3 min read

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many of the patterns and capabilities shown in this article are compatible with the last few versions of the BizTalk Server product. So what’s new in BizTalk Server 2009?`

BizTalk Server 2009 is the sixth formal release of the BizTalk Server product. This upcoming release has a heavy focus on platform modernization through new support for Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio.NET 2008, SQL Server 2008, and the .NET Framework 3.5. This will surely help developers who have already moved to these platforms in their day-to-day activities but have been forced to maintain separate environments solely for BizTalk development efforts.

Lets get started.

What is the WCF SQL Adapter?

The BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0 now contains five system and data adapters including SAP, Siebel, Oracle databases, Oracle applications, and SQL Server. What are these adapters and how are they different than the adapters available for previous version of BizTalk?

Up until recently, BizTalk adapters were built using a commonly defined BizTalk Adapter Framework. This framework prescribed interfaces and APIs for adapter developers in order to elicit a common look and feel for the users of the adapters. Moving forward, adapter developers are encouraged by Microsoft to use the new WCF LOB Adapter SDK. As you can guess from the name, this new adapter framework, which can be considered an evolution of the BizTalk Adapter Framework, is based on WCF technologies.

All of the adapters in the BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0 are built upon the WCF LOB Adapter SDK. What this means is that all of the adapters are built as reusable, metadata-rich components that are surfaced to users as WCF bindings. So much like you have a wsHttp or netTcp binding, now you have a sqlBinding or sapBinding. As you would expect from a WCF binding, there is a rich set of configuration attributes for these adapters and they are no longer tightly coupled to BizTalk itself. Microsoft has made connection a commodity, and no longer do organizations have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to connect to line of business systems like SAP through expensive, BizTalk-only adapters.

This latest version of the BizTalk Adapter Pack now includes a SQL Server adapter, which replaces the legacy BizTalk-only SQL Server adapter. What do we get from this SQL Server adapter that makes it so much better than the old one?

Feature

Classic SQL Adapter

WCF SQL Adapter

Execute create-read-update-delete statements on tables and views; execute stored procedures and generic T-SQL statements

Partial (send operations only support stored procedures and updategrams)

Yes

Database polling via FOR XML

Yes

Yes

Database polling via  traditional tabular results

No

Yes

Proactive database push via SQL Query Notification

No

Yes

Expansive adapter configuration which impacts connection management and transaction behavior

No

Yes

Support for composite transactions which allow aggregation of operations across tables or procedures into a single atomic transaction

No

Yes

Rich metadata browsing and retrieval for finding and selecting database operations

No

Yes

Support for the latest data types (e.g. XML) and SQL Server 2008 platform

No

Yes

Reusable outside of BizTalk applications by WCF or basic HTTP clients

No

Yes

Adapter extension and configuration through out of the box WCF components or custom WCF behaviors

No

Yes

Dynamic WSDL generation which always reflects current state of the system instead of fixed contract which always requires explicit updates

No

Yes


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