Back in December 2011 Microsoft released the first CTP of the Azure Service Bus EAI/EDI. It showed what direction Microsoft is heading with bringing BizTalk like functionality to the cloud. Or to quote Microsoft:
“Windows Azure Service Bus EAI and EDI Labs provides integration capabilities for the Windows Azure Platform to extend on-premises applications to the cloud, provides rich messaging endpoints on the cloud to process and transform the messages, and helps organizations integrate with disparate applications, both on cloud and on-premises. In other words, Service Bus EAI and EDI Labs provides common integration capabilities (e.g. bridges, transforms, B2B messaging) on Windows Azure Service Bus”
If you want to read more about this, please take a look at my two previous blog posts about this topic:
BizTalk in the Cloud, one step closer (part 1)
BizTalk in the Cloud, one step closer (part 2)
Now Microsoft has released the second preview:
Service Bus EAI and EDI Labs - April 2012 Release
Download the April 2012 Release
So what’s new in this April 2012 release?
Regarding the EAI Bridges, we’ve got the following enhancements. BizTalk developers will recognize parts that currently only are available in BizTalk….
- FTP Source Component. In the December 2011 release it was already possible to connect WCF endpoints via the publish/subscribe pattern. In this refresh another endpoint type has been added: FTP, which can be used as a source component on the configuration bridge. In the BizTalk world this would be the FTP adapter, but so far it is reading only.
- Flat File Support. This is also a familiar concept in the BizTalk world. Combined with the FTP source component, flat files for example can be read and converted into XML now. But also via HTTP flat files can be read and processed. The available flat file wizard looks quite the same as currently can be found in BizTalk Server.
- Schema Editor. Previously only available in BizTalk, now also part of the Service Bus EAI/EDI release. Used to create and edit XSD and flat file schemas
- Service Consuming Wizard. Also straight from BizTalk Server, the possibility to generate the necessary artifacts to be able to consume WCF services. The difference with EAI is that it only generates an XSD and no other output files like binding info and an orchestration.
- Operational Tracking of messages processed by the bridge. This is also something from BizTalk Server. Within a bridge, a message undergoes processing under various stages and can be routed to configured endpoints. Specific details of the message such as transport properties, message properties, etc. can be tracked and queried separately by the bridge developers to keep a track of message processing.
For Service Bus Connect, there are the following enhancements.
- Support for Windows Authentication while connecting to on-premise SQL Servers
- User Interface enhancements
- Support for SSL
The transforms also have been improved.
- New map operations. In BizTalk this is called ‘Functoids’ but are named operations here. Added are:
- Number format operation, to format an input number using a given format
- Date/Time operation, to manipulate date/time
- Generate ID operation, to generate a unique ID of a given length
- Runtime behavior configuration. This is also interesting for BizTalk developers, because like Microsoft says:”In this release, users can configure the runtime behavior for how the transform handles exceptions, errors, null values, and empty data input. This configuration can be done for each transform”. This sounds exciting and probably something we’ll be seeing in the next version of BizTalk Server.
Finally the EDI or Business to Business Messaging, which now has support for:
- Processing batched EDI messages. You can now use the TPM portal to configure agreements that can process batched messages coming from trading partners
- Tracking and archiving EDI messages. You can now use the TPM portal to track messages as they are processed using the agreements
I’m looking forward dive into the details! BizTalk Server in the cloud again one step closer!
Didago IT Consultancy