Using SO-Aware with BizTalk 2010 and ESB 2.1 part 2 of 2

As a quick start, for those that don’t know, SO-Aware is a service metadata repository, very similar to UDDI, except without the complexity, all based on a REST-ful architecture. If you do know, you can skip to using SO-Aware with BizTalk 2010 and ESB 2.1 section. It supports registry of SOAP, REST, and OData based services, written using Microsoft’s WCF technology stack, as well and Java based web services. However, that’s not all. SO-Aware has five major capability buckets: Centralized Configuration, Service Testing, Dependency Modeling, Activity Monitoring and last but not least Service Cataloging.

Centralized Configuration allows you take full advantage of Microsoft’s WCF based services, by containing a central repository database for all WCF Configurations. This feature allows you to allows you to store and retrieve all information pertaining to WCF configurations. You can retrieve endpoints, bindings, behaviors, Url’s, security information, just to name a few. You can also dynamically change your bindings and configurations so that all you existing services can point to this central location for your configuration.


Service Testing allows you to test registered services. One derived idea about Service Cataloging and Centralized Configuration, is that if SO-Aware knows about your service and communication protocol, then testing becomes simple. It’s simple because if you registered any security, binding, message type format information about the service, then all SO-Aware needs to do is query this information and build the communication stack and messages to send to the service for testing. What better tool to test than the one that understands how to communicate with the Service.


Dependency Modeling allows you to build a diagram of service versions, and the dependencies of the service version. Thus if you needed to see which services depended each other, you have a view into this.


Activity Monitoring allows you see tracked events and aggregations about registered services, such which operations were invoked, and how many services were sent message over a period of time, and many other dimensions and measurements.


Service Cataloging allows you to store and retrieve custom metadata about Services, Service Versions, and environment details. Using these features, allow you to query the catalog for information about services, and service versions dynamically.


Which leads us into the next discussion, using SO-Aware with BizTalk 2010 and ESB 2.1. The first part of this post covered how SO-Aware can use its Service Cataloging, Centralized Configuration, Dependency Modeling, and Dynamic Resolution capabilities to enhance BizTalk server 2010. This post covers how we can use SO-Aware with BizTalk’s ESB 2.1toolkit.

What is BizTalk ESB 2.1?

The BizTalk ESB Toolkit is a collection of tools and libraries that extend BizTalk Server capabilities of supporting a loosely coupled and dynamic messaging architecture. It functions as middleware that provides tools for rapid mediation between services and their consumers. Enabling maximum flexibility at run time, the BizTalk ESB Toolkit simplifies loosely coupled composition of service endpoints and management of service interactions. The ESB Toolkit contains many components that allows BizTalk Server solutions to be agile in its execution. For example, BizTalk Server contains Adapters which are connectors into different systems and protocols. It also contains Maps, which are Xml stylesheet transformation documents that have been precompiled to transform documents from one format into another. There are Pipelines which are components that allow you to translate and convert one file into another such as a Adobe PDF document into a comma seperated text file. There are also Schemas which support validation of different messages, both xml and non xml. Lastly there are Orchestrations which are graphically modeled business processes that support long running transactions, compensation models, error handling, correlation, and custom logic flow.

Adapters in BizTalk are one of the key components for communicating with BizTalk Server. There are sending adapters and receiving adapters. There’s an adapter for practically every protocol that exists such as ftp, http, smtp, tcp, ftps (new in 2010), Msmq and others. There are application type of adapters that adhere to the rules and policies of Line of Business applications, such as Sharepoint, SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, and other CRM applications. There are even adapters for databases such as SQL, Oracle, and DB2. When developing solutions with BizTalk Adapters are usually configured statically and there’s little room for agility. Thus BizTalk supports the notion of Dynamic adapters for sending data. These adapters are configured at runtime, which will yield great agile solutions, at the sacrifice of  High performance. , naturally. Using Dynamic adapters requires knowledge of which properties must be set for a particular adapter, and custom code inside of Orchestrations and/or custom pipeline components. This is where some aspects of the ESB 2.1 toolkit come in. The ESB 2.1 toolkit contains Adapter Providers which can dynamically configure adapters for use in a agile solution. All the Adapter provider needs is the runtime configuration values.

The ESB toolkit utilizes a component called Resolvers which feed the Adapter provider the runtime configuration values so that the Adapter Provider can dynamically configure the Dynamic Adapter at runtime. Resolvers can not only discern which Adapter runtime configuration to use, but also which Map, Pipeline, Schema, and Orchestration. Resolvers are simply a .Net component which build up a dictionary collection of entries which then tell other ESB components what values to use for the various BizTalk Components mentioned earlier.

Using Resolvers dramatically changes the way architects and developers can build, design and implement BizTalk Server 2010 solutions. As a quick example, most designs of BizTalk prior to the ESB toolkit hard coded, and statically configured maps. A Map contains a Source schema associated with an xslt transformation, and a destination schema. If either the source, destination or transformation stylesheet changes, it can potentially render the map invalid and cause all kinds of errors. Using a more agile design allows architects to use different versions of maps at runtime, and even dynamically pre-compile a auto generated map all at runtime.

The ESB Toolkit not only contains Resolvers, but also Routing Services, Transformation Services, Itinerary Services, Exception Management services and a  portal. With  exception or the Error portal, Resolvers play an integral role, communicating with the Routing Services, Itinerary Services and Transformation Services. All this to say Resolvers are the key compoonent of the ESB toolkit. The ESB Toolkit comes with many Resolvers: Static, Business Rules, XPath, UDDI, WSMEX, and LDAP, all of which allow for the dynamic resolution of Maps, and adapter providers.

Which leads us to SO-Aware…. SO-Aware provides an ESB Resolver to allow you to dynamically resolve Adapter providers, Maps, schemas, pipelines, orchestrations, WCF Service: Bindings, Versions, Behaviors and other configurations. Inside the SDK, you can find samples on how to use the SO-Aware resolver which show how to resolve Adapter providers, WCF Service: Bindings, Versions, and Behaviors. The SO-Aware resolver and database can be easily extended to resolve Maps, schemas, pipelines and orchestrations.


Using the SO-Aware ESB Resolver


After installing the SO-Aware SDK,  you can find the Solution and samples inside the C:\Program Files (x86)\Tellago Studios\SO-Aware\SDK\Samples\BizTalkESB\vs.net2k10\. You can install the SO-Aware resolver by running the setup on a BizTalk 2010 ESB 2.1 system. The Install can be found here: C:\Program Files (x86)\Tellago Studios\SO-Aware\SDK\Samples\BizTalkESB\vs.net2k10\Tellago.SOA.ESB.Extensions.Solution\Tellago.SOA.ESB.Extensions.Setup\Debug\setup.exe .

After installing the SO-Aware  ESB Resolver, you can use the Resolver inside of Business Rules, Itineraries, Orchestrations, or pipeline components, basically anywhere resolvers can be used. Below is an example of how to use the SO-Aware resolver inside an Itinerary.


1. Create a new BizTalk 2010 Itinerary inside a C# Library project


3. Add An On-Ramp, Off-Ramp, and 2 Itinerary Service steps into the Itinerary

4. Right click on the Resolver on one of the Itinerary Service Steps and add a new Resolver:

5. In the properties windows select the Tellago SO-Aware ESB Resolver

6. Name the resolver SoAware, and set the properties:

The SO-Aware Resolver contains these properties:

Endpoint Name: –This is the Name of the endpoint registered inside the SO-Aware Repository

Environment: This is the configuration category such as “Production” “Q&A” “Testing” that the service version is registered under.

Operation Name- This is the name of the operation of the Service version that is registered inside SO-Aware

Service Name: This is the name of the Service You would like to retrieve its configuration from.

SO-Aware URL – this is the URL location of where the SO-Aware Service Repository  Service is installed.

Version – This is the version number of the Service registered inside SO-Aware.

7. Configure the remaining Itinerary steps, choosing Receive Port/Location, Dynamic Send Port for the Off Ramp, and adding the Itinerary connectors, completing the Itinerary design.

8. This itinerary is a simple Itinerary that resolves the People Finder  version 1.0 GetAllRegisteredPeople Operation.

Note: The BizTalk 2009 Version of this Resolver is a more generic example, whereas the BizTalk 2010 version contains more functionality.