Yesterday I finished Week two of the BizTalk Class, which was all about the setup, configuration and new features. Microsoft learned a lot from the difficult 2002 to 2004 migration process and invested a lot of time in making the upgrade process from 2004 to 2006 as easy as possible. If you like to take some risks, you can upgrade to 2006 within a few clicks. Developers can take the advantage of Visual Studio 2005 as BizTalk Server 2006 is fully integrated with this Microsoft Developer environment. Ordered message processing and the improved failed message routing also come in handy.
The study material of the course consists mostly out of white papers, that can be found online and TechEd presentations that are accompanied by the voice-over of the original speakers. It is very nice that those presentation also includes video presentations of the demo’s.
BizTalk 2006 is already on the market for some time, which makes some of the learning materials feel outdated as they speak about the BizTalk 2006 technical preview. Some of the online study urls present a “This page does no longer exist, we moved the page to a different address” webpage. Updating the course on this point would make the experience better, but for the learning part, this is not a problem. Very positive is that the teachers take the time to read your answers on the mini-test and they give personalized feedback on it.
Last week the content was not completely new to me, making it easy to follow the pace. This week the course is covering the Improved Management en Operations of BizTalk, really new material for me.