I’ve just attended the latest of the BizTalk Deep Dive training courses in the UK, which Quick Learn have developed, and are running with a special invite to Microsoft Partners. (I was lucky enough to get a place on one of the free sessions.)

The “entrance exam” for the course ensured all the delegates had a solid grasp of most of the product, and brought with them real world experience of BizTalk development. Ensuring this high-level of expertise on the course kept the discussions and questions at the appropriate level; also if you’re new to the product, you would quickly fall over in the hands-on sections.

The course coverage was broad as well as deep, going through the Share Point, WSE2, and SQL adapters, and also looking at Host Integration Server, and connecting to a DB2 database. Quite a lot of this stuff had been on my “To-do” list for months, and it was good to get a look at these areas of BizTalk that I had not touched yet.

One highlight for me was the in class discussions around complex aspects of the orchestration and messaging engine. These often went beyond the depth of the course notes, and I picked up a lot of info that’s just not documented or, as yet, blogged about. John Callaway, the instructor, has spent a lot of time with the key members of the BizTalk development team, and was able to answer almost all the questions we could throw at him, (usually someone on the course could chip in with some insight into the really tough ones).

If you are making the jump from intermediate to advanced BizTalk development, you should defiantly book yourself a place on one this course.

I also got the chance to take a beer with one of the BizTalk Bloggers, Chrostof Claessens, who was attending another training course at the center. It’s the first time I’ve met one of the contributors face-to-face, and good to be able to put a face to the name. I hope to get the chance to meet with all the contributors to the guide, one down, thirty to go…