Archive for March, 2009

BizTalk 2009 on Dev 10 Part 2

I was able to play with BizTalk 2009 Beta on Dev 10 a little more and had some advice. When I installed earlier, I had not seen that the Developer Tools and SDK was grayed out and this was the reason the .btproj extension had not been installed properly. I eventually realized that on the VS 2010 CTP VPC, VS 2008 BIDS did not have VS 2008 SP1 so this was required to get the BizTalk 2009 Beta VS extensions to install at all.

With the VS extensions for BizTalk installed correctly, I was still not able to open BizTalk 2009 projects using VS 2010. For some reason the VS extensions are just not being applied to VS 2010.

Here is my updated install order to get BizTalk to work with as much as possible:

  • Setup the VS 2010 CTP VPC using the RAR downloads
  • Remove the expiration using the VMC file configuration
  • Remove VS 2008 BIDS – an upgrade will not install properly
  • Install VS 2008 Full
  • Install VS 2008 SP1
  • Install BizTalk 2009 Beta or latest version available
  • Configure BizTalk 2009
  • Install Team Explorer for VS 2008 – Be careful – Team Explorer does not work with VS 2008 and VS 2010 open at the same time.
  • Team explorer for VS 2008 did connect fine to the TFS 2010 server though.So I still wanted to answer a few questions. I was able to add a BizTalk 2009 project to TFS 2010 through VS 2008 w/ Team Explorer 2008 and view the source code in VS 2010, I was just not able to open the BizTalk projects. Here is a screenshot from VS 2010 with the BizTalk files in source control in TFS 2010:

    So this is good because it means it is possible to upgrade to TFS 2010 without affecting BizTalk solutions. VS 2008 will just need to remain in order to keep editing BizTalk 2009 projects.

    The other question I had was whether a BizTalk 2009 project can reference a .NET 4.0 assembly. VS 2008 SP1 cannot create .NET 4.0 versioned projects, so the reference would have to be a GAC or file reference rather than a project reference. I created a .NET 4.0 assembly from VS 2010 and referenced some v4.0.11 assemblies and recompiled. Then I tried referencing the assembly in my BizTalk project in VS 2008. It looks like it is possible to reference a .NET 4 assembly from VS 2008 for a BizTalk project but I was unable to build it successfully. Here is the message I got when adding the reference:

    After trying to compile I realized it was not possible to reference a .NET 4 assembly from Visual Studio 2008 SP1 (yet). I also tried referencing an M project using the latest Oslo January CTP SDK and was not able to successfully.

    So the good news is that you can migrate your TFS investment ahead of BizTalk and the BizTalk files will still check-in and import successfully. My next task will be to see how well the new ALM features of BizTalk 2009 translate over to working on TFS 2010.



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    BizTalk 2009 on Dev 10 (VS 2010)

    Today I was working on a project for a client and was unsure about compatibility between Visual Studio 2010 and BizTalk 2009. BizTalk 2009 is going to be released soon and it seemed like a natural question to wonder if the VS 2010 / .NET 4 CTP ( would work with this. This CTP has been out for around 5 months but I had not had a chance to try the BizTalk 2009 install on it. I used the 2009 Beta install and got some mixed results. Here is the high-level results:
    • BizTalk 2009 Beta install on the VS 2010 CTP VPC installs the VS extensions into the VS 2008 BIDS shell (interestingly).
    • The BizTalk VS extensions do not show up inside of VS 2010
    • I tried opening a BizTalk Sample project in VS 2010 and it was able to convert the project but then could not open the .btproj file extension.
    • If you try to create a BizTalk project in VS 2008 BIDS, you get an error that project file type (.btproj) is not supported. The project type file is updated with BizTalk 2009 to be more of a C# format so I did not expect this to work because BIDS does not have the C# project file stuff anyway.
    • If you want to use BizTalk 2009 on the CTP VPC, you need to install a full version of VS 2008, so use the following install order:
      • Setup the VS 2010 CTP VPC using the RAR downloads
      • Remove the expiration using the VMC file configuration
      • Update VS 2008 to be a full version
      • Run the BizTalk 2009 install (latest version available)
    • The Oslo SDK extensions for VS work (although there are not built-in add file extensions for more than just .m files) in VS 2010 and show up in VS 2008 BIDS so it may be possible to reference an M project directly from a BizTalk 2009 project (will be checking on this soon).

    Some obvious questions I am wondering about are given below. I will be researching and checking on these more:

    • Does TFS 2010 check-in of projects work with the BizTalk 2009 extensions if the extensions do not show up in VS 2010?
    • Since the VS 2010 extensions do not work, can a BizTalk 2009 project reference a .NET 4 assembly?


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    BizTalk Performance Guides vNext

    One of the themes I have been blogging on for a while is the relationship of BizTalk Server 2006 R2 and Microsoft’s 2008 product stack including Windows Server 2008, SQL 2008, and Visual Studio 2008. As everyone should know, the 2008 product stack is not supported with BizTalk Server 2006 R2. Over the past couple of weeks I have learned that some of the BizTalk Server Performance Optimization Guide articles (starting at should not be applied to Windows Server 2008 BizTalk implementations due to some performance differences between Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2008. Even though it is a best practice to avoid unsupported environment configurations, I know for a fact there are quite a few organizations that have BizTalk 2006 R2 running with Windows Server 2008. I recommend against this configuration on production boxes due to the supportability issues, but it is very valuable from a BizTalk vNext perspective especially if you are working on a BizTalk 2009 migration plan.
    So what is the result of following the performance guide in an unsupported configuration of BizTalk 2006 R2 and Windows Server 2008? Well, the guide was made with the assumption that Windows Server 2003 was being used, so the optimizations made specifically for that OS will not be the best ones for 2008. So watch out for OS tuning parameters or options in the guide because these will not always be the best ones for Windows Server 2008. Microsoft will be releasing an updated performance optimization guide a couple weeks after BizTalk 2009 is released under RTM. So if you are working in a high performance BizTalk environment and want to migrate to Windows Server 2008 then I would wait to deploy your applications until after the new optimization guide is released because the newer guide will include optimizations for Windows Server 2008.
    But wait, what if you want to use BizTalk 2006 R2 in the unsupported configuration in production? Unfortunately, I have not heard the configuration will ever be supported, but I would still wait for the updated optimization guide so you can at least optimize the OS settings. If I uncover any other snafus or gotchas of using the updated performance guide in the unsupported configuration, I will be sure to let you know about them. 🙂

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