Often for either isolated BizTalk development or BizTalk demonstration purposes, the need arises to do a full email scenario on a single physical
or virtual machine. Did you know that you can utilize the standard Windows Server 2003 plug-in SMTP and POP3 services to send a receive
email on a single box without installing a full email server?
You're probably familiar with the SMTP service you can install as part of IIS. Once installed, it looks like this ...
Now you can also install the basic POP3 service included in Windows Server 2003. In the Add or Remove Programs it's under
Add/Remove Windows Components and labeled Email Services.
Once that is installed, you get a new POP3 Service console where you can manage mailboxes for users.
If I'm using this in a BizTalk scenario, then my SMTP adapter will address email to a mailbox that's been setup in the POP3 console.
Notice that the SMTP Server is also set to my local machine.
Finally, if you have Outlook installed, you can point to the new valid POP3 account, and actively poll it. In my case, I send
BizTalk Server 2006 suspended messages (via our new routing of error messages), and workflow messages via SMTP to this account.
The screenshot below
demonstrates receiving my human workflow email in Outlook, then viewing the BizTalk message attachment as an InfoPath form.
The user gets full interaction with the BizTalk system (and naturally any system it integrates with) without leaving Outlook or InfoPath.
Come on, that's good stuff right there.