Tallan's Technology Blog

Tallan's Top Technologists Share Their Thoughts on Today's Technology Challenges

Some new BizTalk links

Some interesting links:
BizTalk Server Database Optimization White Paper – This is an excellent MSDN write-up on how to optimize your BizTalk systems. The title is somewhat incorrect as it describes how to optimize the hardware (which RAID level to use, turn off hyperthreading), the Network (usage of subnets), the OS (Registry and other settings) , IIS and SQL Server tuning. This is an extensive and through document that includes lab performance tests and results, recommended configurations and links to helpful tools and utilities.
Some of the suggestions can be helpful even if you aren’t using BizTalk.
Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Guidance Documentation and Source Code – This is the CodePlex community site for the latest release (CTP3) of the ESB Guidance package for BizTalk. Current plan is to release the final version in October.

BizTalk R2 Webcasts

Some useful webcasts to get started with BizTalk R2:
BizTalk 2006 R2 Technical Overview (Mitch Stein)
Building EDI Solutions with BizTalk Server 2006 R2 (Tony Bernard)
Orchestrating the real-time enterprise with the BizTalk RFID platform (Anush Kumar)
AS2 Adapter & EDI Business Value (Tony Bernard)
Building device providers for the BizTalk RFID platform (Anush Kumar)
Designing and deploying BizTalk RFID Business Processes (Anush Kumar)
Using BAM Interceptors for WCF and WF (Brad Paris)

Testing Multi-part Map


Recently I was debugging an orchestration and found unexpected output from the map. The obvious decision was to use Visual Studio’s “Test Map” option. I opened the Map and realized that “Input” schema is a multi-part schema.

Combining two xml messages into one file will produce the multiple roots exception. So, I looked at the map’s source to figure out the structure. In order to view the map source, I simply ran “Validate map” and opened the generated xslt stylesheet.

The interesting part I found on the top of the schema was:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-16″?>
<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl=”http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform
exclude-result-prefixes=”msxsl var s1 s0 userCSharp”
The aggregation schema
Here is the root
<xsl:apply-templates select=”/s1:Root” />
The  catch statement
<xsl:template match=”/s1:Root”>
<xsl:for-each select=”InputMessagePart_1/ns0:WorkflowTaskList…”>
The Input message has to have the following structure in order to comply with the generated schema:
<ns0:Root xmlns:ns0=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2003/aggschema>
Message 1
Message 2
Here is the resulting message I came up with for testing.
<ns0:Root xmlns:ns0=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2003/aggschema>
<ns0:IssueProcessRequest xmlns:ns0=http://Workflow.IssueProcessing.IssueProcessRequest>
<IssueId xmlns=””>16</IssueId>
<IssueTypeId xmlns=””>1</IssueTypeId>
<IssueTypeCode xmlns=””>REQUEST</IssueTypeCode>

BizTalk Books!

You can find a dedicated page for BizTalk books on B&N!

A Custom Functoid – EBCDIC to ASCII

Here is an example of a custom functoid method that converts an EBCDIC signed value to ASCII format:
Add a new C# class library project to your BizTalk solution and call it MyCompany.BizTalk.Functoids. Create a C# class in the project and use the same project name for the namespace.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
namespace MyCompany.BizTalk.Functoids
    /// <summary>
    /// Summary description for Utils.
    /// </summary>
    public class Utils
        public Utils()

Add the method to perform the conversion:

/// <summary>
        /// Convert EBCDIC signed values to ASCII format
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name=”amount”>Amount to be converted</param>
        /// <param name=”sign”>Signed Value</param>
        /// <returns></returns>
        public double ConvertFromEBCDIC(double amount, string sign)
            switch (sign)
                case “{“:
                    amount = (amount / 10);

Custom Pipeline Components – part 3: Completing the Archive Component

This post continues the series on creating custom pipeline components. The previous posts in the series can be found here:  post 1,  post 2.
In order to complete the exercise of creating the archive component, we need to add the code to actually perform the archival of the message. For this example, the requirements of the archive component is to persist an exact copy of the message coming into BizTalk (whether flat file, xml, binary or even an encrypted) in it’s original form to the local filesystem.
To start off, we need to create a method to write an inputstream to the filesystem outputstream. The following CopyStream method does this…

        protected void CopyStream(Stream input, Stream output)
            int BUFFER_SIZE = 4096;
            byte[] buffer = new byte[BUFFER_SIZE];
            int bytesRead;
                bytesRead = input.Read(buffer, 0, BUFFER_SIZE);


I came across an article on CodeProject about creating a custom pipeline component for dissassembling incoming messages in zip formats. Even though it is implemented in 2004 version, it is still valid for 2006. It articulates well on how the custom pipeline is constructed in C# and how it can be deployed to a BizTalk solution.

Distinguished Fields vs. Property Fields

One of the vexing problems when designing XML schemas for a BizTalk solution is to decide whether to promote a distinguished field or a property field. You can do both types of promotion using the Promote Property dialog box in BizTalk Schema Editor, but which one do you need?
Well, generally speaking, distinguished fields can only be used in the orchestration engine, whereas promoted property fields can be accessed through all phases of the BizTalk message processing, including orchestration, routing, pipelines, and of course custom code.
Behind the scene, the real difference lies within the implementation of these two types of promotions. For promoted property fields, BizTalk simply takes note of the XPath expression used to point to the property fields, whereas for distinguished field, the values of the fields are actually copied to the message context within the orchestration. The performance…

Beyond the Flat File Wizard in BTS 2006 – Part 1

I was recently helping one of our clients parse a record-based flat file where the records are mostly positional identified by a tag. The issue was that the flat file was a credit card transaction log where each record, identified by a tag, is a sibling to the other records with no specific order in which the records appear. Such a scenario cannot be handled by an “out of the box”  usage of the FF wizard. This series of postings will focus on explaining how BizTalk Flat File schemas are structured, analyze the output of the FF wizard and how to customize it.
BizTalk handles Flat Files through the use of flat file extensions defined within schema annotations (more about annotations…, more about flat file extensions…). A receive pipeline component known as a Flat File Disassembler (or assembler for the send counterpart) can act on these extensions to parse an…

Message Schema Resolution – The Simple Approach

John Gibbons

Recently, a company in the process of implementing BT 2006 within their enterprise asked me for a recommendation regarding best practices for a pre-existing usage scenario they were seeking to accommodate using BizTalk. This company receives, on a reoccurring basis, a variety of disparate inbound flat file business documents which, at present, are processed into their suite of business applications using SQL Server DTS. While the interchange with this company in question has CERTAINLY inspired folks at BlogBizTalk and Tallan to start developing a whitepaper comparing and defining best-practice usage and design considerations for implementing SSIS (or equivalent ETL tool) and BizTalk both in scenarios of consonance or autonomy, a few much more immediate considerations arose for my address.
One such very much more low level consideration was that for the handling of the disparity of received file formats. My understanding…