Very exciting happenings in the BizTalk world...

The release of BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Beta 2!!!

Now ... before you get too excited, the RTM release of BizTalk Server 2006 R2 will not be until the 3rd quarter of 2007.... but this is still cool.

You can check out the latest release at http://connect.microsoft.com/ (you have to register, but its simple enough).

BizTalk Server 2006 R2 will be 5th major release of BizTalk Server.  While there are the usual grab bag of improvements to BizTalk, the 2006 R2 release adds three big bang things:

  • EDI: The native support for comprehensive EDI and AS2 protocols in BizTalk Server 2006 R2 will provide much richer data integration and management capabilities. The Base EDI adapter that comes with BizTalk Server 2006 enables the sending and receiving of messages using X12 and EDIFACT. Customers can leverage this base functionality in order to build custom EDI solutions.
  • RFID: BizTalk RFID provides rich data, device and event management, as well as open APIs and tools.  The capabilities allow customers to cost effectively build vertical solutions and configure intelligent RFID-driven processes.
  • Platform Alignment: BizTalk Server 2006 R2 features improved alignment with 2007 Microsoft Office system and Windows Vista, including key .NET Framework 3.0 technologies such as WF and WCF.  This alignment will help customers access LOB data, as well as system-to-system or supply-chain processes from within their Office System applications (like SharePoint Server, InfoPath and Dynamics). 

Mr Vidotto gets all hot and sweaty over the RFID capabilities, personally, the "Platform Alignment" is the one that floats my boat.