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] modhul.com and I’ll see what I can do.