Darren Jefford

Solution Architect, Microsoft Consulting Services, Microsoft UK

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  • Blog Post: Professional BizTalk Server 2006: Content Complete

    I'm pleased to announce that all of the content for my book is now complete! As of two weeks ago we've now entered the reviewing/copyedit phase which should last until the end of the year keeping us on track for a March publication. Woo Hoo! Words cannot express my relief! The last few months have...
  • Blog Post: A BizTalk Swicki!

    A colleague of mine just introduced me to the concept of Swicki's, what on earth is that you ask? It's effectively a community personalised search engine. When you create a swicki you supply a initial list of sites that the community (BizTalk in this case) rates as having the most effective and relevant...
  • Blog Post: Windows Workflow Foundation - Where does BizTalk fit in?

    The last paragraph of my Windows Workflow Foundation posting was me being deliberately “devils advocate” to try and get you to think about the possibility of Windows Workflow Foundation being used in everything from Windows Forms Applications to ASP.NET Applications, and I didn’t really position how...
  • Blog Post: BizTalk Server 2006 Beta 1: Download!

    We have just posted Beta 1 of BizTalk Server 2006, visit here and register to gain access to the Beta 1 Build, it’s open to all! BizTalk Server 2006 (codename Pathfinder) is a great leap forward especially with regard to the Setup and Administration tools that have been completely reworked and...
  • Blog Post: Get BizTalk 2004 SP1 Installed!

    If you haven’t already done so – please consider moving your development and live servers to BizTalk Server 2004 SP1 wherever possible. It does really make a difference to common scenarios; it helped us out in the Scalability Lab recently with regard to SQL Server deadlocking under high load and also...
  • Blog Post: Handy BizTalk Service WMI Scripts

    I’m a nightmare for actually getting around to writing scripts to save me time; I have a list as long as my arm J This script is dead simple and largely based on samples from Script Center , which if you haven’t seen it is a goldmine of scripts for virtually any Windows task you can imagine – and is...
  • Blog Post: BizTalk and the mysterious blue screen

    A customer of mine has seen a few isolated incidents over the past year where their Windows Server 2003 machine “blue screens”, typically when they have been Stopping or Starting BizTalk bizarrely – this is particularly strange as BizTalk doesn’t “operate” in the Kernel so it’s hard for it to cause a...
  • Blog Post: SOAP Adapter Error Messages

    Hi, Again in the scalability lab recently we were seeing a number of errors being raised by the SOAP adapter – some of them were down to the remote Web Service cowering in the corner when the might of BizTalk hit it all at once J We were seeing a mixture of Timeout errors and the following being logged...
  • Blog Post: Web Services: Concurrent Connections

    The issue of concurrent outbound Web Service calls being throttled to two per endpoint comes up again and again with unmanaged and managed code – and it embarrassingly bit me last week in a BizTalk Performance and Scaling exercise despite me harking on about it all the time with standard .NET development...
  • Blog Post: BTSnapshot

    I’ve been on holiday for the last 3 weeks so have been slow on the uptake of this tool; in case you haven’t spotted it check it out here . It basically snapshots a BizTalk deployment, allows you to update the assemblies and restore the configuration as it was without all that nightmare stop, unenlist...
  • Blog Post: BizTalk 2004 Performance

    I’ve been involved in a number of BizTalk 2004 Performance / Tuning engagements recently, it seems that most of this year customers have been busy writing solutions using BizTalk and are now getting to the point of deploying – hence it’s been really busy here! On the whole BizTalk has worked really well;...
  • Blog Post: A goldmine of useful BizTalk Widgets

    I kind of knew there was some BizTalk stuff up on GotDotNet but never realised how much. If you’re doing anything with BizTalk 2004 check them out as they could save you a lot of time and stress!! Just got to find some time to put some of my own stuff up there, and blog some more of course ;-)
  • Blog Post: Bloggers Guide To BizTalk

    Alan Smith has taken the initiative and produced this fanstatic Bloggers Guide to BizTalk . He's collected together some of the best BizTalk posts from the various blogs and wrapped them up in a CHM file and will be updating it monthly. I've written a load of HOWTO guides internally - will look to get...
  • Blog Post: Calling a .NET Assembly from Orchestration with Schema Types

    There I was today pointing at a customer at a past blog entry on this topic – when I realized I’d never got around to posting it, Doh! Apologies for sitting on this for the last few months! I was running some BizTalk training earlier this year and got talking about how you can pass Messages from BizTalk...
  • Blog Post: Looping around Message Elements

    I had loads of fun a few weeks back with coming up with some options inside BizTalk on how to separate multiple elements inside a Message for individual processing. e.g: Retrieving all of the items individually in this Order message <Order> <Items> <Item Code=”ITEM001” Price=”23.00” Qty...
  • Blog Post: BizTalk Deployment Gotcha

    Over the past month or so I’ve been putting together some fairly extensive BizTalk training for customers and have just finished 3 deliveries so I’m trying to catch up! During this training I ran some labs, which seemed to went well but I came across some BizTalk deployment behaviour that...
  • Blog Post: Kevin Smith has a blog!

    Kevin Smith has just created a blog , he joined MCS in the UK a few months back and is a mine of knowledge with regard to BizTalk, especially the core engine and message infrastructure – and has been invaluable in answering the really hard “Just what does BTS do when…..” type...
  • Blog Post: BizTalk Server 2004 MSDN Articles

    I’ve been thinking about writing a MSDN article and have some ideas for topics based on the (many) comments to my postings to date and from customers I’ve spoken to, but thought I’d open the floor to all of you for suggestions. No promises, but happy to collate responses and feed...
  • Blog Post: Handy BizTalk Debugging Tip

    So, you’ve got Health and Activity Tracking (HAT) to look at the messages and orchestrations inside your BizTalk server, but typically you want more application level logging in the real world. The Enterprise Instrumentation Framework (EIF) is a fantastic way of getting diagnostics/logging on...
  • Blog Post: Posting Messages Back to the Message Box - Again

    Ok, everyone wants a copy of the sample, so I’ve found somewhere to store files and it’s here My sample is pretty straightforward, the PreProcessing orchestration retrieves all messages that haven't been processed, then marks the Message as being PreProcessed and pops it back into the MessageBox ...
  • Blog Post: Posting Messages Back to the Message Box

    I’ve been thinking about a problem for a few weeks and managed to figure it out last week, the requirement was for all messages coming into BizTalk on a particular port to be put through a form of pre-processing implemented by an Orchestration. This is fine, the Pre-Processing orchestrations...
  • Blog Post: BizTalk 2004 Documentation available for download!

    For those of you who have already installed BizTalk 2004 you’ll have found that the supplied documentation was pretty thin on the ground J The product team has just posted the latest documentation online here which has a lot more content, however you must have BizTalk2004 already installed to...
  • Blog Post: BizTalk 2004 Pipelines

    Mike has got a great blog about the differences between the PassThru and XML pipeline in BizTalk 2004, worth a read
  • Blog Post: MSMQT: Debugging and Getting hold of malformed messages

    So, I was discussing previously how MSMQT works with relation to BizTalk when malformed messages come in, if you have a XML validating pipeline (to ensure the validity of the XML message) then the message will be rejected and you’ll be none the wiser about what happened. I was working with a...
  • Blog Post: MSMQT, Transactional Queues and Xml Validating Pipelines

    I’ve spent a bit of time recently debugging and trying to figure out a number of weird problems that customers have spotted when trying to send messages to BizTalk via MSMQ (MSMQT on the server side), one particularly strange one was where the client (configured to be a Independent client –...
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