I wondered how many BizTalk RFID users really know about RFID Tray. The RFID Manager gets used all the time, but the RFID Tray is a useful tool for monitoring.

The RFID Tray is not added to the tray by Setup. The administrator has to launch it from the BizTalk RFID Program Group.

Once launched, the RFID Tray adds itself to the desktop tray and starts monitoring events from the local server. You may add more BizTalk RFID Servers for the tray to monitor.

When you right click on the RFID Tray Icon, you have four items

1) Servers...

2) Alerts...

3) Show Popup

4) Exit

Servers

 

Clicking the servers item displays this servers window

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You may add a new server, remove an existing server or refresh the status of a server. I stopped the BizTalk RFID Service on my machine. and hit refresh and RFID Tray changed status to Service Stopped.

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Alerts

In normal operation, as soon as an alert is received, the RFID Tray displays a popup (like the Outlook message alert) and gradually fades away. You can disable pop-ups by toggling the Show Popup check mark. If you take a coffee break and missed the pop-ups, no worries. If there are alerts that you have not seen, RFID tray changes its icon state to this  imageto show that there are new alerts to be seen.

The alerts window displays a history of alerts from one or more BizTalk RFID servers. Here is an example of a few alerts

I started a process named Inventory Management. It was bound to the RootDeviceGroup, but none of the devices were up. I started the Contoso device simulator to simulate the Inventory Reader and the Receiving Reader. You can see the change in status of process to started and of the devices from retrying to open.

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The alerts window lets you see alerts from various servers in a single window, which is very convenient.

In the next example, I changed the binding for a process by removing its binding to a logical device. Here is what RFID Tray displayed

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As a part of the process stopping, the connection to the device was closed. The process went into event collecting mode to ensure no tags were lost. The process restarted, but you don't see the device state changing from closed, because I had unbound the process from all devices.

RFID Tray is a WMI listener and listens to specific WMI events generated by the BizTalk RFID Service.

Hope you try out this tool and let us know if you find it useful.

Happy New Year!