Am I embarking on some kind of weird philosophical/existentialist post? Nope.

If you’ve been exploring the ESB Toolkit 2.0, then you know that there is a management portal. In addition, some of the core services provided by the ESB Toolkit are available as Web services. One of those services gives the ability for a Web service client to register the fact that an exception has occured. This is a powerful capability, as (for example) it would allow a J2EE application in a heterogeneous environment to participate in a message-based unified exception handling strategy, leveraging the ESBT Exception subsystem.

HOWEVER if you submit an exception through the Web service, then it will not be visible in the portal, even if you ask the portal to show you “All” exceptions. Why? Because the portal is BizTalk application-centric. The list of available applications you get presented with is based on a call into the BizTalk OM that enumerates the apps. Any exceptions coming in through the Web service will not be associated with a BizTalk application, and as such will not show up in the portal. The following screen shot illustrates this. The exceptions in the table belonging to the “Exception Handling Service Test” were created by the sample application that calls the service.

Don’t like that behavior? No problem. The management portal is a sample application, and as such you get full source. In addition, nothing says you even have to use the management portal. In fact, I personally prefer the use of SharePoint-based process-specific portals. I would use that process portal to surface metrics and exceptions for a specific process,  as well as using it as a shell for any human intervention. Access to the portal would be limited to a group charged with managing the process, and all they would see there is information related to that process.