Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0 – SAP Adapter IDoc Schema Versioning Part 1

A colleague and I have been working through some anomalies when it comes to SAP IDoc schemas that were generated using the BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0 SAP Adapter. This is the adapter which is based upon WCF and NOT the .Net Connector based adapter.

When you go to generate an IDoc using the Consume Adapter Service wizard in Visual Studio, you will be presented with a screen like this. You will most likely have a few options when selecting an IDoc and version to use. To be sure that you have selected the right version of IDoc, you should contact your BASIS admin.image

As you select different versions of IDocs, notice that the Node ID changes. This Node ID will soon become your Target Namespace in the XSD schema that you are about to generate.


This Target Namespace is very important since BizTalk uses the Target Namespace and root node to determine subscriptions.


If you have chosen the wrong version of IDoc you will soon know. You will receive a subscription error indicating that you have received a message that BizTalk does not have a Schema for.

Event Type: Error

Event Source: BizTalk Server 2009

Event Category: BizTalk Server 2009

Event ID: 5719

Date: 1/17/2010

Time: 1:54:31 PM

User: N/A

Computer: Server


There was a failure executing the receive pipeline: "Microsoft.BizTalk.DefaultPipelines.XMLReceive, Microsoft.BizTalk.DefaultPipelines, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" Source: "XML disassembler" Receive Port: "WcfReceivePort_SAPBinding_IdocZHR_KPV3R710_Custom" URI: "sap://CLIENT=XXX;LANG=EN;@a/SAPSERVER/XX?ListenerGwServ=SAPGWXX&ListenerGwHost=SAPSEVER& ListenerProgramId=XXXXXX&RfcSdkTrace=False&AbapDebug=False" Reason: Finding the document specification by message type "http://Microsoft.LobServices.Sap/2007/03/Idoc/3/ZHR_KP//700/Receive#Receive" failed. Verify the schema deployed properly.

If you refer to the first image in this blog post, you will see that the Node Id has a value of http://Microsoft.LobServices.Sap/2007/03/Idoc/3/ZHR_KP//710/Receive#Receive where as BizTalk has received an IDoc with a Namespace of http://Microsoft.LobServices.Sap/2007/03/Idoc/3/ZHR_KP//700/Receive#Receive. So how can this be? SAP by default generates an IDoc based upon the current release version. But you also have the ability to send a specific IDoc version as configured in the SAP Program ID. This provides some flexibility in the event you need to use a legacy IDoc version.

When SAP sends an IDoc out, it will populate this version information in the control record. I have turned on tracking on the receive port and as you can see this information has been populated by SAP.


Since I am using an XML Receive pipeline and SAP has no idea what namespace BizTalk is requiring, the SAP Adapter is generating this namespace at run-time based upon the DOCREL and IDOC_VERSION elements.

The lesson here is to make sure you know what version of the IDoc is currently configured with your Program Id within SAP. I must also caution that while this approach does work, it may not live through your next SAP upgrade. At least not without updating your BizTalk projects. With each SAP major release, you can expect this DOCREL value and potentially the IDOC_Version to increase. So the next time you upgrade your SAP environment, you may get into the same situation that I have described(subscription errors) and it may take some significant refactoring to get your BizTalk schemas and maps back in sync with your SAP version.

In the next post of this series, I will discuss how you can use a Receive Pipeline and Flat File Pipeline Disassembler to override this namespace so that it does not become dependant upon the DOCREL and IDOC_VERSION elements…stay tuned.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

ShareTalk Integration (SharePoint/BizTalk) – Part 10 Adding Metadata to SharePoint columns in a messaging only solution

I had a requirement where I needed to upload images to a SharePoint library and use the information from the image filename to populate columns within the document library. Performing these tasks within an orchestration is pretty trivial as you can set context properties in a Message Assignment shape that will drive the behavior of the WSS Adapter.  I couldn’t justify performing these tasks in an Orchestration since it would involve an extra hop to the MessageBox in order for Orchestration to be invoked.

Another option is to do all of this work in a Pipeline component.  I can create  a Send Port subscription that would allow me to access the context properties from the message received and update them to include the WSS properties all within in a pipeline. This would allow the solution to become a pure messaging solution and I can save an extra Message Box hop.  When building this solution, I referenced Saravana Kumar’s white paper on Pipeline Components.  It came in handy,  especially in the area of creating the Design time pipeline properties.

Within the Pipeline Component, the first thing that I wanted to to was retrieve the source file name.  I am able to do this by reading the “ReceivedFileName” property from the File Adapter’s context properties. I then wanted to clean this file name up since the value of this property includes the entire UNC path: \\Servery\RootFolder\SubFolder\filename.jpg.  I have written some utility methods to parse the file name from this long string.

There are 3 parts to the image file name(1213455_NEW_20100110120000.jpg) that I am particularly interested in.  They include an Asset Number, Asset State and the Date/Time that the image was taken.  The scenario itself is a field worker who needs to capture an image of an asset, indicate the Asset Number and its state i.e. New/Old.  This information is then captured in the name of the image.  Since it is an image, there is no other reasonable way to store this meta data outside the file name.  This in itself is the reason why I need to to use a pipeline component.  Standard WSS adapter functionality includes the ability to use XPATH statements to extract data from the message payload and populate a SharePoint document library column. 

Once I have captured this meta data and massaged it to my liking, I want to then provide this context data to the WSS Adapter.  The WSS adapter is a little different than most of the other adapters in that you can populate an XML document and push that into the ConfigPropertiesXml context property.  The document structure itself is a flat XML structure that uses a “key-value” convention.

<ConfigPropertiesXml><PropertyName1>Column 1 Name</PropertyName1><PropertySource1>Column 1 Value</PropertySource1><PropertyName2>Column 2 Name</PropertyName2><PropertySource2>Column 2 Value</PropertySource2><PropertyName3>Column 3 Name</PropertyName3><PropertySource3>Column 3 Value</PropertySource3></ConfigPropertiesXml>


I also want to populate the WSS Adapter’s Filename context property.  I can achieve this by the following statement:

        "http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2006/WindowsSharePointServices-properties", ImageFileName);


Below is my Execute method, in my pipeline component, where all of this processing takes place.  You can download the entire sample hereThis code is at a proof of concept stage so you will want to evaluate your own error handling requirements. Use at your own risk.

public IBaseMessage Execute(IPipelineContext pContext, IBaseMessage pInMsg)
    //Get received file name by retrieving it from Context
    string FilePath = pInMsg.Context.Read("ReceivedFileName", "http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2003/file-properties") as string;

    //strip path from filename
    string ImageFileName = GetFileNameFromPath(FilePath);

    //Utility methods to parse filename
    string msgAssetNumber = GetAssetNumberFromFileName (ImageFileName);
    string msgAssetState = GetAssetStateFromFileName(ImageFileName);
    string msgImageDateTime = GetImageDateFromFileName(ImageFileName);

    //Write desired file name to context of WSS Adapter
        "http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2006/WindowsSharePointServices-properties", ImageFileName);

    // Populate Document Library Columns with values from file name
    string strWSSConfigPropertiesXml = string.Format("<ConfigPropertiesXml><PropertyName1>{0}</PropertyName1><PropertySource1>{1}</PropertySource1>" +

    pInMsg.Context.Write("ConfigPropertiesXml", "http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2006/WindowsSharePointServices-properties", strWSSConfigPropertiesXml);
    return pInMsg;

A feature that I wanted to provide is the ability to provide the SharePoint column names at configuration time.  I didn’t want to have to compile code if the SharePoint team wanted to change a column name.  So this is driven from the pipeline configuration editor.  The values that you provide (on the right hand side) will set the column names in the ConfigPropertiesXml property that is established at run time.



If you provide a value in this configuration that does not correspond to a column in SharePoint, you will get a warning/error on the Send Port.

Event Type:    Warning
Event Source:    BizTalk Server 2009
Event Category:    (1)
Event ID:    5743
Date:        1/10/2010
Time:        7:38:19 PM
User:        N/A
The adapter failed to transmit message going to send port "SendDocToSharePoint" with URL "wss://SERVER/sites/BizTalk%%20Repository/Inbound%%20Documents". It will be retransmitted after the retry interval specified for this Send Port. Details:"The Windows SharePoint Services adapter Web service encountered an error accessing column "Missing Column" in document library http://SERVER/sites/BizTalk%%20Repository/Inbound%%20Documents. The column does not exist. The following error was encountered: "Value does not fall within the expected range.".

This error was triggered by the Windows SharePoint Services receive location or send port with URI wss://SERVER/sites/BizTalk Repository/Inbound Documents.

Windows SharePoint Services adapter event ID: 12295".

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


The end result is that I can use information contained in the file name to populate meta data columns in SharePoint without an Orchestration.


Also note, I have built this pipeline component so that it can be used in a Receive Pipeline or as Send Pipeline by including the CATID_Decoder and CATID_Encoder attributes.



   public class AddSharePointMetaData : IBaseComponent, IComponentUI, IComponent, IPersistPropertyBag 




Sunday, January 10, 2010

ShareTalk Integration (SharePoint/BizTalk) – Part 9 Overwrite - Rename Mode

While further investigating SharePoint-BizTalk integration capabilities I ran into a file overwrite mode called “Rename” which I thought was rather unique.  I have never seen something like this in the FILE or FTP adapters so I figured that I would post something on it.

The WSS Adapter has an Overwrite property  that allows you select one of the following modes:


The Yes and No values are pretty self explanatory.  Orchestration allows you to determine which mode you want to set  within an Orchestration at run time.

When you select the Rename value, BizTalk will use the static file name that you have configured in the Send Port configuration or the actual file name of the source document.  If the document library does not contain a file with this name already, it will be added with the correct filename.



Where it gets interesting is when you try to insert a file with the same file name as one that already exists in the same document library.  When this situation occurs the first portion of the file name will remain intact, however a unique identifier will be added to the end of the filename.  BizTalk will not raise a warning or error indicating that this event has occurred.


So when would I use this?  I think this feature could be used in one of those “exception to the rule cases” where the business has indicated that “there will never be a duplicate file uploaded into this document library” but it actually happens.  It is also helpful when the view of the document library has been configured in such a way that the documents are sorted by file name.  This way it makes it easier to identify one of these cases as opposed to just using a Message ID where the document could end up being displayed in a very random fashion.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reprocessing SAP IDocs through BizTalk Server using WE19

First off this technique should work with any RFC connected system but since the only RFC connected system that I use is  BizTalk it will therefore have some BizTalk specific information.

I have touched on this topic before in my web cast and in my blog that integrating with SAP can be tough due to the vast differences in terminology, process and technologies used.  A situation that I have come across is that you often need a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or someone very familiar with a Business Process to generate an IDoc for a BizTalk developer to test or validate their portion of the integrated application.  Sometimes creating an IDoc is very simple where as sometimes it may take a few transactions and screens to generate the IDoc in order to validate one of your use cases.  This can lead to some frustration by both the BizTalk Developer and SAP resource as the BizTalk developer is always bothering the SAP resource to create “just one more IDoc”.

Something that a colleague brought to my attention was an SAP transaction called WE19 that allows you to re-process an existing IDoc.  This allows the BizTalk developer to have the SAP resource create an initial IDoc and have the BizTalk developer re-submit that IDoc however many times they would like.  Another benefit of this is process that involved deltas.  We have a process where SAP will provide a “dump” of employee data that we need to update a down stream system with.  We don’t need to process this data every day so we will just send the differences, or deltas, on a regular basis.  So, even in a test or staging environment, once I have received the IDoc that contains all employee data I will not get that data again unless I ask for it.  If we have not had any changes to our employees I will also not get the delta information either since there is no new data to feed the downstream system with. 

Using this transaction is great because I don’t need to bother anyone from the SAP side to create data for me.  All I need to know is when the last time that particular IDoc was sent.  I can find this information in BizTalk by querying tracked message instances or by querying WE02 in SAP.  Once I find this information I need to capture the IDoc number as this piece of information is required in order to resubmit the IDoc.

Here are 3 different ways to find an IDoc number.  The first two involve BizTalk and the last involves using the WE02 transaction in SAP.  You may want to check with your BASIS administrator if you do not have access to the WE02 transaction.

  • Option #1 Obtaining the IDoc number from BizTalk Admin by viewing the message context property
    • Use a Tracked Message Events query from BizTalk 2009 Admin console and right mouse click on the IDoc that you previously received and select “Message Details”


    • Click on the “Context” caption


    • Observe the “DOCNUM” value and record it (unfortunately you can’t copy or paste from this screen)



  • Option #2 Saving IDoc message to disk and then inspecting context document.
    • Once again find the particular IDoc that you are looking for by running a Tracked Message Events query from BizTalk 2009 Admin Console.  Once you find this message, right mouse click and select “Save to File”


    • Navigate to the folder that you saved these message to and open up the XML file that contains all of the message context information


    • Once again locate the “DOCNUM” property and copy that value



  • Option #3 Use SAP transaction WE02 to locate your IDOC


    • Right mouse click on row and select “Copy Text”.  Note it will copy all text in row.



Resubmitting the IDoc

  • Now that you have the IDoc number using one of the approaches above you can navigate to SAP transaction WE19, populate the “Existing IDoc” field and click on the clock with the green checkmark in the upper left hand corner(underlined in red) .


    • The selected IDoc will then be displayed and then click on the “Standard outbound processing” button


    • You now have the ability to provide the number of instances of this IDoc that you would like sent so you can use this as a load testing tool for BizTalk as well.  Click the green checkmark to proceed.


    • You should now see a successful message indicating that the IDoc has been re-sent.




I know I have found the WE19 transaction to be very helpful so hopefully you will find it helpful as well. It can be pretty frustrating when you have a deadline and there is no one around to create IDocs for you.  Using this approach will lessen your dependency on having a SAP resource around.  You can also use this same technique to load up BizTalk with messages and test the robustness of the SAP adapter no matter whether it be the dot net connector version or the WCF version.

Microsoft MVP Awarded: Part 3

I was recently informed that my MVP status has been renewed for 2010 in the BizTalk Server track.  The MVP program is an excellent opportunity to interact with product groups and other MVPs from around the world.  An example of this collaboration was the BizTalk Light and Easy Viewing series that I had an opportunity to participate in this past year.  It was a great community project that involved experts from all over the world building webcasts demonstrating BizTalk 2009’s capabilities which were made available to anyone who was interested in viewing/downloading them.

The highlight of the program for me is definitely the annual MVP Summit which is hosted in the greater Seattle area each year.  I have met a lot of great people through this event and continue to communicate with them on a regular basis.