A nice compilation of answers of BizTalk Interview questions from
1. How do you call a Non-Serializable .Net helper class inside an Expression Shape?
- Add a reference of that dll (class). The class must be strongly signed and in the GAC.
Make sure your transaction type of Orchestration is Long Running transactional.
Add an Atomic scope.
Create an Orchestration variable of that class inside the scope.
Create an instance on that object inside the scope.
Call the method
2. What is BizTalk?
A middle ware that sits in the middle of any two software who wish to communicate with each other and agree on some specified communication pattern. It uses SQL Server as back end database.
3. How do you use Auto Mapping in the BizTalk 2004 mapper?
- Does orchestration support parallel activation?
- Can you connect BizTalk with Sql 2000?
Yes but it should fulfil the minimum criteria of SP4.
6. What is correlation?
An Orchestration can have more than one instance running simultaneously. Even though each of those multiple instances perform the same action, it does it on different data contained within a message. Correlation is a process of associating an incoming message with the appropriate instance of an orchestration. For Example: If your orchestration issues a purchase order, receives an invoice, and sends a payment, the developer must make certain that the invoice message is received by the orchestration instance which corresponds to the orchestration that sent the Purchase Order. Without correlation, it would be possible to send out an invoice for thousands of items even though the purchase order is for one. And each correlation is based on a set of properties known as correlation types
7. What if the class is Serializable?
8. What is Dehydration?
When an orchestration has been idle for a while, the orchestration engine will save the state information of the instance and free up memory resources.
When a message is received, or else when a timeout has expired, the orchestration engine can be automatically triggered to rehydrate the instance – it is at this point that the orchestration engine loads the saved instance of the orchestration into memory, restores the state, and runs its from the point it left off.
- 10. What does the Value Mapping Functoid do?
- 11. What is the default mapping for Auto Mapping?
- 12. What is a Message Type (i.e. BTS.MessageType) and how is it used in BizTalk?
It is a combination of root node and namespace.
- 13. Can an Envelope schema consist of more than one schema type?
- Yes. Technically it is possible.
- 14. What is the difference between a Document Schema and a Property Schema?
Property schema consist of elements which are promoted
- 15. Enumerate the new functoids added BizTalk 2006?
- What is property Promotion and why is it required?
Biztalk provides you with a really smart routing feature that allows the engine to decide where to send which message. For example, If you receive a message with the EmployeePaySlip schema, and it has the approved flag to true, it should be redirected to the Finance system Orchestration for making the payments and to the HR system Orchestration for keeping the records. This built in intelligence for the Biztalk engine allows it to route the messages simply based on some content within the messages.
In order to achieve this, the Biztalk engine obviously needs to understand the fields based on which the routing decisions can be taken. To simplify and optimize this working, Biztalk has introduced the notion of “promoted properties”. The Biztalk engine can get easy access to the promoted properties without knowing the entire message and hence it can save loads of time and complexity when dealing with routing. To route a message, the Biztalk engine simply reads its promoted properties and does not care about other contents in the message.
- 17. Does BizTalk 2004/2006 support Synchronous communication?
- 18. What is atomic Transaction?
It follows full ACID properties Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability.
If you require full ACID properties on the data—for example, when the data must be isolated from other transactions—you must use atomic transactions exclusively.
When an atomic transaction fails, all states are reset as if the orchestration instance never entered the scope.
- 19. How does one enable subscriptions in BizTalk?
- 20. What is long running transaction?
Long running transaction support CD properties of ACID. It is not practical to lock transaction for a long time. This transaction can run indefinitely and can be dehydrated also.
- What is the difference between static, dynamic and direct binding?
static binding specifies particular port address ;
dynamic gives address of the port at runtime
direct binding sends messages to messagebox
- What are un-typed messages, how does one create them?
- 23. In Biztalk, what does a message type consist of?
A message type consists of the TargetNamespace#RootElement name
- In which scenarios would use a “promoted property” vs “distinguished fields”?
The rule here is, if you dont want the schema element to appear in send port filters/debugging information then make it a distinguished field.
- 25. What is property promotion, why is it required?
When a property is Promoted, it is exposed to the orchestration/send port filters etc.
- 26. Can multiple messages be processed or batched without an envelope schema?
By using custom .Net component
- 27. Can a flat file message be processing without a pipeline?
Nopes, job of a pipeline is to convert an incoming message in to an XML the format which biztalk understands.
- 28. What is the difference between a Distinguished field and a Promoted Property?
- How do you achieve First-In-First-Out message processing of messages received from multiple sources using an Orchestration?
you need to build a resequencer pattern. As with ordered delivery there are some limitations such as it expects the all the message to be in order. Secondly your throughput decreases drastically.
- At high level, what do Receive Ports and Orchestration Send Port really do in terms of messaging? What about Send Ports and Orchestration Receive Ports?
- 31. When working with Schemas, Maps, Pipelines, and Orchestrations how should the projects be structured?
Some books say all orchestrations should be in one project, all maps should be in one place etc.
A drawback of this comes when u have large projects. u have 20 orchestrations in one project if u need to change in one every thing gets recompiled. So we bifurcated in projects every thing related should be in one project
- 32. What is direct binding (All About binding)
When a binding is specified at design time, the physical port that matches the parameters configured in the orchestration is created when the orchestration is deployed. When the binding is configured at deployment time, any port that matches the requirements of the logical port can be bound to the orchestration port. For dynamic binding, a physical port is created just as with the Specify Now option, but the port is a dynamic send port that has no address information configured.
A confusing concept for many developers is that while a send port in an orchestration is bound to a physical send port, this does not preclude that message from getting delivered to other subscribers. That is, if another send port happens to have a subscription, through its filters, for the message being sent to the bound port, both send ports receive the message. Binding simply creates the subscription such that the message sent from the orchestration always matches the criteria for the bound send port. Likewise, the orchestration port bound to a receive port creates the appropriate subscription based on message type and receive port ID. The subscriptions guarantee that the messages going in and out of the orchestration get delivered to the bound ports, but the messages still go through the same publish and subscribe mechanism described earlier.
Probably the most misunderstood, and misused or underused binding option is the Direct binding option. Direct binding allows an orchestration to publish messages to the MessageBox database with varying routing properties much like messages are published by receive locations. In simple direct messaging, the message is published to the MessageBox with its promoted properties to be routed like any other published message received into BizTalk Server. This enables any subscriber to receive this message, but requires that at least one subscriber exist or the orchestration will receive a routing failure error.
Another option for direct binding is to use self-correlating ports. Self-correlating ports are ports that create a unique correlation token and use that token alone in correlating messages between instances. The most common use of a self-correlating port is to call or start an orchestration passing in a port parameter. In the called orchestration, the port can be used to send a message, while in the calling orchestration the same port can be used to receive a message. Because the port has a unique correlation token, the message is routed back to the calling orchestration. Self-correlation ports act as private communication channels between orchestration instances.
The final option is to use a partner orchestration in which, in both the calling orchestration and the called orchestration, the port is configured using the same shared port type and in the port configuration, the same port is selected. For example, in both Orch1 and Orch2, Orch2.MyDirectPort is selected. This type of binding sets up a subscription for the receiving orchestration based on the sending orchestration type, the port name, and the operation name. This again ensures that the messages get routed to the correct instance.
All of the direct messaging options use the underlying publish and subscribe model. The difference between these options is in the properties that are used for creating subscriptions and routing, and in the use cases they help solve.
One common problem encountered when using direct bound ports in orchestrations is that an orchestration may publish a message that it is also subscribed to. For example, an orchestration is configured to be activated by a PurchaseOrder message. This orchestration uses a direct port to publish the PurchaseOrder message to the MessageBox. However, in addition to receiving the message as expected, another instance of an orchestration is started because it too had a subscription for PurchaseOrder messages. The processing gets into an endless loop and it may take some time for a developer to figure out what has happened
What is Coorelation?
Correlation in orchestrations is the mechanism for receiving related messages into the same running orchestration instance. In the Orchestration Designer a developer follows these general steps to use a correlation:
- Defines a correlation type that includes the promoted properties that are used to relate messages.
- Defines a correlation set that is an instance of the correlation type just defined.
- For the send and receive ports, specifies whether they initiate or follow a given correlation set.
Instance subscriptions come into play when a correlation set is initiated, as this is when subscriptions are created for all of those ports that follow this correlation set to receive messages. Because the correlation type defines the properties to be used for correlation, the orchestration engine can extract these properties from the message being sent or received by the initiating action. These values are then used to define subscriptions for all of the remaining actions which follow this correlation set.
It is important that messages received into BizTalk Server and intended for use in a correlation have their promoted properties correctly defined and promoted to the message context. Most properties get promoted when a disassembler component in a pipeline extracts the values when the message is initially received. For this reason, it is not possible to use the PassThrough receive pipeline to receive messages that must be correlated to a running instance of an orchestration. This issue arises when you use the SOAP receive adapter to receive correlated messages, because the PassThrough pipeline is the default value for the receive pipeline when using the Web Services Publishing Wizard.
- What are Persistence Points and what causes them?
Persistence is when the state of a running Orchestration is stored into SQL.
It is good enough to know various shape and actions cause persistence. More specifically, it occurs: end of a transactional scope, at a send shape, at a start Orchestration shape, during dehydration, if the system shuts down expectedly or unexpectedly, or the business process suspends or ends
- 34. What is the Rules Engine?
The Run-Time Rule Engine performs the following functions:
- Processes rules created as declarative statements without procedural instructions
- Groups all the rules that apply to a business process together (a policy) without having to arrange them in order of, or define them in terms of, relationships, contingencies, or dependencies
- Resolves rule conflicts arising from the simultaneous presence of multiple facts and conditions
- Supports forward chaining of rules that involves reevaluating rules in the executing policy based on changes to the fact base (addition/removal of facts or changes in state/data of existing facts). Forward chaining does not inherently span policies
- 35. What is BAM used for?
- 36. What group does a user need to belong to in order to submit messages to the message box?
The user needs to be a member of the hot group or isolated host group (assuming a default installation).
- When installing Biztalk in a multi-server configuration with a remote SQL and Analysis Services, what SQL components do you need on the Biztalk Server?
- What user rights to you need to perform most actions in HAT?
You must manually grant permissions to BizTalk administrators group to access the Analysis Services Tracking database; by default, only OLAP administrators have permissions to it
- When installing Biztalk and SQL on a Windows XP SP2 Desktop, what pre-requests are required?
IIS, .NET framework
- How does one enable Correlations in BizTalk?
First create a Correlation type and then create an instance of it.
- Does BizTalk automatically compensate a unsuccessful transaction?
A Compensation section is generally written, in order to UNDO the effect of a transaction.
- The Compensation section for a scope gets activated only when the scope terminates normally or the scope completes its execution.
- Unlike exceptions, a compensation section can be written for a “Atomic” as well as a “L-R” transaction.
- A Compensation section needs to be explicitly invoked, using the Compensation Shape in order for it to execute.
- A Compensation section for a scope does NOT automatically undo the effect of a transaction. The compensation section must have the undo logic in place in order to have such an effect.
- A Compensation shape can be used to invoke/execute a compensation section. The control returns to the next operation after compensation shape, once the execution of the compensation section is complete.
- Is it possible to share variables across two branches in a Parallel shape
yes it is possible you just need to set the “Synchronized” property to true.
The classical definition of a transaction is – an atomic unit of work which results in moving the system from one consistent state to a new consistent and durable state. A transaction can either be “committed” or “rolled back” depending on various conditions. Note that a transaction which cannot be rolled back needs to be “compensated”. This means that if an operation ‘f(x)’ has been performed on some data, in order to revert it back we need to perform an operation ‘f(y)’, which essentially performs an undo operation, this is known as “compensation” in simple terms.
- A non-transactional orchestration cannot have ‘scope’ shapes set to either “Atomic” or “Long Running”.
- If an orchestration’s transaction type is set to “Atomic”, then the orchestration cannot have any other transactions within its ‘scope’ shapes.
- Atomic transactions cannot contain nested transactions or catch exception blocks. However, they can have compensation blocks.
- Long running transactions cannot be isolated from other transactions. However they can contain other atomic transactions and can have catch exception and compensation blocks.
- Batch: A boolean value that determines if this transaction can be batched with other transactions across multiple instances of the orchestration. The default value is “true”. It may improve performance with the possibility of losing isolation data.
- Isolation level: This property defines the degree of isolation between the state changes performed by different atomic transactions. This is not applicable for Long-Running transactions. BizTalk supports three isolation levels. These are ‘Read Committed’, ‘Repeatable Read’ and ‘Serializable’. The last one being the default value.
- Retry: A boolean value which specifies that the atomic transaction can be retried in the event of a failure. Perform the following for Retry-“throw an instance of Microsoft.XLANGs.BaseTypes.RetryTransactionException” within the transaction boundary.
- Transaction type: Can be either “Atomic” or “Long Running” or “None”.
- Is it possible to have a exception block for an Atomic scope? if not why?
- What is the difference between an Exception block and a Compensation block? is it the equivalent of try-catch-finally?
Exception block can be termed as a catch block. But compensation is different. Its like reversal of a committed transaction.
- When do we need set the property “Synchronized” = true for a scope?
Incase we want to share a variable between parallel scopes.
- Is it necessary for all .NET components being called from an Orchestration be Serializable?
Nopes we can also call non serialized objects within orchestration.
- Can an orchestration Start without an Activatable receive?
Only if it is called from another orchestration
- What is the purpose of the property “Activate” in a Receive shape?
A Receive shape can be used to start an orchestration. If you set the Activate property to True, the runtime engine will test an incoming message to see whether it is of the right type and, if a filter has been applied, whether the filter expression is satisfied. If the criteria for receipt of the message are met, the runtime engine creates and runs a new orchestration instance, and the Receive shape receives the message
- Does BizTalk Orchestrations support recursion?
- What is the difference between a “Message Assignment” shape and an “Expression” shape?
A “Message Assignment” shape is used to create a new message and assign values to it. A Expression shape is used to assign values to variables and also write ‘if’ conditions
- When you use Call Orchestration shape vs Start Orchestration shape?
A Call Orchestration returns the control back to the caller. A Start Ochestration shape starts the orchestration in a non-deterministic way
- What is the difference between a delay shape vs a listen shape?
‘Delay’ is very much similar to a sleep on the current thread. A ‘Listen’ shape is used to wait for an incoming resource, with a timeout period.
- How do you prevent occuring of zombies in a Parallel Convoy?
- Enumerate the steps required to deploy an BizTalk solution from one machine to another machine.
MSI, Bindings, DLLS, BRE Values, IIS folder (incase you have webservices).
- List out the three important things to consider while designing a BizTalk orchestration!
The Incoming data format, The Business process and The Outgoing data format
- In an Orchestration design, Orchestration “A” calls another Orchestration “B”, and vice versa. Is it possible to implement this design?
It is NOT possible, since it forms a cyclic dependency
- Can we get messages to Orchestration without using schema?
If you use XML object, then you can get any *.xml messages
- How to version your schema?
- Side by side versioning in BizTalk 2004
Configure any pipeline components to use a specific version of the schema.
If the schema is redeployed under a different version and this is not done it will fail because it looks up by target name space / root element not by assembly.
Deploy the new version
Bind the orchestrations.
The Manual steps are below
- Disable the receive location
- Unenlist the old version using the Explorer (do not stop it), this will prevent new instances from starting while allowing old ones to finish
- Enlist the new version and start it, all new instances will be created using this one.
- Enable the receive location
- How to transfer files without using Orchestration?
Content Based Routing
- What is Message routing and Content routing?
When A message is passed through biztalk without being processed then it is called Message Routing. When A message is passed based on certain field value of schema, it is called content routing.
- What are Host and Host Instance? Did you deploy BizTalk more than one machine?
Host is nothing but the logical container of host instance. from which we can create host instance. Host instance is a Win-NT service.
A BizTalk Server Host is a logical set of zero or more BizTalk Server run-time processes in which you deploy items such as adapter handlers, receive locations (including pipelines), and orchestrations.
A host instance is the process where the message processing, receiving, and transmitting occurs You install a host instance on each server running BizTalk Server 2006 that has one or more hosts mapped to that server.
- 62. On which level you have worked in BizTalk development 1-Orchestration, 2-Ports & Adapters?
- How and why you have to use Active Directory in BizTalk development?
to verify the account on domain or if I want to send an email I wud need to verify if the account exist. Or if I would like to right a file on a network drive.
- 64. How did you connect InfoPath with WebServices?
I didn’t use it.
- In BizTalk development where and how you have to use custom developed .NET components?
a lot of times. Getting records from SP esp where cursors are involved.
- 66. Where and how did you use WebServices in Orchestration?
We can use webservices where we need to get data from multiple sources in one go. For e.g. getting price quote from 10 different vendors. You make one orchestration and use WS inside it.
- 67. How to use custom developed adapters?
- What is convoy and correlation sets?
Correlation is the process of matching an incoming message with the appropriate instance of
an orchestration. You can create any number of instances of a given orchestration, and while
each of them will perform the same actions, they will do so on different data.
- How to create dynamic ports?
- 70. How to put data using SQL/Oracle Adapter?
- 71. Source schema has nodes First Name, Last Name and destination schema has node Name. How we can get data at destination so that we can have two instance of Name (without using orchestration).
Create a MAP in Biz talk and add first name and last name strings with space in between and map to destination schema node. Use that map in port to port binding either in receive port or in send port.
- 72. What is Binding files?
Binding files in BizTalk is an XML file that contains information of receive send ports there locations. It is usually used when you make a deployment. We make MSI separately without bindings.
- Did You work BAS and Share Point Services? What the types of Share Point Services Setup?
Well it stands for Business Activity Services, and basically it is a series of services that are hosted on Windows SharePoint Services
- In a BizTalk project how to consume an external web service?About Consuming Web Services
Adding Web References
Constructing Web Messages
Creating Web Ports
Considerations When Consuming Web Services
You can consume (call) a Web service from your orchestration by using Web ports. To consume a Web service from an orchestration, you create a Web port and construct Web messages.
You can use SOAP headers with the consumed Web service, change the URI of a consumed Web service, and dynamically set the URI for a consumed Web service.
Important An orchestration is required to consume a Web service. You cannot use the SOAP send port in scenarios that only use messaging. SOAP send ports must be used with an orchestration.
Add configuration port and on port type select web service port type it will automatic create appropriate request and response port.
Here you need to assign input message value to Web service request message
- 75. What is BAM?
- Difference between message types and web message type?
Web message types are identical to a normal message type, except you cannot modify, rename or delete them. To delete a Web message type, you must remove the Web reference from your BizTalk project.
- 77. What is BAS?
- 78. What are adapters? What do we need it?
Adapters can simply be termed as medium with which BizTalk communicates with other softwares. connect your people, processes, and information together.
- How to debug an Orchestration?
You can apply break points in HAT (Health Activity Monitoring).
- In the Orchestration what is the difference between Exception and Compensation? Give an example of its usage scenario.
Exception is simple the try catch block in .net. Lets say you have an expression a = b/c where c=0 it will raise an exception and will be caught in catch block.
Compensation is like you made a transaction where u debited customers account. Now you will do exact opposite meaning crediting with the same amount and the same account.
- Can we do messaging in BizTalk without Orchestration? If yes how?
- What is a Convoy? Why do we need it? Give usage scenario for each Convoy.
- Explain the Publisher – Subscriber of BizTalk
Publishers include receive ports that publish messages that arrive in their receive locations, orchestrations that publish messages when sending messages or starting another orchestration asynchronously, and solicit/response send ports that publish messages when they receive a response from the target application or transport.
In BizTalk Server, there are two main types of subscriptions: activation and instance. An activation subscription is one specifying that a message that fulfills the subscription should activate, or create, a new instance of the subscriber when it is received. Examples of things that create activation subscriptions include send ports with filters or send ports that are bound to orchestrations, and orchestration receive shapes that have their Activate property set to true. An instance subscription indicates that messages that fulfill the subscription should be routed to an already-running instance of the subscriber. Examples of things that create instance subscriptions are orchestrations with correlated receives and request/response-style receive ports waiting for a response from BizTalk Server.
Subscriptions are created by service classes in BizTalk Server
A subscription is a collection of comparison statements, known as predicates, involving message context properties and the values specific to the subscription. For example, Message Type is a context property of messages and many subscriptions specify the message type in their subscription.
When a send port is enlisted, the port creates, at a minimum, a subscription for any message with that send port’s transport ID in the context. This allows the send port to always receive messages intended specifically for it. When an orchestration port is bound to a particular send port, the information about that binding is stored in the BizTalk Management database. When messages are sent from the orchestration through the port bound to the physical send port, the Transport ID is included in the context so that the message gets routed to that send port. However, it is important to note that this send port is not the only send port that can receive messages sent from the orchestration. When an orchestration sends a message, that message is published to the MessageBox with all of the relevant promoted properties. The bound send port is guaranteed to receive a copy of the message because the transport ID is in the context, but any other send port, or orchestration, can have a subscription that also matches the message properties. It is very important to understand that any time a message is published directly to the MessageBox, all subscribers with matching subscriptions will receive a copy of the message.
- 84. What is a Message Box? And messaging engine?
- 85. Publish Subscribe architecture simplified?
Fundamental to BizTalk is the Publish / Subscribe Architecture. This architecture basically comprises of 2 main components. First of all, a publisher, who would be responsible to publish the message in the message store. And secondly, a subscriber, who will subscribe to messages of a particular format so that he gets them whenever they are published.
Publishing refers to the process of inserting the messages in the message box database. Normally, a receive port, an orchestration or solicit send port would be involved in publishing any message to the message box. A receive port would receive the message from the pipeline and publish it to the message box for an orchestration or a send port to pick up. An orchestration would publish the message usually while sending it using the send shape. A solicit response port would actually publish the message when it receives a response from the end system.
The subscribers would indicate the message they would like to receive by a set of criteria or filters. Thereby, whenever a message is posted or published to the message box database, a subscriber will be able to get the message based on the filters or criteria mentioned while subscribing. The filters can be specified only on the promoted fields on the message.
- What is the difference between MSMQ and MSMQT? Why do we need MSMQT?
From a network perspective, BizTalk Message Queuing works the same as Message Queuing (also known as MSMQ). The main difference between the two components is that MSMQT sends messages to a receive location instead of sending messages directly to a queue. This receive location, which is tied directly to the BizTalk Server MessageBox database, is a virtual representation of a Message Queuing queue.
The MSMQT adapter ensures end-to-end ordered delivery of messages.
if an MSMQ application sends messages 1, 2, and 3 to a receive location bound to the MSMQT adapter, then these messages are delivered to an orchestration or send port in BizTalk Server in the same order: 1, 2, 3.
With regard to transaction usage, there is a key difference between how the MSMQT and MSMQ adapters process messages.
When using the MSMQT adapter, the processes of receiving a message from the network and processing it with BizTalk Server are handled under a single transaction. When using the MSMQT adapter, ACK messages generated for the sender indicate that the message has been received and has been successfully processed by BizTalk Server.
An acknowledgment (or “ACK”) is a type of message sent to indicate that a block of data arrived at its destination without error.
High Availability (Transactional, in Order)
To provide high availability for the MSMQT adapter, you can either add multiple computers to the receive host and configure Network Load Balancing (NLB) for fault tolerance or, in BizTalk Server 2006, you can cluster the default BizTalk Host.
If you are running the MSMQT adapter in conjunction with NLB, if one server goes down, the other servers handle the load. If you are running the MSMQT adapter handlers on a clustered host in BizTalk Server 2006, if one host node fails, cluster software fails over the clustered host to the other node.
When using the MSMQ adapter, NLB does not work if you need transactional processing with no data loss, because the MSMQ adapter uses local MSMQ queues for intermediate storage. In this scenario, if a message has been delivered to the local MSMQ queue but has not been consumed by the MSMQ adapter, the message is lost if the computer fails
- 88. What are the security groups created by BizTalk?
SSO Affiliate Administrators
BizTalk Server Administrators
BizTalk Server Operators
BizTalk Application Users
BizTalk Isolated Host Users
Create the BizTalk Windows Service Accounts (Windows Users)
User logon name
Enterprise Single Sign-On Service
BizTalk Host Instance Account
BizTalk Isolated Host Instance Account
Business Rule Engine Update Service Account
Add the Windows Service Accounts to their respective Groups.
biztalk\BTSAdmin and biztalk\SSOService
BizTalk Application Users
BizTalk Isolated Host Users
- What is the difference between Windows Workflow and BizTalk server? Explain the scenarios
I want to put a definition around BizTalk to make it easier to compare to Windows Workflow. BizTalk Server is an enterprise level workflow and message processing environment. This environment is tried and tested (extremely rigorously over the last many years). BizTalk also includes many adapters to connect to a variety of back end system. Out of the box, BizTalk provides scalability, manageability, tracking, logging & administration tools.
Windows Workflow is an SDK for creating workflow based applications. The tools are there to build a host and to render a graphical workflow environment. Scalability is possible with Windows Workflow but it is up to the developer to create a truly scalable solution. In addition, there are administrative functions through runtime and tracking visibility but there is not an out of the box administration tool as this is also up to the host developer to create.
The message that I tell people is to use BizTalk when you want to target users/clients that want to span multiple applications whereas Windows Workflow would be used when you want to target users/clients that want workflow within an application.
So, to summarize, Windows Workflow is great for workflow within an application whereas BizTalk is great for workflow across applications
- How to deploy BizTalk in a multicomputer scenario. Assume there would be DMZ and Corpnet?
- What is the need to create MSMQT by BizTalk team when MSMQ is already available?
- Architect a solution that would receive 100 messages of 50 – 100 MB in size and process them in 3 mins?
- How to deploy BizTalk in a highly available scenario?
- 94. What is the future direction of BizTalk?
- 95. Why do we need convoy?
When a group of correlated messages could potentially be received at the same time, a race condition could occur in which a correlation set in a particular orchestration instance must be initialized by one of the messages before the other messages can be correlated to that orchestration instance. To ensure that all of the correlated messages will be received by the same orchestration instance, BizTalk detects the potential for such a race condition and treats these messages as a convoy.
Convoy is a term which we use to describe a class of application protocols, specifically it is a set of application protocols which have a race condition as described above. Let’s take an example. Say you are a hospital and want to have a service which handles all information about each patient. For a given patient you have three types of messages, an admittance message, status messages, and a discharge message. If you look at your protocol, you will have built a service which just receives. Now let’s think about what could happen. Let’s say you send the patient admittance message and it goes through the system using maybe a synchronous protocol like HTTP. That means when you get the 202 back, you know the message has been delivered. But what if the BizTalkServer host which is actually supposed to process the message hasn’t started yet (ie the nt service is stopped). Maybe you had a power outage, maybe some intern decided to “hit this button”, who knows. So the orchestration instance which is supposed to handle all messages for patient X has not physically started. The message is in the database (MessageBox) and if you look in HAT you will see the orchestration is marked as ready to run, but it can’t start cause there is no where for it to start.
- 96. How to resubmit a suspended message? What is possible and what is not possible?
- How will you create an Error handling framework in BizTalk?
- 98. Have you ever used BizTalk server in a scenario other than in a typical messaging environment?
- 99. What are the draw-backs of BizTalk?
Not a very good support with legacy system. Like we faced tons of issue which we had to solve it someway or the other but Microsoft could not come up with a very good answer.
- What has been your most difficult challenge in implementing Biztalk applications in the real world?
I think with biztalk things were not THAT challenging but with legacy systems things were. Like calling a webservice from oracle, or getting a LARGE object from orchestration into a oracle. And things like that.
- What are the challenges you have faced using Soap Adapter?
twenty minutes timeout issue. You have to host webservices in the same machine. There is a way I heard but I didn’t do much reading on it.
- What are persistence points?
- 103. What are the adapters you have used?
SOAP, TCP, FILE adapter, Oracle adapter
- Can you use excel file in File Adapter?
umm havnt tried it
- 105. How will you specify delimiters for Flat File?
there are properties in Flat File schema which u need to set. There you specify delimiters, records specifier etc.
- 106. What is debatching in BizTalk?
Recently I end up in a scenario where I need to debatch a message inside the orchestration to produce multiple messages based on XPATH
- 107. What are the communication patterns available in BizTalk?
Each port type has a communication pattern. The communication pattern determines whether one-way or two-way (request-response) transmissions can take place on ports of the given type. For more information
What is XPath? Benefits?
XPath is designed for XML documents. It provides a single syntax that you can use for queries, addressing, and patterns. XPath is concise, simple, and powerful. XPath has many benefits, as follows:
Queries are compact.
Queries are easy to type and read.
Syntax is simple for the simple and common cases.
Query strings are easily embedded in programs, scripts, and XML or HTML attributes.
Queries are easily parsed.
You can specify any path that can occur in an XML document and any set of conditions for the nodes in the path.
You can uniquely identify any node in an XML document.
Queries return any number of results, including zero.
Query conditions can be evaluated at any level of a document and are not expected to navigate from the top node of a document.
Queries do not return repeated nodes.
For programmers, queries are declarative, not procedural. They say what should be found, not how it should be found. This is important because a query optimizer must be free to use indexes or other structures to find results efficiently.
XPath is designed to be used in many contexts. It is applicable to providing links to nodes, for searching repositories, and for many other applications.
- What are the available message types?
.net type, Multipart message type, schemas and web message type
- Where can I find more information on BizTalk RFID
- What specific functionality will be supported with BizTalk RFID?
- 111. What is RFID?
Radio frequency Identification. But what is RFID? RFID is the reading of physical tags on single products, cases, pallets, or re-usable containers that emit radio signals to be picked up by reader devices. These devices and software must be supported by a sophisticated software architecture that enables the collection and distribution of location-based information in near real time. The complete RFID picture combines the technology of the tags and readers with access to global standardized databases, ensuring real time access to up-to-date information about relevant products at any point in the supply chain. A key component to this RFID vision is the EPC Global Network.
Tags contain a unique identification number called an Electronic Product Code (EPC), and potentially additional information of interest to manufacturers, healthcare organizations, military organizations, logistics providers, and retailers, or others that need to track the physical location of goods or equipment. All information stored on RFID tags accompanies items as they travel through a supply chain or other business process. All information on RFID tags, such as product attributes, physical dimensions, prices, or laundering requirements, can be scanned wirelessly by a reader at high speed and from a distance of several meters.
- What is an ESB and how can Microsoft help me?
- 113. Are there different editions of BizTalk Server?
Yeah 2002, 2004 2006 R2 and now R3 or 2009.
- What is the difference between accelerators and adapters, and how do we know if our company needs them
BizTalk adapters extend the functionality of BizTalk Server, enabling it to connect to other servers, applications and Web services. Specifically, they remove the need to develop infrastructure components such as network protocol support and translation, data conversion, data transformation, in the development of business process automation solutions. BizTalk Server adapters are “no-code” connectivity solutions, and are provided in-box with BizTalk Server 2006 R2.
BizTalk accelerators provide developers with tools, data schemas, and processes to help significantly reduce the time required to develop a custom business solution in specific industries, such as health care, financial services, and supply-chain management and are provided in-box with BizTalk Server 2006 R2. If you are required to comply with specific industry standards, you will likely require an accelerator.
- What advantages does BizTalk Server 2006 R2 offer over the 2006 release?
- SSO Questions
- How many types of Single Sign-On services are available?
Enterprise Single Sign-On (SSO) provides services to store and transmit encrypted user credentials across local and network boundaries, including domain boundaries. SSO stores the credentials in the SSO database. Because SSO provides a generic single sign-on solution, middleware applications and custom adapters can leverage SSO to securely store and transmit user credentials across the environment. End users do not have to remember different credentials for different applications.
What is a host
A BizTalk host is a logical container within a BizTalk Server group that can house BizTalk Server items such as adapter handlers, receive locations (including pipelines), and orchestrations. You typically group items that have similar scale properties into a particular host.
After you create a host (a logical container), you can add physical BizTalk Server computers (host instances) to the host. A host instance runs as an NT Service on the designated BizTalk Server. For each host, you can have only one instance of a particular BizTalk Server computer. However, you can have instances of a particular host on one or more computers, and you can have instances of different hosts on a particular computer
- Receiving. These items do the initial processing of messages after they are picked up in a receive location. When a host contains a receiving item, such as a receive location or pipeline, it acts as a security boundary, and the message decoding and decrypting occurs in a pipeline within the host.
- Sending. These items do the final processing of messages before they are sent out to the send port. When a host contains a sending item, such as a send port or pipeline, the host acts as a security boundary, and the message signing and encryption occurs in a pipeline within the host.
- Processing. These items process messages based on the instructions in an orchestration
Isolated and In Process Host
BizTalk hosts are one of two types, In-process or Isolated. In-process hosts run inside of the BizTalk Server runtime process and Isolated hosts do not run in the BizTalk Server runtime process. The following table lists the items that each of these host types may contain.
|Isolated||HTTP and SOAP Receive Handlers|
installing an msi
Learn how to secure Web services without writing code, how to author security policies, and how to leverage the WSE programming model to secure your Web services.
role in ubl
I played quite variety of roles at UBL. My role included development, analysis, business requirement meetings, task delegation, and since 2 months it was hiring as well.
Business rules engine
we used business rule engine to store connection strings mostly. Or if we needed to maintain some other parameters. But mostly it was for connection strings. We used to encrypt the string and store them in BRE and retrieve it in our component.
Business activity monitoring
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is a collection of tools that allow you to manage aggregations, alerts, and profiles to monitor relevant business metrics (called Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs). It gives you end-to-end visibility into your business processes, providing accurate information about the status and results of various operations, processes, and transactions so you can address problem areas and resolve issues within your business.
Why use BAM
The typical enterprise today uses a variety of business applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM), SAP, and order management, purchased or developed internally over time. BAM can be used as a monitoring solution by IT managers who want to cut the cost of their distributed IT environments while improving service quality. It also generates business alerts
What is BAM Definition
A BAM definition is an XML representation of a BAM observation model, which is a high-level definition a business process that you want to monitor. The main parts of the observation model, and therefore the BAM definition, are the milestone and data events to collect (the BAM activity); a description of any data aggregations; and how to present the information to users (the BAM view).
BAM definitions can contain the following items:
- Business activities – A valid BAM definition must contain a business activity (also referred to as a BAM activity). All other items in the definition are optional. For information about adding a business activity to a definition,
- Views – Views define the set of users that can access the data defined by the business activity. Views consist of filtered data, aggregations of the filtered data, and ways of presenting the filtered data, such as a PivotChart report. BAM supports the definition of one or more views per activity.
In a view you can define the following business processes:
- Aliased business data – Aliasing allows you to apply friendly names to data items. For example, a developer may define a data item called “LName.” You can create an alias so that the “LName” is displayed as “Last Name” when viewing the BAM live data. For more information about aliasing
- Duration – The time period over which the activity is monitored.
- Milestone groups – Sets of business milestones. You can use a group as either the starting or ending business milestone of a duration.
- Aggregations – These can be either real-time aggregations (RTAs) or scheduled aggregations (also referred to as online analytical processing (OLAP)), and consist of the following items:
- Measures – A set of numeric values in an Analysis Services (OLAP) cube based on a column in the fact table of the cube.
- Progress dimension – Represents the creation of aggregations with respect to the progress of activities that are still in process.
- Data dimension – Used to categorize an aggregation. Data dimensions are based on the value of string formatted data items in the BAM activity.
- Time dimension – Used to create aggregations across defined time segments.
- Numeric range dimension – Used to categorize aggregations based on friendly names of given numeric ranges.
BAM definitions can contain alert definitions that are defined in the views. BAM definitions can also contain PivotTable layouts. Once the BAM definition is deployed, the PivotTable reports containing the live business data that can be viewed using the Excel livedata workbook or through the BAM portal.
What is the BAM portal?
The BAM portal in BizTalk Server 2006 provides real-time, end-to-end visibility into a business process. It is a Web-based feature that consists of a collection of ASP.NET 2.0 pages. You can customize BAM to enhance the performance and experience for your users.
Why use the BAM portal?
The BAM portal allows you to perform searches, aggregate data, and set alerts on a BAM view, which is a perspective on your business data. This visibility can provide the necessary KPI information for your business, or it can be used as proof of concept before you implement another solution such as extending a Microsoft Office Excel 2003 spreadsheet, using SQL Reporting, or building a custom user interface (UI).
BAM portal components
Following is a brief description of the BAM portal components. For a more detailed description, see the topics in See Also.
You use the BAM portal to perform searches against BAM data to find a specific BAM activity. You create queries by adding and removing search clauses that allow you to display those activities that match criteria for which you want to be alerted.
Queries can be saved and reused. They can also be the basis for an alert, such as a notification when a purchase order arrives from a specific customer.
The portal allows you to capture a snapshot of data and display it in the form of a graphical chart and accompanying PivotTable chart. This data gives you visibility into the health of that process or the overall business. For example, a user may wish to see a simple pie chart that shows a breakdown of the 1,000 invoices received in a day in terms of what stage of processing has been reached by each invoice (400 still in “evaluation,” 400 rejected, 100 paid, and 100 still in “fund allocation”).
The data presented can be the basis for creating an alert, such as “Notify me if there are ever more than 500 invoices in the ‘evaluation’ stage of the process.”
The portal provides a user interface for the creation of alerts and the editing of existing alerts. Alerts take the conditions that are to be monitored from either the Activity Search or Aggregations page. The Alert Manager is where you fill in the relevant parts of an alert, such as who to notify, how (for example, through e-mail), and whether others can see and subscribe to the alert.
- Terminate control messages – The orchestration engine allows the use of control messages to cancel all currently running work in a specific orchestration instance. Since the control message immediately halts the running orchestration, zombie instances are not unexpected. A number of Human Workflow related designs tend to use this mechanism as well as some other designs.
- Parallel listen receives – In this scenario the service instance waits for 1 of n messages and when it receives certain messages it does some work and terminates. If messages are received on a parallel branch just as the service instance is terminating, zombies are created.
- Sequential convoys with non-deterministic endpoints – In this scenario, a master orchestration schedule is designed to handle all messages of a certain type in order to meet some type of system design requirement. These design requirements may include ordered delivery, resource dispenser, and batching. For this scenario, the tendency is to define a while loop surrounding a listen with one branch having a receive and the other having a delay shape followed by some construct which sets some variable to indicate that the while loop should stop. This is non-deterministic since the delay could be triggered, but a message could still be delivered. Non-deterministic endpoints like this are prone to generating zombies
|HM Search||PipeLine (Passthru, XML)|
|finalize questions||Solicit send port/send port groups|
An XML schema describes a business document that is represented in XML. Because Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 uses XML as its canonical representation for business documents, inbound and outbound documents do not require any translation. XML schemas can be created in BizTalk Editor using only the basic set of properties that are available within all schemas, and do not require any schema editor extensions to be enabled.
There are several ways in which you can create XML schemas in BizTalk Server 2004. These include:
- Creating a new schema. This method of schema creation involves adding a new schema to a BizTalk project by using the Add New Item command from the File menu, and then building up the structure of the schema by adding various nodes in the schema tree view.
- Creating a new schema, in conjunction with other schemas. For complex schemas in the real world, you are more likely to build the schemas for your messages by using types provided in other existing schemas. By using the XML Schema definition (XSD) language concepts of importing, including, and redefining schemas, you can take advantage of types already defined in other schemas. For more information about using multiple schemas together, see Schemas That Use Other Schemas.
- Generating a schema from an instance message. You can generate an XML schema that corresponds to a particular instance message as long as that instance message consists of well-formed XML. Use the Add Generated Items – <BizTalk Project Name> dialog box, accessed by clicking Add Generated Items on the Project menu, to perform this type of schema generation operation.
Note This type of generation operation can only be used to generate XML schemas, not property schemas or flat file schemas.
- Migrating a schema from an older schema specification language to XSD. You can generate an XML schema for BizTalk Server 2004 from a schema that was developed by using a previous version of BizTalk Server, which stored schemas in XML-Data Reduced (XDR) format. For more information about how to migrate older XDR schemas to the XSD format used by BizTalk Server 2004, see Schema Migration from Previous Versions of BizTalk Server.
You can also generate an XML schema based on XSD from a document schema expressed by using the Document Type Definition (DTD) syntax.
Use the Add Generated Items – <BizTalk Project Name> dialog box, accessed by clicking Add Generated Items on the Project menu, to perform this type of schema generation operation.
Note These types of generation operations can only be used to generate XML schemas, not property schemas or flat file schemas.
Whichever schema creation technique you use, you will continue by modifying the schema so that it provides a sufficiently complete description of its corresponding instance messages. To get started on these tasks, see Managing the Nodes Within a Schema, Setting Node Properties, and Working with Existing Nodes.