Recently I was asked to present at the BizTalk Users Group in Sweden. I had a great time and was welcomed nicely by my Swedish friends.
I presented on the new enhancements to the Windows Application Server role code named Dublin.
I presented two 35 minutes sessions covering a lot of the same material talked about at the recent TechEd in Los Angeles, CA.
The two sessions are now online and available for everyone to watch. The first session is essentially the value proposition of using Dublin and Workflow Services and the second session is a deeper dive into custom tracking and monitoring.
The top question I get is when can I get the code for Dublin? Microsoft stated at TechEd they planned for a public beta of Dublin around the PDC 09 timeframe.
Enjoy and please post any comments or questions.
Session 1: Inside the Windows Application Server Enhancements known as Dublin (1/2)
Abstract: In this session we will review the features of the Windows Application Server Enhancements code named Dublin. This session will show how to use new and enhanced concepts in the .Net 4.0 framework to empower Services hosted in Windows allowing users insight into service health and activity.
Session 2: Inside the Windows Application Server Enhancements known as Dublin (2/2)
Abstract: This session takes a deeper dive into Windows Application Server Enhancements by looking in detail at the hosting of a Workflow Service. This will cover reviewing a web service aggregator Workflow Service, setting up custom tracking, monitoring running services, and import and export of applications.
If you are headed to the SOA & Business Process Conference in Seattle this week and you have an interest in Dublin (Microsoft’s new extensions to windows to host WCF and WF) make sure you check out my session. I will be presenting with Kent Brown from Microsoft.
The abstract is below.
Dublin is the code name for the new Windows Application Server features inside Windows. In this session we will take a look at how to build a service to leverage the management tools inside Dublin to gain insight into the health of running services. We will show how simple it is to configure Dublin to custom track custom values inside message payloads. Once tested, deployment and migration of the service to a new environment will be demonstrated.
I was reading an interesting blog post today called Will Dublin Replace BizTalk?
It got me thinking more about this and I wrote up the response below. I would love to hear other peoples comments and thoughts on this. I see a clear separation on when you would use BizTalk vs when you would use Dublin. I see a great story going forward with both technologies working together.
I welcome comments and feedback on this.
Comment on “Will Dublin Replace BizTalk?” blog post:
“I like your article on Dublin and BizTalk but wanted to comment on a few parts.
As someone who makes a living working with BizTalk Server my ears perk up when I hear “it is going away”. I heard this same kind of talk three years ago when Microsoft introduced Workflow in .Net 3.0. I for one was confused about how Workflow would fit in with BizTalk. And now, BizTalk is bigger and stronger than ever.
Why? Because it does a great job inside the enterprise for the scenarios it is designed to address such as system and application integration, connectivity, transformation, and monitoring, just to name a few.
What I see Dublin (and .Net 4.0) doing is taking some of the best features of BizTalk and making them accessible to other parts of the enterprise that might not have requirements that call for a full and robust Integration Server. With Dublin specifically, it is the management and monitory concepts from BizTalk that we can see inside the Dublin code from PDC.
Will there be scenarios that now make more sense in a Dublin environment than BizTalk? Of course. Will all scenarios fit into Dublin – not a chance.
Even today I hear the question, “Why would we pay for BizTalk?” And for some customers BizTalk is not the right answer. For those customers they will now have Dublin to look at rather than having to custom build a solution.
It often comes down to a cost to buy vs. cost to build analysis. On an individual project basis this sometimes becomes a difficult decision. When you think enterprise wide, typically the cost to buy a supportable product with a core set of features is the better answer. With BizTalk, you get adapters, high availability, robust development tools, EDI, RFID, flat file parsing, administration, BAM, etc. While some of these items are being moved further down into the stack, not all of them will be.
The buy vs. build analysis will become more difficult. I think that is a good thing. The end goal is to do more with less and to lower the cost for consistently delivering supportable and maintainable code that meets the requirements. I think Dublin (and .Net 4.0) helps us down that road. In my mind, I’ll always see a need for BizTalk and will continue to recommend it to my clients as a core component in the enterprise when it makes sense.
I do not foresee a world without BizTalk, but I am excited about the world with options that include BizTalk and Dublin.
If you are looking for more information on Dublin, I have a screen cast available (https://www.biztalkgurus.com/media/p/21919.aspx) and a high level visual review of Dublin (https://www.biztalkgurus.com/blogs/biztalk/archive/2008/11/10/first-look-screen-shots-of-windows-application-server-dublin.aspx) available on my web site.
Stephen W. Thomas
Make sure you check out the video content on Dublin available on BizTalkGurus.com:
First Look at Windows Application Server (Dublin)
Dublin is the code name for the new Windows Application Server components. At the core, Dublin is designed to be a hosting environment for Windows Workflow and Windows Communication Foundation based applications. It integrates into IIS and provides eight new features out of the box.
If you have worked with BizTalk Server 2006 in the past, as we walk through the next few screen shots keep saying to yourself…. “this is not BizTalk this is a new Application”. The likeness to BizTalk 2006 will make adoption by fellow BizTalkers straight forward.
Setup and server configuration of Dublin is done though the Windows Application Server Configuration tool. This is seen below.
Drilling down into a specific section on the left (such as Runtime) will show the specific configuration for that item. The look and feel of this configuration is just like it is inside BizTalk Server 2006.
Once setup and configured, Dublin is currently managed though IIS. The picture below shows these eight new features. These are added under the WCF/WF Services section.
We will take a closer look at each new feature.
Application Export – This is used to export an Application. You get a nice simple interface as seen below.
Application Import – This is used to import an Application. You have the ability to configure parameters during import as seen below.
Database Configuration – This is used to configure the default Persistence and Monitoring database for this instance of Dublin.
Diagnostics – This is used to set up Tracing and Message Logging.
Persisted Instances – Clicking the Persisted Instances icon launches the window below. This is an organized view of the count and status of workflows for a given application. All the items listed are links that can be clicked on to drill down into a specific section. This view is just like the BizTalk Server Admin tool.
Services – Based on the selected scope, this will show you the Services inside the Virtual Directory.
From the Services Pane you can drill down into more detail by right-clicking and selecting Persisted Instance from the context menu (this can also be done from within Persisted Instances view above). You have the ability to Suspend, Terminate, Abort, or view Tracking Data about specific instances as seen below.
Selecting View Tracking Data will view available tracking data for this workflow, as seen below. Double clicking on a specific tracking record will give more details on that specific item.
Tracking Configuration – Tracking configuration lists the available profiles that can be applied to an application. Out of the box are three profiles, Basic, Verbose WCF, and Verbose Workflow. In the picture below, BestPetServiceTracking is a custom tracking profile used to track user specific values.
Tracking Profiles – Custom tracking is just a few clicks away inside Dublin. Once a custom tracking profile is created, it can be uploaded and made available to use for tracking. Inside the labs, Microsoft provided a Tracking Profile Editor (just like the one in BizTalk) that can easily create custom tracking profiles based on a workflow.
I hope this gives you a quick overview of Dublin, Microsoft’s new Application Server. For anyone that has worked with BizTalk in the past, working with Dublin will come naturally. Enjoy.
Today is a great day to be a BizTalk Developer! Why? Microsoft has introduced .Net 4.0, Windows Application Server (Dublin), and Microsoft’s Modeling Platform (Oslo). These new technologies compliment the existing Connection System technologies.
As you look though the various technologies one thing is consistent: Take the best things of BizTalk and allow others outside of BizTalk to leverage it!
I’ve put together over an hour of first look videos to help show the new features of Microsoft’s latest offerings.
The following videos are now available on BizTalkGurus.com:
First Look at Windows Application Server (Dublin) – If you do not watch anything else, watch this video! This video takes a look at the new Windows Application Server features. It shows how to export existing applications and import them into another host on another server, how to set variables inside Workflow 4.0 to be tracked, how to create a custom tracking profile, and how to configure your service to use this custom profile. (Download WMV)
First Look at Quadrant – Oslo’s Modeling Tool -This video is a quick overview of the new modeling tool Quadrant. It walks though the basic user experience. It shows how to work with and edit exiting models, drop workpads onto the workflow surface, add and edit data, and edit existing models. (Download WMV)
First Look at M – Oslo’s Modeling Language – This video walks though creating a simple model using the new M Modeling Language. A simple Domain-Specific Language (DSL) model is also looked at. How often do you get to see a new language? (Download WMV)
Consuming WCF Services in Workflow 4.0 – This video takes a quick look at the new designer experience for Workflow 4.0 inside Visual Studios 10. A simple application is created to communicate with an existing WCF Service. This demonstrates the new interface for Workflow and WCF interactions. (Download WMV)
Flowcharts and Rules in Workflow 4.0 – This video walks though creating an application using the new Flowchart style of workflow. Inside the flowchart workflow, the new Workflow 4.0 Rules are used to evaluate input data. (Download WMV)
It is important to point out that these sets of technologies are not designed to replace BizTalk but rather enhance the rest of the framework. BizTalk still serves a mission critical need as the Microsoft Integration Server and Adapter provider.
Have fun and enjoy!