BTDF on machine with only BizTalk SDK

Topics: General Questions, Getting Started/Beginner
Jan 16, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Hi

Development workstations are required to have a BizTalk installation, but can BTDF be used when only the BizTalk SDK part is installed on developer machines? The full BizTalk/SQL/SSO-environment for development/integration/staging/production is installed on other systems.

Regards

Coordinator
Jan 16, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Hi,

My guess is that as long as you have the "Developer Tools and SDK" and "Project Build Component" features installed, it should be enough to support Visual Studio's BizTalk projects.  That should be enough for the Deployment Framework too, but you would be unable to do local deployment, so all you could do is build a BTDF MSI and use the ESB Toolkit integration and IntelliSense.  You'd end up having to work the kinks out of your .btdfproj configuration against the server, which is definitely more of a pain than doing it locally first.

Thanks,
Tom

Jan 21, 2013 at 9:09 PM

A working .btdfproj is created and tested on the BizTalk test server.

I now consider 2 options for the aforementioned setup, where the developer workstations only have the BTSDK.

  • install BTDF on the workstations (provided the BTSDK is enough for the BTDF to run):
    we can build the msi locally and install/deploy it on the BizTalk test server.
  • install BTDF on the BizTalk test server (already installed, not sure if this will remain):
    we can have the server build the msi and then install/deploy it there.

The former seems more appropriate; any comments or suggestions?

Coordinator
Jan 22, 2013 at 5:16 AM

I'd always prefer to create the MSI's via a true build server, whether TFS, CruiseControl.NET or other.  All you need on the build server is the BizTalk project build component and the Deployment Framework.  That said, either of your options will probably work from a technical perspective.

Keep in mind that if you're using the ESB Toolkit and the BTDF Resolver, then you'll need to have the Deployment Framework installed on your servers (the only time you need to do that).

Thanks,
Tom

Jan 22, 2013 at 8:20 AM
Edited Jan 22, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. To build the msi files for staging and production, we will indeed use a build server (actually setting that up now).

The only remaining problem is testing/debugging in the development environment, since the BizTalk test server is separate from the workstations with Visual Studio. New code needs to be deployed, quickly and easily for fast iterations.
I realize that this can also be set up through the build server, but I do not know if that is the best option. For instance, that would mean some overhead, e.g. check-ins are then always required etc.

Now I am considering syncing assemblies (compîled on the workstations, copy newest on test server), thus also allowing to quick deploy with BTDF on the test server (provided that is possible, depending on the type of changes).

Or maybe virtual BizTalk environments per developer are more suitable, instead of a single shared BizTalk test server.

Coordinator
Jan 23, 2013 at 6:14 AM

Over many years of BizTalk projects, I've always defaulted to a full local BizTalk environment for each developer, with everyone connected via a source control system.  We strictly enforce that checked in code has to compile, etc. and have everyone get latest on a regular basis.  Sometimes the local instances have to connect out to databases or web services in a dev or test environment, but that's generally not an issue.  I've seen companies that will not allow SQL Server to be installed on workstations, which kills that plan.  Are you restricted on what you can install on dev machines, or what is keeping you from going with that option?  (Essentially your last option of an environment per developer.)

Many people have set up fully automated BTDF deployments from a build server, and I think that's a great option to get code into a test environment.

Thanks,
Tom