A few weeks ago the announcement was made that BizTalk Server 2006 R2 will be generally available in September. It truly feels great to finally see the light at the end of that tunnel. A whole bunch of effort goes into building the product as well as prepping for its launch. The fruits of all of that labor are about to be shared with the global BizTalk community and that is very good indeed, but it also affords us the opportunity to begin looking ahead past the major release milestone.

I’m not going to peer too far into the misty future just yet. I want to talk a little bit about the near future though. Just in case you missed it, Mark Berman put in a lot of hard work on a new BizTalk Server roadmap page for Microsoft.com. Please take a look at it and let us know what you think. We’ve also finally posted the registration site for the next SOA and Business Process Conference. Kris Horrocks and the event team have been feverishly working on a wide raft of things to do with the show. There will be a ton of up to the minute “how” and “why” content for building and enhancing SOA and BPM projects with Microsoft products and technologies as well as a large dose of the best community talent on hand to share knowledge and comment on announcements. Oh yes! There will be announcements and even further clarification on the future roadmap. This is the one show that BizTalk Server insiders flock to every year. 

As these big bang events hit (Launch & SOA-BP conference) a whole lot of new ideas and guidance will wash up on the shores of our community. I’m curious how I can best measure the value of all of it to you folks who are consuming it and building solutions based on it. Sure I get buzz reports and marketing effectiveness studies but there really isn’t any soul to them. They’ll tell me who the most read bloggers are and what the tone of the stories out there are. They miss the passion of the community though. Reports don’t convey the vibrancy of the discourse going on out there. 

I’m embarked on an effort to plug into that vibrancy and participate in the discussion and discourse that the BizTalk community has become famous for. I have to admit that I’m doing it for my own enjoyment more so than as a job aide. I’m really not even counting on the product team blog here to help me. I’m not certain that it’s a great representative view into the community anyway.  

I’ve recently joined a BizTalk Architects group on Facebook.com. It’s new and small but growing fast. I want to see how it evolves and maybe even help it along some. I’ll be looking for other avenues into the community as well. If you see me out there please introduce yourself and let me know what’s on your mind. I’d like to know who you read in the blogsphere and what sites you hang out at. You can also reach me at 'mwoods at microsoft dot com' or 'dumbassmike at hotmail dot com'.  It can be a bit intimidating to spout off on a widely read blog like this one. Please feel free to contact me persoanlly if you've got something say.

Now that the all consuming  work for launch and our little conference is winding down I’m ready for some fun with and among the community stalwarts.  

 

Thanks,

Mike Woods

Group Technical Product Manager, BizTalk Server

Microsoft Corporation