Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NServicebus V4.0 Release

A new version of NServicebus ( V4.0 ) was released on July 11, 2013.  There are many changes in this release of NServiceBus. Too many to describe them all individually. You can find the full release notes on the following link.  Major highlights:

Until V3.3, MSMQ was the main queuing system. With V4.0, a couple of new transports were introduced:
  • ActiveMQ
  • RabbitMQ
  • SQL Server ( for people that want to use database tables as queues )

Also, the RavenDB is embedded in the solution for this version.  Before this version 4, you had to install it seperately.

And now you can also try NServicebus online including some hand-on labs. Everything is pre-installed so can start directly!

With this version, NServicebus is now part of the Particular Software platform. A platform because along with NServiceBus, a couple of other products are made available as well.
ServiceMatrix is a modeling tool that allows you to design a solution on a high level of abstraction.
You get an overview of the services you use, the contracts those services expose …
ServiceInsight allows you to manage your queues and endpoints, check your audit/error queues and get a full stacktrace to check what’s wrong.

There is also a 3rd product coming - ServicePulse - but this is in pre-beta (or should we say alpha?).
Author: Sven Van den brande

Saturday, July 20, 2013

BizTalk Health Email Alerting Part 2: Dehydrated Instances

In this multipart serie of blogposts, I will try to give some examples to keep an eye on the monitoring of BizTalk, without having the need to log on to the environment. Emails will be sent to specific users about certain information.

The second part of this serie will be tackling dehydrated messages. With some simple scripting, specific user can be notified when a service instance is in a dehydrated state for too long. Dehydrated instances can occur when a long running process for example has been developed, but every instance has a certain “maximum runtime”. When that runtime is surpassed, we want to have a notification about it that something might be wrong with the process. What also will be done in this script is, next to sending just an email, is also including an attachment containing the message which was processed last by the service instance.

Next to notifying a user, there is also the option to terminate dehydrated instances after a certain amount of time to clean out the BizTalk environment. This way, having instances dehydrated for months can be avoided. The messages are also stored and the location of this storage is communicated together with the email notification of a terminate.

First, some variables are defined and initialized. An argument is needed in this script, being ‘daily’ or ‘minutely’. This indicates which part of the script needs to be executed:

- Daily: Check for dehydrated instances (eg. Older than 2 days) and terminate them
- Minutely: Check for dehydrated instances (eg. Older than 10 minutes)

A temporary file location is used to temporarily store saved messages. The strEmailAdressesCC indicates an email address which needs to be in CC of ALL the mails that are being sent. The terminate instances option indicates whether instances need to be terminated or not.

Option Explicit

Dim strBaseTempFilesDir,strEmailAdressesCC,bTerminateInstancesAndDeleteDir,strSchedule,strTimeInterval,strSubject,strBody

If Wscript.Arguments.Count <> 1 Then
  Wscript.Echo "Need 1 argument: 'Daily' or 'Minutely'"
End If

strBaseTempFilesDir = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell").CurrentDirectory
strEmailAdressesCC = ""
bTerminateInstancesAndDeleteDir = False
strTimeInterval = "d"

The first of two large parts in the script will be handling all the ‘minutely’ processing. This involves checking if there are any instances dehydrated for a certain time, and informing certain users about this issue. Also the messages will be saved and sent. The saving and emailing is handled later.
Multiple instance types can be used within one call to ‘ProcessDehydratedMessages’. In this case, two calls are being done to this function, with both a different timestamp. The first call will only be checking the provided instance types after 10 minutes of dehydration, the second call will be notifying users after 20 minutes of dehydration.

' Alert dehydrated instances of Orchestration type(s) older than X minutes and evt. send email

If UCase(Wscript.Arguments(0)) = "MINUTELY" Then

  bTerminateInstancesAndDeleteDir = False

  strTimeInterval = "n" ' n for minutes

  strSubject = "Dehydrated instance of: "

  strBody = " is in a dehydrated state." & vbCrLf & "Please find the message in attachment." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "BizTalk is waiting for a response message:" & vbCrLf

  ProcessDehydratedInstances Array("orcOrderManagementFlowXType","orcCustomerRelationsFlowXType"),10,";"

  ProcessDehydratedInstances Array("orcPeopleManagementFlowZType","orcInvoicingReceivalType"),20,";"


The second part is doing initially the same thing as the part above, but is used to indicate which instances are dehydrated for too long and will be terminated. At the end of this part, the script will also delete all currently existing folders which contain no data.

' Terminate dehydrated instances of Orchestration type(s) older than X days and evt. send email

If UCase(Wscript.Arguments(0)) = "DAILY" Then

  bTerminateInstancesAndDeleteDir = True

  strTimeInterval = "d"

  strSubject = "Terminated instance of: "

  strBody = " has been in a dehydrated state for too long and is now terminated." & vbCrLf & "Please find the message in attachment." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "BizTalk is no longer waiting for a response:" & vbCrLf

  ProcessDehydratedInstances Array("orcOrderManagementFlowXType","orcCustomerRelationsFlowXType"),30,";"

  ProcessDehydratedInstances Array("orcPeopleManagementFlowZType","orcInvoicingReceivalType"),2,";"



End If


Now, we’re going to dive deeper into the function ‘ProcessDehydratedInstances’. The function starts again with defining the WMI elements to connect with the BizTalk server and to create a current datetime object. The provided date value is deducted from the current date/time.

Function ProcessDehydratedInstances (strOrchnames,Interval,strEmailAdresses)

Dim objWMI,objDatetime,strOrcName,svcInsts,svcInst
Set objWMI = GetObject("winmgmts:\root\MicrosoftBizTalkServer")
Set objDatetime = CreateObject("WbemScripting.SWbemDateTime")

objDatetime.SetVarDate DateAdd(strTimeInterval, -Interval, Now)

All the provided instance type names, stored in the string array ‘strOrchnames’ are being looped and searched for dehydrated instances on the BizTalk environment. If an email address (or multiple) is provided, the function SaveAndEmailFiles is called. Read on to see the details of this function. Also the Boolean bTerminateInstancesAndDeleteDir is checked. If true, then the instance will be terminated.

For Each strOrcName In strOrchnames
  Set svcInsts = objWMI.ExecQuery("SELECT * FROM MSBTS_ServiceInstance WHERE ServiceStatus = 8 AND ServiceName = '" & strOrcName & "' AND  ActivationTime < '" & objDatetime.Value & "'")
  For Each svcInst In svcInsts
    If strEmailAdresses <> "" Then
      SaveAndEmailFiles strOrcName,svcInst.InstanceID,strEmailAdresses,svcInst.ActivationTime
    End If
    If bTerminateInstancesAndDeleteDir = True Then
      'Wscript.echo "Terminated: " & strOrcName & " " & svcInst.InstanceID
    End If
  Set svcInsts = Nothing

Set objDatetime = Nothing
Set objWMI = Nothing

End Function

The SaveAndEmailFiles function will take care of saving all messages and sending emails. It starts typically with defining the base for doing WMI calls.

Function SaveAndEmailFiles (strOrcName,ServiceInstanceID,strEmailAdresses,ActivationTime)

Dim objWMI,objFSO,objFolder,strInstanceFiles,msgInsts,msgInst, objShell, strDescription, strCommand

Set objWMI = GetObject("winmgmts:\root\MicrosoftBizTalkServer")
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

A string is being constructed to save the messages to. This consists of the instance type name.

strInstanceFiles = strBaseTempFilesDir & "\" & strOrcName & "\" & ServiceInstanceID

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
strDescription = strInstanceFiles

The query is being executed and the messages are being saved by calling the ‘SaveToFile’ function. Read on to see the details of this function as well. The ‘SendMail’ function is also called, as well at a save of messages as a terminate.

If Not objFSO.FolderExists(strInstanceFiles) Then
  Set msgInsts = objWMI.ExecQuery("SELECT * FROM MSBTS_MessageInstance WHERE ServiceInstanceID = '" & ServiceInstanceID & "'")
  For Each msgInst In msgInsts
    msgInst.SaveToFile strInstanceFiles
  SendEmail strInstanceFiles, strOrcName, ServiceInstanceID, strEmailAdresses,ActivationTime
End If

If bTerminateInstancesAndDeleteDir = True Then
  SendEmail strInstanceFiles, strOrcName, ServiceInstanceID, strEmailAdresses,ActivationTime
End If

End Function

 This 'SendEmail' function will construct an email message based on all previously queried values. It takes the name of the orchestration, the files itself, the serviceinstanceID, the activationtime and the email adressees into account. I'll just let the code speak for itself here:

Function SendEmail (strInstanceFiles, strOrcName, ServiceInstanceID, strEmailAdresses,ActivationTime)

Dim objShell,objEnv,objMessage,objFSO,objFiles,objFile,objDatetime

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
Set objEnv = objShell.Environment("Process")
Set objMessage = CreateObject("CDO.Message")
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set objDatetime = CreateObject("WbemScripting.SWbemDateTime")

objDatetime.Value = ActivationTime

objMessage.From = "BizTalk." & objEnv("BTS_ENVIRONMENT") & ""
objMessage.To = strEmailAdresses
objMessage.Cc = strEmailAdressesCC
objMessage.Subject = strSubject & strOrcName
objMessage.Textbody = vbCrLf & "An instance of " & strOrcName & strBody _
& "- Orchestration Name:   " & strOrcName & vbCrLf _
& "- Service Instance ID:  " & ServiceInstanceID & vbCrLf _
& "- Activation Time:      " & objDatetime.GetVarDate & vbCrLf

objMessage.Configuration.Fields.Item("") = 2
objMessage.Configuration.Fields.Item("") = 2
objMessage.Configuration.Fields.Item("") = objEnv("BTS_SMTP_HOST")
objMessage.Configuration.Fields.Item("") = 25


Set objFiles = objFSO.GetFolder(strInstanceFiles).Files
For Each objFile in objFiles
  objMessage.AddAttachment objFile.Path


Set objShell = Nothing
Set objEnv = Nothing
Set objMessage = Nothing
Set objFSO = Nothing
Set objFiles = Nothing
Set objDatetime = Nothing

End Function

The script ends with a little cleanup function. This will remove all the 'empty' generated folders on disk, so that no overhead of folders is created on the server running the script. If no instances for the servicename can be found, it will remove the folder which exists for this specific servicename.

'                         Function ProcessDirectoriesForNonexistentServiceInstances

Function ProcessDirectoriesForNonexistentServiceInstances ()

Dim objFSO,objDirs,objDir,objInstID,objWMI,svcInsts
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set objWMI = GetObject("winmgmts:\root\MicrosoftBizTalkServer")

Set objDirs = objFSO.GetFolder(strBaseTempFilesDir).subFolders
For Each objDir in objDirs
  For Each objInstID in objDir.subFolders
    Set svcInsts = objWMI.ExecQuery("SELECT * FROM MSBTS_ServiceInstance WHERE ServiceName = '" & objDir.Name & "' AND InstanceID = '" & objInstID.Name & "'")
    If svcInsts.Count = 0 Then
    End If
    Set svcInsts = Nothing

Set objWMI = Nothing
Set objFSO = Nothing

End Function



There, we're through. There is one last post following, handling suspended instances. This last one will maybe be most of use, since it will alert users when an instance is suspended in the BizTalk environment.

Thanks for reading, if you have any remarks or questions, please leave them in the comments section!

Andrew De Bruyne

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Use Oracle BPM 11g PS6 to quickstart your business processes

With the latest release of Oracle BPM (PS6) a new feature was added which will bring a smile to the face of many business users. WebForms will allow basically anyone with a little IT background to create a matching user interface for simple business processes. If you combine this with BPM Composer you have the perfect tooling to create almost “ad-hoc” business processes with limited complexity.
Of course this won’t replace the tasks and effort related to in-depth development of production ready SOA/BPM applications but it is ideally suited for the business analysts or business users needing a quick solution.

Let’s say we are working for company in full expansion that is constantly looking for new talent to hire. In order to facilitate the follow-up and hiring process we quickly need a business process that can handle this task.

 It all starts with the creation of our “HiringProject” using the Oracle BPM Composer

As part of the HiringProject we can identify two processes.
  • “ProposeCandidate” : Which will allow everyone in the organization to add new candidates
  • “HireCandidate” : Which can only be started by the hiring manager if the candidate is considered a good match.

After a little bit of modeling we end up with a fairly simple and straight forward business process that can handle our requirements.

Of course only half the work is done now. We still need some sort of user interface. Instead of spending weeks developing a production ready and highly specific user interface we can use the new WebForms feature in Oracle BPM and start working with this process today!!

The requirements of our webform are very simple and can be implemented very quickly. By using the drag-and-drop it will automatically create the layout and corresponding data objects.

If we look into the businessobjects we can see that the “CandidateInformation” webform has a corresponding BusinessObject that correlated with the different fields that can be found on the user interface

Now before we can start using our brand new process we just need to link our newly created CandidateInformation webform to the already created HumanTasks.
Once this is done we can deploy our HiringProject and we can start using it to hire new talents for our expanding business.
Our project can be easily deploy by clicking on the well hidden round button next to “Projects” and going to Deployments -> Deploy Project

Once the process has been deployed we can start testing it for real-life cases.
After logging onto the BPM workspace by using our employee user we can see the new business process ready to be started and it will show up on the applications tab.

As expected once we click on this link we get our brand new user-interface ready to be entered with data. Our new business process is up and running and we can start streamlining our hiring campaign.

For quick-win business processes this approach with webforms definitely has its advantages. However when more complex interface or flows are required proper architectural analysis needs to be done before robust development can start.

Author : Nils BĂ©osier

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to load a more recent Bouncy Castle stack in a webMethods v8.2 Integration Server

When scanning the related file system you find following artifacts:
  •  <IS-HOME>/WS-Stack/lib/bcprov-jdk15-140.jar
  •  <IS-HOME>/common/lib/ext/bcprov-jdk14.jar
Comparing these items with the deliverables available on reveals that the version used by the webMethods platform is rather old. Working with the SAG-wM support and RnD organization allowed us to load more recent bc libraries. The platform is compatible up to version 1.47 and this version will be included as of webMethods 9.

Following steps lists out how a more recent Bouncy Castle stack can be loaded in a webMethods v8.2 Integration Server :
  1. Navigate to
  2. Download the provider file version of preference (e.g. bcprov-ext-jdk14-145.jar).
  3. Shutdown the webMethods Integration Server
  4. Replace <IS-HOME>/WS-Stack/lib/bcprov-jdk15-140.jar with downloaded bcprov jar file (e.g. bcprov-ext-jdk14-145.jar).
  5. Replace <IS-HOME>/common/lib/ext/bcprov-jdk14.jar with downloaded bcprov jar file (e.g. bcprov-ext-jdk14-145.jar).
  6. Start the webMethods Integration Server
  7. Verify the webMethods Integration Server's About page. The server classpath should now list the newly introduced file.
Author: Johan De Wulf