Welcome to the final blog post of this season. In the last blog post, we continued to analyse the advanced dependencies features that significantly improve BizTalk Developers’ productivity. Today, we will present one of my favorite features present in this Visual Studio extension: the infamous JackHammering!
What is JackHammering? This is kind like the well-know .NET Reflector (or other tools like ILSpy, JustDecompile, dotPeek, DisSharper, and many others) that allows you to Decompile, understand, and fix any .NET code, even if you don’t have the source. But the difference is that this JackHammering functionality is focused on BizTalk Server artifacts.
It allows you to jackhammer your BizTalk solutions/artifacts to be able to:
- Extract the source code from the BizTalk Server environment. This is important if you don’t have access to the source code
- Compare if your solution or artifacts in your development environment is equal to what you have in production. It’s a handy feature for BizTalk developers & administrators, especially if they suspect inconsistencies between environments
You can accomplish this by accessing the feature as follows:
- Right-click on your artifact (Orchestration, map, schema…) and select the BizTalk NoS Troubleshooting > Jackhammering option
This feature is useful for several things. However, it will mainly be used to validate if the version we are using in development is or is not equal to the solution published in across BizTalk Server environments: DEV, E2E, or even Production!
With this feature you can, for example:
- Compare your Visual Studio artifacts with artifacts deployed in the BizTalk Server environment. For that, you should choose the Deployed Assembly tab and then:
- Choose the proper environment and the BizTalk Application you want to see what available assemblies are available
- Then select the deployed assembly were the artifact is present
- and finally, select the correct artifact you desire to compare
- You always have the option to compare the artifacts and/or Extract it
In the end, it will give you the comparison result:
You can do the same with a local assembly (dll) by choosing the Local Assembly tab and then:
- Select from the hard drive (it will open a File Explorer) the dll from where the artifact you want to compare is present
- From the Assembly Artifacts list, select the proper one(s) and then choose Compare Artifact or Extract Artifact(s), and the result will be the same as above
If you choose to select the option Extract Artifact(s), then you will be able to open the file inside Visual Studio as a “normal” orchestration that exists inside your solution. As you can see, on the left is the orchestration which is extracted from the BizTalk Server Environment, and in the right is my orchestration version in Visual Studio.
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JackHammering will be useful for developers but also for Admins. Developers can use it to recover the solution/artifacts installed to Visual Studio if, for some reason, they lost the artifact (orchestration, map, schema, and so on) source code. They can also use it in the situation that you arrive at the client and they don’t have the source code of the BizTalk solutions!! Another use would be in case you just aren’t sure if you are using the last version and so on.
BizTalk administrators will also have a good way to validate if the solutions that are running are the right versions. If there are differences in the solution between environments and knowing where problems can happen.
I hope you enjoyed all of these BizTalk NoS Ultimate features and feel free to try this amazing extension for BizTalk Server here: Download BizTalk NoS Ultimate for BizTalk Server 2020.