As part of our continuous innovation on Windows Azure, today we are excited to announce the refresh of Windows Azure Service Bus EAI & EDI Labs release. The first labs release was done in Dec 2011 and you can read more about it here. As with former labs releases, we are sharing some early thinking on possible feature additions to Windows Azure and are committed to gaining your feedback right from the beginning.

The capabilities showcased in this release enable two key scenarios on Windows Azure:

  • Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) which provides rich message processing capabilities and the ability to connect private cloud assets to the public cloud.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) targeted at business-to-business (B2B) scenarios in the form of a finished service built for trading partner management.

Signing up for the labs is easy and free of charge. All you need to do to check out the new capabilities is:

We encourage you to ask questions and provide feedback on the Service Bus EAI & EDI Labs Release forum.

You can read more on how to use the new capabilities in the MSDN Documentation.

Please keep in mind that there is no SLA promise for labs, so you should not use these capabilities for any production needs. We will endeavor to provide advanced notice of changes and updates to the release via the forum above but we reserve the right to make changes or end the lab at any point without prior notice.

EAI & EDI capabilities enhancements include:

  • The bridge has been enhanced to process both positional and delimited flat files along with xml messages. It can also pull a message from your existing FTP server and then process it further
  • Flow of messages within a bridge is no longer a black box: we have exposed the operational tracking of messages within it along with its metadata
  • Creating and editing schemas has become simpler and easier using the schema editor we have added as a first-class-experience in our Visual Studio project. Yes, we heard your feedbackJ. Fetching schemas from another service is also simpler using an integrated wizard experience
  • You can now send messages to the bridge in UTF-16, UTF-16LE and UTF-16BE too apart from UTF-8
  • We have further enriched the Mapper functionality to support number formatting, timezone manipulations and different ways to generate unique Ids. To handle errors and null data, we let user configure the behavior of the runtime
  • The Visual Studio Server Explorer experience to create, configure and deploy LOB entities on-premises has become simpler using a new wizard which is much easier to use
  • From the EDI Portal you can delete agreements to reduce the clutter. You can also change agreement settings and redeploy agreements
  • EDI messages can be tracked for one or more agreements and the view is exposed through the EDI portal. The view also supports search and correlation of messages and acknowledgements
  • We now support out-of-the-box archiving in EDI. All EDI messages can be archived and downloaded from the EDI portal
  • We have added preliminary support for send side batching in EDI based on message count. This would be enhanced to include more batching criteria in future releases.
  • We have also improved the EDI Portal performance and made improvements to the error messages
  • There are UX enhancements all across which should make your experience smoother

Further capabilities and enhancements will come as part of future refreshes. Stay tuned!