Yeah, I just gave a name to the next version. Who knows what it’ll actually be? Anyway, a BizTalk discussion list I’m on starting down a path talking about “little changes” that would please BizTalk developers. It’s easy to focus on big ticket items we wish to see in our every-day platforms (for BizTalk, things like web-based tooling, low latency, BPM, etc), but often the small changes actually make our day to day lives easier. For instance, most of us know that adding the simple “browse” button to the FILE adapter caused many a roof to be raised.
So that said, I thought I’d throw out a few changes that I THINK would be relatively straightforward to implement, and would make a pleasant difference for developers. I put together a general wish list a while back (as did many other folks), and don’t think I’m stealing more than 1 thing from that list.
Without further ado, here are a few things that I’d like to see (from my own mind, or gleaned from Twitter or discussions with others):
- Adapter consistency (from Charles). It’s cool that the new WCF SQL Adapter lets you mash together commands inside a polling statement, but the WCF Oracle adapter has a specific “Post Poll” operation. Pick one model and stick with it.
- Throw a few more pipeline components in the box. There are plenty of community pipelines, but come on, let’s stash a few more into the official install (zip, context manipulation, PGP, etc).
- Functoid copying and capabilities. Let me drag and drop functoids between mapping tabs, or at least give me a copy and paste. I always HATED having to manually duplicate functoids in a big map. And how about you throw a couple more functoids out there? Maybe an if…else or a service lookup?
- More lookups, less typing. Richard wants more browsing, less typing. When I set a send port subscription that contains the more common criteria (BTS.MessageType, BTS.ReceivePortName), I shouldn’t have to put those values in by hand. Open a window and let me search and select from existing objects. Same with pipeline per-instance configuration. Do a quick assessment of every spot that requires a free text entry and ask yourself why you can’t let me select from a list.
- Refresh auto-generated schemas. I hate when small changes make go through the effort to regenerate schemas/bindings. Let’s go … right click, Update Reference.
- Refresh auto-generated receive ports/locations/services. When I walk through the WCF Service Publishing Wizard, make a tiny schema change and have to do it again, that sucks. There are a enough spots where I have to manually enter data that allows a doofus like me to get it wrong. Rebuild the port/location/service on demand.
- Figure out another way to move schema nodes around. Seriously, if I have too much caffeine, it’s impossible to move schema nodes around a tree. I need the trained hands of a freakin’ brain surgeon to put an existing node under a new parent.
- Add web sites/services as resources to an application via the Console. I think you still have to do this by the command line too. The only one that requires that. Let’s fix that.
- Build the MSI using source files. I pointed this out a while back, but the stuff that goes into a BizTalk application MSI is the stuff loaded into the database. If you happened to change the source resource and not update the app, you’re SOL. It’d be nice if the build process grabbed the most recent files available, or at least gave me the option to do so.
- Export only what I want in a binding. If I right click an app and export the binding, I get everything in the app. For big ones, it’s a pain to remove the unwanted bits by hand. Maybe a quick pop-up that let’s me do “all” or “selected”?
- Copy and paste messaging objects. Let me copy a receive port and location and reuse it for another process. Same with send ports. I built a tool to do send ports, but no reason that can’t get built in, right?
That’s what I got. What are your “quick fixes” that might not take much to accomplish, but would make you smile when you saw it?
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