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I have been watching the channel 9 video on Biztalk.Net Services. I have to say I’m pretty excited about this project and the reason why will become apparent later on in this post.

BizTalk.NET Services ( ) is an experimental project (it’s at CTP currently) that extends WCF and is all about generic, secure connectivity. It’s a free download so fill your boots!

The project has come about from the result of customer feedback where many have asked “how do I notify client applications that something has happened in a service?”

If the client is addressable and listening, this is a fairly easy question to address. But what if the clients is not addressable behind a firewall or NAT?

What Biztalk.Net Services is effectively a service bus which acts as a broker between the client application sitting behind the firewall or NAT and the Internet.

So why use it just for that? This is why I’m excited. My first thought is why not use this as an easy to implement EAI bus making it easier to integrate programs together period. This could be used as initial first stage before embarking on a costly, expensive and time consuming full SOA initiative? A great way of quickly proving the concept without all the initial expense, then scaling up from there? The is perhaps the beauty of WCF, much of the coding makes the choices of protocol and security an abstraction, so in effect it doesn’t need to be your main focus and doesn’t dominate the way you develop your applications which is perhaps the point.

The project so far is thriving on customer feedback so it’s your chance to get involved and help build a great set of utils. It’s clearly too late to be included in Orcas so it’s not clear where these service will eventually fit.

My last point is, why call it Biztalk.Net Services? When at this point in time it has nothing to do with the Biztalk product which is seemingly heading straight for the BPM space? It has been clear for sometime that Biztalk is perhaps a product that is going to be split into two, firstly being an integration piece perhaps centred around the WCF technology the second being BPM. Perhaps calling this Biztalk.Net Services is diversionary for the moment and will under-go a name change at a later date to fall inline but at the moment it’s confusing. However I should stress that this is just pure speculation on my part, I have not conferred with anyone at Microsoft to draw these conclusions.

As yet there isn’t any information on about how well it performs and scales so I wouldn’t build any production code on this just yet but it give us a glimmer of what is going on. Geez Microsoft are working on more than a few integration stories at the moment, Astoria etc, I do hope that there is a underlying unify strategy underway or we are going to get a raft of comm technologies that are in danger of being disparate.

Anyway, good stuff MS!




Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 4:00 PM SOA , Main , Development Technologies | Back to top

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