Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ESB Guidance - Some notes on the installation

I've been playing with the ESB Guidance for some time now, in preparation for the session I'm presenting at TechDays 2008 on that topic. While doing this, I had to solve several small problems during installation, and also getting the samples running. Here are some tips for those who are brave of heart :-):

  • Follow the installation steps as described in this video and blog post. Use the installation manual only for reference. When in doubt, trust the video. And don't skip any step, or things WILL break later.
  • In the above video, there's a mistake when a Xml segment is pasted to Btsntsvc.exe.config: there's a "[path]" that should have been replaced with the real path. This will break the Itinerary samples/functionality. Also, note this thread in the ESB discussions (especially the post by user pkelcey) : remove the newlines between the folder and the XML element, or BizTalk will go crazy with restarts.
  • The docs mention an hotfix for BizTalk Server 2006 R2: KB943871. This code is wrong. The correct code is KB944532. This is actually an interesting hotfix, because it adds four useful properties to BizTalk's default fault schema.
  • The ESB Guidance is not regional settings agnostic. Everything will work if you have everything installed with English-US, however I had BizTalk's user running with Portuguese-Portugal. The date formats are different, so no faults showed up in the ESB Management Portal, even if everything seemed to work correctly. To fix this, see this thread.
  • Samples: unfortunately, there is no video explaining how to install the samples. You'll have to follow the docs. Some warnings:
    • The MSI's ("Windows Installer Files") mentioned don't actually exist in the package. You'll always have to follow the "Install the [component] from the Binding File/Solution Project" alternative.
    • Be careful not to install the same thing twice (especially when installing the Itineraries/Resolution/Rules parts). The instructions go around themselves and you can be led to install the same thing twice.
    • Always manually check the contents of every bat/cmd file the instructions tell you to run. One of the problems I had was with the create user part: my BizTalk installation is local, not in a domain, and the script didn't create the user nor complained (... "On Error Resume Next" ...). The creation of App Pools and Web Sites in general worked correctly, but be careful. I actually preferred to do some steps manually. Oh, and again, be careful to avoid doing the same thing twice.

As a conclusion: I wish the ESB Guidance Package had a much simpler "next-next-next" installation. The package has a lot of great stuff done with care, all the source is available, and I'm sure all the BizTalk developers and architects will find some use for parts, if not all, of it. The installation process and the documentation definitely turns people off, however. When in doubt, check the discussions on CodePlex.

I hope to post more information about the ESB Guidance in the next weeks, and maybe a couple of videos of the demos.

No comments:

Post a Comment