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Book Review: Professional BizTalk Server 2006

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This is another great book from Wrox. They provided the book free to me in exchange for a (hopefully unbiased) review through the MVP program. The title is "Professional BizTalk Server 2006", and was written by Darren Jefford, Kevin B. Smith, Ewan Fairweather. You might recognize Kevin's name as the creator of BizUnit. I have never met any of the authors, but they have great reputations in our niche, and, based on the contents of this book, really know what they are talking about.

Let me start by saying there are many good books on BizTalk on the market now. I am really pleasantly surprised by this, as BTS 2004 only had a few books available.

This books suffers from a confusing title. If you scroll back in history, Apress has a book on BTS called "Pro BizTalk 2006", which is very similar to this book's title.

I think these two books actually make a good pair. The Apress book is great for people who just went to training, and are diving in, and are trying to learn the basics. Don't let this fool you, in BizTalk the basics are complex. The Wrox book then picks up from there goes REAL deep into the details.

The book is well structured, and grabs you from the start; well, if you are anything like me anyway. I loved how the overview chapter in the beginning does a SQL trace on how the message agent in the host instance commits a message into the mbox. When I hit that part, I really knew this book was for me.

There are a lot of internal details of BTS that a good architect and developer don't even need to know about to do their jobs well. But if you want to get to that next level, or just truly grok how this engine works, you need to know the details.

The book finishes out with some great chapters on testing and performance tuning of BizTalk.

This is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to know what goes on under the hood. Get this book, unless you are new to BTS. In that case, buy the Apress book first.

BizTalk Server 2006 R2 is released!

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I have been super busy this week (getting CodeMash.org registration live), and didn't have time to let people know that R2 has finally been released. It should be available on MSDN now as well. Go download the bits, and enjoy all of the new goodness.

EDI and RFID rock. But for us, WCF is the biggest new feature I am excited about.

BizTalk Performance White Paper

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John Brockmeyer is the primary author of a new BizTalk performance white paper titled "BizTalk Server Database Optimization". I have been waiting for this to come out for months now ever since he presented his draft material to us at the annual Virtual TS summit in San Diego.

This paper goes into great detail as to what settings and changes can affect the performance of your BTS system. He details each step, links to relevant background information, and even scores each with a difficulty level.

I feel the title is misleading, it covers far more than just tuning the SQL database.

I consider this mandatory reading for anyone managing or developing any significant BTS application. It is worth your time to read. Go now, read it before you focus shift to something less worthy.

Findlay - Hands On Agile Practices

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Just this week I was up in Findlay speaking at their user group about agile practices. I am posting a link to the deck on SkyDrive here.

I always have a lot of fun at Findlay. It's amazing how well downtown has recovered from the flood. You can hardly tell now.

CodeMash v2008 Registration is NOW LIVE!

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We have put a lot of work in refactoring how the registration process works this year. It wasn't 'bad' last year, but we made it a little nicer. We added a section for tracking demographics. This will help us plan the content this year, as well as show our potential sponsors that awesome audience they will have access to. Remember, without sponsors, our registration prices wouldn't be this low.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO RESERVER YOUR OWN HOTEL ROOM. Details on how to do this will be included in the receipt email you receive after registering.

Thanks to the efforts of the team, especially the volunteer testers, we have just pushed a new build that includes registration. This new build also includes a new title graphic, and an upgraded session submitter form, plus some copy changes here and there.

We also just send out the emails with Alumni discount codes. The from address was registration at spammers suck codemash dawt org. Please check your spam filter in case you didn't just get it.

Please email the above address if you didn't get it.

Speakers from last year will also receive a discount code. If you have submitted a talk this year, hold out until you find out if your session was selected or not. If you are, you will be given a speaker registration code instead.

Please be gentle on the registration form. We will be upgrading it soon for mass registrations (my company sent about 20 people last year).

Anyway, the team is doing a great job with all of the planning for this year. I think it is going to rock more than last year.

 

So, time for bed. G'night.

CodeMash site update!

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We just updated the CodeMash site to include the Sponsor Prospectus. Please pass it around. We had some great sponsors last year, and I appreciate their support. We did lower some of the prices this year for sponsors.

 

We have also opened the "Submit a Topic" form. If you would like to speak, please submit your session.

 

We hope to have attendee registration open in a couple of weeks.

HOAP in Findlay delayed...

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Due to some horrible flooding in Findlay over the past week or so, the monthly FANUG meeting was canceled. My talk was delayed until September 25th.

See you there!

KY Day of .NET Presentation

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On August 31st I spoke at the KY Day of .NET event in Louisville, KY. It was a lot of fun. I think Chad did a great job putting the event together.

I was invited to speak on WF. Because the time limit was 45 minutes of presentation, and 15 minutes of q/a I though I would do a level 100 talk on WF. I wanted to give people a feel for how WF might fit into their software projects, and to get the gist of it so diving into a book would be a little easier. I hope everyone liked it. I know I had a great time.

I posted the slides on my SkyDrive.

As a side note, when you upload files to SkyDrive they display a little bouncy beach ball game to entertain you while the files upload. Funny thing is, it's in Flash, and not Silverlight. Hmmm.