ISV's often ask whether to use BizTalk Server or Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) for a process related solution. The answer to use WF when building an application and BizTalk when a server product is required. Because the programming model for BizTalk and WF are so different, ISV's are required to choose at the start of a project. And it just became easier to make the choice.

Just released, the long awaited BizTalk Server 2006 extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation SDK. Use WF modeling and host workflows in BizTalk Server.

If you are a WF developer, now is a great time to try out BizTalk Server 2006 as a host. This SDK Sample builds a wrapper orchestration for a workflow and that can be deployed to BizTalk Server. The workflow still executes but inside BizTalk Server and can make use of BizTalks messaging adapters, dehydration, scalability across hosts, management infrastructure, etc.

If you are a BizTalk developer, this provides a way to try out the new workflow programming model without sacrificing the enterprise features of BizTalk Server.

If you are new to process modelling development you can start with WF and then upgrade to BizTalk Server later.

Quick steps to try it out:

  1. Start with Windows Server 2003
  2. Install BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Trial
  3. Install Visual Studio 2005
  4. Install this release of BizTalk extensions for WF
  5. Do the walkthrough included with the release