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Review: Foundations of BizTalk Server 2006

Last post 09-11-2008, 11:34 by icelava. 0 replies.
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  •  09-11-2008, 11:34 4455

    Review: Foundations of BizTalk Server 2006

    Ah, BizTalk Server.... one of those Microsoft products that, watched from afar, always appeared so frighteningly towering. Training to climb Mount Everest would probably be a less strenuous endeavour. My previous experience with it was just the 2002 version's installation procedure, and that totally left me perceiving it like learning diving in the open sea - going about alone can get pretty scary without the instruction and guidance of a master diver. It quickly became one of those "if I ever have too much free time" items that I never acted upon for years.

    Now the situation is different. Now it has become my job to learn the latest incarnation of 2006 R2 and use its capabilities to demonstrate its worth in a lucrative government POC. Now, I need to learn it fast. I needed to climb Mount Everest before the season closes. How does one get familiar and comfortable with the concepts of this monstrous product? In fact, I never truly understood what BizTalk does exactly. I am one of those who cannot absorb useful information from vague marketing overviews; I needed someone experienced to talk me through to using its features. That someone is Daniel Woolston.

    This author has managed to compress most of BizTalk Server's core concepts and features into 14 chapters, spanning a mere 262 pages. Using concise language and short practicals, he takes apprehensive beginners (e.g. me) through an eye-opening tour of BizTalk Server. Taking things a step at a time, the practicals continuously build on previous experience and incrementally introducing more features to accomplish more and more feats. Daniel Woolston's style of tutelage quickly demystifies BizTalk Server operations and reveals that getting into it is not quite as insurmountable as it seems from the outside. On completing the last chapter I felt that grasping the foundations of BizTalk Server was definitely not a lofty goal of this book.

    But of course, the key word of this book is really just "foundations". Daniel Woolston has targetted this material at newbies, sticking with the simplest of demonstrations. He does not even teach the usage of other adapters for Receiving and Sending; only the File-based adapter is demonstrated. It certainly is debatable; keeping practicals simple enables speedy progress, no doubt; but at the same time I cannot help but feel "we're done already? how about this, how about that..." as I paced through the chapters.

    If you ever wanted to learn anything deep, or even just intermediate, about BizTalk, you will be left with many unanswered questions. You would then be reminded on several pages to refer to Pro BizTalk 2006 for that. If you want a quick introductory functional tour of BizTalk Server, however, look no further and grab this book.

    Overall rating: 8/10
    Yes Lightning fast practicals; concepts quick and easy to follow
    No Purely beginner basics; only File-based inputs and outputs

    Amazon review

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