Wow, it has been some time now since I last blogged.  I would like to say I have been super busy with tons of project work. But, actually I have been on vacation most of the time.

From time to time I get the chance to interview prospective Biztalk resource to join various projects.  Since Biztalk 2004 is such a broad and relatively new product, it can sometimes be hard to compare different resources that might have had totally different experiences.

I have put together a few questions that I like to use when interviewing possible resources to give you an idea of the types of questions you might get asked in a BizTalk interview.

The point is not to know all the answers but to be able to demonstrate experience with the product and problem solving skills.  I never penalize people for not knowing something as long as they can tell me how they would find out more about it.

At a high level, what should you know in order to be successful on a Biztalk project?

·         General to moderate .net skills

·         Basic SQL skills

·         Debugging skills

·         Understanding of Biztalk development

·         Understanding of Biztalk design (if needed)

Development Focused Questions

What is BizTalk?

In BizTalk 2002, schemas were DTD based and allowed Xml Elements to be in any order inside a record using the <Any> keyword.  How is this different in BizTalk 2004?

What is a Message Type (i.e. BTS.MessageType) and how is it used in BizTalk?

How do you call a Non-Serializable .Net helper class inside an Expression Shape?

What if the class is Serializable?

What does the Value Mapping Functoid do?

How do you use Auto Mapping in the BizTalk 2004 mapper?

What is the default mapping for Auto Mapping?

Step-by-step, how do you set up a basic, pure messaging solution taking in a flat file and send an Xml File out to 5 different places?

Design (Architecture) Focused Questions

What is the difference between a Distinguished field and a Promoted Property?

How do you achieve First-In-First-Out message processing of messages received from multiple sources using an Orchestration?

At high level, what do Receive Ports and Orchestration Send Port really do in terms of messaging?  What about Send Ports and Orchestration Receive Ports?

When working with Schemas, Maps, Pipelines, and Orchestrations how should the projects be structured?

What is direct binding?

What is BAM used for?

What is the Rules Engine?

What are Persistence Points and what causes them?

What group does a user need to belong to in order to submit messages to the message box? 

What user rights to you need to perform most actions in HAT?

When installing Biztalk in a multi-server configuration with a remote SQL and Analysis Services, what SQL components do you need on the Biztalk Server?

When installing Biztalk and SQL on a Windows XP SP2 Desktop, what pre-requests are required?

Please note that knowing that Ctrl-Alt-Z opens the Biztalk Explore when working inside Visual Studios did NOT make my list of questions.