BizTalk360 is the one-stop tool to Monitor, Operations, and Analytics of BizTalk Server. During 9 years of the Product life cycle, BizTalk360 has gone through many iterations. Every 2-3 years, the BizTalk360 UI is refreshed during a major release of the product. In BizTalk360 version 7.0, the UI refreshed to HTML5/CSS from Silverlight application. In 8.0, HTML5/CSS3 refreshed the product with a new look & feel and with new features to ease collaboration by introducing Dashboards and Widgets. Now it’s time to do another major UI refresh to a modern look & feel and move to the latest Angular technology. It gives us the opportunity to upgrade the dependent client libraries to the latest version.
Our CEO (Saravana Kumar) has announced the upcoming major version of BizTalk360 (v10.0) during Integrate 2020 Remote (June 1-3, 2020). In his session BizTalk360 – The Past, Present, and Future, he explains the future of BizTalk360 and gives hints of the upcoming major release which contains the refreshing UI and UX improvements, and the technology upgrade to Angular.
BizTalk360 v10 is mainly focusing on UI/UX improvements, new features (Data Monitoring Dashboard New Look,SQL Server Availability, nSoftware SFTP Support), and other important feature improvements to the product.
It has been an immense effort from our developers and QA team, who have worked on this for a year to redesign 80+ features in the product.
This version is mainly focused on improving the user experience of the existing features. Our UI/UX developers played a vital role to completely redesign the features. We have considered the following aspects while redesigning the features:
- Make the UI consistent across the features
- Modern Look & Feel
- Address existing challenges and hear the feedback from customer
With multiple iterations of UI prototyping, the UI has been redesigned.
Regrouping of Features
There have been some important regrouping of the features in this version. Reorganizing of features improve the collaboration, ease of use, and logical separation.
In the Operation section, menus are categorized into BizTalk Services, Advanced Services, Azure Services, and Manage Infrastructure. The BizTalk Admin Console features are grouped under BizTalk Services (Applications, Search Artefacts, Message Box, Tracked Data, Tracking Manager, EDI, ESB, Business Rule Composer, BHM, and BAM). This helps in accessing the BizTalk features from a single group of menus.
The Settings section is segregated into General Settings and Environment Settings. The general configuration (Home->Settings) like License, System Settings, Gateway Settings, Team Management, Notification Settings, BizTalk360 Services Health, Custom Development Tools (API Documentation & Custom Widgets) are placed in the General Settings.
Configurations specific to an environment is managed in the Environment Settings, like Import/Export Configuration, Advanced Event Viewer, Azure Subscriptions, Manage SQL Server, ESB Portal, Schedule Maintenance, BizTalk Health Monitor, Analytics Data Collection and Governance Audit Activities. For instance, a user wants to change specific environment settings; it is now accessible from the environment. This will avoid context switching in the application.
Landing Page (New)
In this version, the Landing page has been introduced in the BizTalk360 Application. This is useful to see the quick status, Topology of the BizTalk Group and statistics about important information of all the environments. Environments are placed in a card view layout; the users can navigate to the desired environment they want to access from the landing page.
The Topology diagram represents the pictorial representation of BizTalk Servers and SQL Servers in a BizTalk Group. This helps in understanding the architecture of the BizTalk Group.
The Filter component is used across various features like the Monitoring Dashboard, the Data Monitoring Dashboard and Governance/Audit Activities. It has been implemented as a generic component to provide the same user experience across the board.
The Card Layout is introduced to features like Manage Alarms, License and Notification Channels to visualize more data compared to the Grid View. Users can switch to the Grid View by clicking the Grid view Icon.
To improve the user experience, UI controls are placed in the right location. In order to avoid context switching in the monitoring section, the BizTalk application artefacts are placed in a dropdown. This improvement will avoid the context switch to a new page for the mapping of other application artefacts for monitoring.
Users can perform primary operations like managing configuration, viewing the Graphical Message Flow and viewing details by clicking on a row in a grid.
SQL Server Availability
Monitoring of Highly Available BizTalk Servers is available since the previous version of BizTalk360. From this version on, monitoring of SQL Server High Availability is introduced. Users can monitor the HA of SQL Servers from configured SQL Servers in Settings (Manage SQL Server). High Availability of BizTalk Servers and SQL Servers are grouped into the Server Availability Group in the Monitoring Section. Like BizTalk Servers HA, SQL Server High Availability monitoring is configurable by choosing the SQL Servers that need to be always on. Like BizTalk Server availability, monitoring the server status is determined by Protocol (Ping or Telnet) and criteria (All servers are down, or any one server is down).
nSoftware – SFTP/FTP Location Monitoring
From this version on, the SFTP/FTP location monitoring feature adds support to nSoftware Adapters (SFTP/FTP). In the addition to these, other improvements like Multi-Factor Authentication is added to the existing Authentication methods. In BizTalk360, you can monitor the file count and Directory size of the Send ports / Receive Location with macros by keeping the BizTalk File mask configuration.
In addition to above-mentioned UI/UX improvements, there are many features for which the user interface has been redesigned to get better user experience. The below list is just a glimpse of the features for which we have done UI/UX experience improvements.
- Data Monitoring Dashboard – The Dashboard is completely revamped based on the user feedback and use cases. The Dashboard view is now visualized in a tabular format. Data monitoring statuses are displayed group by options like Data Monitoring Type, Alarm, Schedule. In addition to these, Date Range is introduced in the filter component, in order to facilitate viewing/exporting the Data Monitoring results from different time frames
- Monitoring Dashboard – The UI design has improved with a fresh look & feel. The User experience of this feature has been improved by arranging the controls in the right place
- Business Rules Composer – XSLT is used to transform rule conditions (XML Data) using XSLT. Now, the UI design has been improved. To know more about more about BRE .
- Pin to Dashboard – This feature has been improved as the results of Secure SQL Queries and Message Box Queries are displayed in the Dashboard
- Custom Notification Channel’s – Global and Alarm properties are converted from XML to JSON format in order to ease maintainability and performance of the feature
- Widgets customization – Operations, Analytics & Reporting widgets are improved with dashboards with 12 columns layout and different widget sizes (2×2, 2×3 ,3×3 ,3×4 etc) which are introduced in this version
- Saved Query option – The user experience has been improved across the board (Message Box Queries, Secure SQL Queries)
- Governance Audit Activities – Audit data representation is improved to tabular format in Excel export and support’s PDF download option
- Schedule Maintenances – User experience is improved in the recurring schedule maintenance configuration. Users can view the Business Holiday calendar which is associated with schedule maintenance
- Manage SQL Server Configuration – is consolidated into a single place for Operations, Monitoring & Analytics in the Environment Settings
- Service Principal (Azure Subscription) – Microsoft has deprecated the certificate to manage (Publish Settings) the Azure Subscription. Now BizTalk360 supports Service Principal method to access the Azure Resources. Azure subscriptions are configured with Subscription Id, Tenant Id, Client Id and Application Secret Key.
Changes in This Version (10.0)!
Custom Widgets – So far, we have seen UI/UX Improvements, new features and other improvements, which is good news to existing customers. When the underlying client-side script is migrated from Knockout to Angular, there is one feature impacted by this change, which is Custom Widgets. If Secure SQL Queries are used in the Custom Widgets, the user can leverage the new Pin to Dashboard feature. For other custom widgets scenario, we need to follow the migration path from Knockout to Angular.
BizTalk360 Version 10.0 will give the users fresh look & feel. It has more excited new features and feature improvements which are going to be bundled along with major update. BizTalk360 is now compatible with BizTalk Server 2020. Why not give BizTalk360 a try!