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BizTalk 2010 Recipes : Deployment - Exporting Applications

5/3/2011 5:14:44 PM

1. Problem

You have completed the build phase of a BizTalk project and need to migrate your work from the development environment to the test environment.

2. Solution

You must export the BizTalk application you have been building for use in the new environment. The BizTalk Administration Console provides the capability to export and import artifacts. Combined with the use of BizTalk applications, this allows for a simplified method of packaging your solutions and deploying them to new environments. The following steps outline the process for exporting a BizTalk application.

  1. Open the BizTalk Administration Console.

  2. In the left pane, navigate through BizTalk Server Administration to your BizTalk group, and expand the Applications folder.

  3. Right-click the application you wish to export and select Export→MSI File, as shown in Figure 1. This launches the Export MSI File Wizard.

  4. Click Next on the Welcome page of the wizard.

    Figure 1. Choosing to export an application
  5. On the Select Resources page, verify that the resources you need to include in the exported MSI package are selected. In the example shown in Figure 2, the resources consist of a number of BizTalk assemblies and their bindings and a referenced .NET assembly. Click Next to proceed.

    Figure 2. The Select Resources page of the Export MSI Wizard


    Including bindings within your MSI package will automatically overwrite any existing bindings in the target application upon import. Exclude the bindings during the export process if you do not want to overwrite the bindings in your target application.

  6. On the Specify IIS Hosts page, select the virtual directories you need to include in the exported MSI package. Click Next.


    You must specify IIS hosts for all web directory resources that have not already been added to the BizTalk Management database. In our example, the Order application has a SOAP receive location, which is configured to receive messages from the /addRequestWebService_Proxy/addRequestWebService_addRequestSPMLWebService_addRequest.asmx web service. Since the receive locations do not include the host, it must be specified during the export process.

  7. On the Dependencies page, review the BizTalk applications your exported MSI package depends on, as shown in Figure 3. Prior to importing your application into the test environment, you must ensure that all applications listed on this page are present in the test environment. In our example, the application depends on the BizTalk.System and BizTalk EDI applications. Click Next to proceed.

    Figure 3. The Dependencies page of the Export MSI Wizard
  8. On the Destination page, specify the destination application name (which indicates what the application will be named in the test environment after you have imported it) and the MSI package output location and file name, as shown in Figure 4. In our example, the application will be named the same as it was in the development environment (Demo.BizTalk) and the MSI package will be written out to a folder on the C drive.

    Figure 4. The Destination page of the Export MSI Wizard
  9. Click Export to generate the MSI package.

  10. The wizard displays the progress of the export operation and then shows a progress and summary screen when it has completed, as shown in Figures 5 and 6. The summary includes a list of steps necessary to import the application into a new environment, along with a link to the log file of the export operation. Click Finish to close the wizard.

    Figure 5. Deployment Progress
    Figure 6. The Summary page of the Export MSI Wizard

3. How It Works

While exporting applications is an easy way to migrate solution artifacts between environments, it is important to note what is not included in exported MSI packages. Configuration values you have made in the BTSNTSvc.exe.config file are not exported. If one of your artifacts relies on a custom configuration value existing in this file, you must use another mechanism (manual or otherwise) to add that same configuration value to the target environment.


In general, only those artifacts that are specific to an application are exported. This means that BizTalk group configurations (performance values or adapter settings, for example) and Business Activity Monitor (BAM) artifacts are not included in the exported MSI package.

You should be careful with regard to security when exporting applications. Depending on your solution, your MSI package may contain sensitive information (such as passwords) and should be appropriately secured. One consideration is the use of passwords in port bindings. Passwords are removed from all bindings that you export directly from an application (as we did in our example). If you want to persist passwords in a binding file, you must create a binding file with the passwords in it and then add the binding file to the application as a file resource.

You should also pay attention to access rights on resources added to your application. All permissions on files and folders are removed during the export process. For web directory resources, the security settings in place at the time of export are written to the MSI package.

In addition to using the Export MSI File Wizard, you can access the same functionality via the BTSTask ExportApp command-line utility. This utility accepts the following parameters, which mimic the steps taken in the wizard:

  • ApplicationName: The name of the BizTalk application to export

  • Package: Path and file name of the MSI package to export

  • ResourceSpec: Path and file name of the resource specification XML file

  • Server: SQL Server hosting the BizTalk Management database housing the application to export

  • Database: Name of the BizTalk Management database

In our recipe's example, the exported application includes relatively few artifacts—just several BizTalk assemblies, their bindings, and a required .NET assembly. Using the Export MSI File Wizard is simple and straightforward. It produces a single file that can be used to import the application into the test environment. On a larger project, it is likely that your application will have many more artifacts, including BizTalk assemblies, bindings, policies, and folder structures such as virtual directories and input/output folder hierarchies. Additionally, you might need to migrate only a subset of an application to a new environment. Using the BizTalk Administration Console, you can export application subsets, bindings, and policies.

3.1. Exporting Application Subsets

Exporting applications allows for all artifacts (or a subset of artifacts) associated with an application to be exported into an MSI package. All of the artifacts you select during the export process will be packaged into a single MSI file, which you can use to install your application to a different BizTalk environment.

In addition to exporting an entire application, you can use the Select Resources page to specify a subset of artifacts to export. Let's extend the solution one step further in the project life cycle to see how this functionality might be useful. Suppose that after testing the Order application in the test environment, you find and fix an error in the Troubleshooting assembly. To apply your fix to the test environment, you need to export only the modified artifacts. Step through the Export MSI File Wizard a second time, and select only the Troubleshooting assembly on the Select Resources page. This produces an MSI package that includes only the selected assembly, which can be used to reimport the modified artifact in the test environment.


Make sure that the assembly keeps the same strong name key and namespace on redeployment; otherwise, the .NET environment will consider the assembly a new component.

3.2. Exporting Bindings

Exporting bindings allows for bindings associated with an application to be exported into an XML file. Bindings are the links between your physical environment (for example, a specific MSMQ queue or web service URI) and your logical environment (for example, an orchestration receive port). You can export bindings for an entire BizTalk group or a specific BizTalk application or assembly.

You can use either the Export Bindings Wizard (right-click the appropriate application in the BizTalk Administration Console and select Export Bindings) or the BTSTask ExportBindings command-line utility to export bindings.

3.3. Exporting Policies

Exporting policies allows for Business Rule Engine policies associated with a BizTalk group (all policies in your BizTalk environment's Business Rule Engine database) or application to be exported into an XML file. Take the following steps to export policies for your BizTalk application:

  1. Right-click the appropriate application in the BizTalk Administration Console and select Export→Policies. This launches the Export Policies Wizard.

  2. Select the policies and vocabularies you need to export, and specify a path and file name for the exported policy XML file, as shown in Figure 7.

    Figure 7. Export Policies Wizard
  3. Click OK to export the policies.

It is recommended that you include all vocabularies contained in the policies you export. This prevents any missing vocabulary issues that can arise when one vocabulary references another.

In addition to using the Export Policies Wizard, you can export bindings using the BTSTask ListApp and ExportApp command-line utilities in combination, as follows:

  1. Run the ListApp utility to create an XML file containing all artifacts for the BizTalk group or application for which you need to export policies. An example of using the List App utility is as follows:

    BTSTask ListApp /ApplicationName:SampleApp /ResourceSpec:C:\SampleOutput.xml

  2. Delete all artifacts from the XML file except the policies.

  3. Run the ExportApp utility, specifying the updated XML file for the ResourceSpec parameter.

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