Posts Tagged Pre-Release

BizTalk 2010 on SQL 2011 CTP 1 (Denali)

Today I kicked off an install test of BizTalk 2010 with SQL Server 2011 CTP 1 (Denali). Here is my install order, all on a single box using local accounts:

This install order did produce one error when setting up VS 2010. The SQL 2008 R2 management objects could not be installed. I was not sure if this was important for BizTalk or not so I just ignore the error. Everything else with VS 2010 installed correctly. BizTalk installed. I am still working on getting Notification services and BAM installed so I will update this post later. The configuration wizard went through quite quickly and I did not have problems. So at this point I think BizTalk 2010 is working successfully on SQL 2011 CTP 1.

Thanks,

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New Blog Home & a New BizTalk Version

Blog Update

Yesterday I found out about the big change Microsoft was making to abandon the Live Spaces blog platform. I had been using this platform for the past three years so I am sorry to see it go. It was definitely not perfect but I found it to have better search engine rankings and it worked fairly well for what I needed. Today I converted my blog over to WordPress so bear with me while I go through a few growing pains. I know of a few issues that I will have to correct:

  • Some of the images are showing up in a limited preview/thumbnail mode. I have started fixing this and should have this all updated shortly.
  • The links from the MSDN forums are no longer correct. I am still working on a great solution for this. If anyone knows of a way to handle this, please let me know.

I anticipate there will be a few other hiccups along the way. Please reply to this post and let me know if you see anything not working correctly. There are a couple improvements to the blogging experience I am excited about with the move to WordPress:

  • Much better extensibility
  • Spam controls – this was a major annoyance on Live¬†Spaces and it was very difficult to manage
  • More designer capabilities

So today i am turning a page on a new blog experience and later this week we will be welcoming the next version of BizTalk being completely released. In my part of the Northern hemisphere the leaves are changing now with Fall so I suppose it is a suitable time for so many changes. ūüôā

New BizTalk Version RTM coming 10/1

If you have been following along with the BizTalk news lately you know that the next major version of BizTalk is due to be released near the end of Q3 2010. Here is the link to the BizTalk server team blog announcing that BizTalk 2010 will be available on October 1, 2010: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/biztalk_server_team_blog/archive/2010/09/22/biztalk-server-2010-released-for-manufacturing.aspx. The core part of BizTalk server in the developer edition is now being offered for free at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=938102b8-a677-4c20-906d-f6ae472b3a6a&displaylang=en. Perhaps this is a win for those of us who have been requesting a lite or express version of BizTalk for lower cost projects. It is nice to see that the developer edition is being offered which normally includes all of the features of the enterprise edition but with a license that cannot be used for production purposes. I had a few observations on the current status of the release I wanted to make for anyone checking for the latest downloads of BizTalk 2010.

  • The free download of BizTalk 2010 does not include the extension packs such as the adapter pack or accelertors so I am not sure if the license model may have changed with the new free version. If I were to guess, I would anticipate that these will still be included with the free version but they are just not available yet for download. For example, fixes for the issues with the ESBT 2.1¬†made after the beta release has not been posted for general consumption.
  • During the BizTalk 2009 launch, there was a period of time when the documentation had not been completed and people were starting to use the RTM product without all of the MSDN articles being available. It looks like Microsoft learned a lesson last time and has already released much of the BizTalk 2010 documentation. Here is an example of the RTM documentation that was posted with the free BizTalk 2010 developer edition: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=74b202a2-272a-4b27-b7dd-0dced1bead22&displaylang=en
  • At this point MSDN has not been updated with the new downloads so I would expect this to happen right before 10/1. The Connect site that was used for feedback during the Beta is still up but it has not changed much in the last days of the beta.
  • To aggregate a little of the information gleaned from some of the beta bugs and MSDN forums, the BizTalk adapter pack with BizTalk 2010 will be supporting Oracle 11g Release 2 (R2) but will not be supporting any new Siebel versions. This new version information should now be available for the BizTalk adapter pack.

I am excited about the new capabilities of my blog and BizTalk 2010. Stay tuned for more of my BizTalk blog posts. Thanks!

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Trying to Rehost the BizTalk Mapper Activity (AppFabric Connect)

Introduction

Recently I was working on a technical question and proof of concept about being able to reuse the BizTalk mapping designer functionality. The goal was to be able to reuse the functionality within a business user application to enable an information worker to create a map. One of my personal goals was to try to do this in an environment that did not incorporate Visual Studio. This is challenging because until recently with BizTalk 2010 there was not really any way (that I know of) to export or hijack the BizTalk extensions from Visual Studio and reuse them in a separate non development environment.

With the BizTalk 2010 beta it has been possible to develop message transforms within the VS 2010 workflow projects once you install the WCF LOB SDK beta. A Windows workflow (WF) activity known as the BizTalk mapper activity shows up in the VS toolbox. A few other articles exist on using this activity, see the following for a good summary: http://seroter.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/using-the-new-biztalk-mapper-shape-in-a-windows-workflow-service/.

I decided that it would be interesting to know whether or not you could work with this activity within a WF rehosted environment because this would provide the ability to reuse the mapper functionality in a partial trust, non VS environment. A WF rehosted environment provides a lighter-weight visual editing environment for a workflow that is either stopped or running.

This post shows what I encountered when trying to rehost and manipulate a workflow that use the BizTalk mapper. Unfortunately I found that in the current beta it is not possible to easily manipulate the BizTalk mapper activity in a rehosted workflow. Upon further investigation, the API for the mapper depends on the presence of Visual Studio and simply compiling a project that references the mapper toolbox activity requires extensive Visual studio references. Hopefully this post will save you some time from trying to do this yourself.

 

Process

To start out with a good basis for the test, I found a blog post which provided a good WF 4 rehost sample. I chose the one at http://msmvps.com/blogs/theproblemsolver/archive/2009/12/23/rehosting-the-workflow-designer-in-wf4.aspx. Thanks to Maurice for this great WF 4 post. Basically this enables you to open an Activity.xaml file for a coded workflow and then view it in the rehost environment with the toolbars at the left like in VS. To add the BizTalk mapper activity I did the following steps:

1. Directly referenced the assemblies relating to the BizTalk Mapper activity. Below I give a little more detail on these:

There are a couple of assemblies related to the beta version of the BizTalk mapper activity, but all of them install into “C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010Developer Tools” (on a 64-bit¬†system)¬†rather than the typical WCF LOB SDK path of “C:Program FilesWCF LOB Adapter SDKBin”.
  • Microsoft.ServiceModel.Channels.MapGenerator – Creates the cs or vb code for the code behind of the map.
  • Microsoft.ServiceModel.Channels.MapperActivity – WF 4 activity classes, and also includes the type selector form pop up form that generates the BizTalk schemas and default maps.
  • Microsoft.ServiceModel.Channels.MapperToolboxItem – additional packaging that basically wraps the MapperActivity but relies extensively on the VS packaging assemblies.

2. Then I started trying to build the project for the new references because I want to try to manipulate a workflow with the mapper activity already added in and/or add it to a new workflow. To help with this I opened the three assemblies above in Reflector to look at the references. Quickly we see that the MapperActivity assembly does itself rely on Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop (v. 7.1 so this is VS 2003) as well as the BizTalk mapper compiler.

If you keep all three of the assemblies from #1 referenced then you have to also reference a couple of other VS assemblies commonly used with VS extensions (obviously the MapperActivity was not meant for use outside of VS):

  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.OLE.Interop
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.10.0
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.10.0
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.9.0
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.8.0
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop (v. 7.1)
  • System.Drawing (for basic ComponentModel extensibility)

Basically to illustrate some of these dependencies, here are the first and third assemblies in reflector with references shown:

Then here is the second one for the MapperActivity:

You can also see that the MapperActivity relies on EnvDTE (related to VS) and also ole32.dll (unmanaged code).

3. Also add reference to Microsoft.XLANGs.BaseTypes.dll for handling the BizTalk type system and some other essentials.

4. Add code for adding the Mapper activity to the constructed toolbox:

// Add the BizTalk mapper
var bizTalkcat = new ToolboxCategory(‚ÄúBizTalk Activity‚ÄĚ);
var assembliesBTS = new List();

assembliesBTS.Add(typeof(Microsoft.ServiceModel.Channels.MapperActivity.MapActivityDesigner).Assembly);

var queryMapper = from asm in assembliesBTS
from type in asm.GetTypes()
where type.IsPublic &&
!type.IsNested &&
!type.IsAbstract
&& type.ContainsGenericParameters    // Only matches the Mapper activity
select new ToolboxItemWrapper(type.FullName, type.Assembly.FullName, null, ‚ÄúMapperActivity‚ÄĚ);

queryMapper.ToList().ForEach(ti => bizTalkcat.Add(ti));

toolbox.Categories.Add(bizTalkcat);

Conclusion

So after configuring the WF 4 rehost to handle managing the BizTalk mapper activity, the activity shows up in the toolbox and can be added to the workflow editing screen but cannot be effectively managed and configured. Here is a screenshot of the running host with the BizTalk activity and a workflow rehost showing the mapper activity:This is great until you try to configure the BizTalkMapClass via the Edit button on the designer surface or via the property grid and you get an error that the project cannot be found as shown below:

This is because the Mapper activity relies on the EnvDTE project that does not exist outside of VS. I will attempt to do some other workarounds for managing the mapper activity outside of VS but for now it looks like the mapper is restricted to use within VS. I welcome all comments on other approaches to making this work. Also, the code for my attempts so far may be found here: Ben’s SkyDrive public folder

Thanks,

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VS 2010 Performance Improvement

I was working on testing some bugs out on my BizTalk 2010 beta computer and encountered a popup in VS 2010 advertising that it would run faster with the addition of a certain patch for the Windows Automation API. I usually skip these on a test VM but sometimes VS 2010 does run pretty slow when you only allocate 1.5 GB for the whole VM. ūüôā¬†So I clicked on it and downloaded it and was surprised that VS 2010 does run a lot faster even on only 1.5 GB of RAM.
 
This hotfix does not mention VS 2010 at all in the description: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971513. This hotfix was created prior to VS 2010 RC so I guess it was suggested as a fix when the RC intellisense issues came up. I was using VS 2010 RTM Premium. This blog post mentions that the fix was already forward applied to VS 2010 RTM (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudio/archive/2010/03/02/second-patch-now-available-for-intellisense-crashes-in-vs-2010-rc.aspx), but this was not the case for me. I was not exactly encountering blocking performance, it just took a long time for VS 2010 to load and do things. I did not initiate the popup Рit just appeared and I followed it so I am guessing this functionality to advertise the hotfix was a backup plan in case the VS 2010 RTM fix failed. Here is the Connect link for the original performance issue for anyone interested: https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/feedback/details/532783/very-slow-intellisense?wa=wsignin1.0.
 
Anyway, I recommend applying this hotfix for faster VS performance. Interestingly, this hotfix comes in a different download for XP – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=cd55456d-9703-42a0-b982-8a8a89ca0aa3&displaylang=en. This may even improve VS performance for previous VS versions before 2010.
 
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BizTalk 2010 Beta Notes and Details

 
Initial Thoughts / Experience
 
I have been testing the BizTalk 2010 beta for about a week now and have been actually having pretty good success with it. I have configured all of the features successfully in the base install, setup the WCF LOB SDK beta, setup the BizTalk adapter pack, setup the ESB toolkit 2.1, and setup both the RFID server components and RFID mobile. The UDDI install on the BizTalk 2010 beta has also gone successfully. So the good news is that this beta is pretty stable in my experience. My environment includes Windows Server 2008 R1 (W2K8 R1), SQL 2008 R1, and VS 2010 RTM Premium. I wanted to mention a couple items for those people who are trying the 2010 beta bits based on the installs:
 
  • Start with a fresh VM if possible
  • Make sure you have uninstalled all pre-release .NET 4 bits such as the client profile and extended profile otherwise your VS 2010 application will not work properly. Ensure you have all of the .NET 4 RTM versions installed.
  • Make sure you are using VS 2010 RTM.
  • It is a good idea to uninstall the WCF LOB SDK from BizTalk 2009 before installing the WCF LOB SDK for BizTalk 2010. I had a failed install of the SDK for BizTalk 2010 when I did not uninstall the previous version of the WCF LOB SDK
  • I was able to get the Notification Services hotfixes from BizTalk 2009 to install correctly on BizTalk 2010. As always, with new versions of BizTalk, some of the hotfixes no longer work but fortunately these are working fine. Here is the URL for getting these: http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=953752
  • Some of the features of the new BizTalk 2010 are meant to run from a CD. So you want to burn an ISO of the extracted files to see this. Make sure your ISO burner supports a format like ISO+JOILET because there are some very long file names in the extracted files.
  • (Cheesy tip #1): If you actually have to burn a CD in your ISO maker, you can remove the x64 folders from the extract for x86 target systems or vice versa to make all the files fit on a CD.
  • Once you create an ISO, check out the PartyMigrationTool folder in the root folder of the install media. It has an exe with the same name for migrating the BizTalk 2006 R2 or BizTalk 2009 parties to the new trading partner agreement and business profile format, new for 2010.
  • Do not try copying the PartyMigrationTool files from the CD to your VM or server – the config file pulls these using assembly redirects and it takes a lot more work to copy the file and all of its dependencies to get it to run correctly. You could alternately update the config for the tool to point to the corrected path to the MSI folder…

There are many new features to describe in BizTalk 2010. First of all, all of the improvements made with BizTalk 2006 R2 SP1 should be available in BizTalk 2010. I found the WCF extension behavior pop-up in the send/receive handlers for WCF-Custom to work and the certificate overrides for AS2 functionality is also working. I know some of these have been long awaited features that were not in BizTalk 2009. Here is a list of the features from R2 SP1 if you want to check on them: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee532481(BTS.20).aspx.

Changes in BizTalk 2010
 
There is quite a bit of improved functionality as well as some new features as well. I will list out many of these features and then spend more time on some of them. Much of the documentation is now available in the beta. Please see http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/results.aspx?freetext=biztalk+2010&displaylang=en&stype=s_basic for a listing of downloads and documentation pieces. During BizTalk 2009 beta much of this was not available so a big kudos to the BizTalk documentation team for having this available with the beta!
 
Improvements
 
  • Platform realignment, now officially supported for W2K8 R2, compatible with SQL 2008 R2, VS 2010, SharePoint 2010
  • Updated BizTalk map VS extension – many new features such as copy/paste, easier to use interface for connecting lines, suggested mapping column hints, etc.
  • BizTalk admin console changes in the organization of parties through business profiles and agreements
  • Simplified console experience for host settings including new fields for many registry keys and config settings.
  • Support for using .NET 4 although not complete at this point
  • Many ESB Toolkit improvements.

One of the changes I am excited about is the way parties are handled within BizTalk 2010. One of the pain points for doing AS2 and EDI work in BizTalk has been the complexity of so many forms and screens for all of the many settings for the parties. The product group (PG) has been working on making all of this work more intuitive and has restructured both the party display in the BizTalk admin console and the layout of settings in the property pages.

Below you can see the new structure added to the admin console so you can classify more than one business profile (which represents the identifiers and settings for communications) for each organization:
 
 
For each business profile you can communication tabs based on message format (X12 or EDIFACT) or communication type (AS2). This is nice – you no longer are required to right-click on a party to get the AS2 or EDI settings :). The use of a tool strip in the UI is a good modernization of the party manager. Perhaps we will also see icons or other wizard links here in the future. The AS2 profile selection is shown below:
 
 
The EDI selection is shown below:
 
 
Agreements form the basis for describing message exchanges and the layout for managing these has become more intuitive. In BizTalk 2006 R2 or 2009 it easy to get mixed up about “Party as Sender” vs. “Party as Receiver” when you have many transactions that can go either way. The following shot shows some visual cues to help with this:
 
 
In general, the party configuration has been organized and I think you will appreciate the ease of use compared to previous versions of the party settings pages.
There are lots more improvements, be sure to download a copy of the beta and test it out! I will be sure to post more on gotchas and workarounds as I find them so check back here! Thanks!

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BizTalk 2010 Public Beta Tomorrow

I just heard about this tonight that the public beta 1 for BizTalk 2010 will occur tomorrow based on Ofer Ashkenazi’s post at http://blogs.msdn.com/biztalk_server_team_blog/archive/2010/05/20/biztalk-server-2010-beta-availability-and-virtual-launch.aspx?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter. ¬†
 
There is an Application Infrastructure Virtual Launch event discussing various connected system technologies and BizTalk 2010 at http://www.appinfrastructure.com/ tomorrow starting at 8:30 Pacific Time. The clock on this website says it starts at 8:30 central time but this is pretty early for Redmond time so I would tune in at 10:30 central time.
 
I have been involved extensively in the pre-launch beta 1 so I am excited about helping the community embrace this new version of BizTalk.
 
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BizTalk 2009 on Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2

 
If you saw my posts a few months ago, I was testing BizTalk 2009 compatibility with VS 2010. My earlier posts found that the BizTalk extensions would only load in VS 2008 and not in VS 2010. In this post, I do a refresh of the install experience and give some preview of the .NET 4 features showing up in BizTalk 2009. The same conclusion about compatibility is reached here: the BizTalk 2009 extensions do not work with VS 2010. There is a new workarounds for getting a VS 2008/VS 2010 environment for working with BizTalk 2009.
 
Application Install Order
 
  • Use a clean VPC image
  • Setup pre-requisites: W2K8, SQL 2008
  • Install VS 2010 Beta 2
  • Install VS 2008, and VS 2008 SP1
  • Install BizTalk 2009

BizTalk Configuration

Then when configuring BizTalk on the first step for Enterprise Single Sign-On I get an error similar to this (cannot remember exact wording sorry):
 
Cannot connect to SSODB (Win32)
0x80131700
 
I found this blog post about re-regasm-ing the SSOSQL assembly: http://blogs.msdn.com/ashishme/archive/2009/08/14/fixing-biztalk-entsso-failure-on-windows-7-vista-or-server-2008-after-vs-2010-beta-installation.aspx#comments. This helped me get around the error when configuring SSO. It is interesting that the problem occurs when VS 2010 is install prior to or after BizTalk 2009. I was then able to go through the BizTalk configuration wizard successfully. I was able to create BizTalk projects in VS 2008 fine. I did open the VS 2010 extensions manager and check for the BizTalk extensions but they are not showing up there.
 
There are quite a few valuable improvements with WCF 4 such as WS Discovery support, routing, and additional changes to Windows Workflow. All of these will have an impact on the Connected System landscape. Enjoy!
 

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BizTalk 2006 R2 SP1 WCF Extensions

A few days ago a service pack for BizTalk 2006 R2 (known as BizTalk 2006 R2 SP1) was released and¬†it includes a large number of rollup fixes accumulated from quite a few hotfixes. I ran it on my local development box and it installed fine for the most part. It did do have a hickup on HL7 though. It also includes some new product features which is a little unusual for a service pack release. Perhaps it should be called BizTalk 2006 R2.5. ūüôā
 
 
One of the major new product features in the service pack is better tooling around WCF extensions. This post is going to give an introduction on how this worked prior to the service pack, then go through a brief tutorial of how I tested the new functionality. This post is based on SP1 beta so it is subject to change.
 
Prior to SP1:
 
If you implemented a WCF extension prior to SP1 then you had to go through a considerable amount of complexity to get the extension to show up in the BizTalk WCF port configuration pages. I retraced Richard Hallgren’s steps in his post http://www.richardhallgren.com/category/wcf/ as a good example of getting an WCF extension in the form of an EndpointBehavior. The relevant steps I want to focus on are:
 
  • Develop the extension behavior
  • Add a line similar to machine.config:
    <add name="addCustomWCFProperties" type="CustomWCFProperties.Behavior.PromoteUserNameBehaviorElement, AddCustomWCFPropertiesBehavior, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=705e34637fdffc54" />
  • Configure the WCF port and choose the behavior.
The difficulty with this approach is that for every custom behavior (which might be used on a per port basis), you have to put stuff in machine.config. In most server environments this can require moving mountains to edit machine.config. Also, if you use behaviors on many ports it can quickly become difficult to manage. SP1 limits the scope of the config item to the executing host but it also introduces a couple challenges of its own. 
 
With SP1:
 
The current SP1 approach is to configure config options using a tab on the adapter handler properties. The directions are given for the custom send handler here:
 
Basically what is involved is importing a config file that has the custom behavior defined. The SP1 beta documentation mentions this as a custom binding but it means the custom behavior. Here is a screenshot of what the page will look like after SP1 is installed:
 
 
Then here is what the page looks like after you have imported a custom extension:
 
This current documentation does not provide a template or starting point for what the imported config file should be so there is essentially a gap. What I did was try to use the machine.config from the Pre SP1 directions because I thought this is the most direct route that people are likely to do after they run SP1. A better approach would be to use the template I have at the bottom of this post as a starting point for the config file you import.
 
Unfortunately the process is more complicated using machine.config because there are extra nodes in the machine.config that the import config button does not like.
You will get errors like:
 
—————————
Import WCF configuration
—————————
Unable to import configuration from file "C:Documents and
SettingsbencDesktopmachine.config".(System.Configuration.ConfigurationErrorsException) It is an
error to use a section registered as allowExeDefinition=’MachineOnly’ beyond machine.config.
(C:Documents and SettingsbencLocal
SettingsTempConfig73d27aa8-b21b-4d47-abeb-c81ec7a756fc.config line 202)
So if you want to go this route, follow these steps to clean the machine.config to the point that the page imports the config file properly. These steps are subject to what is in your machine.config. Also, I am not sure if any of these steps will have any undesired consequences and you should use these steps at your own risk. But these worked for me:
 
  • Copy your machine.config and work on the copy
  • Find all attribute occurences of allowExeDefinition="MachineOnly" and remove this attribute
  • Remove the commonBehaviors ConfigSection and Config elements and children
  • Remove the machineSettings ConfigSection and Config elements and children
  • Find behaviorExtensions element below <system.servicemodel><extensions> and remove all of the existing ones except for your custom ones.
Then try to import again and it should work. The screen will look exactly alike to the picture Richard Hallgren had for choosing the custom behavior, you just took a different path. The custom WCF extension behavior is the first in the list shown below:
 
 
I am guessing that the import config button is trying to merge part of the imported configuration into some master configuration and this is why it is failing. If you try to import a config file that does not cause errors and does not have any extensions, you will not get a message back that nothing was imported, the text box just stays blank.
 
You will then be able to select the custom behavior for a port running under the handler where you imported the config file.
 
I have found that it is actually possible to import the same config file multiple times across multiple handlers so this means it is possible to have one WCF extension configured for multiple BizTalk hosts.
 
Once you get through the wizard you can then export the WCFExtensions config file which gives you a template for the future that I have included here (not sure why the ESB line exported here):
 
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration>
  <enterpriseLibrary.ConfigurationSource selectedSource="ESB File Configuration Source" />
  <system.serviceModel>
    <behaviors>
    </behaviors>
    <extensions>
      <behaviorExtensions>
        <add name="addCustomWCFProperties"
type="CustomWCFProperties.Behavior.PromoteUserNameBehaviorElement, AddCustomWCFPropertiesBehavior,
Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=705e34637fdffc54" />
      </behaviorExtensions>
    </extensions>
  </system.serviceModel>
</configuration>
 
Here is a link to my exported .config file (shown above)¬†that I used to successfully import Richard Hallgren’s
 
Hopefully the documentation will improve in the final version of BizTalk 2006 R2 SP1.
 
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VS 2010 Beta 2 Out Publicly

I have been working with VS 2010 quite a bit since the CTP about five months ago. The most recent release is Beta 2 and it was dropped onto MSDN for subscribers back on Monday. Today it rolls out for public consumption:
 
 
I am still working on getting a version of VS 2010 Beta 2 completely installed. I have had 2 failed installs at this point. Here are a few gotchas to watch out for:
 
  • Start with a fresh VPC or system – make sure no previous version of VS 2010 existed on the computer previously
  • Be sure to budget enough time for the install to run – perhaps 4-6 hours. I did a save state on my VPC in the middle and this caused the install to fail in the middle.
  • If any of the features fail, they do not show up in the Add/Remove programs checklist – you would need to start a fresh install.
  • Uninstall is not working completely so this does not provide an option to back out if you get an error or have to stop in the middle.

I have reported a couple bugs already, and if you find any, be sure to report them at:

https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/content/content.aspx?ContentID=14631

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SharePoint 2010 Sneak Peek and Office 2010 TP

I just learned about the MOSS 2010 sneak peek site (http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/2010/Sneak_Peek/Pages/default.aspx), which shows some very cool screenshots of the upcoming version of SharePoint. There are a couple important points about this release which are exciting from a connected systems perspective.
 
The Business Data Catalog (BDC) definition designer that came with the Office Server SDK is getting a facelift and some updates. The BDC functionality is now called Business Connectivity Services (BCS). If you worked with the BDC in MOSS 2007, you probably know that you could not use WCF bindings other than basicHttp to interact with web services or other services with the BDC. I am speculating, but I would anticipate that BCS will include more WCF functionality than just the basicHttp binding. We will see in a few months.
 
I have used the Microsoft tool and the BDC Meta man tool and consider both to be helpful but fairly limited. There were various ways to encounter issues with the Microsoft tool so I am hopeful this latest release will provide some fixes and a better developer experience. The sneak peek screenshots also show using the tool from within Visual Studio rather than as a separate tool. This means that the new tool will be used with some out-of-the-box SharePoint extensions. The sneak peak also discusses a new designer experience as well. These improvements are significant and provide SharePoint lifecycle benefits for BDC projects.
 
The additional Linq to SharePoint feature extension will be a nice feature as well. The designer screenshots for the BCS tool which is described as being for BCS for entities looks very similar to the LINQ to SQL designer so I would anticipate that the future vision of BCS entities is to provide a richer experience for interacting with the BCS entities like with the ADO.NET entity framework. Previously through the BDC the way to interact with the entities was not on a code level and required web parts or list interactions post deployment. It will be exciting to see how far the LINQ to SharePoint API extends and how much of it applies to BCS entities.
 
Also, the Office 2010 technical preview has been released. I installed all of it (except Visio) on a Windows Server 2008 R1 box successfully. Unforunately, Visio encountered an error so I was not able to install it. In my experience, SharePoint designer does not work on MOSS 2007 sites, although SharePoint Workspace (new name for Groove), does work on MOSS 2007 document libraries. Overall, the graphics are a nice upgrade to Office and I am enjoying the new functionality. ūüôā
 
I also like the new feedback components of the Office 2010 TP, and I thought it would be funny to post on these. After installing Office 2010, you get 2 new icons on the tray, a smiley and a frowny and you can click on each to report feedback experience, as apporpriate. Each one takes a screenshot so you can quickly and easily report screenshots. Here is a picture with the funny faces in the tray:
 
 
Try out the Office TP if you have time and be watching for the SharePoint 2010 release coming up soon!
 
Thanks,
 

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