Prerequisites

Having waited a long time for this day, primarily because of the platform lift (the use of Visual Studio 2019, Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019) and getting all of the previous Feature Pack features from BizTalk 2016 into the Standard Edition (most of my customers do not use Enterprise edition), I created an Azure Virtual Machine with a pre-installed Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019, and sat out to get the new BizTalk Server up and running.

Because I’m installing a developer machine, I will also need to install Visual Studio 2019 and Office 2019 (has to be installed as a 32-bit version).

I’m using a Visual Studio Professional 2019, which should be fine, since the documentation for prerequisites states:

Ultimate Edition is recommended, but Premium and Professional are also supported.

On another official Microsoft page they state:

Visual Studio Enterprise Edition is recommended, but Professional and Community editions are also supported.

So no consistency here, but I guess that my choice (Professional) is part of both recommendations, so I should be good to go.

For the Visual Studio workloads I chose:

  • ASP.NET and web development
  • .NET desktop development (This should be the only feature required for BizTalk development)
  • Universal Windows Platform development
  • .NET Core cross-platform development

When and if installing Office 2019 (Only required if developing BAM), remember to choose the 32-bit Setup file located located in the Office folder.

Again mainly for the use of BAM (Business Activity Monitoring) I also added Web Server (IIS) as a Server Role and enabled IIS 6 Management Compatibility also Basic Authentication and Windows Authentication was selected under Security.

We should now be ready to install BizTalk Server 2020.

Installation

In my case, I’m choosing everything except MQSeries Agent, note that the Developer Tools and SDK is selected, so working with BizTalk projects should be possible in Visual Studio once installed.

Configuration

Before configuring BizTalk Server, I’m going to create a local user called BizUser. This user will be used for everything in the configuration, I will also use local Groups automatically created by the configuration.

This is not recommended in a production environment, where AD users and groups should be used.

Having configured the following without any errors (I Skipped Business Rules Engine)

- SSO Enterprise
- Group
- BizTalk Runtime

I encountered an issue I had overlooked:

It appears I forgot to create an SSIS Catalog, which is required for BAM

See instructions here.

After creating the SSIS Catalog I was able to configure the rest, excluding Business Rules Engine, BAM Alerts, BAM Portal and BizTalk TMS.

Findings

First glance and removal of the SQL Adapter

At first glance the Administration Console looks like it has done for the past many releases, no surprise there.

Microsoft has finally removed the old legacy SQL Adapter and implemented the new WCF-Adapter in the EDI-Batching scheme:

No later than BizTalk Server 2016, the old SQL Adapter was still used here, looking forward to examine whether batching is still working as expected, or if the introduction of the new Adapter has raised any issues.

BizTalk missing in Visual Studio!

Even though the Developer Tools and SDK was successfully installed on my machine, I am not able to find any templates for creating a new BizTalk Project (.btproj).

What’s worse is that if I try to open an existing BizTalk project made on my Visual Studio/BizTalk Server 2016 environment, I get the following error

I will continue to look into this and get back with more info as to why I cannot seem to create or use BizTalk projects in my Visual Studio 2019 (which should be the supported version now)!

The Visual Studio Fix

After a few days of searching, I finally found the documentation for properly finishing the installation of BizTalk SDK in Visual Studio 2019.

Open Visual Studio and open a random Project.

Select Extensions -> Manage Extensions

Search for BizTalk and click Download.

Close Visual Studio and let the VSIX installer complete, choose Modify if prompted.

After installation you should now be able to both create new BizTalk projects and open existing older BizTalk Server projects.

The Feature Pack stuff and then some

It seems that everything that was added to BizTalk Server 2016 Enterprise Edition by Feature Packs, has now been added to all editions of BizTalk Server 2020, and some features also seem to have been expanded with even more capabilities.

Looking through the REST API’s in swagger I have noticed that new methods and operations has been added. I especially likes that I should now be able to start and stop my Host Instances (which wasn’t part of the Feature Pack release for BizTalk Server 2016).

However I cannot seem to make this operation work, getting stuck with this very non-informative message (invalid query):

Conclusion

The installation and configuration of BizTalk Server 2020 was pretty easy and without too many unexpected surprises. It does, however, concern me that Visual Studio doesn’t seem to work with BizTalk projects (EDIT: Found the solution for this issue now, see section above) and that newly added REST APIs seem to have some basic faults in them.

It could, of course, be me missing out on some basic settings etc. but for now, I will experiment with the product and examine more of the new and existing features, but probably wait a while, for further clarification of the issues I have found, before installing the product in any of my customers production environments.