Microsoft BizTalk Server (or simply “BizTalk”) enables companies to automate business processes, through the use of adapters which are tailored to communicate with different software systems used in an enterprise. Created by Microsoft, it provides enterprise application integration, business process automation, business-to-business communication, message broker and business activity monitoring.
BizTalk Server was previously positioned as both an application server and an application integration server. Microsoft changed this strategy when they released the AppFabric server which became their official application server. Research firm Gartner consider Microsoft’s offering one of their ‘Leaders’ for Application Integration Suites. While there is discussion of the product direction of BizTalk, especially with cloud software becoming more common, Microsoft continues to support and update the product and offer coverage at their popular conferences such as Worldwide Partner Conference.
In a common scenario, BizTalk enables companies to integrate and manage automated business processes by exchanging business documents such as purchase orders and invoices between disparate applications, within or across organizational boundaries.
Development for BizTalk Server is done through Microsoft Visual Studio. A developer can create transformation maps transforming one message type to another. (For example, an XML file can be transformed to SAP IDocs.) Messages inside BizTalk are implemented through the XML documents and defined with the XML schemas in XSD standard. Maps are implemented with the XSLT standard. Orchestrations are implemented with the WS-BPEL compatible process language xLANG. Schemas, maps, pipelines and orchestrations are created visually using graphical tools within Microsoft Visual Studio. The additional functionality can be delivered by .NET assemblies that can be called from existing modules—including, for instance, orchestrations, maps, pipelines, business rules.
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