Well I'm making my way back from the MVP Summit and we got to spend
nearly 2 days bending the ears of the BizTalk product team - the
correct term now is The Connected Services Division (CSD) which includes todays technologies of: BizTalk, WF, WCF, .NET Framework and Orcas - so all these things are just 'going' to work going forward.
Here's the things that I'm allowed to talk about....
MVP Summit Day 1 - Registration
the previous 4 days I had been skiing up and around Whistler in some
fantastic snow with my cousin. What an experience!!! First time there.
cold and raining but it's fantastic to be here as there's a buzz in the
air. A thought did cross my mind of "How are we going to have a
conversation at this Summit if there are more than 1 MVP in the room?"
- if you've ever been 'lucky' enough to have 3 or more MVPs in a
room....I'm sure you'd be able to finish all your lunch before you
could get a word in edgeways.
- Met up with some great fellow
BizTalk MVPs (Alan Smith and Charles Young). Charles and I worked
together when I was back in the UK and it's great to hear that he's
stalking his 12 yr old daughter boyfriend and the deeply troubled when
the words "I love you" came out during a phone call he was listening in
on. :) - looks like I've got all that ahead of me :)
- Caught up with MVP Borty and the crew and we went to our APAC regional dinner that evening.
of the highlights of dinner was all the Korean MVPs did a Taekwondo
demonstration (I'm sure it's on YouTube by now) of breaking boards.
There was also some karaoke going on in Japanese (I think) - this one
guy was great. It was sort of a 'Red Faces' night. We then crashed the
Windows Mobile MVP Party at Gamesworks.....get's fuzzy from there
MVP Summit Day 2 - KeyNote + Joint Sessions
an experience! Bill Gates gives a keynote on MS and all things, then
opens up the keynote to 1 hour of Q&A to all the MVPs.
copped a couple of Salvos from MVPs (who I reckon wouldnt be MVPs next
year :) but in true Bill style put his poker face on and smiled and
answered the questions. Not flustered at all.
- The group all
called him "Bill", some called him "Mr Gates" and the Japanese MVPs
called him "Mr. Bill" during all the Q&A.
- He fielded
questions like "What's your favourite product?", "What hasnt
performed...". Something that sticks out in my mind is when a guy came
to the microphone and thanked Bill for enabling him to have a career in
computers so he could provide for his family (I'm thinking where's the
question..). He then says "while cleaning out the garage he came across
a computer manual that his dad had when he was 8" - the manual as it
turned out was the very first manual for the pre-cursor to MSDos that
Bill's then company had created. You could even get Bill on a support
number in there! (I'm thinking that's gotta be worth a fair bit) The
MVP then ASKED BILL TO SIGN his book!!!! Bill couldnt refuse and $$
just turned into $$$$$ for the book - very funny.
- For the
next session I attended the Developer Division Roadmap delivered by the
Program Group VP - S Somasegar (Soma). Soma spoke about Orcas,
.NET 3.5 and additional plans for TFS capturing more business
data/information within the process.
Soma then talked about WPF/e
and the Friction free deployment capabilities. Brian Goldfarb then
jumped up and did a great demo on WPF/e with inking and working with
rich content within WPF all delivered down via the browser. Some very
cool things in the future are instore. One thing I will say -
regardless of how it's delivered and what you do with it.....you still
need good original content in the first place. Videos, Images etc. They
can be manipulated easily, but originally it needs to be there.
All in all a great session filling in alot of the medium-long term visions.
then caught a session on LINQ with Anders Hejlsberg. Anders then showed
us some of the up and coming XML features with C# and VB.NET 9.0 -
autogenerating LINQ code from XML! All very nice.
- We all then
went to the Museum of Flight that night where we got to play in flight
simulators and go for a walk back in time. I spent some time getting to
know a fellow BTS MVP Alan Smith - he's based in the UK and does a fair
bit of travel spreading the news in the land of BizTalk.
MVP Summit Day 3 - Deep Dive Sessions around BizTalk and Connected Systems
this day we were off the Microsoft Campus and for the most part I was
based in the Adams room within building 43. We setup camp there for the
- The first session was delivered by Sonu Arora and Jesus Rodriguez talking about the new LOB Adapter SDK based of WCF Services. Essentially creating 'adapters' had been an exercise repeated in multiple application environments.....but!!
not anymore. The adapter creation process has been pushed down into the
.NET Framework and 'adapters' are available for all applications......this means.....using the LOB Adapter SDK you dont even need BizTalk to use it!!! Sonu
demonstrated some great demos and one of the major differences I picked
up here from a traditional WCF Service is that these new adapters have
the capability to perform dynamic schema lookups. Essentially have one
WCF Service that is able to return multiple contracts (many hundreds in
some cases). A very good session.
- The next session was
delivered by Gruia Pitigoi-Aron. He focused on extending this new
adapter framework with a couple of Custom WCF Channels that BizTalk
communicates to throughthe WCF Custom Adapter in R2. By controlling the
WCF Channel (c.f. to a pipeline where we have an entry...then an exit)
we are able to loop, correlate and send out multiple request/responses
within one channel. All while BTS is calling an Adapter. I'll have to
start looking into this 'out in the wild' to get the true gist of
what's going on. It's a step closer for BTS to play harmoniously with
WCF. One thing I do remember from the way WCF Channels are called
through the custom WCF Adapter is that BTS will call the Async Channel
methods of BeginRequest, EndRequest + the sync of ProcessRequest.
next session was given by Marty Wasznicky and advanced DR for
BizTalk. He had a great setup on his laptop, 5 servers, 2 biztalk, 2
sql and an SSO. Through the demo he stopped and started various
services to simulate the failing of various components within
BizTalk. At this point in the game, SQL 2005 database
mirroring is not supported as this doesnt play nicely with distributed
MSDTC transactions native to BTS. Some good indepth stuff on
messageboxdb, how instances are locked by a MessageAgent running in
- Lunch :)
- We then had a session
from Tapas Nayak demonstrating a real life implementation
of the SAP Adapter based on the LOB Adapter SDK. The main take
away from this was that there was over 300 different contracts that the
SAP adapter could return for consumption from the client. Dynamic
contract lookups and caching services came to be the focus for better
flexibility and performance. Very cool adapter framework.
Pravin Indurkar gave us an insight into the next Gen WF and WCF which
will be part of .NET 3.5. The integration between these two
technologies is made seemless now. There is a WorkflowHostService and
things just get easier from there. WorkflowInstanceID is now part of
the native WCF Operation Context that gets passed between the two
worlds.....makes life very easy. This allows for 'conversations' to be
had between WCF Services and WF workflows. Also long running WFs can
find a return path back out of the service even if the
channel/connection is closed. If I was a betting man I'd be saying that
alot of the underlying functionality here, has been modelled off
- Next my good friend was Paul Andrew was up, a MS
product manager, spoke about WF vs BTS. It's always and either/or type
message, never a 'you know what, these two technologies can live in
- Next session was delivered by Brad Paris and Tiho
Tarnavski - "WCF and WF BAM interceptor extensions in R2". The
essence behind the new interceptors is that they piggyback off
the WF tracking infrastructure. Which is similar to BTS and
the TDDS Service controlling the movement and population of BAM
information from within BizTalk. Once again to use these
interceptors we dont need BizTalk. When creating a BAM EventStream using the BAM Client APIs,
we usually pass a connect string to the MessageBoxDB. With these new
interceptors we pass a connect string to the BAM Primary Import
Database. The streams that WCF and WF use are DirectStreams and not
buffered Event Streams. At this point there is no support from the TPE
(or equivalent tool) so we have to hand craft a large XML file to get
the Interceptor configured. I look at it and think....I reckon I'll
just use the BAM APIs directly......but I suppose that's not the point
- When I was preparing RFID bits for the BPM Conference last
year in October I got well timed help from Anush Kumar. I met Anush for
the first time face to face - genuinly a great guy! He gave a great
presentation on RFID and the new Microsoft RFID Services framework. He
also told me that fish in Malaysia may be RFID tagged!!
evening I went to the MS Company Store and cash in some chips - very
nice. Then we had dinner with the product team which was great to kick
some tyres with the crew. Great to see all you guys.