What is new in BizTalk Server 2006 R2
BizTalk 2006 R2 is the 5th version of our Business Process Management platform and builds on the improvements of BizTalk 2006 which included better application deployment and development tools, by adding support for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Workflow Foundation (WF), a better Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) application and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solutions.
Using WCF, BizTalk can fully support all web service specifications such as reliable messaging. WCF services are hosted directly within BizTalk. Receive ports dynamically create a service host, and send ports will automatically construct a channel for you whilst all WCF configuration is stored centrally in the Single Sign-On Database. You can read more about WCF in BizTalk, including a worked sample in this white paper
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) has been extended with new Interceptors specifically for WF and WCF applications. Interceptors improve over using the BAM API because no code change is required to your application. A BAM tracking service can be simply added to the workflow, and chosen events traced, all through configuration, allowing end to end activity tracing for your solution.
The recent release of the "BizTalk 2006 R2 extensions for Workflow Foundation SDK V1" provides you with the tools in Visual Studio to use BizTalk to host your workflows, by automatically generating the appropriate orchestration to call that workflow. Communications between the end application and your workflow are encapsulated using specific "send" and "receive" activities that are exposed as WCF interfaces, which in turn are exposed as BizTalk artefacts. The Workflow is then able to run on any BizTalk host as it is automatically persisted with the calling orchestration. It will also enable easier development of custom Workflow activities for use in BizTalk. An excellent quick start is available that walks you through hosting a Workflow and also serves as a good introduction for developing with BizTalk generally – get it from the Fresh
BizTalk introduces an EDI Application and the AS2 protocol replacing the EDI adapter. The application introduces specific "send" and "receive" pipelines, and an orchestration which means a solution can now be developed simply by using any of the 8000 EDI schemas available in Visual Studio and configuring the properties for the interchange, such as batching and error handling once deployed. An introduction to the Base EDI application and BizTalk R2 is available on Channel 9
R2 also introduces Microsoft BizTalk RFID. RFID is used by customers to provide real time information such as stock levels and product location, which can then be used to trigger business processes. BizTalk RFID has many RFID providers and will simplify development and deployment of RFID solutions. There is more to RFID than can be covered in this article, and you can view online RFID-specific information
With the recent "Oslo" announcement, the .NET Framework v3.x improvements in R2 and the Workflow SDK, now is a great time to get into BizTalk development by downloading the trial software
Ryan SimpsonApplication Development Consultant (ADC)