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NEW BT toolset/see channel 9

While in Redmond several weeks ago, Eddie (Sr something or other for developer tools) showed us the bleeding edge research they are doing to really improve the management and development tools for BizTalk tools beyond 2006. Eddie, I must say. is a very entertaining speaker.

Some of the stuff I saw I can't talk about (I have to say it is cool to say that). Some of the new features they did show at the PDC, and on videos on channel 9. [links below]

Here is a summary:
1. They actually use real world samples when working on the new tools. For example, schema maps with 15,000 fields in them. This forced them to really focus on the scale of work that us users really focus on, instead of trivial amounts of sample work.

2. To fix the 'black map' problem they seriously upgraded the mapping tool. What is the 'black map' problem? When you have a map with a lot of fields, and lines, you eventually only have a large mass of lines, and no whitespace. With auto-mapping using character patterns, folding of the tree, hiding lines that aren't involved in the links selected, and by re-arranging the tree to display everything you are working on. VERY COOL! Check out the video- http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=126990

3. They showed off the new BizTalk Solution Designer. This gives a GUI for managing and developing send/receive ports, subscriptions, and maps. The tool uses autolayout really well to keep the work surface uncluttered. Filters are just nodes on the lines connecting the ports together. Again, more video - http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=115378

-bhp

ATE at the launch

'THE' launch is finally upon us.

Which launch? The launch of Visual Studio 2005 (which includes alot!), BizTalk 2006 (really a paper launch), and SQL Server 2005. This is BIG stuff! These products have already completely reformed how we do .NET development. I think this is a bigger jump than the one from Studio 2000 to Studio 2003, from a tools perspective. What they alone have done to the traditionally opaque and obtuse BizTalk tools is fabulous.

The closest launch event to us is in Detroit, MI on Nov 8th. Since so many of us are going, we have arranged for a bus from Columbus. We are leaving around 4:30am, and will be getting back around 9:00pm. There are some seats left, so drop me an email if you would like one. I am not sure if we will have to split costs, or if this will be 'complimentary' from my company. We shall see.

What is happening at the launch? Check this out, and don't forget to register. To me, it seems like a mini-TechEd. And the best part (there's more besides being in geek-nirvana?) You get a free, honest, real, production license of both VS2005 and SQL Server 2005. No gimmics. No timeouts, and no vacation condo sales pitch.

I was asked to be a co-presenter on the last BizTalk session, but we were bumped for scheduling reasons. Too bad. I was really looking forward to it. I just love talking to groups of geeks. The more the better. I have been asked to be at the 'Ask the Experts' area. I think that will be a lot of fun, and I will get to interact with a lot more people in a one on one manner.

I hope to see you there!
-bhp

MS BPI VTS

Anyone who knows me, or has seen me speak, knows that I love acronyms. That, and whiteboards; but we are talking about my penchant for acronyms right now.

I know that speaking in 'jargon' can definitely put off some people. I make a conscious effort to not use acronyms when I am around non-technical people (aka civilians) or if it is a new subject. But when I am speaking to those of my own kind, I just feel it is an effective way of compression of the speech stream. I mean, come on, some of these words have so many syllables, it takes ten minutes to spit out something that is fairly simple.

The expansion of the title of this post is:
Microsoft Business Process Integration Virtual Technical Specialist.

I have told a few people about my recent acceptance into this program, but I have received a lot of questions about what it exactly is. The program is fairly limited in scope right now, and started in Southern California. I think there will be about 20-30 total members in the USA when it is fully rolling. Basically, we are a small team of MS partners that MS trusts enough to leverage to help win BizTalk (and related products) projects. We get access to awesome training and other resources, and they expand their technical sales force. Its a win/win.

I have been looking for ways to take my relationship with MS to the next level, and I am glad to have found it.

The first step of this program was to go to Redmond to sit through the first BT2006 training course by DevelopMentor. This was my first experience with a DM course, and I have to say I was blown away. John Flanders and Richard Blewett are just plain biztalk GODS! My expectations were high to begin because Dave Donaldson used to be an instructor. The guerilla aspect of the course (at least 12 hours a day, all the food/drinks you could want, hard core deep dive etc.) was awesome.

It was a great bonding experience for the VTS team as well. We started of as mostly strangers, although I did know a few people. By the end of the week we had all gotten to know people, and felt like we had gelled as a team. I really think this group will help accelerate the acceptance of BizTalk.

Because of this, I am sure I will be writing about BizTalk a lot more than ever. Most of the VTS team members are experienced with the hardcore EDI integration/Systems Integration work. I have done some of that, but I really tend to focus on custom software development. Where BT comes into play for me, is when we need to integrate with trading partners, or other parties because of the new application, not a pure EAI play. I will also be using it extensively to codify business rules on a project that is under way right now. Of course this has tons of advantages, and I will probably go into this, and some recommended usage patterns in the future.

-bhp

So, *, right?

Just spent a week at Microsoft [I will go into why later].

I have noticed that all MS speak follows this expression:
"So.... [insert stuff here]...., right?"

At first I noticed this months ago with speakers at the local and regional level. But after the PDC and a week in Redmond, I have decided it is pervasive.

Now, this is not a negative/beatdown post. This isn't even a grammarian rant. Just an observation.

While at Mistral having dinner, Javier Mariscal and I discussed this weird thing. At first I thought it was a result of MS trying to fix it's perceived arrogance, by asking for confirmation in every statement, and by starting with SO, in an attempt to appear passive (or at least not aggressive).

I am guessing that it merely spread, as a meme so to speak, to everyone in the MS space. I have found though, that it seems to permeate every said now, to the point that it is obstructing the message. In a 1 hour meeting, I could 27 'rights' from one person. Just too funny. We were going to base a drinking game on the concept, but I don't think I can hold that much liquor.

Also, Drew Robbins and I noticed, at the PDC, that the word "Super" has been completely co-opted by any executive at MS. It was 'super'-this, and 'super'-that. I would think these brilliant people could come up with something more sophisticated to convey their excited in the all of this great new technology. The word super just seems to cheapen it for me.

So, What do you think?

-bhp

What is going on?

Sorry I haven't posted, not that anyone is reading, anyway.

I have spent my time:
* digging into atlas
* writing five proposals in one week
* playing as much dungeon seige 2 before age of empires 3 and civilization 4 comes out
* finding someplace to pre-order a 360


Biggest news? I have been accepted into the Virtual Technical Specialist program with Microsoft. Big thanks to Keith for the opportunity, and Drew for the support. I am at guerilla training for BizTalk 2006 this week, at Microsoft.

This is my first visit to MS, and I am very excited. It is like going to the mother ship for me. This is also my fist guerilla style training, so I think it will be fun, and exhausting.

-bhp