Using custom xslt in the BizTalk mapper & nxslt2

We use custom XSLT in all of our BizTalk maps (simply because we couldn’t get the BizTalk mapper to provide us with the functionality we needed when we first started using the product!) We now have approx. 70 XSLT maps in production use and I plan on blogging about their use in the near future.

In the meantime, I want to tell you about a great XSLT tool I discovered today. I completed development of some .Net 2.0 code earlier and needed a quick way of developing some maps – rather than developing a quick and dirty WinForms app I downloaded the great nxslt2 tool from

Released under the BSD Licence, nxslt2 is a .NET 2.0 Framework application, written in C# 2.0 and is fantastic for RAD XSLT development. Using it is as simple as:

nxslt2 sourcefile.xml transformation.xslt > output.xml

nxslt2 can be downloaded from here (in either source or binary form); documentation is provided here. Enjoy!

Welcome to the coalface

Hello, my name is Nick Heppleston; I’m the e-commerce infrastructure manager for a large stationery distributor here in the UK.

I’m hoping to use this blog to impart some of the more day-to-day development and operational knowledge I’ve gained on the BizTalk 2004 platform over the last two years in the post; and as we migrate to BizTalk 2006 over the next few months, I hope you’ll join me for the great ride that is likely to be!

As a brief background, the organisation I work for has been at the forefront of e-commerce in the stationery industry since around 1990 – back in the days when EDIFACT was king (well, here in the UK anyway). In August 2004, our legacy UNIX gateway was struggling to cope with the 2500 messages we were processing daily – I was brought in to evaluate and bring online a possible alternative – BizTalk, Websphere and the Oracle offering were all in the running.

‘The rest’, as they say, ‘is history’ – we now operate a 24/7 operation on the BizTalk 2004 platform procssing on average 6000 messages (customer orders, customer invoices and supplier purchase orders) a day.

As previously mentioned, this blog will be specifically centered around the development and operational support of B2B integrations using XML and EDI (I’ll focus predominatley on the Covast Accelerator as approx 70% of our messaging is still EDI based) – any comments, suggestions of topics you’d like me to cover, please drop me a line at nick [at] and I’ll see what I can do.