XSLT map changes to not appear when re-deploying BizTalk Projects

I received the following e-mail from Joe, regarding a bug I found in BizTalk 2004 when developing maps with XSLT:

Hi! I was reading the post on ureader.com regarding a problem of not having XSLT changes show up when deploying a BT04 project when I saw your response (#2 of your listed solutions) about creating ‘a link from the root note of the source map to the root note of the destination map and delete the link to refresh the map.’ I was wondering if I could get a little clarification on exactly how you created the link. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! -Joe

The bug Joe is talking about here relates to changes to an XSLT file (with the BizTalk map using that file in the ‘Custom XSL Path’), which do not appear when you re-deploy a project.

As an example, say you have developed a solution using custom XSLT files for your BizTalk map. You test the map in VS and everything works ok, so you go ahead and deploy the project and again, everything works as expected in the runtime environment (say the map is on a Receive Port). However, you notice that the output from the map needs a minor amendment, so you go back into your XSLT, correct the problem and test the map again from within VS – everything works fine. You re-deploy the project and test in the runtime environment and bam, the map hasn’t changed – the changes that were made to the XSLT didn’t get picked up. Huh?

I originally noticed this bug in BizTalk 2004, but have just tested against 2006 (not R2) and can confirm that it is also present in this version. I believe that the bug (?) is due to the fact that the artifact that is compiled (i.e. the map) hasn’t changed, so Visual Studio doesn’t know that the project needs to be re-compiled (the output windows tells me that ‘the project is up-to date’, even though I know I’ve changed the XSLT and it therefore isn’t).

As a work around, I suggest that you open the BizTalk map (not the XSLT) and trick VS into thinking that the map has changed – i.e. create a single link from the source to the destination document (it doesn’t matter which element) and then delete the link. VS will pickup the change and force the project (and your XSLT changes) to be re-compiled.

Happy XSLT-ing!

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WordPress Update, a new security blog and love for Akismet

BlogSecurity is a new blog that focuses on security, primarily orientated around the popular WordPress blogging platform (which also powers this blog). One of their first posts was rather disturbing – of 50 WordPress blogs they reviewed, 49 weren’t running the latest version of the software and were susceptible to potentially known attacks.

As a result, I’ve updated Modhul.com to the latest version of WordPress (version 2.2) and I would recommend all maintainers of WordPress upgrade their sites too.

On a similar blog related note, I want to offer lots of beer to the developers of the Akismet spam plugin for WordPress – in the last two weeks, its captured 1236 spam comments – fantastic!

Hello Edenbrook

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I’ve decided to move back into permanent employment and I have accepted a position with a London (and Manchester) based consultancy called Edenbrook, specialising in BizTalk.

They have a number of different business practices, each one specialising in a specific area of IT; they are both Java and .Net affectionados and have held Microsoft Gold Certified Partner / Oracle Certified Advantage Partner status for the last several years.

Edenbrook have a large number of major UK and international clients and I’ll be supporting a wide variety of solutions within their Managed Services practice (their support arm) – the opportunities really do seem to be endless right now! I’m currently reviewing the support arrangements and infrastructure for a large BizTalk BI implementation and hope to drive proactive change back into the support model. The guys and girls I’ll be working with are great too (in fact I’m in Manchester right now getting ready to go out for their Beer & Curry night!) and I can’t wait to become a key-player on the team.

On slightly different news, I heard today that my old employer Office2Office, pulled out of contract negotiations with the MoD, effectively meaning that they have lost a £25 million contract. They’re putting a brave face on the news, but their share price has tumbled a little; furthermore, a number of ex-colleagues are now actively looking for a new career. If any of you are reading this – all the best and good look with the job hunting! (Edenbrook are recruiting by the way!)