BizTalk360 team Wishes you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
In 2018, we have released 3 major versions of BizTalk360 with various new capabilities, enhancements and bug fixes. In this blog post, we wanted to summarize the best 10 features released.
1. Import & Export
All the newly created BizTalk Server applications are being tested first in the preproduction or UAT and shadow environments to avoid business consequences. Likewise, customers would prefer to test all the functionalities of their BizTalk360 configuration in their non-production environments. Further, they populate necessary data to operate, monitor and find analytical information of their environment. Admins don’t need to recreate their BizTalk360 configuration again in their production environment as in these situations, our import and export capability plays a major role. We have enhanced the existing functionality for users to be able to export:
1. User Access Policies
2. Saved queries
3. Secure SQL queries (along with their configurations)
4. Knowledge Base articles
5. BizTalk reports
6. Dashboards and Custom Widgets (along with their configurations)
from one environment (QA/Development/UAT) and import them as is into another environment (i.e., Production). Users can also change the configurations while importing into the destination environment.
2. Advanced web endpoint monitoring
In a BizTalk environment, the health of Web Endpoints is vital to be able to process the data between multiple applications/partners. BizTalk Administrators might manually monitor the health and results of web endpoints in every execution, but this is a cumbersome process. BizTalk360 provides the capability to monitor such Web Endpoints. This monitoring capability is extended to support other different authentications.
In the context of the HTTP transaction, there might be a scenario to authenticate the web endpoint using the Basic Authentication method (User Name, Password). BizTalk360 has this capability to monitor the Web endpoints using Basic Authentication.
As like basic authentication, some HTTP web endpoints require a SSL certificate for the communication. To support this kind of scenarios, we have introduced a new option to provide client certificate thumbprint in the web endpoint monitoring section.
Azure Services Authentication
To provide extended support to monitor Azure services web endpoints, we have enabled the Azure services authentication mechanism in Web endpoint monitoring section. Once the Azure service principal is configured in Azure, information like Tenant Id, Client Id and Secret key need to be provided for monitoring.
3. Business Holiday Calendar
BizTalk360 provides this new capability to configure the business holidays in a calendar. These business holiday calendars can be mapped during maintenance window setup. This new configuration section is introduced in the Monitoring Notification settings section as “Configure Business Holidays”.
Using this intuitive UI, users can configure the business holidays in a calendar and save it for further mapping during the maintenance setup process.
4. User Access Policy – Multiple options for providing access to BizTalk applications
In earlier versions, it was a simple grid displaying all the available applications in a BizTalk environment, and you can select the applications to provide access to Normal Users/Groups. But now we have modified this, to provide multiple options for providing access to the applications. This would surely be more user-friendly and of course, meet the requirements. The different options include:
Grant Access by Applications
By enabling this option, the user has access to all the currently configured applications. Once this option is enabled for any profiles, that user doesn’t have access to the newly integrated applications in your BizTalk Server.
Grant Access to all Applications
As the name denotes, enabling this rule will provide access to all the available applications for the Normal Users/Groups. This will be similar to the permissions of the Super User who will have access to all currently deployed and newly added applications.
The user can select the required option and provide the search value. Once this rule has been configured, the user will have access to all the applications matching this wildcard. Also, the user will automatically be given access to the newly created applications that match the wildcard.
Grant Access to Application Groups
With this new capability, you can create Application Groups and map BizTalk applications to that group. Once the user is given access to the Application group, he/she can access all the applications mapped to that group.
5. PowerShell Notification Channel
Besides the already available notification channel features, BizTalk360 supports integration with PowerShell scripts. This new capability enables the user to perform some tasks via a PowerShell script, each time the alarm was triggered.
It only takes a few steps to use the PowerShell Notification channel:
– Create the PowerShell script
– Configuring the PowerShell Notification Channel in BizTalk360
6. Grid Column customization
Grid columns can be dynamically removed or added based on the user preference. As per the settings in the configuration section, columns will be aligned and displayed in the grid view. These customized column settings can be saved for future reference as well. We are sure this capability will add more value when the administrator is looking for the instances/messages based on various conditions.
As an initial phase, this implementation has been done in the following areas in BizTalk360:
1. Message Box Queries
2. Graphical Flow (Tracking)
3. Electronic Data Interchange
7. Pagination for improved performance
We have optimized the grids by providing you the power of pagination. We have implemented pagination for each grid available in BizTalk360. It is an easy and standard practice that prevents you from having to load the entire result set all at once. The grid supports both preloaded and dynamically loaded data. By using pagination, the rows in the grid gets dynamically separated into pages. The grid will automatically display default rows in each page. The user can increase the maximum number of result rows by selecting the Max Match size in the drop down.
8. Grid Column Filtering
All the grid columns in BizTalk360 have got a new makeover. In a high-volume data store scenario, there will always be challenges to quickly filter and retrieve the desired data. To simplify the data retrieval process, we have implemented 4 types of filters in BizTalk360.
Text filter is the default filter. Using a text filter, you can filter the text input. The text filter is already implemented in BizTalk360 in various sections. The user should enter the text in the filter text box to retrieve the desired data set.
Using this filtering type, the grid shows a checkbox list with the set of predefined values. The user can select one or more of the values and apply the filtering. The types are status, Boolean & Date Time filter.
A Status filter allows filtering the different status in the column. For some filter conditions, some predefined values will be shown in the drop down for the data retrieval. The user can retrieve the data based on the available status. For example, a BizTalk application has different statuses, like Started, Stopped and Partially started.
This kind of filter is used to fetch the value based on true or false conditions. Say for example, in the Search Artifacts section we have a checkbox column to check for the receive port, if it’s a two-way port or not. Using the Boolean filter for this column, the user can filter for the two-way receive location.
9. Stop Alerts for maintenance Improvements
During a maintenance window, no notification was shown in the UI. This is enhanced now, and a notification will be shown in the Operations dashboard and Alert Maintenance section. We have added the capability to allow the users to set up multiple (future) maintenance windows. Additional to this, historical maintenance schedules are preserved for auditing purposes along with periodic purging capability.
10. Triggering alert emails to admin users
Alert Notification will be sent to the admin users in case there is some monitor error. Admin users can be configured in the system alert settings section.
Installer Logging capability
We have enabled a logging capability in the installer. This will help the users and support engineers to identify the root cause in case of any issues during the installation process.
Installer One Password Capability
We have enhanced the BizTalk360 installer, where only one set of credentials (UserName, Password) will be asked during the upgrade process, in case the same credentials have been used for all the installed components.
Installer SQL Upgrade
There was no support for the SQL authentication upgrade. We have enhanced the installer logic to support SQL Authentication upgrade.
Persist Web.config file changes during the upgrade
To access BizTalk360 via the HTTPS protocol, few configurations need to be done in the web.config file. In earlier versions, during the upgrade process, this configuration is overridden, and the user needs to do the configuration every time. This has been enhanced, and changes which are made in the config file are persisted during the upgrade process.
I must say 2018 was a fantastic year for us, where we focused on improving the product with exciting new features, enhancements and fixing support cases. Along with the above new capabilities, we have provided a fix for 209 support cases and enhanced 24 existing features.
We are looking forward, 2019 would be another great successful year for us with more exciting new features added to the product.