I delivered my first session at TechDays today, an overview of the new features of BizTalk Server R2. Topics I covered included:
- BizTalk RFID (I can't wait for the Phidgets provider to come out, so I can test it with a simple setup -- apparently this will happen soon after beta2 comes out);
- WCF adapter, with the ability to expose BizTalk Artifacts in IIS and consuming services using the WCF stack. This will make us BizTalkers learn at least the basics of Wcf :-)
- WCF Lob Adapter SDK, which allows you to develop adapters to Line Of Business applications (which can range from a SAP-like system to a simple database). One of my favourite features.
- BAM Interceptors for WCF and WF. Another nice feature, this allows you create BAM Activities that span not only orchestrations, but also things happening in the transport and workflows. The most interesting thing is that you don't need to change your existing Wcf/Wf developments, it's all done in config. You inject a Tracking Service, in the case of WF, or a Behaviour, in the case of WCF. The down side? the events are handled synchronously.
- EDI/AS2 adapter: not the most exciting of the new features of R2, the truth is that EDI usage is still growing, so this replacement to the simple "Base Edi Adapter" is welcome, especially giving the pricing of the Covast adapter.
Although not a new feature in R2, but rather a set of developments and guidance on top of it, I also very briefly mentioned Microsoft's ESB Guidance, due to come out at about the same time as R2, and ended the session with Microsoft's take on this whole "BizTalk vs .Net Framework" issue.
It was a tough session to deliver, because I had a lot of materials, and little time for demos, which always give some life to presentations like these.
Right at end, I left the dates people were waiting for: the first public beta of R2 (beta2) will come out around the end of March/start of April, and the final version in the second semester (from what I've seen, and since the SOA conference is in October, I'd probably bet on Q3).