I have just released a v1.5 of the BRE Pipeline Framework to the CodePlex project page. This is a feature rich and heavily optimized version of the framework with much richer traceability as well. A breakdown of new features and improvements by category is below.
- Qualitative features
- Now supports BizTalk Server 2010, 2013, and 2013 R2 (note for 2013 and 2013 R2 if you want to make use of SSO features you will need to add an assembly binding redirect for Microsoft.BizTalk.Interop.SSOClient from v126.96.36.199 to v7.0.2300.0 or v9.0.1000.0 respectively in your BizTalk config files).
- This version of the framework has been heavily unit tested with 204 unit tests at the time of v1.5 being released which provide 95.16% code coverage. The framework is now more reliable than ever.
- The order of instructions specified in the BRE is now respected. Previously they were only respected within a given MetaInstruction/Vocabulary, but now they will also be respected across MetaInstructions/Vocabularies.
- Pipeline component supports streaming behaviour and doesn’t read the stream unless it absolutely has to. Even when it has to (for example the regex find/replace instruction in the BREPipelineInstructions.SampleInstructions.HelperInstructions vocabulary) the framework has now been optimized to read in smaller chunks of the stream at a time rather than the entire stream in order to minimize memory usage.
- Pipeline component now provides ETW tracing which can be captured using the CAT Instrumentation Framework Controller. This provides a lot of detail as to what the pipeline component is actually doing, and can give you access to stack traces in case you want to deep dive into error details. Combine this with rules tracing information that was catered for in v1.4 and you have all the instrumentation you need.
- Exception handling in the framework has been vastly improved. If an uncaught exception occurs during BRE policy execution you will no longer get the vague “An error has occurred while executing a BRE Policy” type error but now will get the actual exception details.
- You can specify a version of an InstructionLoaderPolicy or ExecutionPolicy that will fire if you want to be explicit (if not then the highest deployed version will fire) and you can also override these versions in the InstructionLoaderPolicy.
- You can now choose when you want the XML based facts to apply; before instructions execute (new default behaviour), after they execute (previous default behaviour), or at a specific point during instruction execution. This means you can now string XML based facts together with other instructions giving you more power to inspect and manipulate messages.
- In previous versions of the framework each of the individual vocabulary versions were exported to XML files and are saved in “C:\Program Files (x86)\BRE Pipeline Framework\Vocabularies” when you run the installer. Due to the number of vocabulary versions, it was starting to get very painful importing all of these to the rules engine database. To make life easier I have created two new export files, the first called BREPipelineFramework.AllVocabs.xml which contains all the vocabulary versions in one file so you only have to import it once, and a second called BREPipelineFramework.LatestVocabs.xml which only contains the latest versions of each vocabulary in case you haven’t used previous versions of the framework and thus don’t need to install old vocabulary versions for backwards compatibility.
- Major new functionality
- Ability to transform messages using the TransformMessage vocabulary definition in the BREPipelineInstructions.SampleInstructions.HelperInstructions vocabulary. You can even chain multiple maps one after the other in your pipeline, and in the case of a receive pipeline you can still execute an inbound map configured on the port after the pipeline has completed execution.
- The BREPipelineInstructions.SampleInstructions.HelperInstructions now contains a TraceInfo definition that allows to you to write out ETW trace statements that can be captured using the CAT Instrumentation Framework Controller.
- A new vocabulary called BREPipelineFramework.SampleInstructions.CachingInstructions that allows you to cache custom strings, or context properties associated with a message, and to either fetch them back later, or in the case of context properties reapply them against the message. The cache supports expiry times against each cached item so you don’t have to worry about using up all your memory, and you can also remove items from the cache after you have consumed them. More on this in future blog posts and this makes for some fantastic message only use cases which might previously have required orchestration.
- The BREPipelineFramework.SampleInstructions.ContextInstructions vocabulary now contains definitions that allow you to get or set ESB context properties by enumeration (all other out of the box context properties were already catered for), and also allow you to promote the BTS.MessageType context property against the message if it doesn’t already exist.
- A new vocabulary called BREPipelineFramework.SampleInstructions.PartInstructions that allows you to get or set message part details such as part names by index, content type, character sets, message part context properties such as MIME.FileName etc…
- A new vocabulary called BREPipelineFramework.SampleInstructions.XMLInstructions that allows you to manipulate your XML based fact messages in ways that the BRE doesn’t support out of the box. These functions include adding elements and optionally populating values within them, adding attributes with optional values etc…
- A new vocabulary called BREPipelineFramework.SampleInstructions.XMLTranslatorInstructions that allows you manipulate your XML message in a pure streaming fashion (i.e. the changes will not get applied to the message until the stream is actually read for the first time, which will usually be when the message reaches the BizTalk Message Box) which is very efficient and easy on memory. Manipulation functions include adding, removing, replacing namespaces and prefixes for elements and attributes, updating element or attribute names, and update element or attribute values. All of these manipulations can be conditional; for example you can create an instruction that will only update the value of an element if the name and namespace of the element match certain criteria and if the old value in the element matches certain criteria.
This scratches the surface of improvements made to the framework, look out for more blog posts (they have been rare in the last few months which I have dedicated to updating the BRE Pipeline Framework but should become more regular now) which explore new features in further depth.