BizTalk Server 2013: Discovering Dependencies

By Nick Hauenstein

This post is the eighteenth in a weekly series intended to briefly spotlight those things that you need to know about new features in BizTalk Server 2013.

This week, I have decided to spotlight a simple feature that probably won’t be readily noticed unless you know it’s there, and you’re looking for it: Dependency Tracking1. This feature can prevent you from being yelled at by a dreaded 4-6 line error dialog, or other unforeseen consequences, providing you check dependencies before removing or redeploying an artifact.

the New Dependency Statistics Panel

If you have spent very much time in the new BizTalk Server 2013 Administration Console, you may have noticed that there is a new panel that shows up along the bottom:


If you’re anything like me, then it probably took you a while to figure out how to make this panel display information. As you can see, it hangs out at the bottom of the screen devoid of content by default.

In order to get those statistics, you have to access the context menu of the artifact that you’re interested in, and then click View Dependencies:


This will populate the two sections of the panel with (1) number of items that depend on the artifact, and (2) the number of items that the artifact depends on:


Clicking on one of these numbers will take you to the matching items with a breadcrumb to bring you back into context:


While none appeared while viewing the Orchestration dependencies, the items may include Schemas, Maps, Pipelines, Orchestrations, Receive Locations, Receive Ports, and Send Ports (e.g., below where we have Receive Locations / Maps in play):


Discovering Dependencies Not Found in the Binaries

As you continue to drill-down and view dependencies of each item, you will see the bread crumb update with the dependency chain. Here I can see that the original Orchestration I was examining ultimately depends on the JsonReceive pipeline (due purely to configuration in this case):


The Little Things

This is one of those little things that I have not yet had to make heavy use of, but I can see how it will bring value while tearing through more complex integrations trying to make heads or tails of what’s really going on.

If you want to try this out for yourself and get a glimpse of the Admin experience in BIzTalk Server 2013, come join us in October, November, or December for our BizTalk 2013 Administrator Immersion class.

1 Interestingly enough, this is the first feature highlighted in a similar series that Nitin Mehrotra has been running on his blog.

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