take care and enjoy.


Wednesday, 03 December 2008 14:53:55 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Events | MOSS | Admin | Training
# Tuesday, 25 November 2008

James, a student of mine this week pointed me to a great tool that 'optimises' your SharePoint site (as well as websites in general).

Runtime Peformance Optimisation (RPO) is the place where it's all at. You basically plug your URL in and it sends you a report on how it can be optimised.

(I'm yet to check this out) James mentioned that it operates off a DLL that you include as part of your swag in the \bin folder (or GAC) and it requires the DLL for runtime operations.

Here's the process.....

1. click on the 'Try now button'


2. Plug the values in for your site..

image image

3. Then peruse over the emailed results at your leisure.....

It does things like Image optimisation, file compressions and even gives you the results in cold and warm boot times!
Very very very nice!


Looks like I'll be talking to Santa this Christmas!!! :-)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008 18:20:07 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
MOSS | Admin | Office | Tips
# 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


Hi folks, (I've saved the last couple of places....for you)

With the economy being the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment, I have decided to turn my last MOSS bootcamp of the year in to a special week of training where I will show students how to help their business become more efficient during a time of streamlining processes. Whilst I will still cover the main course outline I will be focusing a little more on InfoPath forms and workflow and how students can utilize these tools within a SharePoint environment.

Students attending this bootcamp will have an added bonus of being able to attend my seminar on the Wed Evening covering more on this very topic……

Breeze MOSS Bootcamp Course is scheduled for November 25-29th.
Love to see you there :-)


Thursday, 06 November 2008 22:11:43 (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
MOSS | Office | Training

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
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