Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

Install BizTalk Server 2006 Orchestration Designer for Business Analysts with Visio 2007

Recently I tried to install BizTalk Server 2006 Orchestration Designer for Business Analysts (ODBA), but the installation failed with this error message.

I had Visio 2007 on my system and it looked like ODBA installer was hard coded to look for Visio 2003. To confirm that, I used Registry Monitor utility from Windows Sysinternals web site (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/default.mspx).

I found that the installer does look for this registry key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Visio, but cannot find it. However, I found similar registry key for Visio 2007: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Visio. I exported this registry branch to a file and replaced all instances of “12.0” to “11.0”.
After merging this file with the registry, I was able to install and use ODBA.

Handling of Record Tag Identifiers by BizTalk 2006 Flat File Schema Wizard

Those, who work with BizTalk 2006 Flat File Schema Wizard, probably noticed that record tag identifiers are handled differently for delimited and positional records. Let’s use a simple text file Person.txt for this example.

After opening Flat File Schema Wizard, skipping the Welcome Screen and entering required information on Flat File Schema Information screen we are presented with this Select Document Data screen.

Here tag identifier PERSON marks the whole record and it is followed by a User ID. Next line is person’s name record presented in comma delimited format. This record is tagged with NAME tag identifier. The last line represents person’s address. The address is presented using relative positions format and it is tagged with ADDRESS tag identifier. The children of the root element Person are {CR}{LF} delimited, so we make corresponding selection on Delimited Record screen and enter PERSON…

Import flat file using BizTalk server

Recently I worked with a client to implement a solution to import data from an Excel file to SQL Server database. In order to provide a seamless user experience, we created a web page to allow user to upload file to server, then use BizTalk server to convert Excel file to XML file and call a web service to upload data into the SQL Server database.
By leveraging BizTalk server, we built a highly scalable and available data processing system for my client. Since my goal in this post is to introduce some core tools in the BizTalk, I simplify the real issue by 1) Changing the Excel file to the flat file, 2) uploaded data is saved into a file instead of database.
After completing this tutorial, you will be able to create flat file schema, convert flat file to XML…

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)
http://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/view?id=Jumpstart-01&pw=BTS06R2 [dead link]
Building EDI Solutions with BizTalk Server 2006 R2 (Tony Bernard)
http://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/view?id=Jumpstart-02&pw=BTS06R2 [dead link]
Orchestrating the real-time enterprise with the BizTalk RFID platform (Anush Kumar)
http://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/view?id=Jumpstart-03&pw=BTS06R2 [dead link]
AS2 Adapter & EDI Business Value (Tony Bernard)
http://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/view?id=Jumpstart-04&pw=BTS06R2 [dead link]
Building device providers for the BizTalk RFID platform (Anush Kumar)
http://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/view?id=Jumpstart-05&pw=BTS06R2 [dead link]
Designing and deploying BizTalk RFID Business Processes (Anush Kumar)
http://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/view?id=Jumpstart-06&pw=BTS06R2 [dead link]
Using BAM Interceptors for WCF and WF (Brad Paris)
http://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/view?id=Jumpstart-07&pw=BTS06R2 [dead link]

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 disassembling 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.