If you ever want to get a Mini Dump of a process (of course for debugging purposes) the easiest way to do so is to use Task Manager (or use Sys Explorer). Just find the process you are interested in, right click and select “Create Dump File” and voila.
One thing to be careful – make sure you are using the same version of the Task Manager (or Sys Explorer) as the process. For example if your process is x32 (and you are running on a x64 system), then make sure you are using x32 version of Task Manager and not the x64 as that will cause issues.
These cover a number of the features and essentially have everything to get a developer quite comfortable with the stack. In some areas they go a little deep as well. I think its an excellent way to come up to speed.
Here is a quick example of the topics covered in some of the tracks:
Win7 – how to use the Taskbar, Multitouch, Ribbon, Sensors and Location, Session 0 Isolation, etc.
Azure – Azure Overview, Azure Storage, Deployment, SQL Azure, etc.
VS 2010 and .NET 4 – F#, ASP.NET 4, Parallel Computing, ALM, etc.
I know a little bit about WCF but never really used it in anger in BizTalk and also did not get an opportunity to extend the adapter.
I was looking for something else and came across this post form Paolo which explains in a lot of detail how does one go about extending and customizing WCF adapters. If you don’t know anything about WCF the first part explains that in general before going in to the BizTalk specific things.
I encountered this interesting issue and thanks to Colin we were able to resolve it. There will be situations you will encounter when adding additional optional attributes to a Flat File (FF) schema in BizTalk will cause problems. To get around this you basically will need to set the following properties to relax the parsing of the attributes which break.
This got me thinking more and wanting to understand what does changing these attributes mean under the covers. Below is what I found out on each of these.
Setting the parser_optimization to complex essentially generates a more complicated grammar (it uses both a top down and bottom up parsing); this grammar is then used to parse the FF.
The complicated grammar is better when parsing records with more optional nested options – however it still cannot handle all the layout conditions and can still break in some situations.
And given the runtime is doing more things, this will be slower than the other option called ‘speed’ (yeah no kidding Sherlock!).
The reason the ‘speed’ option is faster is because it uses top-down parsing only.
In addition you should also set lookahead_depth to zero (more on this below) to avoid validation failures (against a schema) when there are many optional nodes in the same group/record.
Changing the lookahead_depth itself is trivial but you need to be a little more aware of what this means:
This essentially tells the parser when making a parsing prediction how far ahead to look in the token stream.
Setting this to Zero essentially means ‘infinite lookahead’ which in turn means more memory will be consumed.
Depending on how busy your BizTalk servers are and how much memory pressure you already experience processing various files (and their sizes), this might be an issue.
Basically, the FF parser is a streaming parser and implemented as a leftmost derivation which takes in a CFG. Essentially when we change the lookahead_depth to zero we change do not restrict this and the parser can recognize tokens using DFA perhaps (of course we don’t know the real implementation).
For those old school like me, and have played with yacc – that is a LL(1) parser – essentially parse the grammar with one token lookahead.
When working with FF’s BizTalk expects that every line is of the same length (either because of the data contained padded with spaces). However if it finds a newline (CR + LF) character then it breaks and you get an error something along the lines of “Unexpected data found while looking for: \r\n”.
Adding the allow_early_termination setting helps fix this. Read more here.
Also note that only the right-most positional field is allowed to early terminate.
Lastly, the early_terminate_optional_fields attribute enables early termination of optional trailing fields. A couple of points to note on this:
If your schema does not have this annotation and you open that in the BizTalk editor, then it will automatically add this annotation explicitly and set it to the default value of False.
This only takes affect if you also have the allow_early_termination annotation set to True.
If you are on Win 7 (any build) you will find quickly that Daemon tools don’t work on that. Even if it was working, I would in any case recommend ditching Daemon tools and recommend using Virtual Clone Drive which not only is free but also works like a champ. I use it on Vista as well.
You should be using Bitlocker on your machine (which btw is faster on Win 7 compared to Vista). When I enabled this on my laptop running Win 7 – I did not get the option to also add a PIN – not sure if I did something wrong or by default it does not ask for it.
In any case, if you also want to add the a PIN on boot up then you can use the following command in a command prompt or power shell (with admin privileges) to enable this. Of course replace the “c:” with the drive you want to do this for.
Irrespective if you attended PDC or not and want to get your hands on the ppt’s and/or video of each of the sessions then Mike has a cool post listing each of the sessions including the friendly name instead of the non-helpful code.
I am going to be at PDC – anyone else I know going to be there? If you are reading this, and are going to be there then it is quite likely you know how to ping me and let me know you going. It also might be a good idea to check out the Devil’s field guide to the PDC.
I will be blogging from there – but not during the sessions – need to ensure I am not distracted – especially as the Avalanche is coming! Expect to get some posts later in the evenings.
Not since the days of NT 4.0 (which stood for New Technology btw) has this happened that Microsoft is calling a Windows version what is really is – so Windows 7 will be called Windows 7! I say Yay! It is about time the stop all the malarkey about funky code names and boring “release names”.