Will Windows Workflow Foundation Replace BizTalk Server ?

Will Windows Workflow Foundation Replace BizTalk Server ?

The answer is no.Here is anexcerpt from David Chappell’s excellent whitepaper: Introducing Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation: An Early Look

Use Windows Workflow Foundation when:

An application will itself host workflows. Windows Workflow Foundation lets workflow be built into an application, allowing the workflow to be deployed and managed as a native part of the application. Because it’s focused on integrating diverse applications rather than providing a general workflow framework, BizTalk Server always runs orchestrations within the BizTalk Server process.

The business process being implemented requires human workflow. BizTalk Server addresses system workflow, and so it lacks Windows Workflow Foundation’s support for things such as state machine workflows and dynamic update. A scenario that requires both human workflow and more complex system integration services could be addressed by using Windows Workflow Foundation and BizTalk Server together, however. For example, the Office “12” support for document-centric workflows, based on Windows SharePoint Services, might be used for the human aspects of the problem, while BizTalk Server handles the system integration aspects. The two can interoperate using the BizTalk Server Adapter for SharePoint.
The workflow will execute on a client system. BizTalk Server is a server-focused product, and so it’s less well-suited to run on desktop machines.

Use BizTalk Server when:

Solving an EAI problem that requires communication with diverse applications on diverse platforms. Because of its focus on cross-platform integration, a large set of adapters is available for BizTalk Server that allows communication with a range of other software. Windows Workflow Foundation is focused solely on workflow, not EAI, and so it doesn’t provide these things.
B2B services are required. Windows Workflow Foundation doesn’t address this area, while BizTalk Server provides tools for working with trading partners, accelerators for RosettaNet, SWIFT, and other industry standards, and more.
BPM services, such as Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), are required. While the Windows Workflow Foundation tracking infrastructure can be used to create these services, BizTalk Server provides important extras, such as tools that let information workers define their own BAM views.
A complete management infrastructure and support for increased scalability are required. Unlike Windows Workflow Foundation, BizTalk Server includes a full set of tools for administering and scaling a production environment.

New Bloggers Guide Out

New Bloggers Guide Out

Get Your Kicks with 2006

It’s been a busy summer, and in Sweden you have to make the most of it. But, eventually, here is the latest version of the guide. Big credit to Stephen Thomas and Matt Hall for keeping the good posts coming.

There’s a whole bunch of 2006 posts here, BAM, Suspended Message Routing, ESSO SnapIn, Install + Config, Mapper Improvements e.t.c.

I’ve automated the process a bit by C#ing to create the table of contents for the help compiler, HTML Help Workshop was getting a bit out of hand with over 300 articles. Hope this went well, let me know if it didn’t.

Sorry if I have missed adding your blog/articles, my inbox was in chaos after the summer, and I may have missed your mail. Ping me again and I’ll add it to the October release (Also the first anniversary, Wohooo!!!).

Get it here…

New Biztalk Server Newsletter Launched- The BizTalker

New Biztalk Server Newsletter Launched- The BizTalker

I have started a new e-mail newsletter called The BizTalker. 

I hope to deliver periodic issues focusing on real life stories from integration consultants in the field.  Nothing that fancy or long, just to the point: this is the problem we had and this is how we fixed it.

I am working with other Biztalk bloggers and consultants in order to deliver content to newsletter subscribers before it is available on other sources.

Plus, each issue will include the latest happening in the Microsoft Connection Systems world and what is new on BizTalkGurus.com and other partner sites.

I hope to release the first issue in the next few weeks. 

I have a beta issue available here.

Now is the time to sign-up so you do not miss the first issue!

The BizTalker Logo

WSS Adapter webcast recording is now available on Microsoft Betaplace

WSS Adapter webcast recording is now available on Microsoft Betaplace

I mentioned before that I’ll be doing a webcast on the Windows SharePoint Services native adapter included in BizTalk 2006 (see SeptemberWSSAdapterWebcast).

The “BTS 2006 Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) Adapter Deep Dive” webcast is now available on the Microsoft Beta Place http://beta.microsoft.com/ , Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006, under the Additional File Downloads section.

If you haven’t signed-up already in the BizTalk 2006 Beta program, then go to bts2006beta to see the instructions.

[April 18, 2006] The BizTalk Betaplace is closed now.

The videos are shared on this SharePoint site: http://wssadapter.members.winisp.net/default.aspx, in the Shared Documents document library, WSS Adapter Webcasts folder.

This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.
Use of included videos are subject to the terms specified at http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyright.htm. Some of the content was developed for the BizTalk Beta builds, but it is still generally applicable to the RTM version.

Dave Green is blogging…

Dave Green is blogging…

Dave Green has started his blog, welcome Dave!. Dave is the WWF Architect, and he’s been having stacks of fun building out Microsoft’s workflow platform, I have to say WWF looks really cool. Dave’s a very smart cookie and has been building workflow engines for some time now, I’m sure he’ll share some interesting insights around the workflow space. Dave, John and myself were the British faction in the BizTalk team before I defected back to Blighty!

MS-BRE: Here are the results for my port of Peter Lin’s tests

MS-BRE: Here are the results for my port of Peter Lin’s tests

For those following the debate on the implementation of the Rete algorithm in the Microsoft Business Rules Engine, you may be aware that I undertook to port some CLIPS/Jess tests provided by Peter Lin to the MS-BRE and to publish the results.   This follows on from the original article I published here.

My results for the ported tests are documented here.   They show virtually identical scaling behaviour between Jess and the MS-BRE.

There has been further debate about this on The Server Side .NET site, which can be read here.

BizTalk Rules engine scalibility

When exploring different rule base vendors, you probably encounter references to the RETE algorithm by Charles Forgy. This algorithm has proven itself to scale well for very large ruleset.
In all my years of experience, I’ve never encountered a client with more than 500 rules in a single rule policy. The reason is not any scalability issues on inference engines. The reason is simple. It is difficult for a business expert to

  • manage a very large rule policy
  • maintain a very large rule policy
  • verify and validate a large rule policy

As with any complexity, the divide and conquer strategy works very well. Split the large policy into smaller parts.
But for those who like to push the limits and see how well the BizTalk inference engine scales, you might like to read the article Microsoft’%u0092s Rule Engine Scalability Results – A comparison with Jess and Drools, by Charles Young.

Competitive Analysis: Choosing BizTalk Server Over IBM WebSphere Integration Server v5

Competitive Analysis: Choosing BizTalk Server Over IBM WebSphere Integration Server v5

This documents helps you understand the key technologies from Microsoft and IBM in the integration space.  It then compares and contrasts the various products and technologies.  The goal of the document is to provide you with apples to apples comparisons and endeavours to be factual and straight forward.  This document will be posted on microsoft.com shortly.  You can read it first here.

All comments welcome. Fixed the URL…

Design Contest Entry – Dynamic Transforms in Biztalk Server 2006

I should start by saying I was much happier with last year’s entry.  Last year, I used an Orchestration to limit other running Orchestrations.  It could be configures on the fly using the Rules Engine.  I should note that in Biztalk 2006 you will now have the ability to limit running Orchestrations since you now have per-host configuration. 

Since last year I didn’t place in the top 5, I decided to take a difference approach this year.  I decided to take a look at something simple and build on that.  So, I picked mapping.  Simple, right?

Transforms are a critical component in nearly every integration project.  The Transform design pattern is largely taken for granted since mapping is a relatively straight forward process.  The importance to a well thought out Transformation Approach is soon understood when messages start failing inside pipelines, when existing maps need to be updated, and when new maps need to be deployed. 

What if a truly dynamic Transform mechanism existed that could be configured at runtime, had no dependencies to outside assemblies, and handled exceptions? 

Key Features Demonstrated

  • Dynamic Transform inside an Orchestration

  • Untyped Receive and Send Ports

  • Direct Binding to the message box

  • Per-Instance Pipeline components

  • Effective Exception handling

Download: Dynamic Transforms in BizTalk 2006

To set up and run the sample, just unzip the download to the C:\ drive.  Then, follow the set-up instruction inside the DynamicTransformswithUntypedMessages.doc inside the DynamicMaps folder. 


Dynamic Transforms in BizTalk 2006

This sample built for the Biztalk 2006 Design Contest shows how a per-instance custom pipeline can be used to set the map name in a message. Then, the message can be mapped dynamically using an Orchestration. This allows for a consistence approach to transformation and exceptions. Set up: Just extract to your C:\ drive and follow the instructions in the Word document.

This sample will also work with BizTalk 2006 and BizTalk 2006 R2.

Get more information from the original blog post on this topic: https://www.biztalkgurus.com/biztalk_server/biztalk_blogs/b/biztalk/archive/2005/09/19/design-contest-entry-_2d00_-dynamic-transforms-in-biztalk-server-2006.aspx