BizTalk360 (V3.1 Beta): World’s first graphical message flow viewer for BizTalk tracking data

We are super excited about this functionality, the one we focused for few months to get it right. We wanted to get this functionality into BizTalk360 from day one, but the challenge of the task and other priorities put us down for a long time but not anymore. In version 3.1 (expected Jan 2012) the primary focus is to work on the BizTalk tracking data. BizTalk360 now got the full capability to query “Tracked Service Instances“, “Tracked message events” (with rich query builder), see the tracked message context/content and finally a brand new graphical end-to-end message flow viewer.

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BizTalk being a powerful publish-subscribe engine, one of the biggest challenge is to understand the message flow within the system. If you got a more complex, very loosely coupled system, the challenge gets worse diagnosing/understanding the message flow. It’s every single BizTalk persons wish to see an end-to-end graphical message flow within the system, that’s exactly what BizTalk360 tackled with this release. It will greatly reduce the time taken to diagnose issues and helps to get a better understanding of how your application is designed.

We are ready with the beta, but we want to make sure it covers all the messaging patterns. So we are starting with a private beta from next week. If you are interested please drop us an email at contact@biztalk360.com.

We are planning to supply graphical message flow viewer for BizTalk Server 2006, 2006 R2, 2009 and 2010.

In this article, we will take a sneak peak into all the capabilities of BizTalk360 graphical message flow viewer. We’ll cover some of the common messaging patterns you will see in BizTalk using the new BizTalk360 graphical message flow viewer. Starting from the basic ones and gradually moving towards the complex ones.

Messaging: Single publisher – Single Subscriber

This is our simplest scenario, message received via one-way file receive port and transmitted to one-way file send port (our favourite BizTalk “Hello World” sample)

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I guess the picture is self explanatory, explaining clearly what’s going on. We will explain later what all those colour coded messages means.

Messaging: Single publisher – Multiple subscribers

In this scenario a message comes via one-way file receive port and transmitted to 3 subscribers (one-way send ports) expecting this message.

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Orchestration: End-to-End request-response

In this scenario we exposed our orchestration as a WCF service, the orchestration communicates with an external web service via a WCF request response port. The scenario makes it end-to-end request response.

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Orchestration: Scatter-Gather pattern

This is the sample from SDK, where a message is passed to an orchestration, which splits the message into multiple messages (based on orders) and starts child orchestration for each sub-message (order). The orchestration then consolidates all the response messages and sends the final response out.

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Exception conditions

Whenever an instance gets suspended due to an exception, it’s clearly represented by an error icon in the diagram. The tool tip help will display the error description. This helps users to understand where the message flow got broken as shown below

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Message Legends

It’s important to understand the characteristics of each message that flows through the system; BizTalk360 marks messages in one of the 3 colours (Blue, Green and Red)

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Blue: This represent the messages that’s received inside BizTalk, user can click on them to see the details

Green: This represents the message that’s transmitted internally within BizTalk boundary. It will have a follow-up subscriber. User can click on this message, which will bring the follow up subscriber (service instance pipeline/orchestration) and the message details.

Red: This represents the message that goes outside BizTalk boundary (ex: external web service, SAP, File etc.); user can click on the message t
o see the details.

Service Instance Legends

Each service instance is represented clearly by an image showing whether it’s a pipeline instance or orchestration instance. The user can click on the image to see the details of the service instance.

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Diagram controls:

The message flow viewer diagram panel is fully flexible. It allows doing various things you typically expect on a diagraming application.

Rearrange various parts of the diagram: Users can re-arrange the diagram at run-time to better understand what’s going on.

Highlighting the connection: When you got complex scenario, there will be too many links back and forth between service instances and may be confusing. BizTalk360 helps to ease this situation by providing the ability to highlight any link and see the connections and details.

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Request-Response service instance grouping: In BizTalk request response ports is actually combination of two separate service instances (ex: PassThru receive, PassThru transmit). BizTalk360 understand it and group them together.

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Hide/Show service names for clarity: On the fly you can turn of service instance caption for more room (helpful in complex scenarios)

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Zoom in-out for complex scenarios: You can press the Ctrl key and mouse scroll to zoom in-out

Message Event Details

Message event properties window displays the properties of the selected message. User can click on various messages displayed in the diagram to get the details.

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Service Instance Details

In similar way to message event details, service instance properties window displays the properties of the selected service instance.

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We are open for suggestions and improvements, if you are interested to take part in the private beta program please drop us an email to contact@biztalk360.com with the subject TAP.

Nandri!
Saravana Kumar

http://www.biztalk360.com | http://support.biztalk360.com
@biztalk360 | http://facebook.com/biztalk360  | http://getsatisfaction.com/biztalk360

Author: Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

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