<DISCLAIMER> If you were not routed to this page from the BizTalk Server tutorials on MSDN but rather ended up on this page just as you were browsing (lucky me), you might not get much out of what I am talking about in this post. So, if you want to fully understand what's being discussed here, I would suggest you go through one of the author's notes in the BizTalk Server tutorials. </DISCLAIMER>
So, what really is the idea behind including author's notes? Here's the story:
After I started working on BizTalk Server documentation, one of my first assignments was to test the BizTalk Server 2009 tutorials, that is, follow the procedures in the tutorials to perform specific tasks. Why me? That's because after working with BizTalk Adapter Pack, I'd gained enough knowledge of BizTalk Server that's required for working with tutorials. However, at the same time I did not have all the knowledge that I could go and perform any task without reading through the tutorials. So, I fit the bill just right. As I worked on testing the tutorials, I was also supposed to fix any issues or gaps I identified in the tutorials. Not to mention that by working hands-on with the product, I got clarity around a bunch of BizTalk Server concepts. So, three things achieved - tutorials tested, tutorials fixed for any issues, and a new resource ramped up on the product. Great thinking by the management team!
Well, if that that was not enough, the management team pulled out another great idea. Because I was already updating the tutorials to fix any issues, they thought what if I share my experience working with the tutorials with other BizTalk users. I would have hit a few roadblocks, what if I warn others of the same issues upfront. I would have discovered some tips or shortcuts to do something, what if I share them with others. I would have used some analogies to understand a difficult concept, what if those analogies help others also understand the concept easily. Sounds like a great idea, right? We all felt the same and decided to add these tidbits as "author's notes" at the beginning of a step in the tutorial. So, whenever you see some information at the top of a topic, preceded by the term “Author’s Note,” that's me trying to share my experiences and learning with you. One thing that I have really tried to do with the author's note is to answer a lot of "why" questions that I personally had when I was working with the tutorials. I would ask myself, why do I need to perform this step, what is it that I achieve from this step. I arrived at an answer and am sharing that with you, wherever applicable, using author's notes. I really hope that this would help you understand BizTalk Server better. I would also appreciate if you can let us know how you feel about the idea of author's note. Share your feedback about all you want - the good, the bad, the ugly.