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Book Review: BizTalk 2010 Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach

Just recently, I finished reading the book BizTalk 2010 Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach – by Mark Beckner, published by Apress. Overall, I think the read was worthwhile since it helped me fill in some knowledge gaps in BizTalk and introduced me to some of the new features in BizTalk 2010. I am looking at this from the perspective of an experienced BizTalk 2006 R2 developer.

The material is pretty diverse and spread across 11 chapters – each covering a different area of BizTalk. Each chapter is broken down into several (8 to 25) sections that take the following format: problem, followed by solution, followed by an explanation. While this format works for some of the content, it does not work for all of it and can end up confusing the reader. Here, I believe a tradeoff was made for consistency over accuracy because the “how it works” section does not always describe the “how” but the “why” or the “when.”

I believe a beginner to intermediate BizTalk developer would gain the most out of this book, while some value can still be had for the intermediate to advanced BizTalk developer – though not as much since Mark does not cover the deeper scenarios that they may be looking for. The book covered core scenarios in key areas well – schemas, maps, and orchestrations. It also covered other core scenarios or features in other areas such as business rules, EDI, deployment, administration, business activity monitoring, and non-WCF adapters. I especially liked chapter 1 of the book being all about the new features in BizTalk 2010. While it might seem confusing for a new to BizTalk developer, it is great for those that have used previous versions of BizTalk.

I was hoping that areas outside the core product such as ESB Toolkit would be covered and thought it a strange omission that WCF adapters were not included in the Adapters chapter or anywhere in the book at all. They have been a part of BizTalk since 2006 R2. This was probably the largest disappointment in the book for me personally, as I was looking forward to Mark’s take on WCF adapters.

Overall, I thought reading BizTalk 2010 Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach was worth my time. For the developer with beginner to intermediate-level skills in BizTalk development, I would rate this book a 4+ out of 5. For intermediate to advanced skillsets, I would rate this book a 3 out of 5, since it did not cover more advanced and/or obscure topics.

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The BizTalk Server 2010 engine provides several standard components that address the most common cases.

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