This was my first time to the Dallas BizTalk Users Group meeting and it was pretty cool! There were obviously some interested, and talented, people involved. I'll definitely be putting time aside to make these events in the future!
Tim Rayburn was our host for this event. I'd heard the name, but had not ever realized that he was based right here out of Dallas!
Dustin Hicks [MSFT] presented a solution design review using the Decorator pattern in BizTalk messaging in a B2B scenario using RosettaNet and SAP. Dustin is a BizTalk TS in our region, and I've worked with him before as Mary Kay's BizTalk "connection". Great Microsoft person to know at Microsoft, and Thai (as in food) fiend.
Dustin also turned me onto Microsoft's ESB Guidance that shipped as a part of BizTalk 2006 R2 sample code. Previously, this was only available by invitation through http://connect.microsoft.com. This is now available through Codeplex at http://www.codeplex.com/esb. Hopefully we will see more support from Microsoft in this area going forward...the guys hinted that there might be a V2 on the horizon!
One thing that struck me during Dustin's presentation is that many, many developers refer to the Gang of Four [GoF], "Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object Oriented Software", as the pattern book. I've had my copy since 1997, when I joined a now defunct company, that had it on its required reading list. I have to admit...I never felt comfortable with patterns. Sure, I could recognize patterns by sight, and even unconsciously watched patterns emerge from my code, but I didn't feel in harmony with patterns until I read "Head First Design Patterns". That was the moment that I think I understood patterns. Even then, I won't claim to understand all patterns, there are only a few commonly used patterns that fall into that category for me.
The Head First Design Patterns book was fresh, new look at patterns, with practical examples that I could understand. I had lugged the GoF book around for years out of some sort of misplaced duty, for some reason. I still have both on my desk, but for a patterns book, its Head First all the way! Don't let the Java samples mislead you...they are clear and translate, almost line for line, to C#. Plus, the cover girl has some sort of weird hold on me that I can't seem to shake...
Be sure to come check it out next month...they are giving away some really good prizes!