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  def Softwaremaker() :
         return "William Tay", "<Challenging Conventions />"

  knownType_Serialize, about = Softwaremaker()
 

 Thursday, November 15, 2007

With the impending release of the Microsoft BizTalk Server Adapter Pack (Beta 2 available here), there are some confusions as to the differences between the BizTalk Adapter Pack, Microsoft's WCF Line of Business (LOB) Adapter SDK, and of course, the (older) BizTalk Adapter Framework.

In a nutshell, the BizTalk Adapter Pack is written and developed on top of the WCF LOB Adapter SDK (which is free and freely downloadable). The value-add is that the LOBs that it can integrate with ootb are SAP (mySAP Business Suite), ORACLE (Oracle Database) and SIEBEL (Siebel eBusiness Applications). Of course, a lot of grunt work is taken away from you, as explained here.

One of the confusing part is the play of the words "BizTalk" in the product name. As I have explained above, built on the WCF LOB Adapter SDK, these adapters are host agnostic i.e. they are not tied to a specific product like BizTalk. You can use it with BizTalk 2006 R2 specifically (The WCF LOB adapters cannot be used in BizTalk Server versions prior to BizTalk Server 2006 R2) but you can use it outside of BizTalk as well (some configuration work required, such as the Add Adapter Reference plug-in, etc) but this also means you do not have to buy BizTalk for it, if you dont have to.

This SDK is based on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF, previously - Indigo), and it surfaces an adapter to an LOB system as a WCF binding. For an adapter consumer, the adapter can be accessed like a typical WCF service; the consumer does not have to learn a new programming model. The same adapter developed can be reused in multiple .NET applications including custom .NET applications, Microsoft® BizTalk® Server 2006 R2, Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 SP1, and Microsoft SQL Server™ Integration Services (SSIS) through adapter development provided. In addition, the adapter provides metadata browse, search, and retrieval functionality for the adapter consumer to selectively generate WCF contracts that reflect live type modeling of the LOB system.

Confusions from customers and partners alike usually stem from the the primary differences between WCF LOB Adapter SDK and the BizTalk Adapter Framework. I will hereby summarized it in the following table:

Feature WCF LOB Adapter SDK BizTalk Server Adapter Framework

API

.NET 3.0 Assembly, provides help classes for metadata processing, connection management, and messaging

COM, provides basic support for adapter operations.

Adapter exposure

  • Exposed as WCF binding; available to any application that can consume a WCF binding including BizTalk Server 2006 R2 (using the WCF adapter)

  • Exposed only to BizTalk Server; not reusable by other applications.

Tools

Adapter Code Generation Wizard, metadata browser for Visual Studio 2005

n/a

Extensibility

Yes (as WCF channel extension)

No

If you are knee-deep into writing, shipping and selling adapters for BizTalk, I strongly urge you to visit the Adapters' Team Blog here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007 2:04:07 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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  •  Monday, November 05, 2007

    It was a good session I had in our Singapore Government Public Sector day 2 weeks back, where I talked about "Aligning Business and IT for Greater Corporate Agility".

    Here are the slides (xps and pdf) for download. If you should want to hear about about this again, together with Nick's talk on our Web 2.0, Software + Services strategy, which can form a good end-to-end soution pitch on the Microsoft application platform, please do not hesitate to let me know.

    Monday, November 05, 2007 2:11:28 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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