BizTalk Server Tips and Tricks: Another way to set unlimited occurrences on schema elements

Welcome back to my blog post series “BizTalk Server Tips and Tricks” for developers, administrators or business users. Not all tips and tricks are sophisticated or quite robust and ingenious, some of them are quite simple. Some of them are in front of us all the time without us noticing, this is one of these cases.

Today there is a lot more information than in the past, but normally when we start BizTalk Server tutorials about schemas, they tend to say that if you want to specify how many times a record or an element will occur, you should configure the below values:

  • The Max Occurs property to specify the maximum occurrences of this node (record or element). The default value is ‘1’ and cannot be less than the Min Occurs property
  • The Min Occurs property to specify the minimum occurrences of this node. The default value is ‘1’ and cannot be greater than the Max Occurs property

What this type of tutorial also tells you, is that if you want to specify that a specific node can appear an unlimited number of times, at the Max Occurs property, you should type the value: “unbounded

Another way to set unlimited occurrences on schema elements

So, we tend to manually write the word “unbounded”, each time we want to set a node to appear an unlimited number of times… I think, I can write this word better than my personal name, so many are the times I’ve written it over the years. But to be honest, this can be a little time consuming. Especially if we type it wrongly, newbies need to remember this word – there are other words with the same meaning as unlimited – and sometimes is just a little boring.

Well, guess what, if you are at this point of the post wondering what is the alternative, in the future you should spend a little time reading the description of property inside Visual Studio; the alternative has been there in front of you all the time:

  • Maximum Occurrences of this node. Its value should always be greater than or equal to minOccurs of this node. Use ‘unbounded’ or ‘*’ (asterisk) to indicate unlimited occurrences. The default value is ‘1’.

Another way to set unlimited occurrences on schema elements: max occurs description

Which means that if we type * (asterisk), this will be automatically translated to “unbounded”.

Another way to set unlimited occurrences on schema elements: asterisk

Quick, simple and practical

Stay tuned for new tips and tricks!

Author: Sandro Pereira

Sandro Pereira is an Azure MVP and works as an Integration consultant at DevScope. In the past years, he has been working on implementing Integration scenarios both on-premises and cloud for various clients, each with different scenarios from a technical point of view, size, and criticality, using Microsoft Azure, Microsoft BizTalk Server and different technologies like AS2, EDI, RosettaNet, SAP, TIBCO etc.

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