New Whitepaper on Developing BizTalk Solutions

The BizTalk team blog alerted all of us to a new BizTalk-related whitepaper.  This paper, Developing Integration Solutions using BizTalk Server 2006 and Team Foundation Server, is the direct descendent of the seminal BizTalk 2004 paper.  I just skimmed through this newest document, and had a few thoughts to share.

First off, the paper is misnamed.  The “TFS” in the title initially dimmed my interest since we don’t use TFS at my company.  This paper is actually about how to design and develop BizTalk solutions with a few pages dedicated to capabilities introduced by TFS.  You should read this paper regardless of your source control and software lifecycle management platform.

I found the “Gathering Information” section fairly useful.  Specifically I liked the list of topics you should consider before starting the project. A few examples of process-based considerations included in the document were:

  • Define core business entities (not systems) that are involved in the process, for example, customers, orders, quotations, parts, invoices.
  • Identify the events or actions that initiate a process (both human and system-based).
  • Determine where exceptions occur in the current business processes and how those exceptions are handled (that is, is a process restarted, is human intervention required).
  • Are the other systems always available?
  • What business metrics, milestones, or key business data in the process must be reported to management?

Following this section was a list of implementation-based considerations ranging from transport protocols required, security models, auditing, human interfaces and more.  While we probably know to ask these things, I’m always a fan of checklists that remind me of key considerations that impact design.

The rest of the solution planning portion is nice, and then the document starts to look at how to set up development environments.  The document then addresses solution organization and naming standards.  After this we see more about debugging BizTalk components, and then finally read about build and deployment procedures.

This is definitely a must-read for BizTalk architects and developers and another source of useful job interview questions!

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Categories: BizTalk

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