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BizTalk Server 2006 : Pipeline Component Best Practices and Examples - The Databased Disassembler

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1/23/2013 4:36:44 PM

Often, people need to get information from a database and submit it to BizTalk or have BizTalk send it out to a third-party destination. The usual response for this is to use the appropriate database adapter, generate the schemas for the SQL statement or the stored procedure, and use some combination of an orchestration/port and adapter to generate the data, publish it to the Messagebox, and send it to the appropriate destination. While this solution works, it often is met with a response like "But I just want to call a stored procedure and have each row be sent to BizTalk as an XML document."

Our solution to this scenario is called the Databased Disassembler (yes, it is a pun on words as the data is based on a database). The walkthrough for how this solution works is as follows:

  1. A receive pipeline is created that hosts the custom Disassembler component.

  2. The Disassembler only accepts a primer message. A primer message is a message that contains all the parameters needed for the pipeline component to begin executing. It is a primer because it is a message that gets the process going, or "primes" it. The message itself contains data that is not meaningful to anyone but the Databased Disassembler pipeline component.

  3. The pipeline component examines the primer message and retrieves all the parameters needed for execution. These parameters can include

    1. The connection string for the database

    2. The stored procedure name

    3. The parameters needed to call the stored procedure

    4. The resulting schema type for the returned data

    5. The number of rows to include in an output message (The default is usually 1, but it can contain multiple documents wrapped in an envelope if so desired.)

    6. If an envelope is requested, the XPath to the body element in the envelope as well as the schema name for the envelope

  4. If no values exist for a given parameter, the pipeline component can have them defaulted to a value when it is placed in the pipeline surface designer.

  5. Once all the parameters are gathered, the component calls the stored procedure with the parameters supplied in the primer message.

  6. It creates a DataReader object from the result of the stored procedure call. If no records were returned, an exception is thrown.

  7. If more than one record is requested per created message, then the component generates a new empty instance of the envelope schema that was specified in the primer message. If only one record is requested, then no envelope is used. If more than one document is requested per message but no envelope schema is supplied, then an exception is thrown.

  8. For each row that is returned, a new but empty XML document is created based on the requested schema in the primer message. 

  9. Each element name in the blank XML instance must exist as a named column in the DataReader with the same name.[] This way, the schema instance can change, and all that is required is an update to the stored procedure. In this fashion, you have a logical connection between your XML schema and your database schema.

    [] Many other approaches to this problem are available. A second potential solution would be to have a BizTalk transformation that maps the schema created from the component to the requested output schema. A third would be to access the schema and the data columns by index only. This assumes that there is always the same number of elements as the number of columns in the result set and that they are stored in the correct order. Any of these implementations will work; we chose the "named columns" approach as it served the purpose of illustrating this technique the best.

  10. The component continues to create new XML documents in the GetNext() method of the Disassembler interface until no more rows exist. When all rows have been processed, the component returns Nothing.

The following code shows the schema for the primer message that will be used to signify the start of the processes:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16"?>
<xs:schema xmlns:b="http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2003"
xmlns="http://TR3.Schemas.Primer" targetNamespace="http://TR3.Schemas.Primer"
xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">

					  

<xs:element name="PrimerData">
   <xs:complexType>
     <xs:sequence>
       <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" name="ConnectionString"
nillable="true" type="xs:string" />
        <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" name="StoredProcedureName"
nillable="true" type="xs:string" />
         <xs:element name="StoredProcParams" nillable="true">
           <xs:complexType>
             <xs:sequence minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1">
               <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="ParamValue"
nillable="true" type="xs:string" />
               </xs:sequence>
             </xs:complexType>
           </xs:element>
            <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" default="1"
 name="RecordsPerMessage"
type="xs:integer" />
        <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" name="OutputMessageSchema"
nillable="true" type="xs:string" />
        <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" name="EnvelopeSchema"
        nillable="true" type="xs:string" />
        <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" name="BodyXPath" nillable="true"
type="xs:string" />
      </xs:sequence>
     </xs:complexType>
    </xs:element>
   </xs:schema>

					  

Figure 1 gives a pictorial representation of the message flow that will take place for this process to work. Note one key element in Figure 1. The data from which the Disassembler gets its rows is not the BizTalk Messagebox. This is a key feature of this pattern. Since the database can be essentially "anything," it becomes trivial to get data from any OLEDB-compliant data source such as Oracle, DB2, and Sybase. This technique only requires writing a stored procedure and getting a connection string to access the data source. There is no need to purchase additional adapters for this solution to be used across different databases. This is a keyselling point for many projects that might want to use this approach.

Databased Disassembler execution flow

Another key architectural component of this solution is that fact that a Disassembler is used to create the messages. Each of the messages that are created from a unique primer message will be tagged as being from the same Interchange. This means that every message that was created from this primer message will have the same InterchangeID. This is very useful, as it allows you to easily correlate all the messages in an execution flow within an orchestration using a convoy pattern, because they will all have the same InterchangeID. The only issue becomes how to signify that the message received is the last in the sequence. You will need to create a custom property schema that is associated to each of the messages that is created by the Disassembler. Each message will be tagged with a sequence number, nd there will be a Boolean flag in the schema that indicates the last message in the sequence. This flag is then used to signal the orchestration that the last message has been received in the convoy.
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