Things hard and not so hard.... RSS 2.0
# Friday, March 16, 2007

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

  • for 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.
  • Seattle, 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.
  • One 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

  • what 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.
  • Bill 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.
  • I 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

  • For 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 day.
  • 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.
  • The 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 various instances.
  • 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.
  • Then 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 BizTalk
  • 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 harmony!'
  • 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!!
  • That 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.

     

Friday, March 16, 2007 4:56:57 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
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