Yesterday I received the printed copy of the book Getting Started with BizTalk Service written by Karthik Bharathy and Jon Fancey. The timing could not be better than this, today I was travelling and typically I use my travel time for reading avoiding opening my laptop in the plane. I was bit sceptical initially about picking up a technical book with lot of demo scenarios for reading offline, but I had to admit it was a very wise choice.
The book is only about 150 pages and as the name suggests it’s getting started guidance book rather than a reference manual. I managed to complete the whole book in about 3 hours during my journey and I’ve to openly acknowledge, the book kept up to it’s expectation by guiding you through learning all the high level topics that’s introduced in Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS).
I’ve known both the authors Karthik and Jon for many years, that didn’t influence me in writing this review blog, neither of of them asked me to write this review. After reading the book I genuinely thought, the book requires some attention it deserves.
One of the nice things I liked about the book is, it didn’t expect you to have any previous BizTalk knowledge for you to get started, and it kept this promise end-to-end. For people new to this area or the ones getting confused between both the on-premise BizTalk server and WABS, there is no direct correlation between them apart from sharing the name “BizTalk”. WABS is something that’s been build up from scratch keeping cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-on premise integration scenarios in mind.
The book covers the full breath of WABS starting from provisioning using Azure portal, writing basic “Hello World” examples all the way up to deployment and troubleshooting. It also cover the other important aspect of WABS the B2B EDI capabilities. For someone like me with limited knowledge on the EDI side, it was great read to understand lot of terminologies like parties, agreements, protocols, tracking behaviour etc. It also covers the API interfaces available (REST and PowerShell) to access the services/deployments programmatically. I’m kind of surprised, how they managed to squeeze everything in 150 pages.
The last chapter in the book was particularly interesting, explaining “How to move to WABS from BizTalk Server“, this is kind of must read chapter for people coming from BizTalk background. It explains the similarities between both the platforms, comparing paring technologies and it also clearly explains where you’ll face challenges and when not to move to WABS. Jon Fancey did a presentation at BizTalk Summit 2014, London on this topic, which you can view it here.
Overall it’s a great book, I promise you pick up the book for the weekend, go through all the demos and by the end you’ll pretty much know all the high level topics in WABS.