In case you missed the announcement on Tuesday, Microsoft has announced a new release of BizTalk Server 2006 called BizTalk Server 2006 R2 (Release 2) to ship H1 2007.

R2 will build on the core foundation of BizTalk Server 2006 and won't introduce any architectural changes instead it's focusing on building extra "services" on the BizTalk platform and improving out-of-the-box integration with Office 2007.

For those of you interested in EDI things we're extending EDI support extensively, more of which is covered in this article.

The WCF adapter that has been mentioned for a while now moves into the R2 "ship vehicle" and will bring native connectivity for WCF so you can expose and invoke WCF services along with the associated WS-* standards for interop.   

We will also be writing a adapter "framework" on top of WCF to enable customers to write adapters easier which will be a big step forward in my view for customers needing to write adapters.

As you may or may not know we've been working on RFID support for a while and this all gets put in the box with R2, again more in this article

Other good news is the introduction of BAM Interceptors for Windows Workflow (WF) this will allow Events and Data within a WF Workflow to be captured and delivered to BAM enabling cross BTS and WF instrumentation scenarios, so imagine a scenario where you hand off manual processing to a WF enabled ASP.NET application as the workflow is processed over time you can record milestones and data into the central BAM store enabling your "tracking portal" built in BAM to have a view across the entire solution - great news.

There are a few other bits and peices which will make a big difference but the details are being finalised so I'll post another posting once I'm allowed :)

Expect Professional BizTalk Server 2006 to be R2'ified :)