Well, what do you know, looks like Kevin Smith has turned up again after a long hiatus. The BizUnit project has now been moved to CodePlex and i just pinged him to check if he wants to collaborate with the Extensions project as well. Hope something good comes of this. The extensions project has had a huge number of hits since the content and structure got revised and i’m still trying to squeeze some time from my schedule to write up the tutorials and all that, so if you’ve been waiting, dont give up, or better still, email me and let me know you’re waiting. The last time someone did that, i wrote up the Context tutorial immediately so let me know if you want some information to be put on the site.

I should have taken Jon Fanceys advice (on his blog) seriously and “sacrificed chickens to the demo gods”. I had to give a brief workshop on Biztalk to some new clients a couple of days ago and took the classic messaging & CBR example of mapping an employee message to an executive message. As with most demos, this simplest of scenarios failed miserably. Why are demos always like this? Being still stuck in the 2004 world for my current project(s) and demo-ing 2006 for the new project might have contributed,but its really the same product with a rather more shiny interface on top so i guess i had to chalk it down as one of those unexplainable things.

The problem we had was a weird one. Initially when designing the schema, one of the fields (Salary) which i promoted, was a string and then as i refined the schema i changed it to a “long”. Unfortunately the property schema had already been set by then and that took me into a rather long loop of re-deploying, changing the prop schema etc since i needed to check the value of that field and set another element in the target (using a scripting functoid). The messaging error that popped up continually was “cannot convert string to long”. We just couldnt understand it because we literally wiped the schema and started again and the system seemed to have cached that message and kept throwing the same error. Even disabling the send port which did the mapping and retaining another port which forwarded the incoming message to another folder didnt work. Anyway, ultimately we just gave up in disgust cos we were running out of time and there were other things to work through.

Still, i wont take “no” for an answer from Biztalk and i gotta probe this and get to the bottom of it. Its kinda embarassing to see things like this happen after you have been working with the product for quite a while, but hey, i’ve seen it happen to well known gurus in the community so why should i be an exception!!

Next time you are planning a demo, dont forget the chickens!!