[Cross-post from old blog.]
Over the past year, Microsoft has been working on a series of services which could have a dramatic impact on future application development.
Introducing BizTalk Services
BizTalk Services are a series of hosted technologies developed by the Connected Systems Division, including:
- Message Routing (available now)
- Firewall-friendly B2B messaging
- Simple pub/sub event brokering (coming soon)
- Pub/sub at Internet scale
- Simplified, federated identity and access control (available now)
- Workflow processes (coming soon)
- Templates for cross-organization integration and orchestration of business processes, interacting with multiple services
What does this all mean?
The way I see it, a simplified explanation is that Microsoft has found a good synergy between software and services: You can have the best of both worlds.
Currently we're calling this an "external incubation" period for BizTalk Services. Initially to let developers check out what they can do and to test the infrastructure, etc., the services are available free of charge, though I would expect to see that change as the service portfolio matures. Also, there is currently no SLA; this is for testing only.
From the announcement:
We picked these services, because they are the intersection of services that both enterprises and web 2.0 developers need to build the next generation of distributed, composite applications. Over the coming months, these services will remain in incubation. During this time we will actively solicit the feedback of developers to understand the requirements and use cases. While we are in this phase, we will support the services on a best effort basis (no SLA). Based upon feedback from the development community, we will decide what additional features are needed and develop a plan for our production release accordingly.
How does this fit with Microsoft’s Software + Services (S+S) vision?
BizTalk Services will be used along with other services to build composite applications. There are three categories of services we are thinking about as a company:
- Building Block – The raw building block capabilities to enable developers to build interesting services (or composite apps) e.g. BizTalk Services
- Attached – Services that feed into the premise software e.g. Exchange Hosted Services (security, anti-spam, archiving), Windows Live Update
- Finished – Services built for delivery over the internet. e.g. Dynamics CRM Live
How does this align with what we have done in the past?
Starting with .NET over 7 years ago Microsoft has worked to enable developers to get the most from their existing code and data while leveraging new delivery and connectivity options. Based on .NET, BizTalk, Sharepoint and Windows developers today can use Service Oriented Architecture to make existing code and data accessible and re-usable for a new generation of applications in a fast and flexible manner. At the same time Microsoft is extending our core platform at all levels to enable the integration of on-premise code, with Services delivered over the Internet. By creating Building Block, Attached and Finished Services, Microsoft is extending our service efforts to enable the best of breed integration within and across the firewall for application development, delivery and management.
Update: Good info on getting started here.