What is BTSG NoS Addin purpose and what features are available? (Part 1)

What is BTSG NoS Addin purpose?

The purpose of BTSG NoS Addin is to help all BizTalk Developer, why not, all BizTalk Administrator too in a lot of different situations, by improving the developer experience and why not reduce the development time in new or existent BizTalk projects.

It will provide several functionalities like quick search inside artifact, fast register/unregister in GAC, find critical, internal or external dependencies… and much more functionalities like JackHammering, which will compare your VS artifact with the artifact deployed in BizTalk environment, you can also extract the artifact (Orchestration, map, schema and so on) from BizTalk environment and put it in the VS solution or even test your pipeline in VS simply … several features that are usefully in our day by day work and a time saver in a lot of situations.

How to get started with the addin?

After installing the addin, the first thing you need to do is to load the BTSG NoS addin to Visual Studio by:

  • On the Tools menu, click Add-In Manager.
  • In the Add-in Manager window, select the add-in from the list.
    • You can select the option “Startup” so that the addin is available a soon you open your Visual Studio solution
  • Check the box next to the add-in in the Available Add-Ins column, and then click OK.

(see my previous post for more details).

BTSG Settings

When you install the BTSG NoS addin, it will define three (3) default setting for the internal use of the addin. You can check and configure these settings by:

  • Right-click on your solution name and select the “BTSG Settings” option
BTSG NoS Addin BTSG Settings
  • BizTalk Server Name: Name of the SQL Server instance that hosts the BizTalk Management database, “.” (local) by default.
  • BizTalk Configuration Database: Name of the BizTalk Management database for the group, “BizTalkMgmtDb” by default.
  • Be verbose: By default this option is active. This option is good for debugging problems because it will display to the user more detailed messages in the output window about what is happening.
BTSG NoS Addin BTSG Settings

To check the messages produce by the addin you just need to select BTSG in the output window and you will see the messages:

BTSG NoS Addin BTSG output window

Build and Scan the solution (the most important step)

Because the addin works with a lot of reflection, in some functionalities before you start using the addin in your BizTalk Solution and also for the addin work with the precision, you need to build your solution and then “Scan solution” by:

  • Right-click on your solution name and select the “Scan Solution” option
BTSG NoS Addin Scan the solution

Note: If you already have the solution build, i.e., you already have the correct DLL files generated in the respective solution folders, then you just need to “Scan solution”.

What is the Scan Solution?

This option will analyze your solution: all the files, folders, DLL and so that it can have a clear notion of what is composing your BizTalk solution: How many projects exist in the solution, what type of artifacts the project have or and what are the dependencies between projects. These are some of the tasks that this option will analyze so it can work with consistency and with accuracy.

List of available features

In this section we will have an overview of all features available with this Visual Studio addin and how can you use them.

Expand and Collapse solution

Let’s start with the basic new functionalities that are available in the context of the solution:

  • Expand Solution: This option will fully expand all the projects in your current solution. This feature can be useful when we want an easy and simple way to have a visualization of the entire structure of the solution.
BTSG NoS Addin Expand solution
  • Collapse Solution: this is exactly the opposite of the previous feature. This option will collapse all the projects in your current solution in a simple and easy way.
BTSG NoS Addin Collapse solution

You can access these features by:

  • Right-click on your solution name and select the “Expand Solution” or “Collapse Solution” options
BTSG NoS Addin Expand and Collapse solution

Wild Search

I think the name explains the feature itself. This feature will perform full-text searches in all the artifacts of your entire solution, which means that for example, in Schemas will search for elements, records, and attributes but also properties of the map itself, in orchestrations will search for shape names, messages names, variable names and so on. The best way to explain the mode of how this operation works or to find an analogy is: inside the Visual Studio open the artifact (schema, map, orchestration and so on) with XML (text) Editor and make a search inside that artifact. Now think in this process, automatically, to all articles of your solution.

We can also call this as a “Search” ➤ “Selection” ➤ “Open it” operation.

BTSG NoS Addin Wild Search

Because all the artifact in your entire solution that meets the search requirement will be selected and you will have the option to open it all automatically after the search finished.

You can access these features by:

  • Right click on your solution name and select the “Wild Search” option
BTSG NoS Addin Wild Search option

Reflector

This feature will create a report with a lot of useful information’s about your entire solution or for a particular project in our solution so that you can analyze:

  • It will provide some statistics and metrics, for example
    • Solution metrics: number of projects, artifacts, orchestrations, transformation, Schemas, and Pipelines
    • Artifact metrics: Information about the kb average used by the artifact in memory or some metrics to understand the complexity of the artifact (orchestration, map and so on),
  • But also information about:
    • What use this artifact or what doing this artifact (very useful with orchestration)
    • Show all the information’s like:
      • Artifact dependencies
      • What ports are using this orchestration or schema or map?
      • How many shapes exist in the orchestration or how many Transactions (Atomic, Long Running) exist, Compensation or Error handling?
      • How many Construct messages or even how many transformations?
      • How many Functoids or links exists inside a transformation?
    • And so on.
BTSG NoS Addin BizTalk Solution Report

This is basically an interactive report or documentation of your solution. Interactive because you can interact with the report and he will automatically open the artifact while you are reading it. You can open the directory, maps, orchestrations, schemas and so on directly from the report.

BTSG NoS Addin BizTalk Solution Report

The reflector can be used in all levels of your solution, from simple artifact, a single project or just to produce a full report of your entire solution (this last means to have a report of all of the artifacts in the solution)

This will also can be used to produce a good documentation of your BizTalk Projects

You can access this features by:

  • Right click on your solution/project or artifact name and select the “Reflector” option
BTSG NoS Addin Reflector

BTSG NoS Addin will be available soon… you just need to be a little more patience… stay tuned to Nino personal blog!

Author: Sandro Pereira

Sandro Pereira lives in Portugal and works as a consultant at DevScope. In the past years, he has been working on implementing Integration scenarios both on-premises and cloud for various clients, each with different scenarios from a technical point of view, size, and criticality, using Microsoft Azure, Microsoft BizTalk Server and different technologies like AS2, EDI, RosettaNet, SAP, TIBCO etc. He is a regular blogger, international speaker, and technical reviewer of several BizTalk books all focused on Integration. He is also the author of the book “BizTalk Mapping Patterns & Best Practices”. He has been awarded MVP since 2011 for his contributions to the integration community.

4 thoughts on “What is BTSG NoS Addin purpose and what features are available? (Part 1)”

  1. Hi Sandro,
    Thanks for the post!
    In the screenshot of the reflector feature, I can see that the bindings are shown (we can see the BizTalk host name, the address location and other bindings detail).
    So my question is how did you have the reflector to use the bindings?

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