I've been meaning to post this for a while, so here it goes:

The new VS.NET designers in BizTalk 2004 are far better than the old set of tools BizTalk 2002 had, no doubt about it. However, it could still be improved quite a bit; particularly in that it is still a little bit rough on the edges. Here are some suggestions of my own:

  • On a BizTalk project, the Add New Item dialog only contains the BizTalk item templates, and doesn't include the usual "common" items, like a new XML file, a new XSLT, etc. You can still have items like this in your BizTalk project by creating them outside and then including them; you just can't create them directly in it, which is very annoying.
  • The Schema designer doesn't use encoding marks (a BOM, I imagine), or something like that. I've trashed more than one schema because I opened it up temporarily on the regular VS.NET schema designer and after saving it and reopening it in the BizTalk designer it turns into unreadable garbage.
  • It would be great if you could directly modify an Schema's XSD in the BizTalk Schema designer, instead of having to close the file, and use Open With to open it up in one of the regular designers.
  • It would be nice if one could create many-to-many (*-*) transformations, and not only from an orchestration, even if it meant having to do a little bit of handy work...
  • Several improvements to what you can put into the properties window in the schema designer (i.e: put direct character encodings, like &#0D; and such, supporting escape characters for common control characters like \r\n instead of having to put the hex values and so on)

Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.