Just released, the long awaited BizTalk Server 2006 extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation SDK. Use WF modeling and host workflows in BizTalk Server. Note the BTS messaging activities in the image.
Quick steps to try it out
- Start with Windows Server 2003
- Install BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Trial
- Install Visual Studio 2005
- Install this release BizTalk extensions for WF
- Do the walkthrough included with the release to create the simple WF and deploy it to BizTalk
The release is not supported by Microsoft customer support services. It is provided as an SDK Sample and includes full source code to the tools. You are encouraged to discuss questions about it on MSDN Forums for WF or comment on this blog.
People often ask whether to use BizTalk Server or Windows Workflow Foundation to solve a process related scenario. The short answer is to use WF when building an application (an ISV) and BizTalk when a server product is required (an end customer). Often customer scenarios fall between those two ends of the continuum and the answer also falls between. Because the programming model for BizTalk and WF are so different a customer is required to choose at the start of a project. Unfortunately that's the time when that same customer will have the least experience with either BizTalk or WF.
We presented some guidance at TechEd US 2007. It uses a set of common process related scenarios and makes specific recommendations. I am presenting this talk again at TechEd Developers next week in Barcelona. This talk doesn't seem to be published yet. I'll need to do that soon.
This SDK Sample provides an additional option to avoid the choice by directly allowing a customer to choose both WF and BizTalk. They can also start with WF and upgrade to BizTalk Server 2006 later.
The Value of the SDK Sample
If you are a WF developer, now is a great time to try out BizTalk Server 2006 as a host. This SDK Sample builds a wrapper orchestration for a workflow and that can be deployed to BizTalk Server. The workflow still executes but inside BizTalk Server and can make use of BizTalks messaging adapters, dehydration, scalability across hosts, management infrastructure, etc.
If you are a BizTalk developer, this provides a way to try out the new workflow programming model without sacrificing the enterprise features of BizTalk Server.
If you are new to process modeling development you can start with WF and then upgrade to BizTalk Server later.