Integrating Integrators – BizTalk, Windows Azure, Windows Workflow, and Beyond

November, 2010


This is the top level group for Microsoft AppFabric. Find blogs, samples, videos, and learning resources for Platform Azure AppFabric and Windows Server AppFabric here.

AppFabric Community Blogs via Syndication

Bloggers with a focus on Server AppFabric or Azure AppFabric. All content is property of the original blog owner.
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    Versioning long running Workflow Services in WF4

    One of the problems with the current version of Windows Workflow Foundation is how to handle different versions of your workflows. With short running workflows this is no big deal, workflows do whatever they are supposed to do and finish, and you can deploy a newer updated version of your XAMLX files whenever you want. Provided the public facing SOAP interface doesn’t change no one will notice a difference and everything will work just fine. However as soon as we get into long running workflows and...
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    Hosting BizTalk Server on Azure VM Role

    Another great announcement on PDC was the Virtual Machine Role feature.  This feature is added to Azure with the primary goal to move existing applications to the cloud.  The feature allows us to upload our own VHD (virtual hard disk) with the Operating System on it (Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise).  This machine could have your application pre-packaged and installed.  After doing this, you are now able to spin up multiple instances of that machine. BizTalk on VM Role? Being a BizTalk...
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    Contract First development with WCF

    WCF has some weak spots when it comes to contract first development. Creating a service starting from a given XSD or WSDL is a scenario that is common in enterprise integration. One option is using svcutil.exe to generate a service interface for a WSDL file. Today I found a tool on CodePlex that has much more capabilities: tool. WSCF comes with a lot of useful features (quote CodePlex): A WSDL Wizard that allows the developer to step through the creation of a WSDL from one or more XSDs...
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    Initializing Auto-Start WCF/Workflow Services

    AppFabric AutoStart feature is built on top of IIS 7.5 AutoStart feature. IIS 7.5 provides an extensibility point where you can specify your custom initialization providers which will be executed as part of application start-up and gives you the ability to perform costly initialization. For example, pre-populating an AppFabric cache. Windows Server AppFabric uses this [...] Blog Post by: zamd
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    Throttling workflow services in WF4

    Windows Workflow Foundation 4 makes it real easy to create workflow services that do long running work on a server. However when we are doing long running work there could be an issue with lots of workflows being started and too many workflow instances competing for the same data and threads thereby causing problems like database timeouts or thread pool starvation. To simulate a busy workflow service I have the following sample workflow: The workflow service is started using a WCF request, returns...
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    Getting started with WCF Discovery

    One of the cool new features in WCF 4 is the support for WS-Discovery.   So what makes WCF Discovery so cool? Normally when a client application wants to connect to a WCF service it has to know several thing about the service like the operations it supports and where it is located. Knowing the operations at design time makes sense, after all this is functionality you are going to call. But the address makes less sense, that is a deployment things and something we don’t really want to be concerned...
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    Versioning long running Workflow Services in WF4, the code

    In my previous WF4 post I described the principal of how to version workflow services using the WCF 4 RoutingService. In that post I described the general problem and solution without going into a lot of detail and showing any code. In this blog post I will add an actual implementation you can use for reference purposes.   The basic layout The solution has three parts. The workflow service with 2 different versions of same workflow. The second version of the workflow has more activities in the...
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    Exploring the new Azure property pages in Visual Studio

    Great news for the Azure community.  The Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio (November 2010) have been released!  This release contains a lot of new features and most of them were announced at PDC. The release can be downloaded here . The overview of new features: Virtual Machine (VM) Role (Beta): Allows you to create a custom VHD image using Windows Server 2008 R2 and host it in the cloud. Remote Desktop Access: Enables connecting to individual service...
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    FREE 30-day Azure developer accounts! Hurry!

    [updated: this offer is US-only for now, I’ll post more updates as they become available] If you’ve worked with Azure you know that the SDK provides a simulation environment that lets you do a lot of local Azure development without even needing an Azure account. You can even do hybrid (something I like to do) where you’re running code locally but using Azure storage, queues, SQL Azure. However, wouldn’t it be nice if you had a credit-card free way that you could get a developer account to really...
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    Using AppFabric Cache in BizTalk

    A common requirement in many development scenarios is caching. In BizTalk implementations, this can be the case, mainly for performance reasons. As a test I wrote 2 pipelinecomponents that handle 2 common issues with caching inside BizTalk. These sample components are performing similar tasks to two components of the Codit implementation framework . This is a framework we use at a lot of our customers. Code table mappings : limit access to SQL database to perform Code table mappings. In our framework...
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    WCF How To–Configuration Based Activation

    I was there when this feature was born.  It’s a long story but basically the idea is that you should be able to have a WCF service (or Workflow Service for that matter) without a SVC file. What is an SVC file? Simply put, an SVC file is configuration that lives in a file that gives IIS something to serve (after all it is a web server). The .svc extension is handled by WCF so when a request comes into IIS with a URI that ends with .svc, WCF gets to handle it.  You can find the details in...
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    WCF WebHttp Service returns HTTP 415 “Unsupported Media Type”

    When I was developing my demos for PDC10 I ran into a problem.  I was using some new HTTP activities for the next release of WF and invoking a simple console application with an HTTP POST.  For some strange reason I ran into the following error Request POST HTTP/1.1 Content-Type: application/xml Host: Content-Length: 91 Expect: 100-continue Connection: Keep-Alive <string xmlns=" ">Phyllis...
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    Keyboard and the Windows Phone 7 emulator

    By default the WP7 emulator will not react to you typing on the keyboard, instead you have to use the mouse to press keys on the software keyboard that pops up. There is however a hidden feature that will let you use your hardware keyboard, just press Page Up when the software keyboard pops up. And as an extra bonus the three buttons at the bottom of the phone can be activated using F1, F2 and F3 for back, home and search respectively.   Cool feature that makes development using the emulator...
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    San Diego User Group Meeting Nov 23, I’ll be doing a Windows Azure Pre-conference Session

    We are a little slow getting invitations out and details published, but there are two Windows Azure events coming up in San Diego in the next couple of weeks: On Sat December 4th, we will be hosting our second all-day Azure event Prior to that, this Tuesday, I will be doing a “pre-conference” event at the main user group meeting, description below The Tuesday meeting will be at the Intuit campus, details at . Registration for the conference will be available there shortly...
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    BizTalk EDI party management (C#)

    A couple of weeks ago, I had to create a custom EDI party trough code. I noticed that the information provided on this topic was rather small and that other people were experiencing the same problem as well. After some research I did on this topic, I discovered it’s actually rather easy to do these kinds of modifications through code. Below you can find an example on how to create and modify your EDI Party. Prerequisites You will need to add references to following assemblies in order to create...
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    Windows Workflow Foundation futures and database access

    Ron Jacobs showed a number of really cool new workflow features we can be expecting in the next version of Windows Workflow Foundation during the last PDC in Redmond and Tech-Ed Europe in Berlin . One of the new features he demonstrated where the activities we can use to load data from a SQL server database into our workflow. Most of the new features are really cool but the database activities are not.   Why don’t I like the new database activities With the new ExecuteSqlQuery<T> we are...
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    Making Azure apps configurable again with the new Azure PDC features

    Early Thinking This post describes some new Azure features and how they might help us in leveraging the power of the web/app.config files again.  The content is this article is written, before any CTP/Beta versions of these features are available, so the details might be incorrect and there might be some wrong assumptions.  I will verify all of these parts, once the features are made available. Current situation Until now, an important difference between deploying a web application (or...
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    TechEd Europe 2010 Sessions Now Available

    I had a great time in Berlin speaking at TechEd Europe.   The recordings are now available if you want to watch. Using Workflow and Windows Server AppFabric in your Applications You have heard about Windows Server AppFabric but do you know what it is and what it includes? This session will show you: how to utilize WF and WCF to create an AppFabric application; how to deploy your application; how to monitor your application; and how to utilize the new functionality of the AppFabric hosting...
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    Calling Workflow Services without Add Service Reference

    Sometimes you just don’t want to do an Add Service reference in the client application but still be able to to call a WF4 workflow service. The good thing is that a WF4 workflow service is just another WCF service from the client perspective so almost everything you can do with a regular WCF service you can also do with a workflow service. And calling the service without doing an Add Service Reference first is one of those things. In these examples I am going to use the default workflow service template...
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    SoCal Codecamp Jan 28 and 29

    The call for sessions is now open for SoCal Codecamp IV. If you’ve never been to one, Codecamp is a great way to see sessions from the community, for free. Have an idea or a session you’d like to present? Submit it! Want to go? Visit to register. I missed the last one, and felt guilty about it, so I just submitted the sessions below. Hope to see you there! Windows Azure Overview Cloud technologies are transformational, and one of those rare paradigm shifts that we don’t see often...
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