Ben Runchey’s Integration Dev Blog

a.k.a Ben’s spot to put stuff he does not want to forget

What I Learned Yesterday 10

  • Found a great tool for exporting data from existing SQL Server Tables to a script – The SQL Scripter!  What a clever name.  You can find it at
  • Looking into Ruby on Rails these days for a potential project and I have to say WOW!  this environment is really productive.  Just in the short time that I have spent with it I can tell it was written with how a developer needs to work as it’s main goal.  The strict MVC support, ActiveRecord for the ORM layer, and the built in support for unit testing.  While I really like it, I still really thing .NET and the CLR/DLR is the best of both worlds.  I have not had a chance to see the MVC support in the most recent version of ASP.NET (3 or 3.5, can’t remember), but my advice to Microsoft is to start building your tools to utilize your frameworks with the developer in mind.  I think that is reason number 1 why people are raving about Ruby.  The productivity in this environment is sweet!
  • What is with the script task in SQL Server Integration Services?  I would like to find out why it is not possible to just access any global variable inside of my script task!  For some reason, very smart people like to make me declare what global variables I am going to need access to before I can use them in the code.  I hope they change this in the next version!
  • I have pretty much decided to go with XSL Transformations instead of the biztalk mapper for any maps which start to get complicated for two reasons.
    • First reason is development time.  I can code XSL much faster than I can trial and error my way through using the functoids available.  Also the lack of a simple if then else type functoid can sometimes frustrate me to no end.
    • Being able to debug an XSL is easier when it is written using variable names that have context. 

April 19, 2008 Posted by | BizTalk, Ruby on Rails, T-SQL, What I Learned Yesterday | 1 Comment

What I Learned Yesterday 9

Been a while since I have apparently “learned anything” so there is much to cover

  • MSMQ is becoming more popular as Windows gets further and further into the enterprise and while I have some experience with it, I am by no means a complete expert.  This blog here does give a ton of information about MSMQ and all it entails.  While the title of this blog is “MSMQ from the Plumber’s mate”.  I think the name of the individual is John Breakwell.  I plan on reading this blog quite a bit.
  • On the topic of BizTalk Application deployment
    • The BizTalk Explorer Object model appears to provide the best intuitive access to programmatically manipulate BizTalk artifacts.  While the WMI classes are there, they are kind of archaine to work with.  This object model is pretty sweet.  Lots of good examples found in the SDK\Samples\Admin\ExplorerOM directory.
    • Automated deployment – while I was thinking about writing a script that would be a generic build – deploy – export msi type script for Biztalk, it is working out that these things become beasts onto themselves if you try to make them too generic.  Not to mention when you are giving the script to a person who really does not know that much about BizTalk, they are NOT going to be able to follow it.   So I am thinking about putting together more of a tool kit that contains a template showing how to use the BTSDeploy tool in conjunction with the Settings File Generator from Tom Abraham to ease Biztalk deployments. 
  • XSLT – Lots of stuff learned here.  I have used this sparingly in the past, but have been into it pretty good in the last few weeks.
    • Converting uppercase to lower case and vice-versa had me stumped, but found this handy article here which solved my problem. 
    • Grouping and sorting – while lots of examples show how to do this, doing it w/ multiple fields was not as easy to find.  This article here from Tech Republic shows how to get it done.  Check out the section titled “Multiple Criteria”.
    • When accessing elements in an XSL and the source document has a namespace that you have aliased with a prefix, don’t forget to use the prefix when accessing those sub elements. 
  • SaaS hosting
    • Google just released their application Google Apps the other day.  I have to day this looks pretty sweet having a whole hosted location up in the clouds to run an application from. Did I mention it is free (up to a point)!  While I think this does alot for moving forward the concept of a platform at a great price (free), and I think it will make all of those sexy social computing concepts much easier to build, it still misses some of the needs of the business apps market.  The reason I say this is the database support is based on a “Table” approach rather than a relational database approach.  While I understand why they don’t want to host a RDBMS in the sky it is still easier to write reports off these than off xml or tables. 
    • I think SalesForce is going to get crushed by this offering by Google.  How can these guys who from what I can tell are not really having much success with their platform convince people just starting out that they are worth paying for?
    • I am thinking that the tools that MS seems to be putting together are going to provide a platform based on .NET, BizTalk Services and SharePoint Services that will be a pretty good competitor to this.  Again this is going to come down to price and if MS wants to make a go of this making it free for smaller shops is definitely going to help them out.
    • Where is Yahoo in all of this?  Oh yeah they are busy telling people how great they are.  Well guys show us!

April 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment