This Tuesday I have subscribed to the Microsoft BizTalk 2006 Beta program and today (Thursday) I have finally received the email with the approval allowing me to download and play with the bits. In this post I will walk you through my experience downloading the bits, running setup and configuration for Windows SharePoint Services 2003 and BizTalk 2006 Beta 1 in order to play with the native WSS Adapter. This post will focus on a single machine deployment scenario but I will also point out separately what you need to know when performing a distributed deployment.

Download Windows SharePoint Services 2003 with SP1

In order to play with WSS adapter you will have to download and install Windows SharePoint Services 2003 with SP1. In fact, BizTalk 2006 requires Windows SharePoint Services 2003 with SP2. SP2 has not RTM yet, but a preview build is available through the BizTalk 2006 beta program. So for now download WSS 2003 with SP1 from here http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=2789833 

Download BizTalk 2006 Beta bits

Go to Sign Up for BizTalk Server 2006 Beta 1 page at http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/evaluation/bts2006beta.mspx and follow the instructions. Basically:
1 - Navigate to https://beta.microsoft.com and sign-in with your passport account. The first time I did this the site had some problems so I had to come back a couple of hours later.
2 - Complete the "BizTalk Server 2006 Open Beta Nomination Form" survey from the Survey menu on the left. This is it for now. You will have to wait up to 48 hours for the confirmation email giving you access to the bits.
3 - Once you have received the confirmation email, come back to the https://beta.microsoft.com site, sign-in using same passport account and you will be able to download the BizTalk 2006 Beta 1 bits.

In order to play with WSS Adapter you will have to download
            - BTS2006_Beta1.exe (115.08 MB) 
            - (optional but good to have) BizTalk Server 2006 Documentation & README
            - WSS SP2 (5 MB) - preview build of SP2 for Windows SharePoint Services, this is mandatory

Install and configure WSS 2003

1 - Unpack WSS 2003 with SP1 - To unpack-it, start a command prompt, go to the folder where you have downloaded WSS 2003 with SP1 and run stsv2.exe /T:E:\downloadbeta\WSS2003withSP1 /C   
This command will unpack all files in to my already existing folder E:\DownloadBeta\WSS2003withSP1

2 - Setup and Configure WSS 2003 with SP1 - This is the step where most of the problems show up. Luckily, we have a batch file from Marty Wasznicky's blog that will setup and configure SharePoint for us. So create the batch file as described here http://blogs.msdn.com/martywaz/archive/2005/06/14/429105.aspx
No spaces before or after = on the lines below, otherwise the batch will fail because variables were not set.
@SET WSSEXE=C:\WUTemp\Platform\WSSV2\STS2Setup_1033
@SET WSSSERVER=bts04dev01:80
@SET WSSUSERID=waz-msft\WSSAdminSvc
@SET WSSPWD=pass@word1
@SET WSSEMAIL=WSSAdminSvc@waz.msft.com
@SET DBSERVER=BTS2004sql01
@SET FPPORT=80
@SET ADMINPORT=8080
@SET WSSCONFIGDB=WSSConfig
.........
Set all script variables username, password, etc, and save the batch file. Run the batch file from command line.
Now verify that the commands have suceeded. It's ok for the command below to fail if FrontPage Server Extensions were not installed.

E:\work>"c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\50\BIN\owsadm.exe" -o fulluninstall -p 80
'"c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\50\BIN\owsadm.exe"' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.
You have successfully configured SharePoint, now pat yourself on the back.

3 - Apply WSS 2003 SP2 - Before you apply SP2, I would advise you to make sure step 2 has succeeded. Although WSS SP2 can be applied before or after configuring SharePoint, I think that the command line options are affected by the service pack so the batch file above might not work if you have applied SP2 before running it. Run WSS2003SP2-KB887624-FullFile-ENU.exe from the folder where you have previoulsy downloaded it.

Install and configure Biztalk Server 2006 Beta 1

Setup

1 - Run BTS2006_Beta1.exe and unpack the files to a specified folder. Remember the folder since you'll have to run setup from there.
2 - Run Setup.exe, chose Install Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 on this computer
3 - Select features - Make sure Windows SharePoint Services Adapter Web Service feature is enabled under Additional Software. To keep things simple, install all features although you probably need only Server Runtime, Administration Tools, Enterprise Single Sign-On Master Secret Server, and Windows SharePoint Services Adapter Web Service feature.
4 - Prerequisites - You can automatically install the redistributable prerequisites from the web or you can download the cab file first and then select the cab file and install the prerequisites from that file.

Configuration

At the end of setup Launch BizTalk Server Configuration check-box is enabled, click Finish to start configuration. You can always run the Configuration again from the Microsoft BizTalk 2006 menu, option BizTalk Server Configuration, or by Run -> Configuration.exe.

For simplicity, go with Default Configuration, you can always come back once you get more familiar with BizTalk configuration options. Type username and password, a new windows will show up with the features being configured. In the list you will see that feature "SharePoint Adapter" is being configured. This is a misnomer, "SharePoint Adapter" refers in fact to the Windows SharePoint Services Adapter Web Service feature configuration. In fact you are configuring the adapter web service and not the adapter runtime. The adapter runtime part is configured automatically without any user input, as part of the Server Runtime feature. If you are a BizTalk 2004 user, you are going to ask me if BAS/Business Activity Services is required by SharePoint adapter? The answer is no, you don't need BAS for that.

The steps above will configure all features. Unlike BizTalk 2004, now you can leave everything enabled without fearing that one feature will fail configuration and it will rollback the entire process. In BizTalk 2006, if a feature fails configuration then that feature and the dependent features will remain unconfigured but all other features will configure successfully. You can come back at a later time and re-configure only the features that failed configuration. Here's the list of features needed in order to play with WSS Adapter:
           - Group
           - Enterprise SSO
           - BizTalk Runtime
           - SharePoint Adapter

Multibox deployment for WSS Adapter

The multi box deployment is not very different from the single box deployment. The scenario can vary from the simplest scenario, a BizTalk machine and a SharePoint machine, to the most complex scenarios where  you have a cluster of BizTalk servers running against an NLB cluster of SharePoint. In the more complex deployment of WSS Adapter you could have multiple BizTalk machines, part of the same BizTalk group, all running multiple host instances that push/pull messages to/from a SharePoint installation. The SharePoint installation can consist of multiple machines (web farm) running as part of an NLB cluster. No matter the complexity of the scenario, this is what you need to know:
 - on BizTalk machines you need Server Runtime feature (BizTalk Runtime at configuration)
 - on SharePoint machines you need Windows SharePoint Services Adapter Web Service feature (SharePoint Adapter at configuration)
Known issue: Can't launch the BizTalk Configuration Wizard when only Windows SharePoint Services Adapter Web feature is installed (distributed installation).
Resolution: Refer to Beta1 readme section "Configuration Wizard not installed with Windows SharePoint Services Adapter Web Service". In addition to installing Windows SharePoint Services Adapter Web Service, you must install Business Activity Services (BAS). Then the Configuration Wizard is installed and starts properly. You don't need to configure BAS; just configure the adapter.

The adapter does not depend on BAS, but due to a bug, some BizTalk shared components are missing from the setup for this feature. Installing BAS, or any other feature in fact, will install the missing components. For this reason, you only need to add the feature but you don't have to configure it.

Unconfigure/Uninstall BizTalk 2006

To unconfigure BizTalk completely, run configuration /u
  - No databases will be deleted.
  - BTSharePointAdapterWS (WSS adapter web service component) virtual folder remains behind which might be a problem when you re-configure the product. This is a known issue, the virtual folder can be deleted manually.

Where to start learning about WSS Adapter?

The WSS Adapter documentation is well hidden in the BizTalk Server documentation, under Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 -> Operations -> Using Adapters -> Windows SharePoint Services Adapter. I recommend you to start with "About the Windows SharePoint Services Adapter" and "Walkthrough: Module 1 - Sending and Receiving Messages with the Windows SharePoint Services Adapter" articles. If the content tree seems to be different from what I listed above, then just search after SharePoint Adapter. I strongly recommend you to go through Walkthrough module 1 because it will prevent you from running into most common mistakes by showing you how to create a WSS site and how to setup the WSS adapter security. If you run into any issues, please ping me!!!