Biz Talk Orchestration Designer

The BizTalk Orchestration Designer plays a pivotal role in getting a BizTalk application to work, since it enables you to create the core of the application, based on process flows.You use the Orchestration Designer to create XLANG schedule drawings; these drawings are compiled to an XML-coded XLANG schedule that can be run by an XLANG scheduler engine, also called a COM+ application that hosts XLANG schedules. Did we already lose you? Probably, since putting the principal terminology surrounding BizTalk Orchestration Services into one sentence is highly confusing. It is clear that Microsoft had a hard time finding distinctive terminology within BizTalk Server. Do not worry! The Orchestration Designer in itself is very clear, straightforward, and easy to use. This will become apparent the first time you start BizTalk Orchestration and see something similar to Figure 7.9.

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The default layout of the Orchestration Designer consists of:

■ Two windows, called stencils, with a green background. The one on the left is called Flowchart; the one on the right is called Implementation.

The stencils contain the shapes that can be used within the drawing.We discuss these in detail in the section Flowchart and Implementation Shapes.

■ A drawing window that has two pages: Business Process and Data. The Business Process page is shown with a divider in the middle. In the section Business Process Drawings, the Business Process page is detailed. The section Data Flow Definition discusses the Data page.

You can use the View menu to modify the layout of the screen. It is also possible to have more than one open drawing visible at the same time, although this will limit the view of the drawings.To enlarge the drawing window, without zooming out, you can close a stencil.You can open or close a stencil through View | Stencils.When you reopen a stencil, you need to resize it since it does not return to its original width.There is a better way to create more room for the drawing without closing a stencil, however: by overlaying the stencils. Suppose you want both stencils on the left-hand side of the screen.You need to move the Implementation Stencil to the left. This can be done in two ways:

■ Point to the title of the Implementation stencil and, while holding the left mouse button, drag the mouse to the left side of the screen and position it just below the title bar of the flowchart stencil. As you let go of the mouse button, the Implementation stencil is docked on the left, and the Flowchart stencil is collapsed.

■ Point to the title of the Implementation stencil, and right-click it. Choose Position | Docked to Left and the stencil is also moved to the left, collapsing the Flowchart stencil.

You can now open the stencil you want to use. As you develop your drawing, it is not likely you will need to have both stencils open at the same time. The View menu lets you also switch the Grid on and off, while Page Breaks shows you the page margins the printer leaves blank.The part of the shape that occupies this unprintable zone will not appear on the printout. Before getting further into what the Orchestration Designer is all about, we will first look at the result.

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